Posts Tagged ‘History’

because why

While I absolutely refuse to watch the “news” anymore (and the Partner is really tired of The Big Bang Theory reruns as a result), still it’s impossible to completely avoid the LPV and his incoherent, nasty, narcissistic expostulations.  I’m not ill over it anymore, like I was at first.  But now it’s like watching something horrible creep toward you- hoping it won’t Quite Reach You, also knowing that awful slime trail is going to kill a lot of stuff.  The awareness that this/it is an expression of things as they are, kind of like a gigantic pimple coming to a head, helps one to focus on doing what one can.  Given our cliff hanging fiscal situation, this may only be Thinking Good Thoughts for Aleppo and Houston with no donations included,  but somehow I am sure if we all did even that, it would accomplish great things.

ANYWAY. The other day after the usual festivities and great weather, I remarked to the Partner that I was, really, ready to scream.  He looked at me owlishly and said, well, that’s why they call these places HOLLERS.

This made me laugh for a very long time, daily reality notwithstanding. I found myself saying the word “holler” over and over.  Something finally made sense!  And a few other great things happened too, enumerated as follows:

  1. Having a pain in the wrist that kept me awake for two nights, I went outside and rubbed said offending wrist in the Nettle plant that is growing splendidly.  IT WORKED.  And not in the sense of, OK, you hit your hand with a hammer and forget your toothache.  No, it actually made the pain go away even though it was painful in the moment.  The historic use of this plant as a treatment for joint pain is something you can continue for yourself.  Easily grown from seed (just keep it away from DOGS), not only are nettles good to eat, good in beer making and biodynamic gardening, excellent as a hair treatment, but? pain relieving in the most extraordinary way.  Happy dance time.
  2. Tending as I do to overcommit and start things which then get buried in the dim recesses of say, the refrigerator….imagine my  joy when, at long last I uncapped a gallon canning jar of grape juice from last year’s harvest which I’d been Not Looking At in the refrigerator…and? it had become a fantastic fruit vinegar.  BOY WAS I HAPPY. (I admit to acting as though I had done this on purpose. *sigh*)
  3. A right wing group, “Patriot’s Prayer” (for God’s sake. really?) was going to have a demonstration in Crissy Field in San Francisco.  In response, the ever resourceful and humorous citizens of my home town carpeted the field where the event was to be held with dog poop:  The Turd Reich. (And, picked it up later as well.)  Fortunately the poop was not called into play, so to speak, since the Patriots decided it “wasn’t safe” for them to hold their event- tiki torches were banned.

Given the nature of the days now with daily apocalypti, I found all this very encouraging.  We even have mystery chili peppers coming in! The Dog’s spots are going away! Really.  What? Me Worry? Nah.  Blessings and thanks to you all.

poblano

 

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for God’s sake (possible diatribe alert)

While it is quite true, Gentle Reader, that my own little life has completely blown apart lately, it is also true that it is coming back together again, however Walter Mitty-like the repairs may be at the moment.  Fountain pens only go so far…….

But.

I just have to say: the Loser of the Popular Vote is indeed a total loser.  He is a reprehensible example of human form and in one short week? He’s managed to spew evil sauce over the world- oh, except the parts where he has investments.  This bullshit about refugees and immigrants and Muslims, taxes, health care, abortion, and that infernal wall!  Has to stop now.  If you call yourself a Christian? ASK YOURSELF WHAT JESUS WOULD DO.  Oh, and btw? You might remember who Jesus was, ethnically and geographically speaking.  And what it was HE actually  espoused.  Not a bunch of men who wrote a book hundreds of years later to reinforce their supposed right to authority over that most of evanescent of things, a human soul. You might stop and think about just exactly where your own family came from.  Because in checking the historical record?  This hemisphere was not inhabited by White people and Europeans to begin with. ( Or even Black people- they got to get here the really fun way, after all.) So, for your perusal, today’s word is immigration.  And today is when we should all step up and disentangle the concept of immigration from the concept of genocide- which has been used as an enforcement mechanism on both sides of the issue.  You may think that is an overstatement but I suggest a little cogitation on the subject. Unless you want to adopt immigration as a thing for Whites and dominant paradigm upholders only and continue to pretend that nobody is ever there before YOU arrive.  I suspect this would exclude women altogether, just as an aside.  Unless they’re approved emigre attachments.  Like the wife of the loser of the popular vote.

