Archive for March, 2016

Je Suis L’Homme
March 22, 2016

But, by all means, come out of the closet, if you’re in one.

I’m an outspoken atheist, have been for years, but I don’t claim to have come out of a closet. I was in a big room. Just me. No religion. An only child. Playfully– one day–I  knocked down the walls and set myself free.

My father had sent me to the nuns to be raised and I loved them.  Wonderful teachers.  They were all in love with my father who brought them flowers and made them smile. They were happy women. About in the fourth grade all my  friends took First Communion. They wore white dresses and veils and married god or something–I never quite understood–and I felt left out. So I asked,  “Could I become a Catholic?” He answered. “Yes. When you’re old enough to find out what it’s all about.”

When I found out what it was ‘all about’, I said, ” I wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.”  So off I went in a thousand different directions. Strangely enough, it was an Irish Priest, Father O’Connell who I met–befriended, shared a beer with on the porch of the Manila Yacht Club– who sent me on my way to freedom. He dubbed me a ‘free soul’–a phrase I liked– and knew nothing about, but the more I learned the more I loved the idea.

When the walls came down I found myself surrounded by other bipeds. Related to the apes.  Chimps. Monkeys without tails. Darwin got in the act.

I found human beings. So beautiful. Skin white and black and brown and yellow and pink and every color in-between. Eyes  blue and green and gray and brown, snapping and flashing with intelligence. Hair a vast assortment of shades.  Red. Yellow. Black. Brown. They painted.  They wrote. Composed music. Danced and sang.  Young and old and in-between.  Male and female and other preferences. Once I knew a homosexual stallion. (They’re unipeds.)  He liked boys not girls. Never bothered me.

Humans think, therefore we are. Carry no guns. Carry no flag. We’re citizens of the world.   “Breathes there no human with heart so dead who never to herself has said, This is my home, my planet earth.”

So, if you chose to be a Klansman–hide your face and wear a white robe–burn a cross.  Come out.  We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch you pass.

If you’re a witch who needs to be exorcised, talk to Sarah Palin. She’ll arrange one. We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.

If you ‘re a nazi, wear a brown shirt– easy to find–and goose step. Tattoo a swastika on your forehead for all we care. We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.

Strap on a bomb and blow yourself and others to smithereens. Why not start with each other? We’ll stand on the sidelines and watch.

I’m proud to be related to the Chimp. Wonder if she’s happy to be related to me?

 

AGREE TO DISAGREE
March 17, 2016

Thank you Editors, for the wonderful Forum page, Thursday, March 17.

Gene Lyons’ column is always a joy to read. He has many admirers all over the country. He’s articulate, funny, serious and profound.  (Hope you read The Hunting of the President.) To Google ‘Battle of the billionaires’ –that ‘fool thing’– would be, “…several minutes of your life you’ll never get back.”,  is so perfect I, as a writer, am green with envy.

Also, in case you didn’t know, Gene Lyons  loves horses, cows, and dogs. If my memory serves me, he has Great Pyrenees and his house, which makes his wife happy, too, looks a little bit animal worn and torn and friendly.  How could anybody help but love a guy like that? I know he’d love my house. Anyway, I hope everyone read TRUMP’S BRAND IS CHAOS.

One suggestion: Editors, please restore the discussion site. I think we’ve all grown up enough we could handle it well. It’s so wonderful to respond to other letter writers– politely, reasonably, with passion–it’s so much what America was and what it could be again.

By the way, your OTHER VOICES column is always a pleasure to read. Even if we don’t agree, what’s fascinating is how often we  find a moment when  we do agree with  the person with whom we disagreed.  We’re multi dimensional folks. We’re not gingerbread men. Wouldn’t it be a dull world if we all agreed about everything?

Please give us another chance.

 

 

SPRING HAS SPRUNG
March 15, 2016

Far removed from a religious celebration the Spring equinox is an event that happens every year signaling spring in our hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. It’s a time when daylight equals nightfall. It’s an event  in the sky that’s been observed by humans since humankind became observers of the sky. We were farmers, we were sailors, we hunted, we gathered, we lived with nature.

