Archive for September, 2013

September 27, 2013

I’m stuck on the love boat. The emotion is such a powerful one it can be applied to anything. For an example: I love tomato soup. I mean, I  love it. So does my digestive system. So do my taste buds. With my  loveable VitaMix I can build a  tomato soup that never tastes the same way twice.

Those are my taste buds talking, In my new book, Children of  the Extinction, the kids do a lot of eating and, as I sit at my computer, I get a raging case of the munchies. Good thing I enjoy non- fattening snacks.

There are loves that strike my ears, too. I love Gaite Parisienne and Joan Baez . I love  harps and  pipes and the song of the birds.  The screech of the parrot,  the thunder of a peacock’s voice.

Fragrance?  I love Shalimar. My mother always smelled of Shalimar. Her closets. Her dresser drawers. Her bathroom. Your could nose her presence a block away.

For the eyes?  I love green plants, tall trees, red  flowers. I love blue skies, grey skies, gold skies in the morning, red skies at night. I love moon glow, star shine and rainbow glitter. Ever seen a moon rainbow? ‘They’ say you’re not an Hawaiian until you’ve seen one.

‘They’ say los of things.

I love ink on paper. Words. I love the English  language. I love Vonnegut and Thurber and Sandberg.

What do I love to touch the most? My horse’s thick mane, my dog’s silky ears.   I guess, today, what I love  most  are animals.  All animals. The good, the bad and the ugly. A world without animals? Horrors.

I recall a debate as to whether animals have souls. It’s an interesting idea to a devout non-believer-who does not ‘believe’ in souls, but who does know, if there is such a thing, animals have one, too.

Gary Zukov,of all people, one of the finest interpreters of frontier science, believes animals have collective souls. His Seat of the Soul is a “readable , thought provoking (work) on how our perceptions must change dramatically if we are to survive.” If you have a curious, loving mind I hope you find and read it.

What I do know from years of observation? From an open mind that can look and ask questions and not get totally lost in the god/no god thing?  Loving all animals, that’s us, too, is a good idea.. Our closest living relative  is the chimp. We can exchange blood- providing our type is the same, of course- and that, to me, a devout non believer  is a wonderful thing to think.  I love that we’re related to this incredible creature.

I hope all of you reading this will share with me this love. Wlll love all animals on this planet. Even us guys.

The essence is all about love. The love of life. Be thankful you’re a living thing on such a beautiful planet. Let’s hope greedy,  lesser minds do not destroy it.


September 23, 2013

I Am Fishead: Are Corporate Leaders Psychopaths?

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I Am Fishead: Are Corporate Leaders Psychopaths?It is a well-known fact that our society is structured like a pyramid. The very few people at the top create conditions for the majority below. Who are these people? Can we blame them for the problems our society faces today? Guided by the saying “A fish rots from the head” we set out to follow that fishy odor. What we found out is that people at the top are more likely to be psychopaths than the rest of us.

Who, or what, is a psychopath? Unlike Hollywood’s stereotypical image, they are not always blood-thirsty monsters from slasher movies. Actually, that nice lady who chatted you up on the subway this morning could be one. So could your elementary school teacher, your grinning boss, or even your loving boyfriend.

The medical definition is simple: A psychopath is a person who lacks empathy and conscience, the quality which guides us when we choose between good and evil, moral or not. Most of us are conditioned to do good things. Psychopaths are not. Their impact on society is staggering, yet altogether psychopaths barely make up one percent of the population.

Through interviews with renowned psychologist Professor Philip Zimbardo, leading expert on psychopathy Professor Robert Hare, former President of Czech Republic and playwright Vaclav Havel, authors Gary Greenberg and Christopher Lane, professor Nicholas Christakis, among numerous other thinkers, we have delved into the world of psychopaths and heroes and revealed shocking implications for us and our society.

Watch the full documentary now


Lawai Stream is dying
September 23, 2013

… whose birth place is in the heart of Kahili Mountain on Kauai and has for thousands of years flowed freely, Mauka to Makai on an 8-plus mile journey to unite with the ocean at Lawai Kai. Giving life to all that it came across including the endangered Koloa Duck, Oopu, opai, and an untold amount of life in the Ahupuaa of Lawai and its near shore reef system. Also giving a refreshing mandatory balance to Lawai Valley’s Watershed. Sad to say, as of Feb. 6, gone are those days.

