Re: Charlie Hebdo: A Death in My Family

The following is my reply to a post by another Brother: Charlie Hebdo: A Death in My Family


I appreciate your thoughts but I disagree on some points.

because they were exercising their free speech

There is the right to having free speech and being able to say what you want. I'm all for that. However there is also being repeatedly disrespectful to another's views/beliefs/religion. This is no longer free speech, this is being uncivil and absolutely disrespectful to others. While I don't think they should have died/deserved to die, I do think they were guilty of not exercising civility. Just because you can say something, doesn't mean you should.

constantly threatened with death for doing something as simple as writing funny cartoons

One man's funny is quite offensive to others. You don't attack other's beliefs, especially religion. You respect the rights of others to believe what they want. You don't continually mock one's religion/God/prophet in satirical illustrations that some even offend people NOT of the religion being mocked. They weren't being funny, they were being mocking, nay, derisive and full of hatred in their magazine.

We as Masons are taught through our ritual and through our culture that we have a bond to the fraternity and each other

We are also instructed that we are all on the level and that we shouldn't judge others for their beliefs. We've also learned as Masons that it's not fun to be persecuted... I mean the wiki entry Suppression of Freemasonry is a good starting point. Let me ask you this Brother, how would you feel if someone took something sacred to you, let's say Freemasonry, and began making hate-filled 'satirical' cartoons about Freemasonry. You'd be mad. Now what if you were devoutly religious and someone started taking your God/prophet/important religious figure and started making cartoons about them showing them doing idiotic thing, carrying out acts of a sexual or romantic nature with a person or animal that your religion prohibits etc? You'd be mad.

Pardon my language, but what really chaps my ass, is the fact that there WERE Brothers working at this publication. We shouldn't be making fun of the beliefs of others, whether we find it comical or not (because they probably won't). These satirical comics that Charlie Hebdo were producing were funny to some but grossly offensive to others. That's just unacceptable. 

I also felt pride that my brothers were there, doing things that stood for something and shaped the world.

I'm sorry, I don't take pride in bullying and bigotry. They weren't making cartoons saying why they preferred their belief over the belief of their target, they were showing extreme prejudice and bigotry for a specific group of people that make up a significant portion of the world's population.

but Michel and Bernard were the ones who actually were going out and doing something. They were the ones with the guts. The ones without fear.

They were the ones showing cowardice, afraid of the beliefs of others and lashing out against those beliefs with disrespectful illustrations that they claimed to be tasteful satire. Disgusting.

I'm truly sorry that these individuals were killed but let us take some good from this tragedy. Let us see it as a reminder to be more civil and tolerant of the beliefs of others, to be more respectful of the beliefs of others. There is absolutely no reason, in a civil society, that those comics should have been created and published. 


A response to my disagreements has been posted

Let me address it

We shouldn’t judge other people for their beliefs? Where in the ritual is that?

Not necessarily degree ritual but there are two things you do NOT talk about in Lodge. Religion and politics. Even in the York Rite with Templar stuff you must admit you are a Christian but you are never told to look down on those that aren't Christian. 

If Bob is the Worshipful Master and has on a cornstarch blue tie, I don't stop a degree "Hey Bob, what the hell man, cornstarch blue is so silly, Brothers laugh at Bob for his tie, everyone knows royal blue is far superior, oh Bob you are so silly"...

If someone made comics attacking Freemasonry, I would be THRILLED to offer a rebuttal.

Well, 2 men did make a rebuttal to the Islam-mocking comics. They did it with bullets. Because that's how some people think, not everyone can be civil and laugh off when you mock their beliefs or belief system, it's something they are passionate about and they may be from a culture that has developed a mindset in them that violence is an acceptable solution to everything.

Bullying? Charlie Hebdo was a publication with 45,000 papers circulated per issue.


  1. verb

    gerund or present participle: bullying

    1. use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.

