Archive for March, 2013

HAPPY EASTER
March 31, 2013

When  we left our story our poor hero was still hanging on the cross, speaking to his mother, “Woman behold thy son,” he said. I mean like, lady look what you did to me.

Then to his brother, I think it was Simon, he said, “Brother behold thy mother.” Like, look out, she’ll do the same to you. I don’t think he got it, but his story is another story. Some four centuries later the Emperor Constantine made his mother a virgin again and sent her off to heaven.

According to  the story in the Book, our hero agonized for 3 hours and then, with a loud cry, gave up the ghost. There was an earthquake, tombs broke open, all kinds of bad stuff happened and the thug  on guard exclaimed,  “He is the son of God.”

It gets a bit complicated here. Anther  thug threw a lance at our hero and he bled and water flowed and a guy, Joseph of Arimathea, a secret follower of our hero, convinced the thugs our hero was dead ,took him down off the cross, wrapped him in white linen and placed him in a tomb carved in a rock and, to keep the secret safe, rolled another rock over the entrance.

There did exist at that time a Jewish sect, the Essenes, about whom many Greek and Roman historians wrote. They were kind of Jewish monks, without women, without money. They’d got the hell out of the cities because they were as filthy as our planet is today. They were gardeners. They made the desert bloom, Pliny said.  They were also healers and often took in little boys who worked for months to prove their worth and joined them. I think our hero spent his missing years there, learned their ways, was a teacher, a good man, but one who could not live with the celibacy part of the deal. Sort of a man of the cloth without the cloths,” As Carl Sagan once said.

Let me tell you something  about healers: before one can heal one must learn to heal oneself and our hero, according to ‘their’ Book, even says,  “…physician, heal thyself..” Which physicians in those days couldn’t do  any better than they do now.

Stashed safely in the tomb, with his girl friend Mary Magdalene, he recovers from his wound-you’d be amazed how quickly the body can heal itself and this was a strong, healthy young man. (He certainly wasn’t the creature in the pink nightgown religious artists paint floating off to heaven with a bleeding heart. Because this is often the image you see of our hero, Philip Roth called him,  ‘the Pansy from Palestine’. That, of course, was back  in the days when there was a Palestine.)

But I digress.

Three days later, he and Mary shoved back the rock, went outside, said goodbye to friends and he and his love got out of Dodge.

They left. Hand-in-hand.  Married. Had  lots of kids and, today, have something like 416 million descendants-I rounded that down-world wide.

(Well, something had to balance the one out of six creatures today who are descendants of the Genghis Khan.)

Happy Easter….

GOOD FRIDAY
March 30, 2013

The last time we saw our mythical hero, the guy whose momma proclaimed him the son of god, he was riding triumphantly into Dodge on a donkey preceded by a bunch of happy hippies strewing  palm leaves before him. I hope they were also mouthing make-believe trumpet sounds and tossing fragrant flowers at his feet.

Sadly, this put-on turned nasty. Fast. According to the story some Jewish Temple Guards, helped along  by a traitorous disciple-he had twelve, one of them a woman-turned him in for 30 pieces of silver and our hero was arrested.

Here begins a really terrible part of the story. Our poor hero is found guilty of blasphemy and another of his  disciples-Peter, of rock and shoes of the fisherman Roman Catholic Popish fame-denies him, too.

We move on with all kinds of awfulness. Flogging by the Romans. Governor Pontius Pilate, who, later, washed his hands of the whole business and declares our hero to be innocent but, for political reasons, turns him over to Roman thugs to be crucified.

Now crucifixion is an absolutely horrible way to die and we’ll talk about that later because , at the moment, our hero is being marched through town dragging a heavy wooden cross, wearing a crown of thorns, the town’s people throwing rotten eggs, and ends up nailed to the cross he’s carrying…

…what kind of nightmare writer wrote this Grimm’s fairy tale anyhow?

