THE FUN OF BEING 84

April 25, 2015 - One Response

It’s been a busy morning. Fed my beloved old horse, Aristotle. I prepare him a warm mash, salt, carrots, bran and molasses. He loves it. My handsome movie star vet, Scott Sims, says horses don’t have a sense of taste. I reply, “Well don’t tell Ari, he hasn’t read that part of the book.” Since I was five, I’ve bribed horses with sugar cubes. Amazing what you can get a horse to do with some sugar cubes in your pocket.

I was taught, as a little girl, a good horse soldier feeds his horse first.

My first riding instructor was General Cress- the Tiger of Luzon-a total pussy cat. He said I was a natural, which pleased my father. His daughter, Cornelia Van Ness Cress, was a brilliant, patient teacher. A lesbian I learned from a gossipy friend of my mother’s. It made no- never- mind to me. I always got to ride her dressage horse, Indian, on foggy wet morning jaunts through the Mills College Campus. She said I wasn’t a ‘lemon drop’ because I was one of the few kids who showed up for lessons on a rainy day. I loved the fog. Still do. Even voggy fog on Kauai. I love the smell of sulfur dioxide in the morning.

Next, two growing up kittens-Reba and Rosa-and my grown up puppy-Boots- get their fare. Today, Duke, the noisy Macaw, who greets me every morning with a cheerful “Hi”,  got fresh water, a  bowl of  parrot food- raisins, peanuts, a crumpled cookie, he has a decided sweet tooth-and  two slices of bananas.

Then I turn a feral hen, and the chick she’s trying to raise, loose to wander and scratch their way into a long day’s journey into night.  Mama’s teaching baby to eat worms and insects and other goodies found in every pile of fallen leaves. Every day her baby gets smarter and bigger. Fluffier, too. This morning she’s teaching it  to fly. She jumped up on a raised bench and clucked, “Come on sweetheart, try your wings.” Today it did. I don’t know if it’s a boy chicken or a girl chicken, but it’s sure cute and, I think, precocious.

Then it’s my turn. A cup of coffee-organic, no GMOs-and half a slice of croissant. No butter. It’s drippy and voggy out and I love watching yellow leaves swing and sway and waft their way to earth.

At 84 ripe I love looking back. There’s a lot to look back on. I love being here.  There’s a lot of here. And I love looking forward.

I love learning. The mother hen is teaching me as well as her baby.

I love time. I love space. We worked hard, my husband and I, to acquire the space. My jungle, which I love. The time, which I got but could not share with him. I love the time I have now to think about our life together. I love to wonder if he would approve. He’d be happy  I’m having fun.

 

 

 

 

The Market Place

April 21, 2015 - 2 Responses

It’s a huge market place. Religion is big business in America.

Why did I choose this aspect of religion as the first to pursue? Well, I live in America. I pay taxes. I’m not religious. I don’t go to church. I don’t pray. I accept no gifts-food, housing or otherwise- from either the church or the state. I’ve discovered that, while churches often feed the poor, there is a price-one’s soul, if there is such a thing-and the food is usually awful.  Little concern about food value. Canned stuff and the cheapest quality,  often donated and usually offered on Holidays and in community centers, large feeding stations-table after table after table- for anyone who  might get there, and served up by sanctimonious  volunteers.

Also,  churches have a habit of  taking care of their own. I live in a Mormon rich community-meaning there are a lot of them-and after Iniki an outsider, a neighbor, was  not made welcome at their tables. At least I wasn’t. I went seeking a water supply for my animals and, in the process, was in several kitchens with gas stoves producing quantities of aromatic coffee and bacon and eggs of which  I was not offered a cup or invited to share  or even helped with the original request as to where to find water.

The Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the fourth richest religion in the country. At the turn of the 21st century, its assets were estimated to be over $30 billion dollars. You’d think then, wouldn’t you, believers might share a cup of coffee with a neighbor in need?

But the biggest Financial Power on earth is, of course, the Catholic Church.

The Vatican has large investments in the Morgan bank, The Chase-Manhatten Bank, the First National Bank in New York, the Bankers Trust Company in America. It owns billions of shares in Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, TWA and more. It probably ranks second only to the US in total purchase. It’s the biggest corporation in America. Their assets and real estate holdings exceed those of Standard Oil, AT&T and U,S. Steel combined.  It’s treasury of gold is worth several billion dollars. It is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. Its investments control the Federal Reserve. The pope,  as the ruler, is the richest individual of the twentieth century.

