Archive for February, 2011

February 28, 2011

…let’s start with economics, often it’s the jargon, a foreign language to most of us. High falutin words.  Page after page of balderdash. Shelf after shelf of words in books on stacks in our brain washing institutes of higher learning. Find your favorite guy, memorize his words, helps if you’ve got total recall, quote them back at your professor and there you are an A+ student who’s going to go out and rule the world; but, in truth, you can’t think your way out of a wet paper sack. The dismal science?  You can say that again. The dismal science. Particularly in America.

So we have these guys-usually-with lots of letters in front of their names, in powerful positions, making things up as they go along. Making things as confusing as they can and-boy, oh boy-do  they know how to do that. Distraction. The card up the sleeve. Arbitrary. Remember Reagan: His decision ‘not to tax windfall profits’. What say you, Ronnie baby? Actually I think that came directly out of the mouth of Nancy’s astrologer.

Sorry but I’m that little old lady who stand in the crowd and says this is all a lot of ARI  do do.

We can quote Marx and we can quote Adams and we can quote Thatcher-wasn’t she a creep, she and Reagan, those were the days-when we could actually take some time off and find out what other successful nations are doing. They’re out there. They are not fiction. They’re making it work. We’ve still got square wheels on our economic truckster and its hip deep in perilously murky water. Now there’s a mixed metaphor if ever there was one and I like it. I’ll let it stand.

We’ve been conditioned by guys like the ‘slinger’-whose mind set is as primitive as a club to bash a head with, and the religious loons, who are just plain looney, and the flag wavers-into believing we are’da’best when, in truth, we are the worst. ‘Lumbering, bellicose, dim-witted giants,’ well, if you can quote at me, I can quote back. And if the brains of the slingers and the thumpers are the size of coconuts, their Amygdalus are the size of grapefruits. Neanderthals with nukes.

I once had the President of the Manila Stock Exchange, Santiago Picornel, say, “Always remember, Bettejo, you never go broke making a profit.” The guy just said it all- all the words in all the books on all the shelve in nine- skipping my name- words.

Drugs. The money the government-that’s us tee hee-would save buying drugs cheap and giving them away would be millions, billions, zillions- and solve the problem.Win the war. How much do you think it costs us, here on Kauai, to fly those noisy helicopters around? To pay those pilots? To buy the fuel and maintain the things? What do the crimes committed by poor sick addicts who don’t have the bucks to buy the stuff they’re hooked on cost us? The cops? The courts?The prisons? The misery? Oh, I forgot, we don’t put a price on that. Just as we don’t put a price on happiness.



February 27, 2011

Ari is the most famous horse on Kauai. He was a political activist in the last election and campaigned for a would-be lady politician who lost despite Ari’s best effort. He wore a darling blanket made out of a torn white bedsheet and decorated with happy waterproof paint heralding her name and slogan. She was-and is-a greenie, Ari is a roan-that’s bay with sprinkle of white hairs that makes it look red-and he really stood out posing on the road munching and swishing his tail. He thought it great sport and loved all the attention, even when toads in a political  drive-by frenzy, would flip him the bird, make rude noises, and throw things, he wouldn’t bat an eye. Responding to such human indignities was beneath him. He made me proud.

Ari was recovering at the time from major surgery, several rows of stitches all along his under belly, hair shorn, ribs showing proved that. He spent the first three months of his recovery in a paddock I built for him at the house/kitchen end of my barn where I could watch him and he could watch me. Maybe you recall reading about him in my column ARI ME AND VITAMIN C. He’s quite an old horse. In human age he’s older than I, as of the first day of the year, he made ninety. He doesn’t look it and there are moments when he acts like a teenager. He still likes vitamin C and will eat an orange if he feels his vitamin C count is dropping.

Ari sleeps in the bedroom next to mine, a stall that smells of  fresh strewn straw and sometimes  horsey poo and pee which I don’t find offensive. What he’s taken up doing, about six o’clock every morning, is picking up his bucket with his teeth, throwing it around and then when he’s sure he’s got my attention-I turn on lights and mumble-he meanders down to the paddock by the kitchen where he can watch me prepare his breakfast. It’s a messy and complicated procedure. First I have to go down to the barn and find the bucket which, of course, is no longer where I put it-it’s a bucket hunt- and haul it back to the kitchen where I keep his food.