Is 45,000 more than the billion plus Muslims on the planet? No. Is a publication with a subscriber base of 45,000 of significant influence? While it's only 0.068 percent of France's population, 45,000 isn't a number to laugh at. Say each subscriber had an average household of 2.5 you now have 112,500 eyeballs looking at it also several of 'cartoons' are readily available online (and likely were prior to the shooting) which can be circulated via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr etc considerably amplifying the number of eyes seeing them.

They target a problem and show it in a humorous or thoughtful light

A man in traditional middle-eastern garb open-mouthed kissing an artist in a Charlie Hebdo shirt. A bare, and ample, bottomed depiction of the most important prophet in Islam in a suggestive prone upright position with what appears to be Woody Allen filming him from behind... how are these targeting problems in a humourous or thoughtful light? These are two guarnateed ways to absolutely offend Muslims one blatantly showing homosexuality which is not supported in Islam or in primarily Islamic countries the other hinting at homosexuality and depicting the CHIEF prophet of Islam which you just don't do. These guys KNEW they were going to get people very upset with them, there are examples in recent history that received national coverage from similar illustrations. They weren't trying to bring light to a situation they were intentionally attempting to offend a significant portion of the world's population!!!

Afraid of the beliefs of others? Citation needed on this one.

Read literature on bullying, preferably from a behavioral specialist. You'll find that generally bullies are hiding behind a mask of anger/aggression/violence or even sarcasm as a shield. Something in their life has caused them enough fear to need to lash out at others. Sometimes they lash out at the cause of their fear which you'll see as physical confrontation with the person, or someone from a group, that has scared them. Sometimes it will be a soldier coming home from war afraid of what they saw and did and they'll become self-destructive or lash out at their friends and family (generally their partner or children). Sometimes it will be a weaker individual that just happens to be around, the bully on the playground picks a kid smaller than himself to lash out against because someone in his life scares him and he can take some comfort in terrorizing another weaker human being. These attacks can be verbal or physical, a satirical comic can be motivated by fear, hatred or uncertainty. Intentionally drawing comics that are guaranteed to offend is either idiocy or fueled by hatred/fear/intolerance.

Many Masons lost their lives question and attacking the power structures of monarchal Europe and we should all admire them for their work.

I agree 100%, but this publication wasn't fighting for their own freedom from oppression. They weren't taking up arms and heading off to terrorist camps, they were disrespecting more than a billion people with cartoon images that were sure to offend. If they wanted to make a difference they should have written articles on the oppression of women and of basic civil rights in some countries were crimes against humanity take place on a regular basis. They should have poured that time and effort into interviewing women that have been maimed for being women, little girls that were forced into marriages with men several decades their senior, They should have used their audience to bring awareness to groups that exist that are trying to peacefully work to bring about change. They could have been making funny comics for sick children in hospitals to help their quality of life in dark and scary times, not provoking individuals that believe in a violent and radical Islam.

For my readers that aren't Freemasons and are a bit more curious as to Freemasonry please don't take these cartoonists as an example of what a Mason is in regards to their 'satirical' view of the faith of others. If you want to learn more I'd recommend you check out Brother Hodapp's book Freemasons For Dummies 

Freemasons For Dummies
By Christopher Hodapp

I thought it was 42 Neil?

When asked, by a 6-year old boy, what the meaning of life was Neil deGrasse Tyson at an event at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre replied:

So — what is the meaning of life? I think people ask that question on the assumption that ‘meaning’ is something you can look for and go, ‘Here it is, I found it. Here’s the meaning. I’ve been looking for.’ That scenario, however, doesn’t consider the possibility that ‘meaning’ is something you create. You manufacture it for yourself and for others.

So when I think of ‘meaning’ in life, I ask, ‘Did I learn something today that I didn’t know yesterday, bringing me a little closer to knowing all that can be known in the universe?’ If I live a day and I don’t know a little more than I did the day before, I think I wasted that day. So the people who, at the end of the school year, say ‘The summer! I don’t have to think anymore!’ — I just don’t know. To think brings you closer to nature. To learn how things work gives you power to influence events. Gives you power to help people who may need it — to help yourself and your trajectory.