With this vast sum of money it could create sustainable programs to end famine on earth. They have the power to oppose wars. They have the power to create an Eco-friendly planet. Why don’t they? Well, money is power and wars make the rich richer and hungry people are good religious fodder.

Further in America they own about $50 Billion in visible property holdings and about $507 Billion in hidden property holdings. Yet they have a strategy of deliberately sacrificing key services to the most disadvantage and poor of western communities.

To be continued

 

 

BELIEF

April 8, 2015 - One Response

Belief (bi-lef’) Something believed or accepted as true, especially a tenet or body of tenets accepted by a group. According to some, the more people who believe something the more likely it is to be true. In other words, if everybody in the world-but thee and me- believed the moon was made of green cheese, the moon would be made of green cheese.

Believe (bi-liv’)  on the other hand is a verb. To have firm faith, especially religious faith.

Essentially, I think, a belief is something that isn’t true. If it were true, it wouldn’t be a belief. One doesn’t believe 2+2=4. One knows 2+2=4. One doesn’t believe the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. It does.

A religious belief, I think, is one of the most pernicious mind sets anyone can have. No child is born with a religious belief, it is imposed on him.  A kid is taught the religious belief he learns at his mother’s knees is the true belief. The only belief. Everything else is false. This belief is enforced by a father figure, a congregation, a speaker for the congregation-priest, pastor, minister, whoever-and immediately a conflict is engrained. Intolerance is imposed. Superiority or inferiority. Further,  religious beliefs are always laced with myths- strange ideas and stories- no one not indoctrinated at an early age could possibly believe. Virgin births, talking snakes, original sin, a superior being- today almost always a father figure- reigning supreme, judgmental, critical, authoritarian. Also, in the Christian religion, there is a book, the Bible-the New Testament, the Old Testament-the words in which, according to many who wield power, are absolute truths. Command and obey.

“Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him, neither shall thine eyes pity him, neither shall thou spare, neither shall thou conceal him: But thou shall surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death and afterwards the hand of all the people.” (Deuteronomy 13:8-9)

These words  justify, to a fundamentalist believer, the killing of friends or family simply because they fail to change their beliefs.

Modern day Christians, introduced to Jesus Christ, a peaceful, loving man of god, son of god, was sent  to earth to die for our sins and one is seduced into this belief system by the offer of peace and love. However, Jesus isn’t god. He’s the son of god. Which god? Zeus? No. The god of the Old Testament.  The god who spoke the words of Deuteronomy 13:8-9 and this god is hauled out anytime the leader of the group finds an enemy he chooses to kill.

Also, Jesus had a thing against those who make his Father’s house a house of merchandise.

Someone should clue him in. Today religion in America is Big Business. It’s all about money.

There are four gods. The distant god. The benevolent god. The critical god and the authoritarian god.

Many of us would worship a benevolent god if we could find one.

To be be continued….

PAGAN EASTER

April 1, 2015 - Leave a Response

Drats! The Christians took all the fun out of Easter.

It’s an ancient pagan festival. The Spring Equinox. A  seasonal event. It celebrated the day all the fun things about this yearly event occur. Easter bunnies are a leftover. Eostre was a pagan goddess whose symbol was a rabbit or hare. Easter eggs are also an ancient custom celebrated by many cultures. Hot cross buns are ancient, too. That’s a cute story: early Christian leaders tried to put a stop to this tradition but-in the end-cake-baking women wouldn’t cave so they gave up and blessed the goodie. Don’t you just love defiant women?

Israelites baked sweet buns for an idol-leave it to the Hebrews-beats matzo balls, which I love, but which are not particularly festive.

Even better, dancing, drinking, feasting, noise-making and love-making had been the usual ways in which humans celebrated occasions of communal happiness. Ever since prehistoric times human kind has spent energy on the turning of the seasons. Spent the strongest of these human emotions on spring-a time when the earth is freed from winter and the days grow long-with joyous, sometimes lascivious human behavior-which overcome the powers of darkness. I’ll drink to that.

By the way, in those times it was a goddess, Inanna, or Ishtar, who was hanged naked on a stake and then resurrected. Well, at least we got out of that mess.

Another cute story: a cult called Cybele flourished on today’s Vatican Hill. Cybele had a lover, Attis, who was born of a virgin, died and was reborn annually. This festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday-which reared its ugly head for three days- after which everybody rejoiced the resurrection. This caused some pretty violent conflicts-Christian versus pagan-as to which story was the true story.  Ring any bells? They’re still at it. Whose god is the head honcho? Whose fairy tale is the real one?

