Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

 

 

 

 

Sarah and Trump and Chattel
February 3, 2016

Chattel. What a word. it does not roll trippingly off the tongue. There’s a darkness about it. It means possession of something. Cars, cattle, women…

Today is a wonderful time for Western women. I wouldn’t care to be a Muslim woman in a long black veil–in which she can vote with a green thumb–if she can see through the slits. Sharia law?  Her hair must be covered and you shouldn’t see her feet. Allah commands. What’s the guy got against feet and hair?

In America women are speaking out. Seems to me they’re more concerned about the future–the children, the environment, the health of the planet–than men.

Women on Kauai are vocal in complaining about GMO’s, air-born toxins, over-crowded, wrongly sited milk factories, more cars, more highways, more suburban sprawl, tourist, global warming, CO2.

I love articulate, intelligent, out-spoken women. I love their involvement in the goings-on. “The world crisis came about without women having anything to do with it. If the women of the world had not been excluded from affairs, things today might have been different.” That’s Alice Paul before the passage of the 18th Amendment. I suggest you find the film, Iron Jawed Angels. Watch it. Share it. We owe so much to this courageous young woman. We need more like her. If you must identify with a female figure, identify with Alice.

Today, of course, women often play an important role in politics and law. Think of Sarah Palin. An example of female evangelism gone sick.  Tried her hand in politics. Darling of the religious right. Well, she’s baaacckk. Slithered in with Trump. What a pair. Hope you watched her exorcism on youtube. Bishop Thomas Muthee, Word of Faith Churches in Kenya. It’s an insult to human intelligence.

Which brings us back to chattel

Biblical quotes work here. Ecclesiasticus 15:18, 19 & 33. “And a man will choose–any wickedness but the wickedness of a woman…Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die.”

The history of women as chattel is woven into many legal codes and cultures. In the Old and the New Testament as well as the Quran. Women are property. There’s a world-wide dominion over women. In fundamental patriarchal religious societies, that live by the word, women are valued as objects. A husband owns his wife…

…so she better shut up and do as told.

A quote from Augustine Aquinas is enlightening. In Summa Theologica he wrote, “As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex, while the production of a woman comes from the defect in the active power…”

Augustine is a Catholic Saint so I assume he resides in a Catholic heaven. As a devout non believer, who does not believe in heaven or hell, I pen a brief note.

“Dear Auggie, to spend all eternity with you would be hell.”

What do you think?

 

 

 

THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST
May 27, 2015

It was November 8, 1932. FDR was elected President. I campaigned for him in front of the Fire Station-the only Fire Station in town-in new black Mary Janes, with white socks and a pretty new dress my mother made for the occasion. I was 2. “Wote for Wosevelt” I lisped and shook my curls. I’m a born and bred dyed- in- the- wool Democrat. Over the years- and over the radio- my father and I listened to the Fire Side Chats. These were depression years.  I was impressed with “. . . the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I was little and scared. My father said, I remember, “Everyone’s afraid, it’s how you handle fear that matters.”

My father and I listened to FDR’s eloquence all through the 30’s.  I remember one vividly. On Sunday. Sept. 6, 1936, he spoke  about Drought Conditions. I loved his voice. Afterwards I asked my father, “How can he know so much? He’s just one man,” and my father said, ” He’s advised by the best and brightest. You can be, too. That’s what books are for.”

My father gave me Bertrand Russell’s An Essay on the Foundation of Geometry- of which I understood nothing-but when a course in Geometry was offered I ate it up. I loved Geometry. I also liked, “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” Russell was the first non-believer I encountered. He also said, “Beware the man who cannot say it simply.”

It’s 2015. Recently I received a letter from someone I admire very much.  He lives on Kauai. Not a politician. Not a celebrity. A great human being. This person asked me not to reveal his name but he did send me this, AMIDA’S GOLDEN CHAIN OF LOVE… We are all links in Buddha’s chain of love. Keep your link bright and strong. Try to be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect they who are weaker than yourself. Think pure and beautiful thoughts…make every link in Amida’s Chain of Love bright so we may we all attain perfect peace…. I shortened the piece. Five hundred words, remember? My friend and his philosophy are surely the best and brightest. Who’s going to argue with Buddha?

