THE ATTACK
May 7, 2016

Some stories must be told. Though some people would rather not hear them.

There’s a school of thought:  if you don’t talk about ‘bad stuff’ it’ll  vanish. Trust me, it won’t. A time comes when one must face the truth. Particularly when it smacks you in the eye with a sharp stick.

True stories, like this one, aren’t meant to vilify. Nor  endorse fear. They’re  a means  to understand.  The rage, the violence, the hate that brews inside the flesh, the mind, the  core of man,  can erupt  any time.  And, until it happens to you, you haven’t a clue  the trauma it can create.

Yesterday was a lovely day. Sunny.   Pleasant to the senses.  Birds sang, A  perfumed breeze blew, it caressed my check. Traffic on my narrow two lane road was serene. My little gray Yuris was happy as a saddle horse on a morning ride  through Central Park. I dropped  mail off at a neighbors box, crossed the one lane bridge, and braked at the  sign at the top of the  hill. I  signaled to turn right.

Suddenly, from the left, a four door gray sedan whipped’round  a sharp corner and stopped within inches,  as far as I could tell, from my driver’s side door. Had it hit me, my little car would have flipped. To my left I was looking through the front window of the car. I  gasped, tried to grin–stuff happens– and  gestured  the driver, a blank countenance behind the windshield a few feet away and opened my palm to  gesture  he back so I could safely traverse a right  and continue on my way.

Thus began  an incident so surreal, I’m still shaken thinking about it.

The driver shook his head, so I gestured again. The  head shook ‘no’ and a woman–she spoke–jumped out  her side  and shouted, “It’s  your fault. You’re over the double line.”  She  crawled back inside. The driver, obviously a man, had  nearly collided with me. I wasn’t able to judge the distance between the cars so when the driver rolled down his window I asked, politely, “Back up, please.”

With that he jumped out of his car, loomed large outside my window breathing down on me.  Then,  thrusting his fist through my open window, grabbed the steering wheel.

What saved me was a car with three passengers–I think I counted– one tall young man came immediately to my aid, “Are you okay?” I shook my head.

Another young man spoke to the driver, suggesting he  back. This one  came to my window and  stood between me and the driver. He helped me navigate the corner. “Have a good day,” the tall one  said. “You, too, ” I replied. Behind us the driver, in the middle of the road,  was screaming obscenities.

I want to thank the young men.  Hope their day was good.

My  bad trip was balanced with three good ones. That’s Kauai.

But I don’t know what to make of it. Do you?

 

 

 

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THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY
January 1, 2016

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love animals. They’ve played an important role in my life. Right from the gitgo. Cats and dogs and horses, exotic  birds and cougars,  pygmy bears and feisty lamas– who played monumental parts in my humorous book THE SCAM–and a precious  little Capuchin monkey, named Tonga, who lived in a  fancy red circus wagon, on wheels, in my mother’s kitchen.

This was not a caged lab animal.  Tonga  was a skinny, long-tailed  Elizabeth Taylor,  who was born in the Chinese Year of the Monkey.  Tonga was the star of the show. At least in my father’s petting zoo.

While  crunching buttered  popcorn and smacking her lips–they’re omnivores–she loved to watch television  I Love Lucy was her favorite. She’d lie on her tummy in her bed, tucked in with her favorite security blanket,  her chin resting in her hands , never taking her eyes off the screen.

Meticulously clean. She had a soft wash clothe and a mini tub filled with warm water–my mother kept it scented and she loved the  whiff of Shalimar my mother shared –and her little face often got a good scrubbing. Her hands, too. She had a cute sense of humor, but she could be a disaster on wheels when she chose. When angered, she’d bite.

I think of her fondly. And often.  Especially now–2016–for this is the Chinese Year of the Monkey. The Fire Monkey yet.  All you guys born in the Year of the Monkey take heed. And heart. You, like Tonga, are lively, versatile, witty and practical. Highly intelligent and talented. Active. You enjoy sports and sports are in. You like being the center of attention–narcissistic up the lagoon–nothing wrong with that. Tonga had a hand mirror into which she loved to gaze. Lovingly.