Now, where the two streams (Poeleele and Ice Pond) come together, all the natural flow has been dammed and diverted out of the stream and only given a minimum life support, fed through a small pipe; No longer able to fluctuate with nature’s life giving changes. Just so the corporation can water their golf course and have a members-only 20-acre fishing pond. Wrong, so very wrong!

You might say how can this happen when it clearly states in the Hawaii State Constitution “the water is held in a public trust for today and the future generations.” And, in the State Water Code 174C-2, “It is recognized that the waters of the State are held for the benefit of the citizens of the State. It is declared that the people of the State are beneficiaries and have a right to have the waters protected for their use.”

The State of Hawaii does have laws and regulations in place to protect our rights and natural resources. Department of Land & Natural Resources and the Commission of Water Resource Management, whose motto is “Kahuwai Pono,” and have lofty titles like Chief of Stream Protection & Management ,have betrayed the people’s trust.

With a blind eye and a deaf ear, the state has given a death sentence to Lawai Stream. Allowing the corporation to have total control of all the water that should be held in public trust, they are not monitored and are left unchecked to remove all the natural flow from Lawai Stream and out of Lawai Valley’s Watershed.

Shame on you officials in charge of protecting our most precious resources and what belongs to the citizens of Hawaii and for the disrespect of Kauai! Where is the accountability of these state employees who are in charge of protecting our island’s natural resources for today and for the future generations?

Ned Leone



Peace and Love
September 20, 2013

Once again, I think, peace and love are one of those inseparable benevolent duos. Like love and truth, they go hand-in-hand. It’s wonderful to read that voices within the religious community are being raised for peace. War is not the answer is a cry the Quakers, my dear friends, have been hosting for years. Thank you guys.

I think most of us devout non-believers have been rooting for peace for years. We do not pray. We attempt to cajole, convince, reason our way to a peaceful solution to humankind’s considerable problems. The only question I would ask is: why just one day? Why not try, maybe, once a month? Saturday’s are good.

Instead of churches, temples, mosques and synagogues, why not parking lots at the mall? Or neighborhood centers or parks? On this holy of holiest Jewish days, rules could be broken. Stars of David banners artistically combined with Picasso’s  dove of peace could be silently passed out to strangers. Now that would be a day of atonement.

You know what? You could even have a table where Christians and Jews and Muslims could stand together holding hands and praying together.

Kids could have lemonade stands for peace. Others could sell cookies or t-shirts or baseball caps or bumper stickers. Veterans for peace could hand out petitions. Old-fashioned soapbox hooters could hoot for peace.

Peaceniks could sing folk songs. Darling girls in peace patterned bikinis could wander through the crowds tossing flowers. Peaceful aromatic hot dogs could be vended. Little kids could chase around on scooters lisping, ‘Peace in our time’.

Overhead small planes could drop leaflets. Skywriters could write PEACE in the sky ‘til the cows came home. Flocks of doves could be set free to wing and flutter and swoop down for handfuls of scattered birdseed . White doves on the grass. At last.

Films on the subject could be shown. Lectures could be offered as to why it’s better to spend money on peaceful efforts than it is to blow guys and gals and little kids and seniors and innocents to smithereens.

The party could go on all night.

Hey, there’s money in this. And what won’t guys do for money?

On military bases, peace advocates could come out of the closet. Peacefully. Joyfully. Maybe, if they’re allowed to carry guns, these could be tossed in nets and swung from trees and posts with white dove origami dangling down.

At sea, sailors-crew and officers and captains-men and women too-could strip down to their skivvies and swim three times-race around-their warships.  Challenge the more belligerent to a peaceful dunking contest.

This could be such a successful human experience we’d want to do it more often.  Peace parties, world round, would be the rage. An American innovation. Wow. We’d really have something to ‘sell’ to he world. Peaceful capitalism at its best.

And if the nasty old warmongers don’t like it, they can stay home.

I want a franchise. Peace popcorn anyone?

September 12, 2013

Seems like everybody’s talking and truth and love these days. They’re good things to talk about. Very important dimensions of the human condition. I think they go together.

To love something is such a delightful quality, it’s too bad we can’t go to the store and buy it. And, there’s the rub, so many folks today think that’s what you do. Love comes right along with that orange cashmere cardigan. Know what? It doesn’t.