So when I think of the meaning of life, that’s not an eternal and unanswerable question — to me, that’s in arm’s reach of me everyday. So to you, at age six-and-three-quarters, may I suggest that you explore nature as much as you possibly can. And occasionally that means getting your clothes dirty because you might want to jump into puddles and your parents don’t want you to do that. You tell them that I gave you permission.
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Wow Neil. Aside from the fact that might just be a bit too wordy for the 6 year old, that's a brilliant answer. I mean, seriously, it's simple yet profound. This also happens to be my philosophy, I'm always trying to grok the universe. Every day I'm saying "need input!" and constantly looking for new things to learn.

All day at work I listen to podcasts at 2x until I've caught up on that day's and then I move on to books I've bought on Audible (my library is creeping up on 300 titles) that I listen to at 1.25x. When I come home I'm always tinkering, on forums, reading blogs, contemplating all that I've taken in.

need more input

I can't even go out on a first date without going on a 25 minute rant to the poor girl how I want the governments of Earth to give me a trillion dollars or more so I can start hardcore developing an asteroid mining program, so that I can have enough resources to start buying up all the smartest minds and thinkers in dozens of fields and give them all the resources they need so that we can first copy a human brain, then develop a way to restore a human brain in a freshly cloned/grown body AND so that we can download them into digital brains which would then allow us to develop singular intelligence entities that could rapidly solve things like FTL travel, zero point or super-efficient energy, subspace communications etc. I then go on to explain I need all of this done so I can effectively have immortality so I can live long enough to begin to understand the unfathomable number of things we do not presently understand about existence. I mean, there are countless things we don't understand about our own bodies, let alone the planet, let alone the solar system. Our solar system is an insignificant portion of our galaxy which is in turn a tiny dot in our universe and our universe is likely just a sliver of something even larger.

I count any day that I learn something new a success. To me the meaning of life is becoming not unlike God. I feel cheated having this temporary body, and I only hope that when it expires my consciousness is allowed to travel time and space for eternity figuring out the mysteries of existence on my own instead of just having them gifted to me by my creator.

Ordered my Amazon Echo

So I'm sure you've heard about Amazon Echo... if you haven't, think Hal 9000 of the Amazon product line. She's basically like Siri or Cortana except the fact she's a standalone device. She exists as a black cylinder that contains dual downward-facing speakers that produce 360 degree omni-directional sound so wherever you are in the room you should (in-theory, let's see how well she sounds... especially with my wood panneling) hear her great. Not only is it a wifi device connected to Amazon's services it can also stream (from your smart device) via Bluetooth so you can use things like your Audible app, iTunes, Pandora etc to stream the audio to her.

Echo also can be controlled via an app available on Fire OS, Android, iOS and traditional desktop browsers. It has features like alarms, music, you can create shopping lists (I'll use this a lot, instead of getting out my phone while watching TV to remind myself of something I'll just say "Alexa add to list"), query Wikipedia etc. The best part is, from my understanding her brain is largely in the cloud meaning Amazon can easily add features and improve the software.

While some fear it will always be listening blah blah blah... I don't care, my phones could be doing that too, so could my iPad... in theory so could my Fire TV's remote!

Right now Amazon Prime members get special pricing on her as obviously the idea is she will be something that will help you shop within the Amazon system and hey that's fine with me I watch Prime daily via my Fire TV, I'm a long long long time Audible subscriber, I do most of my shopping on Amazon etc.

Josh needs your help

On New Year's Day my friend was in his apartment bathroom, next thing he knows the room is filling with smoke and his apartment is in flames. He grabbed one dog and got him outside, he then ran back in for the second dog. The second dog did not survive, Josh received fairly bad burns to his hands trying to rescue Jack and had considerable smoke inhalation. He was taken to a top-notch burn unit, put on a respirator & feeding tube and kept sedated. He has since been released.

Josh turns 31 next month and prior to the fire was already disabled, he has zero savings and has lost the vast majority of his belongings, including clothing. While his girlfriend is trying to help raise two-thousand dollars to help him, this is a pretty terrible thing to happen right after Christmas and to start the New Year with. 2 years ago on Josh's birthday he had to have spine surgery to try and help with some of the pain from the incident has left him disabled. I'd really like to see if we can surpass the goal and help him have a bright spot in an already gloomy year. Please consider sharing this everywhere you can.