You’re mischievous.  Masters of the practical joke. Healthy. Creative and intelligent. Persuasive and well-organized.

The Fire part is a goody. Last time the monkey was in  the Fire sign was  in 1956, 60 years ago. The Fire Monkey is aggressive. Domineering. You  crave leadership. The leadership role is your bag. ‘Course you can be overbearing. I mean, you’re headed for the top and nobody better get in your way. What saves you are your people skills and you do love to nurture.

You also jump in where angels fear to tread   Be careful. You’re flamboyant and charming and friendly and have a large social circle and get along best with people born in the year of the Rat and the Dragon.

So it’s said.

As an atheist, I  love the creative, imaginative, make-believe side of human nature. I think it’s one of our most endearing traits. Along with animals, I grew up with the best writers of fantasy. Rudyard Kipling’s  Jungle Book was one of my favorites. A world without Mowgli and the Bandor-log would be dull.

Kids should be taught to love fantasy, but seek truth. Know the difference.Where to look for truth? In Science of, course.

 

 

 

SECULAR SABBATH
October 31, 2014

A sabbath is a day of religious observance and abstinence of work. My dearest friend, a Jewish guy, disappears-with his precious dog- every Friday eve to  Saturday eve.

As a devout non believe-a non church goer I don’t  do god, sin, fear, guilt, greed, prayer, repentance or atonement.  All you guys who know me know I don’t do lots of stuff. Rarely get a day off ’cause my zoo must eat and be cared for everyday. The thought of them going hungry or thirsty is bad enough, but the racket would wake the dead.  Duke, my Macaw, would screech  the peace of the day away. Ari would whinny and snort himself hoarse-that’s a pun- but  not funny.  When the critter’s hungry, he starts tossing his empty bucket about. What a racket. Boots, my grown up puppy,  would snuffle  and sigh and woof herself blue and the new kitten would sing themselves into a cold hungry sleep.

My neighbors’d be sure I’d croaked and call the cops. Creating sirens wails, traffic jams, confusion and chaos.

So, as a practical  secular sabbath observer, the first thing I’ll do is find someone to feed and tend the zoo. Easier said than done, but I can do it. Then I’ll select a day. Saturday and Sunday are booked pretty solid so  I’ll choose Monday. Moon’s day.  From Sunday eve to Tuesday  morning.

I’ll build a tree house-well not really a house, a platform-8X8, 8ft high with a rainproof green shed roof. A  great trunked tree, roadside, will be the wall on the street side of the land. Four round poles will hold it up. It’ll be organic and  inexpensive. A wooden ladder twelve feet high will access the platform and a rope with a crank handle at the top and a bucket on the bottom will haul iced Dom, Beluga, and escargot skyward. It will have low railings on three sides, so I won’t fall out of bed, and a skylight so I can look up into the tree and watch the sky. The moon. The stars. The clouds.

I love champagne but cannot afford Gout de Diamonte, Taste of Diamonds at $1.2 million dollars. Can you believe? Someone called this a champagne for those with too much money too little sense. Read about guys like this in my book Children of the Extinction.

Escargot and caviar are okay dokay. Maybe the kittens to put on a show.

I’ll need a sleeping bag and pillow. LL Bean here I come. A pen and a pad. A candle.

I’ll dream the hours away. Think thoughts of peace and love and joy and health and contentment for all earth bound.  Be one with the tree. Whistle with the birds. Touch the breeze that rattles the leaves.  Sip chilled wine. Snack on fish eggs and snails. Nose the fragrance of nature.  Look out on the world. Above it all.

With first rays of dawn I’ll descend the ladder and hope my thoughts touched all living things on planet earth.