Every policy ” ” (and I use that word VERY loosely) he espouses is built on hate, exclusion, selfishness and fear mongering.   Stupidity sandwich.   If we do not all stand up now, right now, and make this stop? If only some of us stand and make the attempt in good faith and love? Those who do not stand up will have an awful lot of shit on their hands.  And they will deserve it.

I know violence does not work.  Anger is a dangerous knife.  But so is inattention and inaction.  This may well be the natural way of things in the unfolding of cosmic history.  But.  Given that we do not, and most likely cannot?, know that? We have an obligation as human beings to do unto others- and that means all others- as we would have them do unto us.  And yes, I know that means, literally, love thine enemy.  I can’t quite get to love at this point but I can get to deeply breathed tolerance of those who trample the light and the good under their feet.  Tolerance may build bridges, and bridges link things and progress can be made.  I’m struggling with Martin Luther King Jr’s essay, from the ’50’s, on the experiment of love in effecting change.  But I attempt to draw on the wisdom there in my daily life.  And tolerance does not mean not resisting.

Luddite that I am, I haven’t been able to do a reblog, but terriermandotcom.blogspot.com was right on today- I’m With Her.  A brilliant friend also suggested that we all observe the Islamic five daily times of prayer, wherever we are out in the world, by stopping for a moment, stepping aside if we’re in a line or something somewhere? and gently, concisely, explaining what we’re doing and why.  I’m in.  How about you?

Blessings and thanks.

big wheel turns and turns

Amazingly enough, Gentle Reader, I got monster flu number three! Yes! From my neighbor who flew halfway around the world and brought us all back….bwha hahawb..cough…..cabin fever.  This was especially festive stuff which turned both my eyes bright red and caused mucky ooze to stick them shut.  Plus…well.  Never mind.  Viruses are fun, especially the mood swings.

Whilst trying to remember it WAS “just” flu and marshalling herbs and things to combat the infestation (I recommend usnea, elderberry, ginger to drink as teas and oregano, thyme and ravensara oils to breathe in.  Works wonders.) I watched a fair amount of television and my eyes had ungummed enough to sit through Lawrence of Arabia over the weekend.  Followed by hearing the aptly named Larry Fink, grand mucky muck of Blackrock, interviewed by Charlie Rose.  There, when I had just got my head uncongested, I went and let it explode again.

Lawrence of Arabia really floored me.  When I first saw it, I was of course struck by the Grand Sweep, The Romance, The Handsomeness.  This time? It seemed more like a documentary or something you’d see on the news now.  Same places and towns, same fights, same viciousness and perversity, same black flags, same evil multinational manipulation and same half crazed individuals taking center stage.  Really? A hundred years later and we are still in the same place?  I felt like a foolish and deluded bear for sure.

Then, there was the Interview of Fink.  Hannah Arendt was very right when she described the banality of evil.  This guy? Aside from the manicure and slash mouth, he looks in fact quite banal.  And seems to be thinking that the propaganda the Legacy Group dishes out is true or at least ACTS that way.  I wonder if in his own mind he knows what total shits he and his cohorts are?  An incredible thing he said, as a good economic indicator, is how great technology is.  America is uniquely positioned to gear up for manufacturing jobs again, and the great thing is they won’t require many human employees.  So the employers could actually “pay them five or ten more dollars an hour”, there being fewer of them and all.  And since the labor costs are lower, YEEHAW.  Profits up the kabonga.  He also thinks more entrants in the oil and gas production sector will make more product available and more people will buy that product, i.e. gasoline.  In one swell foop he just shovels cement over the deep holes of unemployment, poverty and inequality, and of course climate change.  I wonder who the hell is going to be able to consume all the crap he visualizes being made? When they don’t have jobs which would provide them with money.  Also when the earth has been so destroyed by human activity that you can’t do anything anyway.  Maybe I’m missing something here.  The one thing he DID at least admit is that we don’t need the Keystone pipeline.  Kind of a shocking admission, but even then he extolled the safety of a pipeline and drilling over rail transport.  Those dratted rail cars to tend to turn over and despoil vast areas, after all. ( I guess he and Warren Buffett may not be seeing eye to eye.  Anyway.) Why not just blow it all to hell to begin with and get it over?