He eats two big measures of alfalfa cubes which must be softened in water first so it’s easier to digest and then dumped sloppy floppy in his bucket. Then in plops a couple handsful of bran, also for digestion, a handful of sea salt-if I give him a lick he chomps it all- and a package of baby carrots stirred and mixed with love and a great big serving spoon.

Now comes the fun. Mind you he’s watched all this, sniffing and snurfing and shifting his feet, and, when I appear in the doorway bucket in hand, he perks his ears and waits for my command.

“Race you to the barn,” I chortle and, on cue, he turns and heads back where he came from. I run, he walks fast or breaks into a trot. So far, he’s letting me win. Will keep you posted.

February 27, 2011

It’s always a good subject. Sex sells. It’s also a handy-dandy way to control people. If you can control someone’s sex life you’ve really got that someone by the short hairs. That’s one of those very obvious elephants in the parlor things that all the rank and file religious fundamentalist can’t see, won’t see, and scream bloody murder and froth at the mouth about when someone else dares see it for them.

“There it is,”  the someone else who sees the beast points it out.

“No. No. A thousand times no. It’s in the bible. Writ by god by god. Put it there to save our souls, get us safely off to heaven and out of hell, protect our children…” and who knows what all else.

However, if you looks the word ‘sex’ up in the Bible it doesn’t even appear. But Ravish does. Seven times (7x’s). And when perusing such sites one finds stuff like this, “Everyone that is found shall be thrust through and all and every one that is joined unto to them shall fall by the sword. Their children shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes, their houses shall be spoiled; and their wives ravished.” That’s an order. Neat, huh? You won’t find any of that in Corliss Lamont’s Philosophy of Humanism or Hugh Heffner’s Century of  Sex. In Heff’s book, though,  you’ll see a lot of  nude babes. Hunks, too.

Once when I asked a stern-eyed young evangelist to explain this horror to me he responded, “Well they were all bad and you certainly wouldn’t want them to breed. To continue living. And anyhow it’s in the book. God said.”

“But you don’t do that anymore?”

“Of course not.”

“Well that’s good ’cause it sounds like genocide to me,” I shook my head. “Then again Hitler was a Christian. Do you think maybe he was just following god’s orders?”

The stern-eyed evangelist eyes went blank, he swallowed, thumped his book  and said in deep evangelical tones, “God is love…”

But I digress. Sex. it’s sinful. Until you pay a priest, a rabbi, somebody or other, to pour water on your head or something then it’s sort of anything goes as long as the end result is babies. Nobody seems to know where that notion came from either and we can back track for a moment  to  the ‘ravish all the wives’ command.  Guess if they get pregnant from the ravishment their kids would only be half bad? Ah so! That explains it. No wonder gentlemen and lady Christians are so het up about nudity and sex, which is all over the Garden island Forum today. They’re scared to death that without word from god about sex being a sin and nudity with it that bad half of themselves might take over?

Remember  Helen my witness friend? She confided in me once as to how lucky she was to have a large walk in closet where she dressed and undressed without her husband seeing her. She then got that stern-eyed lady witness look and said,”But I used to catch him peeking.”

Oh, no god in heaven, thank you Corliss. Thank you Heff.

February 26, 2011

…it’s the first thing to vanish off the screen of human understanding and endeavor, but, considering that for thousands of years we’ve been taught on many levels  to believe lies, it should come as no surprise. However, it seems to me, we can come up to speed by addressing the multitude of lies spoon fed to us every day.

Most of us, immediately and intuitively, recognize a liar if we listen with our brains in gear. Liars always band together-as if the more liars there are the more truthful their lies become. They threaten, censor, indulge in childish, silly and stupid bouts of name calling and character assassinations. They spout garbage, field distraction and are so pitifully visible, once you catch on to their game, it would be funny if it weren’t so sad. They will lie even when the lies they tell make them look like nitwits. They’ll lie about anything the leader of the pack tells them to lie about. I know we’ve been there, but I also know we’re still there and may be there until the end of time-I indulge in hyperbola-but it is strange how often it seems to happen that  the religious end of time right-wing loons are a part of this. A big part. It’s a dangerous combination.