Another incredible human being, Steve Saylor, a visitor on Kauai-with a very different point of view- is  writer and star, educator and entertainer, of  several  brilliant videos. I met Steve’s mother, Joellen at a Quaker Meeting at my house and she remembered me. His work and advice is different from the Buddha’s. Look for Steve Saylor: Eulogy: the death of Monsanto.

These two  found me.  So different. So important to my life and style today. They came along, wired back- to- back, and filled a need. Just as FDR, my father, and Russell did. And do. Read and watch a variety of varieties and be best and brightest, too. Maybe human kind can make it.

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….

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA
March 26, 2015

It was September, 1952. I was on Oahu. On the way home from a brief shopping trip-we didn’t call them sprees in those days- I sighted and purchased a copy of Life Magazine. Cost me twenty cents. Earnest Hemingway was on the cover. Like everyone in those days, who loved to read, Papa Hemingway was my favorite author. Flipping to page 25 I read this: The Editors of Life Magazine proudly present for the first time and in full a great new book by Earnest Hemingway. The Old Man and the Sea. It sold five million copies in two days.

This work went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.I went home to open three cans of Campbell’s soup for dinner- three soup plates-I went without. I read my dinner.

Today, March 26, 2015, I shared my dinner-soup, made by hand, not canned- with another old man and the sea, Robert Redford-a best acting winner for his brilliant performance-in ALL IS LOST. This is a must see. Inspiring. Stunning. As a sailor I sat glued to my seat, holding my breath, totally lost in his perilous adventure. This was a 21st Century update, in Technicolor and sound- almost mute-on steroids. I think Hemingway would have loved it. I imagined my husband sitting beside me loving it, too.

Reviews read: “GRADE A: REDFORD’S PERFORMANCE IS POWERFUL” “DAZZLING: CINEMA AT ITS PUREST. REDFORD IS TRIUMPHANT.”

What struck me, however, was an almost poetic metaphor. Today. Versus yesterday. 2015 versus 1952. A world too rich. A world too poor. Santiago and his skiff and his marlin and his run of bad luck. A 75-year-old man-the character-one character, he’s not given a name-in ALL IS LOST and a Columbia 39. Virginia Jean. The mast is 65 feet tall! The monstrous cargo containers that pass him in broad day light in the shipping lanes and see him not. Bad luck.

This old man’s courage-his strength, his attitude, he never gives up-reminds me of so many of us on Kauai who battle a force as strong as the wind and the weather and the sea. Forces that would destroy our lives-and the beauty and life of this magnificent island paradise- as surely as the laws of nature and bad luck will destroy this man and his yacht. Forces over which we have no control.

I don’t mean to indulge in hyperbola. To be dramatic. I mean to express a real life battle- a seemingly undefeatable battle-so overwhelming, so exhausting- we despair. We lose courage. We lose strength. We need a break but we don’t get one. But we don’t give up.

The forces of nature are that. Natural. Cruel.

The forces we face here on Kauai are unnatural. Insane. They seem to despise nature. Defy nature. Vast land masses turned into dollars. The production of food grown for profit, not nourishment. Beauty turned to concrete. Fresh water defiled. Fresh air vanquished. Like the old men, we weaken.

But we don’t give up.

SLURS
February 28, 2015

I thought this might be an interesting topic for today’s column since it seems so many of the mindless on the Forum discussion line uses them. Over and over and over they resort to silly, childish, stupid name-calling. Dirt heaping and ridiculous accusations slop like waste from a plugged up toilet overflowing. Slurs always have a negative impact. They are antonyms, or opposite to, most positive words and are most often used by ‘lower class’ minds; but they can be used and deliberately created by brilliant minds who know how to use them. They are always abusive and intended to denote a negative effect.

