Archive for April, 2015

THE FUN OF BEING 84
April 25, 2015

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.

 

 

 

 

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The Market Place
April 21, 2015

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

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

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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