An aside: as a devout non believer, I always wondered how it happened that awful Friday became Good Friday. Sounds like a perfectly terrible way to spend a Friday to me.

Eventually Christians accommodated the pagan Spring festival.  The goddess prevailed. Love goddesses. Miss’em.

Also, did you know, there’s no celebration of Easter in the New Testament? The patriarchs, once again, gave in. Today most Christians celebrate a “sunrise service” at Easter. A historical pagan celebration but governed by the phases of the moon. Strange how myths begin, evolve and change. Darwinian? I don’t know.

Actually, the spring Equinox is essentially related to fertility and a balance of night and day. Hey, some people celebrate with bonfires and jumpin’ over dying embers which is believed to assure fertility of people and crops.

I think the world was  much more fun  when god was a woman. Or at least shared the stage. There were girl gods and boy gods, a family, very egalitarian. They were always up to shenanigans. It was a time of celestial giddiness.

Better, I think, then a time when a grumpy old father figure reigns. What do you think?

 

 

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THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA

March 26, 2015 - One Response

It was September, 1952. I was on Oahu. On the way home from a brief shopping trip-we didn’t call them sprees in those days- I sighted and purchased a copy of Life Magazine. Cost me twenty cents. Earnest Hemingway was on the cover. Like everyone in those days, who loved to read, Papa Hemingway was my favorite author. Flipping to page 25 I read this: The Editors of Life Magazine proudly present for the first time and in full a great new book by Earnest Hemingway. The Old Man and the Sea. It sold five million copies in two days.

This work went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.I went home to open three cans of Campbell’s soup for dinner- three soup plates-I went without. I read my dinner.

Today, March 26, 2015, I shared my dinner-soup, made by hand, not canned- with another old man and the sea, Robert Redford-a best acting winner for his brilliant performance-in ALL IS LOST. This is a must see. Inspiring. Stunning. As a sailor I sat glued to my seat, holding my breath, totally lost in his perilous adventure. This was a 21st Century update, in Technicolor and sound- almost mute-on steroids. I think Hemingway would have loved it. I imagined my husband sitting beside me loving it, too.

Reviews read: “GRADE A: REDFORD’S PERFORMANCE IS POWERFUL” “DAZZLING: CINEMA AT ITS PUREST. REDFORD IS TRIUMPHANT.”

What struck me, however, was an almost poetic metaphor. Today. Versus yesterday. 2015 versus 1952. A world too rich. A world too poor. Santiago and his skiff and his marlin and his run of bad luck. A 75-year-old man-the character-one character, he’s not given a name-in ALL IS LOST and a Columbia 39. Virginia Jean. The mast is 65 feet tall! The monstrous cargo containers that pass him in broad day light in the shipping lanes and see him not. Bad luck.

This old man’s courage-his strength, his attitude, he never gives up-reminds me of so many of us on Kauai who battle a force as strong as the wind and the weather and the sea. Forces that would destroy our lives-and the beauty and life of this magnificent island paradise- as surely as the laws of nature and bad luck will destroy this man and his yacht. Forces over which we have no control.

I don’t mean to indulge in hyperbola. To be dramatic. I mean to express a real life battle- a seemingly undefeatable battle-so overwhelming, so exhausting- we despair. We lose courage. We lose strength. We need a break but we don’t get one. But we don’t give up.

The forces of nature are that. Natural. Cruel.

The forces we face here on Kauai are unnatural. Insane. They seem to despise nature. Defy nature. Vast land masses turned into dollars. The production of food grown for profit, not nourishment. Beauty turned to concrete. Fresh water defiled. Fresh air vanquished. Like the old men, we weaken.

But we don’t give up.

CHANGE

March 11, 2015 - Leave a Response

It seems to be a time when everything changes. Fast. Too fast. Some people like change. Some people don’t. Not every change, good or bad, pleases everybody.

I’m recalling a kind of old-time joke-my style-when the crank of the town was asked about change, He replied, “I seen lots and been agin every damn one.”