Honestly.  Some times I despair.  But then I think, well.  I’m still here and that must count for something.  There must be some balance somewhere and things do change.  In the meantime, Spring has made its brief appearance. They joke up here, yes, that if you go away for the weekend you’ll miss Spring and it is true.  A couple of years we had a splendid pink radiance from all the buds on the oak trees before they became green, which was totally astounding.  This year the poor dry things have just leafed out, overnight, with their translucent green brilliance.  It is amazing and all the bluebirds and jays provide just the spark of color needed.  The shooting stars have come up and some of the California Valerian and Queen Anne’s Lace.

I kind of thought (” “) in the press of all the recent stuff that a sensible course of action would be to fill my brain with the awe I feel looking at those leaves outside instead of the rage I feel when listening to what passes for Power in our world.  You can’t pay attention, and you can’t NOT pay attention, and one element in today’s weirdness is that even though supposedly there’s all this information around so many people are completely unaware of what’s going on three blocks away from them- so therefore it doesn’t exist.  It’s an interesting effort, because one thing that happens, if you’re honest, when you listen to those Power Puffs, is that you realize they not only don’t care about you.  It’s that they really find you completely expendable once you don’t fit as a cog somewhere in their apparatus.  You truly have no value.  Since the things the Power Puffs are talking about are often matters of life and death it is hard to know what to think.  But I’ve decided at long last, and I think I can stick to this, to go with the magic I know outside the walls instead of the destruction being offered inside them.

It can be hard to live a life based on proper foundations.  We confuse our wants and needs and complicate things over and over, expecting something outside us like another person or a job or whatever it might be to provide peace and satisfaction.  That isn’t really the way it works long term, however, and things built on faulty foundations wind up falling down and having to be rebuilt.  We’re all obviously right smack in the middle of such a coming rebuild, and perhaps the best thing to do is to concentrate, refine, simplify.  Once you’ve done that on a material level, the real fun starts because then? You get to do the same thing in your head! Good fun and well worth it, however. And we definitely have to approach our lives with a different set of concepts than we started out with if we want to get somewhere different.  Which I think we do.  What would we look like if we let ourselves just simply be who we really are?  Not the exploded drag queen/superstar/perfect toothed/master of industry/size 00/rich/monetized-so-I-Think-I’m Happy version of it, but just the real day to day unsequinned version- the humor and endurance that makes the full dress version of oneself, when it comes out, so wonderful.  A real endeavor, this- to see it is all always there, and somehow that we may pick a path that, if not totally good for all, at least does no harm.  My Bulgarian yogurt came out well, and that I suppose is a good start, and finish, for today.

Blessings and thanks.

saved by a tomato

Indeed, Gentle Reader, yes.  This morning I woke up and felt like a squeezed out tube of something.  Like a car up on the rack completely drained of fluid.  The Partner noticed this as I remained unresponsive when the blessed elixir    the coffee cup was placed before me.  He then, without saying much, placed tomatoes from the garden (picked a day or so ago) in my hands.  The effect was remarkable.  Suddenly I felt as though a living thing was breathing its heart into me and just like that, I came to.  Noticed the coffee and everything.

It was quite extraordinary, even if I did realize that since on some level this is what I do for other people in a way (here, drink this! put this on your forehead! hold this rock!)  it only made sense and of course it works.  My goodness.   The impact of things themselves is something often overlooked in today’s world, I think.  It is also true that most of the food people eat now is really totally dead.  You pick it up and feel? Nothing.   These tomatoes, though, practically sang in my palms.   It made me wonder if really, help is at hand for this world and it’s simpler than we might think. I mean: reconnect directly with the real world- the world that has animals and food and actual people you talk to in it.  The rest begins to take care of itself in that dance of time you recognize after it is over.