Remember I’m on Ho’ike. Watch me. Here is the video link:

http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T01393&video=205423

or http://www.hoike.org Arts and Entertainment

*SUPPORT LOCAL ACCESS!!*

CONTROVERSY
August 28, 2014

 

Do you think controversy is a good thing or a bad thing? I looked up the definition in my huge old American Heritage Dictionary, 2,134 pages. It weighs more than I do, I think. It’s beginning to look its age. It’s been rained on, sat on, bent. It’s seen better days, but so have I. I’d be lost without it. It’s a good friend. With any luck, we’ll both go together when we go.

The first definition reads, 1. A dispute, especially a public one, between sides holding opposing views. See synonyms at ARGUMENT. 2. The art or practice of engaging in such disputes: writers skilled in controversy.

That’ll do. I love to argue. Do you? I think I’m more a practitioner than an artist. I doubt there will be much debate about that.

As all of us know, on Kauai-and perhaps the world-controversy holds center stage. Today on Kauai we see and hear it all the time. People love cats. People hate cats. People love roosters. People hate roosters. People hate the super ferry. People love the super ferry. We’re vocal and often contentious but it’s when people resort to name-calling and fisticuffs the going gets rough.

But wouldn’t it be a dreadful bore if we all agreed?

Hot topics are always fun. Think of taxes. This is an easy one. Those that are being taxed oppose. Those collecting taxes concur. There ain’t no middle ground. Odd that, in truth, many of us are being taxed, even some  of hose who concur. But those of us who oppose outnumber them. How does that work? I think that would be a discussion, not a debate. But we could Dux that out.

The best I can come up with is: if I managed my house as badly as they managed my taxes I’d have gone broke years ago. They seem to spend more money destroying the house than killing the varmints that infest and attack it. Think war. We invaded Iraq to get one rat blew up the whole damn country. Rebuild. That’s what. Well, maintenance  and repair have never been a popular American pastime.

I don’t think so.

But if there’s someone out there who wants to come in and debate it, I’m game. I may not be an artist but I’m feisty.

There also seems to be an entire vocal community who thinks we should avoid any arguments. Think positive thoughts. Pray. Get spiritual. Jog. Chop down a tree. Take up knitting, yoga, hula, bridge or bingo. Release the conflicts in silent sainthood.

Unfortunately, I’m not the saintly silent type. I roll up my sleeves and get to work. Nasty letters, columns, comments and deathless prose are my style.That’ll start a fight. Line starts on the right.

I guess a lot depends on how you were raised. I came from a very argumentative family. My father and I loved to argue. My mother, as long as she could stand it, would referee. She preferred to groom the dogs and the dogs preferred to sleep through it.

So, is controversy good or bad? What do you think?  Tell me.

Here is the video link:

http://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T01393&video=205423

or http://www.hoike.org  Arts and Entertainment

*SUPPORT LOCAL ACCESS!!*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HELLO THERE
August 12, 2014

Hi, it’s me Bettejo, with my weekly column right here at Kimo’s blog and Ho’iki Community Television’s Art and Entertainment site. If  you know how to get here, please come in-let’s be friends-and tell your friends, family and neighbors, how to come in, too.

Let’s get lively. Let’s get acquainted. Let’s get known out there.

The company here-Jay, Julia and Kainoa-is delightful, The set is simple and perfect, great lighting-no close ups, Mr. DeMille. I will attempt to be entertaining. And Sassy. As long as I’m not profane or call names-which going’s on are not my style-I can say what I want. No more censorship, no more editors, no more mysterious black outs or displacements. I will try to have new current, controversial, conversations with you. Hope to include you in any of the issues or subjects I discuss. Be my guest.

Today I sit with two of my favorite writers, me-CHILDREN OF THE  EXTINCTION-and Chris Hedges-DEATH OF THE LIBERAL CLASS. Remember writers not only write, they  speak and  read. I’ll admit most of my friends are on bookshelves and I have a lot of them.

Chris-a respected journalist who tired of media suppression-said, and I quote:

“Governments are owned by corporations, run by psychopaths lying about an imaginary economy based on debt, fueled by illegal wars, destroying ecosystems, poisoning food and water, decreasing education, increasing prisons, manipulating the media, foreclosing homes, suppressing energy technology, making a struggle, starving, humiliating, and killing the world.

