Archive for December, 2005

On the last day of christmas

Sunday, December 25th, 2005

What do you mean, I don’t have to take a walk on Christmas day? My body needs a fresh air walk every day and December 25 is no time to let down my guard. Well really, a day of celebration and relaxation won’t hurt you, will it? Of course not, but Christmas is the celebration of the winter solstice and I walked that day, too, celebrating on December 21 when it really was the shortest day as celebrated for the millennium since humans figured it out.

How can the most relevant christian holiday possibly have anything to do with the shortest day? That is an interesting historic study. The catholic church decided to be the world leader but couldn’t prevent the solstice celebration so it said,

Label? Who me?

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

Labels are good. At my prewedding shower I was given six cans of food. They were to help with my first meal for my new bridegroom. But there was no labels on the cans. That was a fun joke. But I want to read labels on stuff. And not only on stuff that I buy. Now everything has a label – machines, people, groups, ideas, religions. And that makes it easier to speak about “things” doesn’t it?

And then again there are real pitfalls. In social issues and politics, labels can be misleading and sometimes downright destructive.

Think about the label – rich. It is easy to lump the rich. That is all people that have more money than they can spend on food and shelter. But in our political arguments that definition does not ring true. It certainly doesn’t describe the rich who benefit from tax cuts in the past decades. Maybe everyone who earns over one million dollars should be labeled rich. But are they the ones bilking our national treasury? Are they the ones moving moneys out of our country in expectation of hiding gross earnings from taxation? A closer look shows evidence to the contrary.

When I look for a separation of those who really benefit from the tax cuts, time after time corporations are the beneficiaries. From now on when I talk, or even think, about who wins from tax cuts I label it corporations. And for that I could be the recipient of many derogatory labels – none of them considered positive.

Over the hump

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

The peak has passed. We are over the hump. Days will become longer and nights shorter. The change does not seem apparent in these few days but the shortest day – the winter solstice – has passed. You might be distracted by a baby in a manger or fat old men dressed in red suits but celebrating this time of year is because the earth reaches a point where the northern hemisphere halts its leaning away from the sun. For a few days the earth teeters in essentially the same place while it recognizes physical forces that will bring it back toward the sun.

Humans for millions of years recognized it intuitively as a time when day light hours would lengthen and slowly the earth would warm once again. As scholars have recorded the earth’s changes are marked as solstices – shortest day in winter, longest day in summer, and equinoxes mark the time when the earth is halfway between the solstices. Humans use any excuse to celebrate and expectations of good things to come are high on the list. But controling celebrations was a power some folks could not resist. They found a way to frighten folks and thus lead them like sheep. Frightened humans sought supernatural sources for the natural celebrations and so created gods to console them.

Lights of many colors are welcome in these days of long darkness. Gifts are important to keep the economy healthy in our top-heavy money system. As always love is the real gift. And it is sad that some believe love only comes from acceptance of the fantasy god baby in a manger. Why do they insist on fantasy instead of natural and wondrous reality?

The falls roar

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

As if the present technoloy of digital photography isn’t awesome enough I found myself wishing I could include the roaring of Whatcom Falls in my photographs this morning. Oh I could have taken a video that would have sound but let’s have a still photo with the roar of falling water. The falls may not have been more violent this morning than days past because rain falls with predicted regularity in this rainforest. Last night it fell with much more determination than usual – a vengeance – more like sudden showers I’ve been treated to in Montgomery, Alabama.

Above Whatcome falls we were treated by flashing and enough serious rumbling in the clouds to send many a Fido seeking the dust bunnies under the master’s bed. Were Donner and Blitzen making a trial run?

Would that my desert could have a cloudburst like that every other month or so. Technology can not make that happen. However, in technology communications development changes occur daily and only time can tell what will come next. If advancements continue at the present rapid rate, I may be able to send a roar with a still digital photo after all.

Many hits a chip makes

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

A small chip appeared in the white enamel on my kitchen stove. How could that happen? I hit it with such a little bump. I didn’t hit it so hard that it should chip the pretty white porcelain. Did I ever hit that spot before? Probably. And then moaned with relief when it didn’t chip in that spot.

Repeated hits with heavy pans or utensils may not crack the enamel to the eye – but each hit does shatter the baked minerals on the microscopic level. Each succeeding hit spreads the shatter until there are so many hairline cracks that a seemingly gentle bump finally breaks it off.

Ceramics are funny that way. A glass shatters when dropped and the minerals fired at high temperatures react the same way – except the vitreous enamel is “dropped upon” instead of dropped. I am very unhappy with the tiny little chip. It doesn’t help that I understand the science – not one bit.

Oh, yes, I AM an American

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

When I passed the streetside sign “Community Theatre” I knew where it was and wondered if a stranger would be able to find it in the odd cul de sac. But as I continued on and glanced to the left as the sign indicated I saw a marque and knew that would draw any theatre-goer with no problem. Then as other foreign words do, it struck me that we use many words right out of the language of foreign countries. And I thought, – how practical because it is simpler than inventing an American word to explain a signboard of present attractions.

