ER

May 2, 2016 - One Response

“…and then I went to church.”

“That’ll be the day.”

” What I did was even worse.”

“Worse than going to church?”

I nodded.

“Okay,” my guest sipped his beer and stretched his legs. “This is gonna be  a long one.”

“Well, I have this book…”

“This book? You can’t sit down around here without landing on one.”

“It’s a cocktail table book. Most people don’t sit on cocktail tables,” I sniffed. “It’s called Luxury Equestrian Design and I keep it around to remind me what a peasant I am.”

“You can say that again.”

“It’s so classy the pages aren’t even numbered.  But on page 34–I counted–there’s a picture of Seattle Slew’s grave.”

“Triple Crown. Earned $1,207,726.”

“All you think about is money. He was a People’s Horse. And he’s buried whole, just like Ari, at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Kentucky.”

“So?”

“,,,so his grave is so enormous and so blazingly alive with blossoms and color and grace and style it takes your breathe away. He was a year younger than Ari and, like him, died in his sleep. He’s buried in his favorite green blanket with a little bag of peppermints he loved. Ari didn’t wear a blanket but he’s off to the Happy Hunting Ground with a whole bottle of  Cornflake Butter Crunch Cookies. Maybe when they meet, which I’m sure they will, they’ll share.”

My friend slurped. “And?”

“And,” I replied, “if Seattle Slew can be so honored and beloved, I mean if it’s  good enough for him, it’s good enough for Ari. So I set out to make his grave as rich and gorgeous. I bought plants, I bought gloves, I bought doohickey  gardening tools  from a garden center–I even bought new gardening shoes–and raced off on a new path.”

“And?”

“…and the shoes put a blister on my foot and it rained and my shoes got wet and my foot got infected and at one o’clock in the morning I set off for Wilcox. I think I was in shock. The wound was open and red and sore and swollen and feverish and a little red line was running up my leg.”

“Skip the gory details, but whatever happened to the little old miss self- healer- squealer?”

“Healer- squealer shuffle dealer,  I  don’t play around with tetanus and blood poisoning. No way. But know what?”

“What?”

“Turned into such a pleasant surprise. I  couldn’t’ve met a nicer bunch of people. The lady who signed me in. The darling male nurse with the pony tail who listened patiently to my tale of woe. The doctor, a neighbor, who had much compassion. The lady nurse who gave me two of the most painless shots I’ve ever had. I went home happy.  With a prescription  I won’t fill. Met a  pharmacist  who talked me out of filling it. I’m in the process of healing myself. So hahaha…

…but let me tell you something, if you’re ever in trouble and need an ER go to Wilcox.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RABID JACKELS

April 21, 2016 - Leave a Response

 

There are millions of   Americans–the majority of us–who recognize a great man when they see one. The guy with  pick and shovel,  The cashier behind the counter.

The farmer planting seed.   Young men and women dying in these senseless wars. But when greatness resides in the White House, in the most powerful office in the world, our chests swell.

He’s brilliant. No one needs a dummy.

His words are elegant.  A pleasure to the ears. He has manners  befitting royalty  hosting  guests at a courtly table. If he’s tall and slender and handsome with a family of equal  beauty  we’re even more proud. Please, at this moment, watch a FRONTLINE document: Inside OBAMA’S Presidency.

This young man made one grave mistake: He thought he could reason with his adversaries. He tried his best. He gave it all. But one cannot reason with rabid jackals. The best thing one can do with a rabid jackal is run.  He didn’t run. He held his ground.  He’d the courage  of a madman. Madman?  It goes beyond bravery to confront such a  dangerous animal.

Frothing with greed. For money. For power. Indulging in beliefs so ridiculous they’re an insult to human intelligence.  Rancor, vulgarity, and deceit are its nature. And this den of disease spawned the greatest frother of them all.

I beg you–all of you– don’t descend to his level. May that brilliant maligned woman and that elegant elder join forces. Together they can–we can–heal.

 

 

Sacred Dog

April 20, 2016 - One Response

American Indians called the horse  ‘sacred dog’ and acquired him  in the mid-1500s when De Soto and Coronado brought it to our shores. The Indians took to the animal like brilliance takes to  rainbows. The horsemen of the plains were considered by many in the American cavalry,”The finest light horse cavalry in the world.” They were never defeated in combat.

The Horse Culture on the plains  lived with their animals, and like the riders in the Spanish School in Vienna today,  came to call them ‘friends’. They lived with their horses. They knew them with their heart.