Even worse- let’s roll time out a bit-some religious folks have kept our poor hero hanging in effigy for over two thousand years! In their rites, to this day,  in some neck of the woods, they even reenact the story. Carry crosses. Walk the walk. In my neighborhood in a large church parking lot there is a huge white marble-well, it looks like  marble- likeness of our hero, on the cross. His  mommy and his brother, the son of the old carpenter we may assume- our hero’s mommy had a bunch of kids-and his girl friend, Mary Magdalene, stand at his feet. He hangs there 24/7. Every time I drive by I want to go in and physically haul him down.

Do you know how one dies of crucifixion? Your feet are nailed to a board. Your hands are nailed to the cross beam. Your feet start to hurt-the nails remember-so you lift yourself up with your arms and then your hands start to hurt. When you hands hurt, you put your weight in your feet. Unbelievable agony.  And it can go on of days. Fortunately a Roman soldier comes along and saves the day. Our hero does not die of crucifixion…

…but before this, it is written, that our poor suffering hero looks down at the figures at his feet and says, “Woman behold thy son. Brother behold they mother.” In other words, “She did this to me, kid, and she can do it to you, too.”

That says it all don’t you think? I mean it’s a clearly stated summation of the entire affair and this, dear reader, is the expurgated version of good Friday (?). Sounds like a perfectly horrible way to spend a Friday, to me. But I have a surprise ending.

Tune in tomorrow.

An Easter Story
March 29, 2013

We all know the story. Some two thousand years ago a little Jewish girl was married off to an old man in another town and, when she got there, it was discovered she was pregnant. Again, as we all know, in those days a Jewish girl in such a situation could be stoned. Well, this young girl hadn’t gone to school to carry her lunch, so she told the old man God did it. In those day Gods often came down and had sex with women. They don’t do that so much anymore.

Anyhow, the old man bought it and a few months later his young bride gave birth to a son who was born in a manger with great folderol and hoop de doo and three wise men and a star in the East and sheep and goats and cows and camels and angels and stuff starring in minor roles.

What really interests me here, is that the young mother taught her first-born his daddy was God. I can just hear her, “See that old man? He’s not your father. God is your real Daddy.” Well this kid was a precocious kid and raised a lot of hell in the community. I picture him as a kind of first century Dennis the Menace as far as the town was concerned.

So far, so good, the story hangs, but then the kid disappears. He leaves home when he’s about thirteen-about the time little boys learn about sex and stuff-and doesn’t show up in the story again until he’s in his late twenties and, when he does, he shows up barefoot, in  a brown robe, riding on a donkey. Now his mother, delighted to see him again, rushes about Jerusalem telling everyone whose ear she could bend, that her son, the son of God, was back and he was the Messiah. These were not very healthy ideas to be spreading around in those days. Made worse because the aged Dennis the Menace-the itinerate Jewish rabbi, barefoot and on a donkey, was hanging out with a bad bunch. Poor guys. Sick guys.  Fishermen. You know: peasants, hippies and the like.

We all remember the story of the wedding. Poor guys. No wine. Momma burst in the door. “Oh son, show them you’re God. Turn the water to wine,” she cries. At which time he says, so it says in the Book, “Get that woman out of here.”

A mystery of the Book: he never calls his mother ‘mother’. Maybe he got fed up with the silly woman. Remember, in those days, it was believed the Jewish Messiah-the King of the Jews-would ride triumphantly into Jerusalem on a white horse, over a red carpet, with trumpets blaring and worshippers tossing flowers and stuff and oust the Romans.

So what does this guy do? He puts himself barefoot on a donkey, brown robe, bare feet, gets his hippy friends to run out ahead of him strewing palm leaves and rides triumphant into the city…

That’s when I fell in love with him. What a put on. I mean he really did have a keen sense of humor. Too bad most people don’t get it. The story ends badly

Tune in tomorrow.