Don’t think I’ll go that far, I loved movies in living color. I love DVD discs that shoot real movies in Technicolor on a screen. WOW! I can turn my living room- great room a new fangled description-into a theater by pulling down a hidden screen and connecting an EPSON projector. I can watch, with great delight,  thirty hours of Sherlock Homes half hour TV segments in black and white and love every minute. I can remember in the first grade watching Rin Tin Tin on a white sheet in a classroom. It was a treat we got when we were good kids. My father bought me a toy  film projector so I could watch cartoon characters race about on a white wall. No sound and the film had to be rewound on a reel and kept in a safe  place. I could watch the same magic  over and over and over, but I loved Rin Tin Tin  best.

I didn’t like it when we had to drive the car  to San Francisco instead of taking the ferry. I loved cold foggy days and smell good  soup inside.. I loved to walk on the deck in the fog, snuggled warm. I loved fog. Weather. Climate changer. Global warming. Don’t like that much. I accept the fact we are experiencing this change and hope someone figures out a way to slow it down.  This is a change that bodes no one on the planet good. What did we used to say? “It’s an ill wing that bids no one good.” This is one.

I don’t like over population and huge dirty  cities where people live stacked on each others shoulders. A high-rise, to me, is a monstrosity. I must feel the earth beneath my feet. Climb and sit in a tree. Even at eighty-four. Clean stalls, make compost, groom a mudder-that’s a horse who loves to roll in the mud.

That the sound of birds-singing, crowing, tweeting, trilling, raking fallen leaves with clawed feet and munching worms and other creepy crawlies-has been displaced with the sound of motorcycles, revving engines, growling trucks, boom boxes, horns, traffic, drones, helicopters, jets and other annoying what nots, offend my ears.

Ticky tacky dwellings- suburban sprawl-lined hump roof  to  hump roof , eating up space and rich soil saddens  my sense of order. We used to sing, “Don’t fence me in.” Today we sing of paved paradise.

I hope it will never be I who  decide which changes must be made , and hope they who must make them, think of the common good, of the planet, of the living things who abide here and not of cipher  in banks and paper in wallets and pockets. They who put profit first. Living things nowhere.

 

 

SLURS

February 28, 2015 - One Response

I thought this might be an interesting topic for today’s column since it seems so many of the mindless on the Forum discussion line uses them. Over and over and over they resort to silly, childish, stupid name-calling. Dirt heaping and ridiculous accusations slop like waste from a plugged up toilet overflowing. Slurs always have a negative impact. They are antonyms, or opposite to, most positive words and are most often used by ‘lower class’ minds; but they can be used and deliberately created by brilliant minds who know how to use them. They are always abusive and intended to denote a negative effect.

They can be racial. They can be political. They can be sexual. They are used by racists and misogynist and, admittedly, by both political parties in our country. They are used because they are effective. Simple minds respond to foolish slurs but I think I could make a case that they are most often a Republican tactic.

Verbally they are dull, flat, bland and often bald-faced lies. When one cannot respond to a question or a query, ridicule, accusation and scandal come in handy. If one dislikes or fears a more fertile and productive mind slurs are slung about like empty burger boxes out the window of a speeding car.

Anyone who does not spout the party line the slur addict or affectionado adheres to, is spit at and, if all else fails rocks and bricks are tossed with intent to physically harm. When the first round of slurs are ineffective the slurist hauls it up a notch.

So, ratcheting this up a notch or two, we come to this brief high-class political slur: Obama is the anti Christ.

This certifiable comment, this infantile fairy tale, goes like this: the anti Christ will be a man in his forties, he will be of Muslim decent, people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace…

I have also read Sol Weingarten’s My Daily Rules to Live and totally, whole-heartedly, disagree. Do not turn the other cheek. Talk back. If reasoning minds do not respond to idiotic claims, idiotic claims become the order of the day. Once again I invoke Hitler, who rid Germany-in ovens or elsewhere-of those who did not buy his madness, and soon, everyone was mad. Goose steppers. Skin-headed, Joseph Goebbels propaganda believing nincompoops.

I love Naomi Klein and Naomi Wolf. Nasty slurs and mud-slinging can only be countered with facts. Democracy can only survive if people get noisy.

I hold these truth to be self-evident…

TERRORISTS

February 24, 2015 - One Response

Terrorism. Excellent column Bryon York. How to define a terrorist? Anyone can be labeled a terrorist. What does he or she look like? One of the problems I see is the reticence to use a religious term. We have religious terrorists. Here and abroad. We have political terrorists. Here and abroad. We have homegrown terrorists. I think of the KKK, a Christian organization. Germany was a Christian nation. Italy, too. I think the answer for the religious terrorist confusion is to have those who are religious-but not religious terrorists-to recognize and define their own. I think most Christians are in denial we have any. A response might be, “…Reverend Jones, an Episcopalian ministers, despairs about terrorists who belong to Christian churches and organizations and use their beliefs, their God, to allow them to murder doctors who perform abortions or hang black people because they are not white.” Let’s be honest.