Lives of the nomadic Plains tribe, especially the Comanches,  were revolutionized by the horse and they became  skilled thieves perfecting the art of  rustling.  They were the best of horsemen and we treated them badly. In 1874 thousands of animals, considered by the southern Commanche to be their best, were senselessly slaughtered.  Ari often reminded me. Horses have a different sense of history and time. All of them recall what earth was like when the world was young and no grunting four-spinning upstarts jammed the roads and fouled the air.

I ‘d tell Ari stories like a silly human–dates and names and stuff like that–and he’d look me in the eye the way a good horse does–and  snort,  reminding me his roots on our home planet went back 40 to 60 million years. His earliest  ancestor, little eohippus, the Dawn Horse showed up a lot earlier in the game than we did. “How long you been around skinny two legs?”

He had me there.

He loved  me to tell him stories.

An incurable romantic,  he loved  fiction best.   Hidalgo, the mustang,  and Frank Hopkins who raced him’cross the Ocean of Fire were his favorites. When Ari was recovering from  surgery,  I constructed a paddock at my end of the barn and rigged  a projector and white sheet sharing the Disney movie with him. He watched it over and over.  For a horse who’d been free as a  feral hen, to be corralled in a 20×20 foot  area for three months–the recovery was long–was an ordeal. I  had to relieve his boredom. Mine, too.

I mean, how many organic carrots can we munch?   He  loved  dearly cornflake butter crunch cookies.

For over forty years I’ve lived with  a horse like the Indian lived with his.  He was a friend.  My best.  He slept in the bedroom next to mine.  I couldn’t ask for a sweeter neighbor. I met him first on Oahu in 1993. We looked each other in the eye and immediately bonded.  Born on Kauai in  1987, he was 29 years old.

The night he died, peacefully in his sleep, he said, “What you skinny two legs need  is another Seabiscuit.” He loved that film best.

His death left a hole in my heart the size of Diamond Head Crater, and a chunk out of my life the magnitude of Mount Kalihi.

But this he gave me: the joy of having known him.

 

 

 

 

 

TRUMP VS GLOBAL WARMING

April 11, 2016 - Leave a Response

Climate change has its sights on its next victim. It’s one of America’s favorite vacation spots.

Hawaii’s known for its near perfect weather, but a  report from the UH Sea Grant program states that islands in the Pacific might be unrecognizable in the coming years as climate change makes them hotter, arid, stormy.  Even disease-ridden.

According to “Climate Change Impact statement the oceans, rainfall, ecosystems and immunity of people who live on islands in the Pacific are all at peril. Tourism-an industry responsible for most of the state’s annual revenue- might vanish.

The study projects:

Higher average temperatures, stressing native animals and plants and causing an uptick in heat-related illnesses in people, as well as a higher concentration of invasive species.
A decrease in trade winds would disrupt  rainfall patterns across  the islands and create periods of drought and heavy rain and flooding;
Warmer oceans and higher ocean acidity,  could trigger massive coral bleaching, marine migration, and affect the ocean’s circulation and the way it distributes nutrients.
Perhaps the most obvious change around the state will be the rise in sea levels, which have risen about 0.5-1.3 inches per decade throughout the last 100 years. The study projects this rate to accelerate, resulting in a 1-foot to 3-foot rise-or possibly more-by 2100.

Most of Waikiki and its famous beach would either be underwater or highly eroded, if sea levels rose 6 feet. The new shoreline would be almost a full mile inland-past the Waikiki hotel strip and into neighborhoods such as Kakaako, downtown Honolulu, even Moiliili. Such a scenario would impact hotel revenues by as much as $661.2 million, with a $2 billion lost overall, each year.

Charles Fletcher, a UH geology professor who contributed to the report, said he imagines that Oahu’s tourist nucleus would have to pack up and move, to a “new Waikiki” on higher ground, “By the end of the century, I’d be surprised if Waikiki Beach is still there.”

Researchers admit nobody knows exactly when or where these changes will take place. Some impacts of climate change have already been observed -such as beach erosion on the north shore of Oahu-while others are “projected to manifest in the coming decades.”  The “warming of the Earth’s climate system is unequivocal,” and climate change is caused by human-influenced greenhouse gases.

Tourism’s still cranking in Hawaii. HTA recently said.  The organization funded the UH study in order to anticipate the challenges Hawaii faces — and try to minimize their effects.