Lately I’ve been having conversations with people where they’ll say how awful they feel right now, how alienated and empty.  Then they’ll look at me and say things like, well, but you don’t feel this! (To which I respond with a strangled cry, of course.)  You like to cook! You ENJOY those things.  Like gardening.   I’m not interested in any of that, they’ll say.   I don’t want a spiritual grounding.  But I spend too much time on Facebook.  Well, I say.  Interesting.  You cut yourself off from everything that actually keeps you alive and then wonder why you feel so bad.  Since we do have to eat, shouldn’t we pay attention to that?  A spiritual grounding is not a confining religious program of doctrine.  It’s simply the ability to breathe in and realize you are part of a huge, humming entity and the longer you keep your heart and eyes closed to that, the more you suffer.  The sooner you realize you truly can breathe in this medium, the sooner you begin to actually live.  Marx wrote that people do things by hand, make things from scratch as it were, as an antidote to alienation.  There is something to that.  The time you spend learning to make bread or knit or build a cabinet is profoundly helpful and empowering.  You learn how to be at home with yourself and the earth and the record of your progress is right there to see, in a garden or scarf or cement counter or bicycle or engine or whatever it might be.  We’ve been bamboozled a bit, I think, by “technology”.   It’s kind of the same thing as being told in grammar school that you “can’t do math”.  We now seemingly all think that not only do we not need to do things like cook our own food or read a map because some technology can do it faster- we think, really, that we are not able to do these things. It’s “too much work”.   It is true as well that on some level the technology is smarter than we are.  It speaks a totally different language which takes a different sort of brain to understand and utilize properly.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, either.  It’s just that it should be another piece of the whole, and not a full frontal black and white operation, from which, given the politics of the world, many are excluded off the top.  It shouldn’t be a choice between spending hours liking things online or paying attention to real needs.  It’s just that paying attention to real needs generally means feeling what you are actually feeling.  That, of course, is what our culture is optimized to have you avoid.  Boy, oh boy.  Sleepers awake.

But there was also something this week that made me laugh so hard I just knew things are moving along as they should, somehow.  Dashing to the post office, as I got to the end of our gravel pit aka dirt road, what did I see but a passel of small pink pigs.  One velvety tiny brown one. The most adorable looking little cuties ever.  This, of course, was nothing like what I expected to see on that hiccup of a bridge and it took me a minute to adjust the gyroscope, stop the car, and realize these were probably our friend’s pigs out for an unauthorized stroll and not the usual wild pigs who would’ve  been chewing the car bumper by that time.  His animals often get out and they all have the same charming, frank but devious demeanor of a kid in a candy store.  We can be out here! yes! What?! Carry on!! We’re busy!!  As I sat there one small pig got so excited in telling the story that it toppled over onto its side.  Quickly scrambling up, just a bit muddier for the wear, and continuing the exciting pig escape story,  I looked at them all and just thought: Life is beautiful.  When I got to the fire station, which is the first place the cel phone works, I called home, The Partner called our friend, pigs were brought back into the fold, and all was well, once again, in the now.  As, weirdly, it is.  No matter how it seems.

retreat into nature

100_1560Well, really Gentle Reader.  The world is too much with us of late, and it can be hard to remember to just do what is in front of one to be done, as best as one can.  HOWEVER:  Here is a picture of my friend Sam.  Dog of the West.

Every time I come to my friend’s house, Sam races out to meet me and be thoroughly petted,  then runs ahead to get up the stairs and attempt a force kiss.  He has lovely teeth (for a dog) and an imposing nose up close.  He’s very gentlemanly, especially compared to one of my landlady’s horses, who literally trotted over to the fence of his corral the other day, shook his mane at  me rather summarily, stretched out and planted a huge kiss on my ear.  Yesterday I saw this horse do something really astonishing.  The unattended water hose was running full tilt into their water tub (what drought?  WHAT WEST NILE?).  Suddenly both of the dogs there ran up to me, soaking wet and looking for a place to put their muddy paws.  I looked toward the corral and what did I see but the horse holding the hose in his mouth, spraying it expertly around him.  Then he flipped it a bit and got the end in his mouth so he could drink from it.  All this with the most intense devil may care sparkle in his eyes.   Young Rabbit continues to play hide and seek with the Partner, and Tyrant the hummingbird has started doing trick flying through his arms when he’s holding buckets.