If you know Josh, he's never had good luck. Life seems to find every chance it can to drag him down and then repeatedly kick him while he's down. Let's help Josh rise from the ashes of this fire, not unlike the phoenix, and use it as a Novus Initium (a new beginning). If you can, give a dollar, if you can give more please do. If you can't afford to give (or don't want to) please consider sharing this blog post or even the link to the gofundme campaign.


You will be missed Jack.

You will be missed Jack.

My 'interview' with Jackie Perez: Beautiful on the outside, ugly on the inside

Note, my replies in this post to Jackie Perez were typed via my iPhone in my quote blocks on this page I have corrected the autocorrect errors however you can see the autocorrect fails in the photos.


So the big names of CrossFit seem to ONLY post photos on their instagram accounts of themselves and their buddies where they are all superbly in shape (and generally in as little clothing as possible)... so today I kinda snapped and said something about it on one of Jackie Perez's posts.

Jackie Perez of CrossFit ugly on the inside 1.png
I find it funny that your photos never contain a single person even remotely overweight... man glad my box has ‘real’ people.

To which she replied

@ryanmercer yes we have real people at our gym and this is my comp team I train with who obviously aren’t overweight. We have all shapes and sizes at our gym but I don’t train with them since I’m on the team. That was a stupid comment

And seeing that she didn't get the point (giving her the benefit of the doubt anyway) replied

Not stupid at all, never seen anyone in this feed that isn’t some chiseled statue. Whether intentional or not that helps promote the idea you have to look like a deity to be involved in crossfit
Yes guess what, all these people didn’t start chiseled, we have been doing it for years and our bodies have changed. I’m pretty sure everyone knows you don’t have to look like this to do Crossfit but you will probably end up looking like this if you stick to it

Well ok so see here I have a problem. Fact is, the type of people she posts (herself included) have insane diets that can easily be classified as eating disorders... I'm talking the weighing of everything they eat with strict portion control and macro/micro nutrient planning as well as supplements supplements supplements (which most of them are paid sponsors for), spending several hours a day in the gym 5-7 days a week (not doing anything remotely resembling the Workout of the Day you'll see at most boxes).. so no Jackie, I'm sorry but you will probably NOT end up looking like that if 'you stick with it'. I continue the dialogue with her...

All I’m saying is you conveniently are never showing pictures of “real people”. Sorry the truth hurts you so much. All you top tier folks seem to care about is showing off bodies most people can’t realistically achieve due to life. How about showing some folks at your gym that aren’t elite specimens of humanity from time to time, that is if you even acknowledge their existence

You see, she still isn't getting the point here... she's very popular, drop her name at a CrossFit box/gym and most people will immediately know who she is (and probably like her on Facebook or follow her on Instagram). She then goes on to say...

Jackie Perez Instagram 4
@ryanmercer wow that was stupid and since it’s my page I’ll show whatever the hell I want. I don’t have to explain to you why I post what I post. Yes I highlight members from time to time but since I work from home now I’m only there to train. Worry about yourself please and to say I don’t acknowledge their existence is just ridiculous. Top tier folks? I’m no top tier athlete number one, anyone can realistically achieve this body what are you talking about? Get lost please and don’t look at my page if you don’t like what I post.

Ok so here she starts to really show her narcissist tendencies (which you can clearly see by the photos/videos she generally posts multiple times a day on her social media accounts)... and continues to fail to see the point. Hello lady, you are a spotlight in the community and you have all these followers... how about you help motivate people... despite your delusional belief some women look at you and think "damn I can never look like that" and some men see the fellows you post and go "yup, I'm going to need roids to look like that!" because face it... real people MIGHT have an hour a day 3-5 times a week to go do the WOD ad their box, which is absolutely-positively-beyond-any-shadow-of-a-doubt never going to get them looking anything like that... you said it yourself, you are on a team and train independent of the WOD classes!!! Also, she's a top tier athlete in CrossFit, let's look at her profile on the CrossFit gym she works at "Jackie is a fantastic CrossFit Coach and a fierce Competitor having competed in the 2010 and 2011 Reebok CrossFit Games, both years she advanced to Regionals where she finished in the Top 20." Yes, she may see top tier as being in the top 3 or 5 or 10 overall but lets face it folks PLACING IN THE TOP 20 IN REGIONALS IS SAYING SOMETHING. So I reply to her again...