Other countries have adopted American words for the same reason. Think of Zwischenlandungen. In Germany you use that word when asking if there are many stops on the bus route you anticipate. And look at their words for airport, airplane and others. It occurred to me that mixing words within languages among countries is not so odd after all. We all have background from other countries. Oh we claim to be Americans which is ironic since all our ancesters emmigrated here at one time or another and did everything in their power to squat on the territory and push out or eliminate the aborigines who inhabited the land for century upon century. And to add insult to injury we didn’t call them Americans, we called them Indians. In fact it took centuries to even recognize their race and longer to designate them as human beings with equal rights.

Oh well, I am an American and resigned to the use of some foreign words. It is easier than to learn to use an entire foreign language in some other country. Linguists look even deeper than present pronounciation and find common origins in unusual regions of the earth. Humanity has deeper roots in the earth than physical resemblance, for sure. Language may just bring us back together again. At least through the internet.

Fill the little well

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

Each time I put soap in my dishwasher I look at the little wells, the soap containers, in the door that seem to give me their come hither look so I will use them and I smile. I never fill the little darlings more than three fourths full regardless of their seductiveness because I saw suds flowing out the bottom of the machine once when I overfilled. The detergent companies expect lots of soap to be used and the machine companies want to make things easy and make the receptors big enough for all manners of detergent, liquid or powder. Soaps are developed with less foam ingredients to prevent overflow of suds these days. Well new products are being developed for lots of reasons, and sudsing or cleaning probably are the least of them. Most do a good job so I’m not complaining. I remember the early comic tv shows, Honeymooners, Lucy, and Gracie, used the overflow of suds from dishwashers, clothes washers or bath tubs in their plots and it made me laugh then, and still does. Just like Fibber McGee and his closet erupting with flotsom and jetsom when he opened the door. The thought lightens the chore for me. Have you had a good simple laugh lately? I dare you to look at those chores with disdain or boredom from now on.

Targets for my estate

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

My mail piled up like I couldn’t believe while I was off playing for six weeks. And can you guess what the largest part consisted of – other than hearing aids, eye glasses, and slippers? Well get this – I am so old now I should be planning about what to do with my estate – leave an endowment to ….. Or is it just me? well I had seven different offers in six weeks… all very deserving probably: teaching tolerance, save the last great places, save the tigers, save the rainforests, send livestock to starving people, arts and sciences in community colleges, and those are just the best of the ones that want a place in my will.

I would love to give them my all but…

Well, maybe I will when I get too old to dream.

God is a fantasy

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

They just don’t get it. Last week on Saturday Night Live the entire cast sang popular Christmas carols with words that were “politically correct” because they were told they could not say Christmas nor allude to the holiday. Of course they were doing a spoof. But why does it come up at all? Should one religion be flaunted as truth? Christianity assumes that every one should love to hear the myth about the baby sent to save people from sin. SIN? Sin is defined as defying God. Humans do not need saving from some thing that was fabricated in the first place.

Thousands of people know that god is supernatural. Anything super natural is above nature which is logically impossible. Therefore god does not exist. To have the christian god dominate the dark winter season is unnecessary. It is celebration enough to know that the shortest days will lengthen and spring will come again.

Gods should be kept in churches — or in the heart if one chooses. Not in anyone else’s face.

Research in children’s homes

Saturday, December 3rd, 2005

Bouncing in visits from the home of one child to another, I discovered a wealth of information needed for an historical novel that was forming in the nether recesses of my mind. After borrowing and reading books about the Caribbean area I was hooked on its history. For several years I pulled references together that would add authenicity to the general time I chose. The specific time of the novel jelled when I found a connection to family genelogoy and the history of Jamaica. I read many books that filled in the history lacking in my one room school education sixty years ago. The titles run the gamut of the alphabet so I have an esoteric education that covers history of the Americas which includes a smattering of European history as well. I scoured libraries, used book stores, and garage sales for books that provided what I thought I needed. Books are stacked on shelves in every room in my little home and in boxes in storage sheds in my back yard.

Only in the past year did I come to realize what an extra source of information I have in my children. Throughout the west coast states of California, Oregon, and Washington, where the children live, I found libraries with a wealth of stuff. And beyond the books I picked the brilliant brains and found help with characters, plots and settings. I like to think I nurtured the minds of my children to the point where they loved information that now are my best resources.

However, I will be the first to admit that the genes over which I had no control – well a little in my choice of life partner – played a major part in my good fortune. I studied the titles of books lining the walls of my oldest son and remembered the books and other media in shelves and boxes in homes of other sons and a daughter where I visited in the past few months. Not to mention the cumulative years of their education in science and history. What a resource!