So that’s all good, it really is.  And another good thing of course is the garden.  Although it didn’t produce as extravagantly as last year, we did have more different things this iteration and the ones that did well are totally off the hook.  And, as happens with gardens, you get to figure out things to do with all that lovely stuff.  I made chilaquiles with red chard and scallop squash last night, in a tomato broth made from our violet jaspers and hot peppers.  For desert we had something I thought came out really well: fig granita.  Our fig tree seems to really like it here and each year produces more and better figs.  I still have jam from last year and we’ve eaten our way through many a gallette and salsa in the meantime.  Since it has been so hot this year however, it has been challenging to cook, and I’m actually still secretly glad I don’t have a zillion tomatoes to can.  Thus my original idea of an upside down cake for the figs this week was quashed because it was just too darn hot to bake.   I had to think of something else that didn’t involve too much heat.  And, voila.  I trimmed and halved the figs, put them in a pan with the zest and juice of a lemon, some local honey and a bit of water.  Cooked them until they just started to soften and release juice.  Immersion blendered them, and chilled.  Then, into the freezer for three hours, with interspersed fork raking over surface.  Scraped into a glass with a small splash of Port over the top, it’s beautiful, delicious, and good for you.  What more could you want?

Aside from the obvious, of course.  We’ve decided after many lengthy discussions  in front of the swamp cooler             that there are some simple infrastructure and policy things that could make the whole world a better place.  One- go back to industrial hemp production. Everywhere would be good, but the U.S. would be a start.  This would provide food, fuel, fabric and paper. And jobs.  It would replace cotton, ramp corn down, and help with fossil fuel use.  Hemp is a miracle of a plant and it is rather confounding to see it outlawed both industrially as well as medicinally.  A major foot-shooting, there. Combine this with an actual focus on solar energy and a removal of selected dams.  Pollution reduction and environmental restoration.  Just a few small things would make a huge difference and maybe start a return to balance.  It seems to me that a huge part of the world’s dysfunction is that people, men especially, don’t have anything to truly do.  Whole segments of populations and societies are almost completely alienated at this point.  Individuals don’t have jobs or a real way to provide for themselves or any family.  When no self reliance seems to be possible, a return to connection to production for the basic person would be a huge step forward.  All the seething young men you see waving guns around all over the place would probably, if given half a real chance, be quite happy to have a productive existence.  You have to wonder why these sorts of things don’t get done but then again, you know already.  It’s kind of like how mystifying it is that big Pharma doesn’t have any kind of near to adequate supply of medicines that people might really need- excepting of course Viagra and opiates.  Which at the most recent examination do not appear to be much good for anything in the long run except they both do appear to have side effects that…well, heck.  That can create things in your body that mean you get to buy more pills, and maybe hire lawyers.  For sure you’ll need an insurance agent.   But they don’t deal with the real life problems people face, like auto-immune disorders and viruses and many bacterial issues.  Or pain, really.  Oddly, you have to go back to something a bit more old fashioned at this point to deal with those things- but that is, as a friend used to say, a whole ‘nother Geraldo show.

Sometimes it feels as though where we’re going as a species is too scary to contemplate, so I for one am glad that figs still exist to provide that much needed reality check.  And people’s hearts, in which I still believe quite firmly.

 

creatures and habit

Well.  Monday really WAS a pretty uphill, perhaps even truly awful, day, wasn’t it?

Getting in touch with the reality of how we all suffer and experience pain is probably not anybody’s first choice of what to do today, but there it is.  The feelings we have, what we think about things- all such a mystery in terms of Other People.  So when someone, Another Person, does something we find unexpected and shocking, everything gets thrown up into the air.  It’s amazing that it takes the pain of experiencing that to show us that we really are all deeply connected.  Obviously I am referring to the death of Robin Williams and the rolling heartbreak that has followed. A brave soul, continuing a journey that we can no longer see.  It’s not hard to understand.  It’s just hard to live with.