I’ll go with the military first, a pet target. Please understand I support our troops-in so many ways I despair for them, they, of all of us, have been lied to most and in the worst way. Patriotism and god are partnered. Freedom is tossed in for good measure . Flags and bunting and songs are flown and sung to lure them in. I know we need a strong military, just as we need a police force, but we do not need big brass in the Pentagon running the show. I’m thinking of a military jingle,  “Civilians are mushrooms. Keep them in the dark and feed them shit…”

Civilians! That’s us.  The people. We pay their way. They pay their way when we’re at war. Someone  is trying to kill them…us… and they are trying to kill someone. An enemy must be created. Hungry power players in uniform get more power. Oil men, investors in killing machine industries, get rich and our troops get dead, as religious right-wing fundamentalist, top of the line liars, pray for Armageddon and build bunkers. Others make sure their bottoms are snowy white clean when Rapture is upon them and their underpants are left behind.  Stupid civilians, in the dark, buy duct tape. It’s a deep concern to minds that can think when second and third-rate minds  out number reasoning minds and sanity. These idiot have their fingers on the button.

We can’t let ourselves down. We can’t forget who we are and where we’re going. We must keep reminding ourselves over and over and over our job is to give the game away.

February 25, 2011

For you newcomers coming in, especially my new humanist friends, I ask for your indulgence.  it occurred to me to wonder, first of all, why we are so hated by those who believe? Okay, I know I’ve been, here on Kauai, on the pages of our local newspaper, a bit hard-handed with my statements but it did get your attention. So much so, that even though everyone will deny it, a very powerful group of religious right and militant  contributors to the discussion group had me censored. The Editors of the Garden Island and I negotiated a truce in which I was forbidden to mention my column in the discussion group, but I purchased an ad on a page directly across from the Forum that states, simply,


Visit me at

For just a moment let’s go back in time to the 1700s and Thomas Paine, the fiery voice of the American Revolution, who was called a ‘filthy little atheist.”

Paine was an outspoken champion for democracy. He proposed public education, opportunity for the poor, pensions for the aged, public works for the jobless. Sound familiar?  In England he was charged with incitement to ‘bloody revolution’, treason, and all his writing were seized.  He escaped to France where he was imprisoned  for opposing the guillotining of aristocrats. There he wrote his Age of Reason which criticized  Christianity and the Bible.

After being released from prison in France he wished to return to America and  his friend, President Thomas Jefferson, offered to send a warship to bring him home. But Paine, knowing Jefferson was also being denounced as an infidel…now there’s a good American word..declined. Home at last in his beloved America he was widely hated and lived in poverty. He died in 1809.

The reason I’m rehashing this well-known historical fact is to show many new readers from the Garden Islands, Kauai, how little we’ve changed. We constantly seem to go over the same ground. Fight the same battle.  I  hope you recognize the pattern.

Why is this?

What in the world does the religious right find so objectionable about public education, opportunities for the poor, jobs for the jobless, pensions for the aged?These sound to me like very Christian goals and pursuits. How do they sound to you?

…and so we’re in it again today. This very day. Up to our ears in it. Today’s big to do  concerns taxes. How do we pay for public-accent on public- education?  Taxes. We pay taxes. Oh my goodness gracious sakes alive do Christians hate to pay taxes. They tithe to their God, their church, and make Him and them very rich but the poor don’t seem to benefit. Except to learn that that’s their lots in life as poor Christians. They also do not seem to mind spending zillions on weapons of mass destruction. Our weapons of mass destruction. So how did Christ, that poor barefoot peace-loving Jewish rabbi, who helped the poor, whose sect was composed of extraordinarily poor people, became today’s god of war?

Is there a reader at this site who can respond?

February 24, 2011

…I hope there are some out there both here and elsewhere. Let me bring you up to speed, new readers and responders who don’t live in Hawaii or on Kauai. First of all I am a former Editor and columnist, a homegrown actress-pretty good one, too-an addictive writer to the Forum , the letter writing page in the Garden Island newspaper, a secular humanist, a boat rocker, a tail tweeker and a galloping octogenarian gadfly.  You can go in your search to the  Garden Island, which is a pretty neat little hometown rag, with some pretty fine writers and editors. Find the opinion button, read the letters, then punch discussion and tune into the ‘soul’ of Kauai.