The UH report lists various ways agencies and residents can change habits to  influence change:

Utilize more rain catchment systems. Conserve water.
Preserve and restore coral reefs, beaches, forests, streams, floodplains, and wetlands that have the “ capacity to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the impacts of climate change.”
Go back to the ways of ancient Hawaiian tradition, living along the streams and utilizing  land more efficiently and independently.
“There’s a lot we can do,” Dolan Eversole, an agent with the  program, said. “Like a freight train. We see it coming. Are we going to be ready?”

 

 

GLOBAL WARMING

April 6, 2016 - Leave a Response

The truth is out there…

Climate change can be expected to boost the number of annual premature U.S. deaths from heat waves in coming decades and to increase mental health problems from extreme weather like hurricanes and floods, a U.S. study said on Monday.

“I don’t know that we’ve seen something like this before, where we have a force that has such a multitude of effects,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told reporters at the White House about the study. “There’s not one single source that we can target with climate change, there are multiple paths that we have to address.”

This scientific study claims that global warming will endanger lungs and brains.

Trump on climate change: “I think one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics — in the history of politics as I know it, which is pretty good, was Obama’s statement that our No. 1 problem is global warming,” Trump said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The mogul cited the threat of terror and attacks on the U.S. as more concerning.

“NBC News just called it ‘The Great Freeze’ — coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?”

— via Twitter in 2016

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

Trump’s take on our neighbors in Mexico. .”When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people  that have lots of problems…they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” –Donald Trump

“The wall will go up and Mexico will start behaving.”

Trump’s base? Morons. Well, morons follow their leader. Look at those who followed Dumbya. I think what leaks from their tiny brains is: “Good golly ain’t it  great?  Guys dumb as me can get to be Prisident.”

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.” –Donald Trump, speaking at a rally in Sioux Center, Iowa as the audience laughed, January 23, 2016

Is it Donald? When one is up against a vulgarian  as psychotic as  you, a padded cell and strait jacket is the best answer. There’s more. I’ll be at this for the rest of the year.

“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

— of John McCain in Ames, Iowa, in July 2015

Like yourself, Donald? Where were you during that  war? You and dumbya? You’re a disgrace to America.

“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America.” –Donald Trump

Megyn Kelly: “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals’…”

Trump: “Only Rosie O’Donnell.”

— at the GOP debate in August

By the way, I see nothing humorous  here.  It would be like laughing at a German internment camp.

What kind of mind–I use the term loosely– falls for this vulgar clown?

Minds, maybe, whose brains  burned out  by global warming?

SAY MONEY, HONEY

April 1, 2016 - Leave a Response

Money.

Isn’t that a tidy little word? Pretty, really. It has class. Stands boldly but primly in black ink on a white page. Everybody talks about it. It’s never out of style. Five letters. Two syllables. Anybody can say it and it rhymes with honey as my lede proclaims.

But what is it? It’s a medium of exchange. It comes in different forms.  Different folks in different countries bandy it about in different fashions. In America we have  long green stuff with different faces on it. George Washington’s displayed on the one dollar bills, Benjamin Franklin’s on the hundred. I think Americans like to flash their Benjamins. Today the Washingtons, although hardly anybody  calls them that, are more useful in a bonfire than they are in a department store. Today they’re almost as useless as the penny. (Abraham Lincoln’s mug  is stamped there on some kind of round yellow metal coin that is useful as a weight. It can also be used in  plastic sandwich bags filled with water and clipped to the back of a chair at a picnic. Somehow this odd combo repels flies. Honest. Try it and see.)

I digress.

We also put the green stuff in banks, who jot numbers down on paper and send us monthly accounts as to how much money we loaded off on them so we can write numbers on pieces of paper called checks that we can exchange for whatever if our credit is good. These slips of paper sometimes bounce, which is a factual–but fascinating– feat  for a piece of paper to do and  disagreeably frowned upon by he who accepted the thing in exchange for the hamburger you ate.

A few of us still have a book called a savings account with numbers in it that tell us how much money we’ve stashed. Most of us prefer to see those numbers go up rather than down.  Unfortunately, quite often the banks go belly up and  a cipher, called a zero-as in it’s naught there any more– is rather disturbing. Arabs invented the cipher. They called it ‘sifr’ or ’empty’. Shepherds would send sixteen sheep out to graze and none–zilch, sifr, zero–would return. Maybe that’s what happens to savings accounts?

Confusing. Checks bounce and money saved grows legs and vanishes. Poooof. It’s enough to give you a headache.

I think Americans are addicted to money. We worship it. You get to be a really big time head honcho if you’ve got a bundle of the stuff and I’ve read that 1% of the people in the world–not all Americans– own half of it. Those of us at the bottom, that’s you and me, own 1%.