Then we have Missouri.  Jesus God, people.  How long is it going to be before people finally wake up and smell the coffee in this country?  We have a militarized police force which, in many areas, doesn’t  even do things like respond to burglary calls or do basic protect and serve stuff.  I watched apologists on PBS saying things like, well, smaller municipalities don’t have this issue (of police beating and shooting unarmed civilians).  Clearly, they haven’t been HERE, because if they had been they’d know that the police in these parts often shoot first and forget about taking the names.  A former mayor of Ferguson said in what seemed almost word for word lockstep with George Wallace that they really had tried to recruit African Americans for the police department but those people just wouldn’t come to the Academy- it was hauntingly familiar language to what we’ve heard forever about why inequality (which is an inadequate word for this stuff) persists.   There was some talk about how surprised people were at seeing the tear gas and shooting and unrecognizable authority figures in battle dress taking aim.   Again, I just had to wonder where they’ve been for the past fifty years.

Another opportunity to take a deep breath.  The only thing for it is to keep trying, I decided.  Keep putting love first, and understanding.  When I’m thinking in the old way, it’s frightening looking out at the world.  When I come from a place of letting go and taking in to let go again, it’s still frightening but at the same time the possibilities are visible.  Dimly, yes, but visible.  Non-violence takes a long time, as the Dalai Lama remarked.  A good bit of non-violence resides in not adding more fuel in the form of one’s own negativity, fear, and opinions to whatever is swirling around us.  Fuses are short all around, which means we need even more to make the effort to see the common threads in things and try not to set them on fire.  Today’s challenge.

dominion and caliphate

Jeeeeeez, Gentle Reader.  It’s hard not to wonder which is going to happen first:  Armageddon, Apocalypse, or Return of Common Sense to Small Portions of the Planet Which We Hope Will Continue to Arise and Also? Happen Really Soon.  The common sense, I mean.

We have here what looks to be like the shaping up of another religiously inspired world catastrophe.  The Inquisition, the Crusades, the wars between Shia and Sunni and Catholic vs Protestant- none of those, apparently, have been enough. Not to mention the joy bringing aspects of colonialism and imperialism on older spiritual traditions.  No, ISIL, or ISIS, or whatever they call themselves to distract you from the fact they never show their faces, aim to re-install the Caliphate now.  We’ll be whizzed, in that event, back to the 7th century.   Here in the U.S., the Supreme Court seems to be a sub fusc organization whose only purpose is promoting the Dominion, which is the Caliphate spelled with a Christian syllabary.  Again, whizzed back to the 7th century- if we’re lucky.   It might be even further back than that, given the propensities of the Dominion’s advocates to support positions that were probably felt to be retarded in the stone age.

I have really just about had enough of this crap. Money is not the Ultimate Reality.  Corporations are not people.  Women ARE people. Children and elders are people.  People need food and water that isn’t poisoned simply so someone at the top can make money (research Tyson Foods and Unilever if you think I’m even kidding.) People need work that sustains them.  Capitalist values degrade everything they contact and establish a world view that if you aren’t “rich”, you aren’t successful, it’s all your fault and besides, you’re probably not a good person anyway.  Inequality is the actual name of the game. ( Unfortunately Communism did not cut the mustard at all, and the drawing board seems lost as far as such organizational matters go.)  Religion is about external authority and being told what to do in a maintained posture of fear.  In the 21st century it seems to me that it’s way past time for people to sit up and get their heads out of the paper bag.  Then again, when they do that it’ll probably be just in time to throw up into it.

But on to a more important topic: futbol.  We’re pretty convinced at our house that somebody just might have put a curse on the Brazilian team.  They had been behaving rather badly up to the game with Colombia which was execrably officiated for the most part in Brazil’s favor.  Just at that point, about say, 60 minutes into the match? we’re thinking somebody strangled a black chicken.  Because after that game? Brazil couldn’t do doodly.  Karma is an interesting thing, really.  It would be nice if it could catch up to our  C and D friends mentioned above before they do any more damage.

Here is part of a poem by a woman named Kate Compston, which I read this morning while trying to shove the roaring dinosaur head back outside my brain,  where it belonged:

“…..show me the movement I must take

toward a wealth not dependent on possessions

toward a wisdom not based on books (Ed note: books are still good things!)

toward a strength not bolstered by might

toward a God not confined to heaven

but scandalously earthed, poor, unrecognized…..

help me to find myself

as I walk in others’ shoes…..”

We live in hope, of course, even when we are out of sorts.