The very lively, sometimes fierce and nasty, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, posts are truly the soul of this island and it’s people. Hawaii is a blue state, at least sometimes I think so. Economically we’re falling off the end of the world. We’ve lost those waving fields of tall green grass, tourism is down the drain, as is the construction industry. Our largest employer is the military. Many Hawaiiansa think, quite truthfully, that we are an occupied territory and, of course, Hawaii was-literally-stolen by the missionaries with the help of  the US marines and the big time sugar barons who gobbled up  the land; but that was a long time ago. My husband used to say, “Yeah? Well I didn’t steal any land and I really do not see Uncle giving it back to the natives.” ‘Course he had the military mind set, but I agree.

I’ll tell you this, though, we’ve sure made a mess of it. Still it’s the most delightful chain of  islands lying at anchor in anybody’s deep blue sea. And what I can do is share with you this beautiful place, and its people, the good and the bad and the ugly. I can get you ring side seats to the best black and white fights on the written page, even some spicey commentaries. I can get you to places you may love to be, into places you would rather not be. But that’s entirely up to you. Scroll round and round, go up and down, have fun.

To start though you might like to check out Mark Twain. Find and read Mark Twain on Hawaii. A Paradise for All Sorts, and About the Natives. Still pretty true, except the natives today dress just like all the rest of us. And on Kauai a curious faction, as you might have read in NUDITY, are having cat fits about the naked body.

Many of my columns address letters to the Forum. Others respond to minds in the discussions bin. if I often seem off base and off the wall, check out the letters to the Forum and minds going at it bare knuckle in the loony.

But truthfully, I really think we are a center of sanity and reason in this messed up nation.  We CAN be a beacon of  light, we are a microcosm, I look at all that red on the map and shudder. We’re still blue. We talk out and talk back. We’re sassy and stupid and silly. Hope yoou have a page like this wherever you are. We are great in our diversity and, most of us anyhow, especially the young, extremely proud of our man in the White House. He really was born here, you know.

February 23, 2011

Sometimes when things get as sticky wicket as they are today, the only thing to do is pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and take yourself out to lunch. Well, I had to go shopping anyhow…

… at the metropolitan Kalaheo Post Office where I picked up a zillion catalogs and bills,  I met Helen. She’s a Jehovah’s Witness. Used to walk the street with a Watch Tower in her hand. She tells me ‘they’ now speak about athiests-ouch-and  when she dies she’s not going to heaven but coming back to paradise on earth. That sounds neat. I’d come back too, only I don’t think I’d like to spend all eternity in heaven or planet earth with Helen and the Jehovahs.

When I got to OId Koloa Town and did my shopping at the Big Save, I met a man at the head of the line, a tourist,  who was passing out money like it was going out of style. I asked for some- since I had to go home and feed Ari, my horse-but he, the guy, not Ari, shook his head. ‘Course I had a basket of Chardonnay and Kahlua so guess he didn’t believe me. Believers, I tell you. I din’t gets no money. Ari  ate anyways, and I took the booze home.

At this point I hied myself into the darlingest Pizza joint in Old Koloa Town- just beyond the collosal mess the Knudson’s made-Pizzeta-that’s amore- restaurant, where I immediately dumped the most delicious pizza I’ve ever eaten on the floor. I was stoney cold sober, honest, at that stage. It was replaced and cleaned up-post haste-by the cutest dimpled waitress I ever saw. Met there a guy named Tom-with his two children and a wife-from Alaska. I am not a people collector but I meet people easily-I am legally defined by a shrink as delightful and ongoing even though I am a secular humanist- so when I asked if he was a ‘Palin’ fan, he said, “She embarrases us.” So I gave him my card and invited him to my house.

So where does the WEE(d) AND ME come in? Well, forty years ago-at least- in Old Koloa Town, which was a wreck but  didn’t have the messy black tarps the Knudsen’s erected, or any Pizza joint, fancy or not, when a little hippy friend offered me a toke-is that what you call it?-on a Thai stick. What the hell is a Thai stick, I wondered. But, not caring to appear too super uncool, I replied, cooly, “Yep” and took a drag. I damn near chocked to death. I’m not a smoker. My throat burned and my eyes watered and I thought I was going to die. Didn’t. But I rushed out and killed at least a half a dozen passing tourist meandering up the road towards Spouting Horn. That’s a lie. What I did do was go on a crying jag that lasted three days. Never tried that again. Well at least I admitted I took a drag. So there Bill Clinton.