Stupid? You have 122k followers. What’s stupid is not inspiring others. Instead you stroke your ego and that of others that are “top-tier”, and yes you’d easily be in the top 5-10% of female athletes doing stuff like CrossFit/grid making you top-tier. Damn you are just completely out of touch with reality but I thank you very much for showing this to your followers, might surprise some of them. Best of luck in life with that attitude.

I mean, this chick just doesn't get it! So at this point I screen cap some of what she's said and share it on my Instagram account...

Jackie Perez Instagram 3
Jackie Perez Instagram 2
Jackie Perez Instagram


Within minutes she's not only liked it, BUT REPLIED!

Haha ha you’re so sad. Does this make you feel better about yourself? Lol come on dude. Get it together. Don’t you have better things to do than talk shit to someone you don’t know.
Ha ha ha why you angry bro? Lol

Well Jackie, I may not know you and as far as "Don't you have better things to do than talk shit to someone" well I wasn't talking shit... I was trying to give you a little advice on how to be a better person. Why not use your very fortunate position in the spotlight to be a positive influence, to not just show off but to inspire? I mean, is CSA CrossFit in business to HELP people or to just for the coaches to show off the bodies they've achieved from something OTHER than CrossFit (you admitted yourself you don't do the WODs with the classes, you train with a special team after all). 

You know... some people just have bad days and maybe you are tonight and hey if that's the case please reach out to me at any of the contact methods in this site's footer (via an official social media account or CSA CrossFit's email) and I'll be more than happy to update this post. Let's have a civil conversation, questions and answers and some friendly discussion. Instagram wasn't the best place for either of us to express our ideas and opinions with one another, maybe we both misunderstood each other. I'm more than happy to set aside some time to better discuss our views and rethink my opinion of you.

EDIT: Jackie decided to take up my offer to reach out for a follow up to this 'interview'... this is all she had to say

Jackie Perez Combat Sports Academy 4

EDIT 2: So now the gym joins in too. Damn, you'd think these people had lives or something... I mean, if what I said in my replies to her on instagram and in this blog post were so wrong logic would suggest they wouldn't be getting so bent out of shape and actually lashing out at me. *shakes head*



Jackie Perez Combat Sports Academy 3
Jackie Perez Combat Sports Academy 2
Jackie Perez Combat Sports Academy
Jackie Perez Combat Sports Academy bad customer service 2

Now if one were to review Combat Sports Academy or Jackie Perez and any service either of them offer... hell I wouldn't even mention the quality of training they provided... I'd get hung up on the fact that they are wholly unprofessional, rude and just downright (and viciously) nasty when someone doesn't worship them. I can't imagine paying Combat Sports Academy for CrossFit classes or Jackie Perez for anything she teaches/leads/programs or even allowing her to endorse products I own if I were a company. Seriously folks, you can do a much better job at expressing your views and defending your positions.

EDIT 3: "Combat Sports Academy, where nobody knows your name" I mean... how could they with 800+ members!

Jackie Perez Combat Sports Academy bad customer service

Paleo friendly ketchup!

So I know a lot of people love their ketchup (catsup) but hey, it's got a lot of sugar in it usually. Well, I went in search of a good sugar-free ketchup and I found one! I love it! I don't use a lot of it so a 13oz bottle lasts me about 2 months. What brand do you ask? Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Unsweetened Ketchup

Ingredients: Water, tomato paste (from red ripe tomatoes), apple cider vinegar, salt, onion, maltodextrin (from corn), spice, natural flavor.