They can be racial. They can be political. They can be sexual. They are used by racists and misogynist and, admittedly, by both political parties in our country. They are used because they are effective. Simple minds respond to foolish slurs but I think I could make a case that they are most often a Republican tactic.

Verbally they are dull, flat, bland and often bald-faced lies. When one cannot respond to a question or a query, ridicule, accusation and scandal come in handy. If one dislikes or fears a more fertile and productive mind slurs are slung about like empty burger boxes out the window of a speeding car.

Anyone who does not spout the party line the slur addict or affectionado adheres to, is spit at and, if all else fails rocks and bricks are tossed with intent to physically harm. When the first round of slurs are ineffective the slurist hauls it up a notch.

So, ratcheting this up a notch or two, we come to this brief high-class political slur: Obama is the anti Christ.

This certifiable comment, this infantile fairy tale, goes like this: the anti Christ will be a man in his forties, he will be of Muslim decent, people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace…

I have also read Sol Weingarten’s My Daily Rules to Live and totally, whole-heartedly, disagree. Do not turn the other cheek. Talk back. If reasoning minds do not respond to idiotic claims, idiotic claims become the order of the day. Once again I invoke Hitler, who rid Germany-in ovens or elsewhere-of those who did not buy his madness, and soon, everyone was mad. Goose steppers. Skin-headed, Joseph Goebbels propaganda believing nincompoops.

I love Naomi Klein and Naomi Wolf. Nasty slurs and mud-slinging can only be countered with facts. Democracy can only survive if people get noisy.

I hold these truth to be self-evident…

TERRORISTS
February 24, 2015

Terrorism. Excellent column Bryon York. How to define a terrorist? Anyone can be labeled a terrorist. What does he or she look like? One of the problems I see is the reticence to use a religious term. We have religious terrorists. Here and abroad. We have political terrorists. Here and abroad. We have homegrown terrorists. I think of the KKK, a Christian organization. Germany was a Christian nation. Italy, too. I think the answer for the religious terrorist confusion is to have those who are religious-but not religious terrorists-to recognize and define their own. I think most Christians are in denial we have any. A response might be, “…Reverend Jones, an Episcopalian ministers, despairs about terrorists who belong to Christian churches and organizations and use their beliefs, their God, to allow them to murder doctors who perform abortions or hang black people because they are not white.” Let’s be honest.

 

 

RIGHT IS RIGHT
February 10, 2015

 

I’m constantly being reminded that everything I say is wrong. That’s terrible. I mean, even a clock that’s stopped is right twice a day. And that’s it. Right is right. So, I’m going to repent. Do penance and stuff. When you’re right, the problems of the world are easy to solve.

I’ll do it, as AA does, in ten easy steps.

  1. Every human must convert to Christianity. Attend the church of his/her choice- for now- at least once a week. New borns must be baptized within the first 24 hours. All women must be disenfranchised. (Some exceptions. Read on.) No higher education. Chattel is their status. Home is their workplace. Child bearing their duty.
  2. Seniors and those disabled, physical or mental-that is they who are no longer capable of working for a living-will be housed and fed and gifted with Bingo parlors.
  3. No public schools. All male children-except the get of the rich, famous, religious, political and military hierarchy (RFRPMH)- must do 24 months of boot camp after which they, who qualify for professional status, may continue their education. All others will line up for assignments in the work force or remain in uniform. Army. Navy, Marine Corp or Air Force.
  4. No sex education. No birth control. (Exception RFRPMH)
  5. Private ownership of land forbidden (Exception RFRPMH)
  6. No private ownership of pets. (Exception RFRPMH)
  7. All subversive books or written works-films and art as well- burned. Soon to be followed by authors or creators of same.
  8. Sedition punishable by death.
  9. Nags and chronic complainers sent to rehab or incarcerated..
  10. Be happy in your work. Or else.