March 29, 2013

bettejo

We all know the story. Some two thousand years ago a little Jewish girl was married off to an old man in another town and, when she got there, it was discovered she was pregnant.  Again, as we all know, in those days Jewish girls in such a situation could be stoned. Well, this young girl hadn’t gone to school to carry her lunch, so she told the old carpenter that god did it. In  those days gods often came down and had sex with women. They don’t do that so much anymore.

Anyhow, the old carpenter bought it and a few months later his young bride gave birth to a son who was born in a manger with great folderol and hoop de doo and wise men and stars and sheep and goats and cows and camels and angels and stuff starred in minor roles.

What’s really of interest…

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Viagra and matzos
March 28, 2013

He always says, “You talk too much and you never listen.”

I wish I had a mike when his chin begins to wobble

He’s always telling me what to write.  He’s interfering with my creative process. After we have a chat on the phone, he has to take a nap and I have to have a glass of wine. The only reason we get along is ’cause I love his blog, I belong there. And I dearly love his dog-who I will adopt and bring home to live with me and Boots and Ari and Duke and the cats when he gets run over by a cane truck.

The last kerfuffle took place after I told him I shared a matzoh cracker with cream cheese with Monroe and Esther. They made me an honorary Jewess for the day. Well, that’s better than getting my ass dunked in the Mormon baby boiler or a freezing lake or river in a stupid backwoods berg in Tennessee.

“Matzo is an unleavened bread us Jews eat during passover. It’s bread that doesn’t rise. I want you to write a column about Viagra and Matzo balls.”

“What?”

“Just do it and have it on my desk before deadline tomorrow.”

“Or…”

“…or you’re fired.”

“Yeah? Well I quit.”

“You can’t.”

“Why not?’

“”cause I said so.”

What do you do with a mind like that? I don’t know anything about Viagra. I started talking and he started talking over me and we slammed the phone in each other’s ear after about ten minutes. He fell asleep with the phone up his nose at his desk. Served him right. I had a cold glass of Chardonnay with crackers and cheese for brunch. Boots shared. I made some special unleavened crackers in my electric oven. A speciality of the house which I discovered serendipitously while making a delicious frittata. Some of the batter spilled into the bottom of the pan and- lo and behold- when the frittata was done some darling perfectly round brown and crisp little  crackers were born. They smelled good in the baking. You eat them like macadamia nuts, with dainty fingers, one at a time.

I’ll share the recipe. Beat the hell out of two eggs dashed with salt and pepper and nutmeg and oregano and some Parmesan cheese. Drop by the  teaspoonful in the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 250 degrees. Or something like that. Experiment . Boots and I love them.  I don’t know if they qualify as certified matzos. Mine never taste the same twice.

But I digress.

Uh, I didn’t add any Viagra. I don’t know, maybe you could do that. It might liven up a dull party. Make sure you have clean sheets on the bed. My mother taught me, “When your boy friend comes calling make sure the sheets are clean.”

My mother was a very liberal feminist. I always took her advice.

Dear Editor, let me know if this qualifies.

Editors! Can’t live with ’em. Can’t shoot’em.

HUNT AND GATHER
March 12, 2013

I try, and sometimes succeed, to jump in the car, drive out the gate, and shop once a week.

Off to Koloa three times. Off to metropolitan Lihue once a month.

Actually my ideal would be never to leave my sweet-smelling bit of paradise here in old Hawaii. Ever. Honest. Yet, once I’m in my little gray Yaris, I enjoy it. She’s a  perfect car for me. Just my size. I call her the Mozart car ’cause that’s the only music I allow. He sets the stage. Fills my heart with joy.  Tickles my senses. Plus, I think, he loves the ride.

I make sure all my beloved animals-Boots, the grown up puppy, Ari, the famous Kauai four-legged political campaigner, Duke , the noisy Macaw and the cats-are safe, happy, well fed, understanding of my departure and ready to protect home and hearth from any bad guy who might attempt  entrance during my absence.  Vandals and trouble makers would be welcomed by deep barking Boots with a taste for ankles, a troublesome uniped, Ari, ears flat back, with a swift kick and a bite, and a screeching Macaw who detests unwelcome visitors. My zoo knows I am the work horse in the family and will safely return as soon as possible with treats and pats and kisses.