Readers and Editors, did I also tell you-truth-that I was once a featured columnist with Herb Caen?

February 21, 2011

Nudity. A pretty sounding word, rolls trippingly  off the tongue. Brings to mind beautiful bodies, male and female, nude babes and babies on tiger skin rugs.  We have magazines, calendars, paintings, photographs, movies, all dedicated to showing off the naked body. We have boob and butt and porn mags and films and other less classy exposures. But they make some folks happy and many professionals think they’re harmless. Maybe, even, serve a healthy purpose. Better to look at pictures than rip clothes off or commit  sexual offenses.

We are reminded of that delightful Marilyn Monroe photo, the darling full length picture of John and Yoko, the gorgeous Playboy cover girls and even the beautiful butt and leg shot of a Muslim sweetie in red stiletto heels and burqa on the cover of a recent Humanist magazine.  Compared to Marilyn’s day and her  cutsie pose on a plush red background, many of today’s teen age fashion magazines are beyond the pale.

I’m at the moment perusing the thirty full length nude pages in the Century of Sex, Playboy’s history of the sexual revolution 1900-1999 by James R. Petersen with a foreword by Hugh Hefner editor in chief . The section begins with some really rather funny ads from the 1900’s. A picture of Anna Held’s over clothed  ‘perfect figure’ and ends with a 1999 ad for Viagra, a 1992 cover of Future Sex magazine, lead article CYBERSEX, and a priceless PETA ad  featuring supermodels Emma Sjoberg, Tatjana Patitz, Heather Stewart-Whyte, Fabienne Terwinghe and Naomi Campbell with the caption “We’d rather go naked than wear fur.”  We’ve come a long way, baby. Goody for us.

A stroll down this memory lane- towards the end, anyway- ends up with Elvis and William Masters and Virginia Johnson and Hair and the Graduate and Lolita and Betty Grable and Jane Russell, in no chronological order, with Timothy Leary, Mickey Spillane and Petty girls and Ziegfeld girls and even fruit crate art and, in World War Two, pin up girls as bomber art.

We had Tropic of Cancer, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Memories of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill). That’s Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, John Cleland, if you recall. We had Ida Craddock, Alfred Kinsey, Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer.

Back up a bit and we had the New York Society for the Suppression  of Vice and Anthony Comstock, Secretary of the Society from 1872 until 1915. He wrote the Comstock Act, declaring it illegal to send through the mails anything about abortion, birth control or sex. That was a hoot.

Fast forward. Today we have the religious right anti-abortion bunch. Wade-Roe must go. The down with Planned Parenthood lunatics. The sexually corrupt Catholic church elbowing its noisy way into the fray. In Hawaii we had the ed silvoso  crowd and on Kauai we have  an uproar about nudes on beaches.  What is it with religious folks and sex and the naked body? Do you think maybe all of them are really ugly with their clothes off? Some of”em ain’t so hot with their clothes on. That’s a bad bad but methinks we’re going backwards full speed ahead.

February 20, 2011

Not too long ago GOD popped into our discussion group and I asked him a simple question, “Are you a generic GOD or do you have a brand name?” No answer and then, suddenly, yesterday, the red phone rang.  The sound of the voice on the other end of the line was bemusing, if not a little off-putting. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman and the accent was very odd. The message  was brief, “GOD will see you tomorrow morning. Yes or no?”

“Yes or no I’ll be here? Or yes or no HE’ll be here?  I assume HE is a HE.”

“Yes or no?”