Weird.

And they, the 1%ers, need more. They always need more. What do they do with it?

How many yachts and Ferrari’s do they need, anyhow?

But, what really fries me, is the awe, the kowtowing, the knuckle undering  that gets plumped on those blokes.

“You mean, like Donald Trump?”

Say money, honey.

,

 

 

 

Je Suis L’Homme

March 22, 2016 - 2 Responses

But, by all means, come out of the closet, if you’re in one.

I’m an outspoken atheist, have been for years, but I don’t claim to have come out of a closet. I was in a big room. Just me. No religion. An only child. Playfully– one day–I  knocked down the walls and set myself free.

My father had sent me to the nuns to be raised and I loved them.  Wonderful teachers.  They were all in love with my father who brought them flowers and made them smile. They were happy women. About in the fourth grade all my  friends took First Communion. They wore white dresses and veils and married god or something–I never quite understood–and I felt left out. So I asked,  “Could I become a Catholic?” He answered. “Yes. When you’re old enough to find out what it’s all about.”

When I found out what it was ‘all about’, I said, ” I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.”  So off I went in a thousand different directions. Strangely enough, it was an Irish Priest, Father O’Connell who I met–befriended, shared a beer with on the porch of the Manila Yacht Club– who sent me on my way to freedom. He dubbed me a ‘free soul’–a phrase I liked– and knew nothing about, but the more I learned the more I loved the idea.

When the walls came down I found myself surrounded by other bipeds. Related to the apes.  Chimps. Monkeys without tails. Darwin got in the act.

I found human beings. So beautiful. Skin white and black and brown and yellow and pink and every color in-between. Eyes  blue and green and gray and brown, snapping and flashing with intelligence. Hair a vast assortment of shades.  Red. Yellow. Black. Brown. They painted.  They wrote. Composed music. Danced and sang.  Young and old and in-between.  Male and female and other preferences. Once I knew a homosexual stallion. (They’re unipeds.)  He liked boys not girls. Never bothered me.

Humans think, therefore we are. Carry no guns. Carry no flag. We’re citizens of the world.   “Breathes there no human with heart so dead who never to herself has said, This is my home, my planet earth.”

So, if you chose to be a Klansman–hide your face and wear a white robe–burn a cross.  Come out.  We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch you pass.

If you’re a witch who needs to be exorcised, talk to Sarah Palin. She’ll arrange one. We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.

If you ‘re a nazi, wear a brown shirt– easy to find–and goose step. Tattoo a swastika on your forehead for all we care. We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.

Strap on a bomb and blow yourself and others to smithereens. Why not start with each other? We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.

I’m proud to be related to the Chimp. Wonder if she’s happy to be related to me?

 

AGREE TO DISAGREE

March 17, 2016 - Leave a Response

Thank you Editors, for the wonderful Forum page, Thursday, March 17.

Gene Lyons’ column is always a joy to read. He has many admirers all over the country. He’s articulate, funny, serious and profound.  (Hope you read The Hunting of the President.) To Google ‘Battle of the billionaires’ –that ‘fool thing’– would be, “…several minutes of your life you’ll never get back.”,  is so perfect I, as a writer, am green with envy.

Also, in case you didn’t know, Gene Lyons  loves horses, cows, and dogs. If my memory serves me, he has Great Pyrenees and his house, which makes his wife happy, too, looks a little bit animal worn and torn and friendly.  How could anybody help but love a guy like that? I know he’d love my house. Anyway, I hope everyone read TRUMP’S BRAND IS CHAOS.

One suggestion: Editors, please restore the discussion site. I think we’ve all grown up enough we could handle it well. It’s so wonderful to respond to other letter writers– politely, reasonably, with passion–it’s so much what America was and what it could be again.

By the way, your OTHER VOICES column is always a pleasure to read. Even if we don’t agree, what’s fascinating is how often we  find a moment when  we do agree with  the person with whom we disagreed.  We’re multi dimensional folks. We’re not gingerbread men. Wouldn’t it be a dull world if we all agreed about everything?

Please give us another chance.

 

 

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

March 15, 2016 - One Response

Far removed from a religious celebration the Spring equinox is an event that happens every year signaling spring in our hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. It’s a time when daylight equals nightfall. It’s an event  in the sky that’s been observed by humans since humankind became observers of the sky. We were farmers, we were sailors, we hunted, we gathered, we lived with nature.