On the drive to Lihue, just past our beautiful Humane Society, I make a right turn and drive into town on the old two land road. It is such a wonderful, peaceful drive. I think of it as Kauai’s African veld and picture giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, elephants and a pride of happy lions-I toss them a christian or two, tough old patriarchal loons not little kids and mamas-grazing, lounging and drifting in the extensive rollicking frolicking rolling tree-trimmed green.

Magnificent Kauai cliffs and mountains guarding the Pacific-makai- billowing fields with no habitation- mauka-smile down at Mozart and I and baby Yaris as we do a slow four-wheel saunter into the big city.  From behind. No traffic lights. No road rage. No one but us on our mission. I shop at Costco, pay my bills, and have a scrumptious  lunch  with my adorable  boss and editor at the Grove. We laugh a lot, talk story and exchange gossip and some times gifts.

I try to miss the traffic on the way home. I don’t do the veld. Stay on the highway which can sometimes be bumper to bumper all the way.

On the other three hunt and gather days, keeping to the east side-two lane back country road, fields filled with cattle and goat and sheep and horses-I feed the swans at the Hyatt and shop at Big Save. It’s a slower, shorter day. I love the Courtyard and jolly Jeffry Pears and all the other who join us there on a laughing spree.

All this, I guess, just to say to all who pop in, wish you were here. Wish I could share. Find peace and love and laughter in your day and think of me.

A MODEST TAX SOLUTION
March 3, 2013

By definition we have in Washington a dysfunctional family. How do we know this? Well, one of the first indications is the lack of communication and, as we know,  the Democrats won’t talk to the Republicans and the Republicans won’t talk to anybody, except each other. Sometimes.

Our poor country is on the brink of bankruptcy. Bills and expenses up the lagoon. I’m pretty certain  all of us-except the one per centers-have been in a similar situation at one time or another.How do we pay the rent and buy food, or shoes for the kids, or gas for the car or? The list goes on and on. It is not an uncommon dilemma in the average household. It was usually worse when we were younger but often, hopefully, we learn from our mistakes and make it to middle age and older all in one piece.

Many, unfortunately, never learn and at the end of their lives end up back counting pennies on the counter. Then we have this damn fool economy, over which we have no control, going nuts on frequent occasions. I don’t think much of the capitalist system. I call it the manic-depressive economy. It’s bipolar. Boom. Bust. Boom. Bust. But that’s not a subject I will wander aimlessly about in. Seems on this issue one not only ends up counting pennies, wringing hands and tearing hair, but often ends up with  a black eye and a bloody nose or  sitting in the cat/bird seat in a divorce court. That’s the ultimate dysfunction, isn’t it?

Kind’a like what’s going on in Washington. Only in Washington they can’t get a divorce. At least divorce is a closure.

Well, I think I have the perfect answer. It will take some setting up and some atypical political treachery. I think the helpless man in the middle of this mess, the most powerful man in the world-sigh-Potus, should invite Congress assembled to a big happy do at Camp David, where,  unbeknownst to these illustrious beings, a secure and well-guarded detention camp will have been erected  to which the entire crowd will be driven, like cattle, and penned. Well guarded with the Pres’ own men, of course, and several watch towers armed to the teeth.

Here there will be tents, sleeping bags, porta potties and a long  rickety table sagged down with stale loaves of  bread and water tanks the President has personally spit in. Maybe they should be stripped and handed long pink sheets, like togas, to drape themselves in. I hope it snows.

Once settled in, a booming voice from a tower will proclaim, “Work it out. Write it down. Hand it to a guard. I’m off for some rounds of golf  in Hawaii. Make it sane, intelligent, fair to all and include this clause: all churches, great or small, all religions, loony or otherwise, will fill out an income tax form. Declare all their income and forever and ever after be taxed at an annual rate of 10%. The government will do the accounting. Free. Aloha.”