Now, some of you are going to argue that maltodextrin is NOT paleo/sugar-free but I disagree.

Yes maltodextrin has a glycemic index of over 100, however it's in such small quantities in this ketchup that it's not even worth noting, a tbsp or two with your foot is going to have a negligible effect on blood sugar levels and insulin activity, if you drink a bottle or two ok yes you might be getting enough to make a worthwhile difference bbbuuuttttttt if you are drinking 26 ounces of ketchup in a meal you have other issues. 

"Oh but maltodextrin from corn! Corn is a grain! Corn isn't paleo!" *facepalm* Maltodextrin can come from any number of sources, likening maltodextrin to corn is like saying "I can BBQ with diamonds instead of charcoal because they are both carbon!". 

Look, if you want ketchup that's sugar-free this is the best solution I've found that doesn't involve a lot of labor (try making your own, it's a giant time-suck). This stuff tastes wonderful, 2-tbsp takes care of a pound of hamburger for me (two 1/2lb patties) and adds a whopping 10kcals and 2g of carbohydrates (from the tomato paste) to a meal. If you are concerned about the maltodextrin, and just won't listen to me, buy some of the ketchup and get a blood-glucose meter and experiment with a bottle... for the vast majority of people you'll find a negligible change.

Stop saying sweet potatoes are more nutritious than white potatoes!

I get tired of seeing the Paleo community go

white and sweet potatoes.jpg
Oh sweet potatoes brah like they are way better than white potatoes, like grok man he only ate sweet potatoes and white potatoes are just the devil! Like uh I saw that they have more of them nutrient things and are healthier for you and just better, sweet potato with butte,r sweet potato with cinnamon, sweet potato sweet potato sweet potato!

I do not care for the taste of sweet potatoes at all, nor do I care for people making claims that have zero basis in reality. Yes, white potatoes are nightshades and a small portion of the population has negative reactions to nightshades... I suspect somewhere, somewhen an individual that had a legitimate nightshade issue found that when they switched to sweet potatoes from white potatoes they had some of their health issues vanish and then someone else saw it and was like "oh man sweet potatoes!" and then another and another and another... and this white potatoes developed a stigma.

The Paleo community is starting to come around to white potatoes with more and more people being adventurous and returning to them, finding they don't have issue with them as they suspected. Still, at least once a week I see someone on a forum or Reddit or a blog demonize white potatoes with comments like "sweet potatoes are more nutritious!" well... why don't we actually take a look at the numbers, because... you know... SCIENCE.

Sweet Potatoes 200g White Potatoes 200g
kcals 160 281
fat 0g 0g
cholesterol 0mg 0mg
carbohydrates 41g 64g
dietary fiber 7g 6g
sugars 13g 4g
protein 4g 6g
Vitamin A 38433IU 29.9IU
Vitamin C 39.2mg 37.7mg
Vitamin D - -
Vitamin E 1.4mg 0.1mg
Vitamin K 4.6mcg 8.1mcg
Thiamin 0.2mg .01mg
Riboflavin 0.2mg 0.1mg
Niacin 3mg 4.6mg
Vitamin B6 0.6mg 0.6mg
Folate 12mcg 114mcg
Vitamin B12 - -
Pantothenic Acid 1.8mg 1.1mg
Choline 26.2mg 43.1mg
Betaine 69.2mg 0.6mg
Calcium 76mg 29.9mg
Iron 1.4mg 1.9mg
Magnesium 54mg 80.7mg
Phosphorous 108mg 224mg
Potassium 950mg 1626mg
Sodium 72mg 20.39mg
Zinc 0.6mg 1mg
Copper 0.3mg 0.4mg
Manganese 1mg 0.6mg
Selenium 0.4mcg 1.5mcg
Fluoride -

Wait, what? I thought sweet potatoes were so much more nutritious than white potatoes?!?! You're telling me the only thing sweet potatoes has over white potatoes is considerably more vitamin A but white potatoes have more of several other minerals/nutrients/vitamins. Fancy that. Now stop saying sweet potatoes are more nutritious.