Think of a time when there were no city lights. Imagine how the night sky must have sparkled with stars, and the  sun–sailing overhead in the daylight hours–was worshipped and warm and played a very  important role in  our lives.  Still does. Of great importance to all, at the time of the equinox, it promised a return of nature’s fertility. The earths’ journey around the sun–although it wasn’t expressed that way then– was there for all to see. In March, all over the northern hemisphere, the sun begins to rise earlier and set later. This event can be measured, predicted, it always occurs, and  everywhere in our hemisphere  it is a time of great rejoicing.

This years in Hawaii, it happens on Saturday, March 19 at 6:30PM.

For Christians it’s called Easter. And in the Jewish faith it’s called Passover.

Pagans celebrate it as Ostara named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eostre and it’s a celebration of spring. A time for planting and sowing a new crop.

A scientific explanation would go like this, “On the equinoxes the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. The March equinox marks
the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north.” Fascinating charts, videos, observations all over  the internet are well worth a watch.

I can remember when communities celebrated with an Easter Parade. An Easter bonnet, “…with all the frills upon it…”  were the rage. One  dressed up in Easter finery to attend church or go out to lunch or dinner to show-off.

Today, take a trip to the Mall and fill your sights  and senses with candy, eggs,  Easter bunnies and baskets. Ever wonder what that was all about?  Eggs are a very powerful symbol of fertility, and spring is a season when animals mate and flowers bloom. It’s a time of renewal.  Want to talk about rabbits? Many rabbits are nocturnal but in spring mating season  they show up in the daytime. Did you know a doe can conceive a second liter while still pregnant with the first?  And sometimes, when there are too many bucks and not enough does,  the bucks go nuts and bounce around like ping-pong balls. March Hares go Mad.

I was always a  confused, as a little kid, as to how rabbits ended up laying eggs. Does anyone know the answer to that?

Also, of course, it’s a wonderful excuse to spend money.

Whatever you do, enjoy.  Enjoy. Smell the flowers. Smile a lot.

 

 

 

 

MILK AND MONEY

March 7, 2016 - One Response

Why so many of us object to a milk factory  in Poipu…

…“Factory farm pollution turns drinking water – a basic substance we need to survive – into a silent killer,” said Elisabeth Holmes, staff attorney at the Center for Food Safety. “These industrial operations pollute our air and water under the guise of agriculture….  lawsuits will help  safeguard public health and the environment.”

“Congress gave citizens the right to act to protect themselves when  regulatory agencies fail to do so,” said an  attorney in court on the mainland. “Citizens have no option but to act when their families’ health is at stake.”

“Unlawful dumping of manure at industrial dairies hurts the environment, the community, and our food supply,” said Jessica Culpepper, staff attorney at Public Justice. “When these same factories do not report their toxic air emissions, the public is endangered and left in the dark and we are standing up on behalf of those harmed to change that.”

“Fast Food, Fat Profits highlights what is arguably one of the most disturbing health trends of the 21st century – the fact that today’s generation may be the first to live a shorter lifespan than their parents, and this is a direct result of too much cheap (nutrient-deficient and toxin-laden) food. Avoiding processed food requires a change in mindset, which is not always an easy task. It CAN be done, however. Rather than looking at processed foods as a convenience that tastes good or saves money, try thinking of it as:

Extra calories that harm your body
A toxic concoction of foreign chemicals and artificial flavors that will lead to disease
A waste of money
Likely to lead to increased health care bills for you and your family.”

Do you eat to fill your belly? Or do you eat to nourish your body?

Do you understand the relationship between ingesting nourishing food and good health?

How much green pasture  does a  healthy grazing milk cow need?  A general rule of thumb for grown cows is about 2 animals per five acres.”

Factor in the stench–cow poo is not perfume–which is  wafted in the wind. So, if you live close to this  ill-conceived and badly maintained and managed milk factory–2ooo cows on five hundred acres which produces a nasty liquid for profit not for nourishment– a  gas mask when the wind blows wrong might come in handy.

Now factor in flies. Flies are unpleasant. Under the best of circumstances. They are not the healthiest of neighbors and they, too, are wind-borne. Think of them as tiny living drones that carry disease and discomfort.  You’d complain if a neighbor’s yard was so filthy it grew flies on an open garbage dump. In this instance a caring  Health Department would involve itself. Sadly, however, we cannot know what it’d do for milk factory  flies on Kauai.

Most likely it’d decide they were good flies…

…which, unlike feral cats,  crowing roosters, and barking dogs, should not be diminished, destroyed, or defamed.

Fast profits? Just say ‘no’.

 

 

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