There’s a mix up here. Buying stuff doesn’t buy love. Fact is, love can’t be bought. It must be given. And you have to have it before you can give. And the more you give, the more you have.

We’re not talking about romance, love for your kids or your husband or your family.  Once again there’s a mix up. Of course it’s great to have a loving family, a loving husband, loving kids. One can hope loving comes along with the package but it still isn’t love.

Love is a feeling. It comes from the heart, not the head, and it can be focused on anything. It’s warm and tingly. It has a human scent that has nothing to do with Shalimar. It has a voice that has nothing to do with singing. It is the music of the spheres that makes you dance on point inside. It’s the taste of maple syrup on your tongue. You can see it in the eyes of those who have it. Little kids and animals, too, recognize it and respond. With love.

Animals-all animals-and little kids sense it immediately. And they send it back. In myths and legends, according to folklore, what you ‘send out’ comes back times three. So love the world around you and it will love you back.

Mind you, I’m not talking about insipidity. Love won’t turn you into a little goody two shoes. As a matter of fact it may send you in the opposite direction. There’s something very loving about speaking the truth, even if it makes others angry. That’s how they rid themselves of their anger and rage. It’s how the truth, in them, comes out. How the truth in what they are, shows itself.

Truth and love walk hand in hand.

Therefor it’s why it’s hated so deeply by those who do not have it. Cannot feel it. Taste it. Breathe it. See it. Hear it.

I think, with almost all animals, it’s a given. Maybe with little kids, too. But for some, little kids and animals, it’s deliberately murdered in cold blood. Destroyed. Never to be seen or heard or felt or tasted or breathed in like the scent of spring.

One of my favorite things to love is a tree. Do you know they defy the law of gravity? They grow towards the sky-upward- not toward the earth-downward.

The secret, I think: find something you can love. Unconditionally. Something in plain sight. Always. Go and share. Everyday. It’ll come back times three.

Running in the rain
September 5, 2013

They’re running in the rain

They’re running in the rain

What a glorious feeling

They’re happy again….

On Sunday, September 1, the world ran past my gate. There must have been hundreds of beautiful people, young, old, male, female, tall, short, every color known to man. Or woman.

A bevy of darling young beauties, like a bouquet of spring flowers, gossiped their way by. They were right at home, having fun, waving, smiling, sharing their joy.

Waha road was closed to traffic, but a cheering, cheerful gaggle of helpers, in yellow tee shirts, showed up early down and across the street to greet the runners, hand them water, and point out the portable potty that sat quite comfortably and kind of picturesquely on the side lines.

Guys on bikes whispered by. I waved, they waved. The stage was set.

When the first runner appeared, out of sight around a corner, you could hear yellow shirts cheering and clapping. Before it was over my hands were hot and red from clapping.

I’d fed and watered the zoo, Ari, Boots, two cats and Duke, the fly away macaw, fast. I’d hauled a green lawn chair and an ice bucket with a bottle of Henry Weinhand’s beer inside cooling its heels, waiting for the right guy to run by and sneak a swig. On the street in front of the red gates, I sat sipping green tea and munching nori. I felt it suited the moment.

A low happy gray cloud cover dripped once in awhile cooling us off. It rained misty pineapple juice, as we used to say, on my side of the street, anyway.  An occasional heavy sprinkle watered us down. I threw a towel over my head and mopped at my sweats. When the sun popped through it dried me off pretty fast but I had a towel to wipe my seat and the seat of the chair. When Boots finished her breakfast I brought her outside to watch with me.

I think the event confused her. She watched them, as they passed, with a cautious eye.

In the pasture, at the bottom of the hairpin turn, white face cattle-and one little black angus-haughtily ignored the going’s on. A white cattle egret skipped and hopped among them and once, as I watched, hitched a ride. Six lofty branches peeped pink over the top of a less lofty tree while another pink shower stood guard by the fence.

The first runner, a simply gorgeous guy with a stride to die for, was deep ‘in the zone’ as he scissored by. I’d never seen anyone who moved like that.

Up and down the road they ran. The happy people. I loved the green shoes. I loved the guys in the rooster hats. I loved then all.

When Bill Buley ran down, he stopped for a quick swig, ran on.

If people like that would run every day on every street in the world, peace would reign. Long live the runners.