 

 

RIGHT IS RIGHT

February 10, 2015 - Leave a Response

 

I’m constantly being reminded that everything I say is wrong. That’s terrible. I mean, even a clock that’s stopped is right twice a day. And that’s it. Right is right. So, I’m going to repent. Do penance and stuff. When you’re right, the problems of the world are easy to solve.

I’ll do it, as AA does, in ten easy steps.

  1. Every human must convert to Christianity. Attend the church of his/her choice- for now- at least once a week. New borns must be baptized within the first 24 hours. All women must be disenfranchised. (Some exceptions. Read on.) No higher education. Chattel is their status. Home is their workplace. Child bearing their duty.
  2. Seniors and those disabled, physical or mental-that is they who are no longer capable of working for a living-will be housed and fed and gifted with Bingo parlors.
  3. No public schools. All male children-except the get of the rich, famous, religious, political and military hierarchy (RFRPMH)- must do 24 months of boot camp after which they, who qualify for professional status, may continue their education. All others will line up for assignments in the work force or remain in uniform. Army. Navy, Marine Corp or Air Force.
  4. No sex education. No birth control. (Exception RFRPMH)
  5. Private ownership of land forbidden (Exception RFRPMH)
  6. No private ownership of pets. (Exception RFRPMH)
  7. All subversive books or written works-films and art as well- burned. Soon to be followed by authors or creators of same.
  8. Sedition punishable by death.
  9. Nags and chronic complainers sent to rehab or incarcerated..
  10. Be happy in your work. Or else.

 

TED TURNER

January 29, 2015 - Leave a Response

Just when too many of us despaired about  billionaires and such, someone came along. Fell off my screen and into my lap as it were. Saw pictures-cute-and read on my computer about a guy who owns more land in America than any other American. Two million acres of personal and ranch land. That’s’a’lot’a square feet.

What does he do with it? This question coming from a lady who once lived in comfortable middle class territory but who has downed-or upped-her economic status bt managing to survive as upper lower. I got some land. 160,000 square feet of jungle to walk around on. Aint so bad. I got shelter, transportation, feed me and my zoo, Aristotle-my famous horse-a grown up puppy, two cats, one hen and a Macaw and, so far, manage to pay my bills.

So who is this guy?

His name is Ted Turner. I started with his quotes. I’m a writer. I love quotes. “The sad thing about destroying the environment is that we’re going to take the rest of life with us. The bluebirds will be gone, and the elephants will be gone, and the tigers will be gone, and the pandas will be gone.”

I fell off my stool. Plunked off on my skinny okole. Picked myself up, brushed myself, and began to google.

Mr. Turner, I read, managed to unite economic with ecological sustainability. Relying on bison and hunting/fishing/nature and tourism. On his web I see a picture of happy bison in green grass. I see gorgeous open land and hear he created this “…to save the land from development.”

Another quote, “I love this planet…I want to see the environment preserved and I want to see everybody living decently in a more equitable, kind-hearted, thoughtful, generous world.”

He’s an incredible philanthropist. His foundations. The Ted Turner Foundation (TFI) supports efforts for improving air and water quality, developing a sustainable energy future to protect our climate, safeguard our environmental health, maintaining wildlife habitat protection, and developing practices and policies to curb population growth rates.

Mr. Turner?  May I call you Ted? Speaking for many of us on Kauai who like coquis, crowing roosters, parakeets, feral pigs and goats and cats and the beauty we are surrounded with on our little piece of paradise, please help us out.

We are threatened with over development. Suburban sprawl.

Destruction of our air, waterways, and soil by powerful corporations-with dollar signs instead of hearts-who would turn Kauai into one vast experimental plantation. Growing GMO corn we cannot eat. Producing milk we cannot drink in a milk factory that threatens every living thing in its path.

We invite you to visit us. Stay with us. Bed and breakfast. Free. As long as you like. Incognito. Meet interesting guys. RSVP

My horse, Aristotle-who in a previous life was a famous philosopher-told me to write this. He said, “Even billionaires love a free lunch.”

 

 

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