“Yeah, I guess,”  I answered but the line cut off before the ‘I guess’. As much in the dark as I was to begin with, I decided to prepare for the best. I bought a couple of bottles of nice Chardonnay.  A really pretty platter of prepared pupus I found at Costco. Some cookies-I’m a cookie monster- and fretted over what to wear. I spent almost the entire night cleaning house. Made sure there were no water spots on the wine glasses, the right white wine glasses, and filled every vase I had with fresh blossoms and greens. It’s hard to do the white glove thing in my jungle house but I figured GOD wouldn’t mind. HE’D been born in a stable, hadn’t HE? Was HE a HE?  To think I’d have the answers soon sent my heart thumping. I brushed Ari Olympic horse show splendid. His stall was sniffy fresh and the one alongside it, too.  I mean if GOD showed up riding on a white horse I’d be prepared. I’d have some carrots ready, two scrubbed stainless steel buckets filled with alfalfa cubes and fresh water. Had a long talk with Brooks, who is very protective, asked Duke please not to swear and figured the cats would either choose to be there or not. I don’t think the chickens understood a word I said. They love to crowd around when company comes doing what chickens do best, cluck and poop. I even washed the red gates and swept the driveway! Decided not to dress up but pulled out a really neat  sweet-smelling pair of velvety blue sweats. I tried to catch some sleep before the sun came up figuring morning- even in God’s time- was sometime between when the sun rose on planet earth and when it reached the meridian.

I won’t say I paced the floor but it was difficult sitting still. I was up and down, checking this and dusting that. Fluffing pillows. You know what it’s like when VIPs come calling.

The long black limousine appeared at the gates at three minutes to 12:00.  A driver in military uniform- he looked like George C. Scott playing Patton-opened the gates without asking. Climbing back in the driver’s seat, he punched the nose of the big black beast in as far as it would go. I grabbed my blue hat and blue sun glasses and ran to greet HIM. Patton opened the passenger door a crack and saluted smartly, then- oh, my GOD- Dick Cheney  or a very remarkable look-alike glared beady-eyed at me from the back seat. “Got your message. You got MINE?” Patton slapped me with his gloved hand and slammed the door…

….when I woke from that nightmare I was sweating like a horse.

February 20, 2011

Isn’t that an awful word?  Many like to ‘believe’…would certainly prefer to ‘believe’…the concept died at the end of the Second World War with Benito Mussolini. Did it? Call it something else and therefore the reality it exists isn’t. It’s so Orwellian it boggles.

I would like to begin by quoting Benito. He said, “We do not have to be the century of socialism, liberalism and democracy.”

Think about that. There is certainly a great frothing at the mouth about the very idea of socialism, although most  frothers don’t even know what it means. It’s an economic term. We KNOW that today-we can measure- the happiest people on earth live in secular, socialistic democracies. A socialistic economic structure is a middle way between communism and capitalism which are also economic terms. Factor in taxes, which exists which ever which way you wander and  about which our very own Benjamin Franklin said,”Our Constitution is in actual operation: everything appears to promise it will last: but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

When you look at the pie chart of Federal spending-taxes- you find these numbers: one says thirty cents out of every tax dollar the government spends goes to the military, the other says forty six cents goes to the military.  Either way we plunk an awful lot of  tax dollars into the killing machine.

If this were your household budget you’d be spending 30 or 46 cents out of every dollar you earn killing rats, and, unfortunately, the stuff you’re using to kill rats isn’t working, it seems to create more rats thereby making it necessary for you to buy more rat poison to kill more and more rats. As the rat population grows the expense to kill them goes up and the rent doesn’t get paid, the kids don’t get fed, old folks who need medical attention don’t, the roof leaks, and  you’re working your butt off buying rat poison. Eventually this economic truth does the domino theory shuffle and lots of other things-books, non-essentials, stuff- falls off the economic map and puts people out of work. People who write books, sell books, and other stuff lose their jobs because you can’t afford to buy these things. Eventually, you end up there, too. So, if communism doesn’t work and socialism is out of the question we’re stuck with an economic structure hitting the skids. Hear those dominos clicking?

…and we haven’t even got to democracy. There are many in this country who remind us, on every occasion, that we are a Republic not a democracy. But many of us find it strange that much of our military budget goes into pushing that which we don’t want or have into foreign countries who don’t have it. But we’re certainly on the Mussolini path. No democracy, no socialism here, by George.

Then there’s the word liberal. Another mouth frother. Liberal is all tied up with secular which is all tied up with religion which is all tied up with fascism, ask Benito. Isn’t  that where we came in?