Think of a time when there were no city lights. Imagine how the night sky must have sparkled with stars, and the  sun–sailing overhead in the daylight hours–was worshipped and warm and played a very  important role in  our lives.  Still does. Of great importance to all, at the time of the equinox, it promised a return of nature’s fertility. The earths’ journey around the sun–although it wasn’t expressed that way then– was there for all to see. In March, all over the northern hemisphere, the sun begins to rise earlier and set later. This event can be measured, predicted, it always occurs, and  everywhere in our hemisphere  it is a time of great rejoicing.

This years in Hawaii, it happens on Saturday, March 19 at 6:30PM.

For Christians it’s called Easter. And in the Jewish faith it’s called Passover.

Pagans celebrate it as Ostara named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess, Eostre and it’s a celebration of spring. A time for planting and sowing a new crop.

A scientific explanation would go like this, “On the equinoxes the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. The March equinox marks
the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north.” Fascinating charts, videos, observations all over  the internet are well worth a watch.

I can remember when communities celebrated with an Easter Parade. An Easter bonnet, “…with all the frills upon it…”  were the rage. One  dressed up in Easter finery to attend church or go out to lunch or dinner to show-off.

Today, take a trip to the Mall and fill your sights  and senses with candy, eggs,  Easter bunnies and baskets. Ever wonder what that was all about?  Eggs are a very powerful symbol of fertility, and spring is a season when animals mate and flowers bloom. It’s a time of renewal.  Want to talk about rabbits? Many rabbits are nocturnal but in spring mating season  they show up in the daytime. Did you know a doe can conceive a second liter while still pregnant with the first?  And sometimes, when there are too many bucks and not enough does,  the bucks go nuts and bounce around like ping-pong balls. March Hares go Mad.

I was always a  confused, as a little kid, as to how rabbits ended up laying eggs. Does anyone know the answer to that?

Also, of course, it’s a wonderful excuse to spend money.

Whatever you do, enjoy.  Enjoy. Smell the flowers. Smile a lot.

 

 

 

 

MILK AND MONEY
March 7, 2016

Why so many of us object to a milk factory  in Poipu…

…“Factory farm pollution turns drinking water – a basic substance we need to survive – into a silent killer,” said Elisabeth Holmes, staff attorney at the Center for Food Safety. “These industrial operations pollute our air and water under the guise of agriculture….  lawsuits will help  safeguard public health and the environment.”

“Congress gave citizens the right to act to protect themselves when  regulatory agencies fail to do so,” said an  attorney in court on the mainland. “Citizens have no option but to act when their families’ health is at stake.”

“Unlawful dumping of manure at industrial dairies hurts the environment, the community, and our food supply,” said Jessica Culpepper, staff attorney at Public Justice. “When these same factories do not report their toxic air emissions, the public is endangered and left in the dark and we are standing up on behalf of those harmed to change that.”

“Fast Food, Fat Profits highlights what is arguably one of the most disturbing health trends of the 21st century – the fact that today’s generation may be the first to live a shorter lifespan than their parents, and this is a direct result of too much cheap (nutrient-deficient and toxin-laden) food. Avoiding processed food requires a change in mindset, which is not always an easy task. It CAN be done, however. Rather than looking at processed foods as a convenience that tastes good or saves money, try thinking of it as:

Extra calories that harm your body
A toxic concoction of foreign chemicals and artificial flavors that will lead to disease
A waste of money
Likely to lead to increased health care bills for you and your family.”

Do you eat to fill your belly? Or do you eat to nourish your body?

Do you understand the relationship between ingesting nourishing food and good health?

How much green pasture  does a  healthy grazing milk cow need?  A general rule of thumb for grown cows is about 2 animals per five acres.”

Factor in the stench–cow poo is not perfume–which is  wafted in the wind. So, if you live close to this  ill-conceived and badly maintained and managed milk factory–2ooo cows on five hundred acres which produces a nasty liquid for profit not for nourishment– a  gas mask when the wind blows wrong might come in handy.

Now factor in flies. Flies are unpleasant. Under the best of circumstances. They are not the healthiest of neighbors and they, too, are wind-borne. Think of them as tiny living drones that carry disease and discomfort.  You’d complain if a neighbor’s yard was so filthy it grew flies on an open garbage dump. In this instance a caring  Health Department would involve itself. Sadly, however, we cannot know what it’d do for milk factory  flies on Kauai.

Most likely it’d decide they were good flies…

…which, unlike feral cats,  crowing roosters, and barking dogs, should not be diminished, destroyed, or defamed.

Fast profits? Just say ‘no’.