That’s a mouthful, but does it sound truthful? Do we not experience-daily-this madness, right here on Kauai? Are these statements-perchance-part of the ‘orthodoxy’ we do not dare-or cannot, or are forbidden to express?

Let’s think about property taxes. A hot topic. And let’s think about the future.

Do you think there are those who see the future as a place where only the top 10% can afford to own property and homes and pay the taxes? They who live in gated ghettos for the rich or on small, useless but beautiful, gentlemen farms?

Where enormous corporations own vast acres of dollar crops spraying  pesticide and herbal toxins in the air, which also foul the water in the oceans, the streams, rivers, and aquifers. Crops not to be eaten on Kauai by those of us who live here, but grown for profit. People  be bleeped.

Where a large military, police and political force is present to control those of us who protest this destructive abuse and misuse. They will be assured roofs over their heads, water in their tubs and swimming pools, and power in their dwellings.

What’s left of us, if lucky, will live in overcrowded-rigidly comtrolled-lower income ghettos and make beds, cook  food, clean, moo, clerk, dig ditches, mow lawns, and serve they who have the bucks to afford us. Classic third world structure envisioned for Kauai.

What think you? Care to talk about it?

Go to  www.hoike.org, scroll down and on the right of your screen click on Arts and Entertainment-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FANTASY AND THE FUTURE
July 26, 2014

Bob Woodruff said, “If you want to change the future, first you must imagine it.”

Not all writers of fiction write about the future, but all fiction writers imagine a world that isn’t true. It’s a story created in their minds.  Characters who do not really exist.  Situations that did not happen. Conversations never put to voice. Struggles that are fantasies.

All readers of classic literature will think of George Orwell’s 1984. Orwell was a prolific writer, and liberal  socialist,  who wrote about a future where the rulers controlled everything. Actions and thoughts  were monitored and manipulated.  Passion, truth, and individualism were a danger to the  members of this  state. His vision of the world has come to an almost eerie pass today.

The American journalist and prolific writer, Chris Hedges, writes in Death of the Liberal Class (2010) “….magical thinking, the idea that human and personal progress is somehow inevitable, leads to political passivity….It has turned whole nations, such as the United States, into self-consuming machines of death.”

To bring us current on Kauai’s machine of death, all we need do is turn to the daily newspaper, The Garden Island. Almost every day we read about a living creature on the island who must be eliminated. Feral cats-according to some-responsible for the extinction of wild bird life . Crowing roosters and all wandering free range chickens-practically our island bird, they’re so beautiful-must be killed. Parakeets? Out with them. Coqui frogs? Noise polluters more annoying than helicopters, jets, drones, boom boxes, motorcycles or grumbling, rumbling over-size trucks carrying who- knows what, roaring up and down the highways day and night.  Ubiquitous traffic jams.  Horns honk, brakes squeal, humans and sirens scream.

Our super active military might,  RimPac and a ‘Naval Battle Gun Rodeo’ , with a 28 death quota allowed on mammals of the sea, wage visible war fare off shore.  This morning, Saturday, July 26, 2014, a whale beached itself and died in Hanalei. Coral reefs are dying. Ground water, fresh air, the very earth we walk and grow food on, are fouled by unlimited toxic herbicides and pesticides  sprayed everywhere without disclosure of quantity or brand. We know these toxins kill bees.

Truth, our planet is presently engaged in the sixth extinction and there are many who cheer and some who profit.

So how does a writer of fiction, with a passionate concern for life and living things, tell a story about Kauai that brings all this  madness into perspective?

Pare it down. In Children of the Extinction, I had to, as a friend said, bump off a lot of guys. Our number one problem: too many people? Solved.  Kauai cannot support the existing population and land speculators and tax collectors  want to bring in more. That had  to stop. Our economic system is a disaster. Out. Money is worthless. Power? Lights, water, communication, computers,  sewage and modern appliances out. Traffic problems solved. Can’t pump gas.

To me, as a writer of fiction, it was better  to do the above problems in than living things.