Monday, September 24, 2007

Host culture

One of the more common methods of deprecation of Hawaiian culture utilized by immigrants (from the mainland U.S., most commonly) is to chide contemporary Native Hawaiians with the fact that they no longer practice all the traditional ways of their pre-contact ancestors --worship of the ancient gods, human sacrifice, separate dining facilities based on gender, a feudal societal hierarchy, to name a few. This insensitive attitude most often results from ignorance, usually intentional to some extent. All too often, however, undisguised bigotry is the genesis of statements such as the following: "Wake up natives, Hawaii is and always will a part of the U.S.A." As a non-native resident of the "Aloha State" for nearly 40 years, I resent such statements, and consider them to be foolish at best, but in all cases pathetic,and for the most part, wholly execrable.

Those who belittle the culture of another people are one step closer than the rest of us to the world view that tolerates colonialism, oppression, and all too frequently, genocide. As much as I detest the legacy of racism and lynching which stains the history of our "Red States", I have a sincere affection for their literature, music, art, spirituality, folklore, handicrafts, hospitality, and cooking, among other things. Moreover, the incredible sacrifices of the masses of the Southern populous during the "War between the States" never fails to amaze me, misguided and intolerant though the fundamental mission of "Dixie's" leadership was. Likewise the horrific legacy of Nazi Germany does not prevent me from desiring to learn more about and deepen my appreciation for the courage of Martin Luther, the genius of Wilhelm Richard Wagner, and the worldwide influence of the teachings of Karl Marx.

The foolishness of those who belittle the culture of Hawaii's host culture indicates a failure to recognize that each immigrant in America has an ancestral heritage worthy of understanding and respect, whether it be African, Hebrew, German, Asian, Latin, European, or whatever. My ethnic and cultural background is primarily Celtic (Irish), but that doesn't negate the importance (for me) of my English and Swedish roots. Nor should the fact that today's Native Hawaiians are mostly a mixed-race people who greeted outsiders with open arm and bedrooms, adopting lifestyle practices from every corner of the planet, in any way lessen the importance of their historic accomplishments-- world class navigation skills, impressive agriculture and aquaculture achievements, and a record of environmental sustainability second to none, to name a few.) More importantly, Hawaii's status today as an former colony of the U.S. empire, whose culture, language, and religious practices were ruthlessly suppressed by its "conquerors", demands a recognition by all who settle here of the historic injustice of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893. (See link to the 1993 "Apology Bill" below.) An appreciation of these factors is a start, but only one small step, on the road toward to true appreciation of and respect for the unique history and culture of Hawaii Nei and the Native Hawaiian people.
(Link to the Apology Resolution -- Public Law 103-150: )

What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Joyce's Toes

My mother was a remarkable woman; I've written one short story based on her life and intend to write many more in the future. The tales of her childhood were a font of satisfaction for her four children, and and there were sevaral that we pleaded for again and again. I was the first born, and possibly the most cherished at certain times and for certain purposes. Though I occasionlly feel unfairly resented on a number of counts by my 2 sisters and 1 brother, there is no denying that I satisfied a number of my mother's needs throughout her life that the others were unable or unwilling to fill.
The absence of her husband due to the demands of his job, and Joyce's compelling need for human companionship and interaction, led her to deviate from my bedtime rules on a regular basis, allowing me to sit up with her till midnight sipping cocoa --and sometimes coffee-- watching the always stimulating, often outrageous and hilarious conversation and antics of Jack Paar and his guests. I was still in elementary school at the time; later we would be addicted to Johnny Carson. The younger children would never have been allowed this freedom, though usually they were unaware of the slightly wicked secret Mom and I shared.

One task reserved strictly for me was to assist Mom with her afternoon naps during those years when I was approximately 10 - 12 years old, on those days when the stresses of homemaking and child care required a brief respite from the day's demands. It may seem strange that she required my aid, but for her the afternoon rest was to be nothing more than a catnap, and I was required to awaken her no more than 15 mintes after she had drifted off in slumber. Dad's dinner must on the table when returned from a long, stessful day at H.W. Moore Equipment Co.--Colorado's sole distributor of heavy construction equipment for International Harvester Bulldozers, Hough "Payloaders" backhoes and excavating machines, Cedar Rapids rock crushing and highway paving equipment, etc.) More importantly, she fully realized how crucial her role as Dad's confidante, partner, and (I came to realize years later) enthusiastic bedmate, were for the health and durability of her marriage. Her concern at naptime was about not waking on schedule, not simply due to the time which would be lost if she overslept, but because for her anything more than a "cat nap" would result in grogginess and possibly one of her nagging headaches. A 10 - 15 minute rest was all that was required to refresh and reinvigorate her after a long day that began with the early morning preparation of breakfast for Dennis and the kids, along with lunches for Dad and any children who preferred them to eating in the school's cafeteria (Peggy-- 2nd eldest and almost exactly 2 years younger than me--was an especially finicky eater.) By midafternoon, after our arrival home from school, Mom had finished the daily dishwashing, baking, house cleaning, laundry, ironing, errands, yard work, along with various miscellaneous tasks, of course; she was more than ready for her nap by then, and I was chosen to perform an essential role in the ritual. The most important element of this vital interlude was getting Joyce off her tired legs and feet, even then lined with a network of varicose veins which she blamed primarily on child bearing. She frequently complained about how they swelled and ached, especially during that time of the month -- her "period". One vivid memory underscores this problem: Mom was 6 months pregnant with the youngest of her children (Kelly Jo, the little siser Peg dreamed of and prayed for); because she believed in educational summertime outings, Mom had taken her 3 children to visit the gold domed state Capitol building in downtown Denver and picnic on the surrounding lawn one hot afternoon. If climbing to the top of the dome on her painfully swollen feet and legs were not enough, on the way home, one of the kids who was walking barefoot ( I can't remember if it was Peg or Pat)was stung by a bee and had to be carried all the way to the bus stop. Mom insisted I put the sibling on my back and do the work, informing me it was only fair since she was already carrying a baby in her womb, and had legs so sore she could hardly walk herself.

Knowing what an important job it was, I took secret pride in being drafted to massage Mom's ankles, calves and knees, paying particular attention to the toes, as she drifted off to sleep on the living room sofa or a bed in the "guest room". Of course I pretended to object that it deprived me of essential television time, but I don't remember becoming petulantl or whining as I would when required to do the dishes. My ministrations could never be forceful enough for her, however, and she urged me to use all my strength, assuring me with occasional condescension that I was not strong enough to cause pain. That of course motivated me to be as brutal as possible, but never once did my manly efforts result in a cry for mercy.

An essential part of the excerise was to rub and pull on each of Mom's toes separately, and to rub the soles of each sole with hands hardened into tightly clenched fists. In no time Mom would begin yawning and then breathing regularly, and I would watch the clock for the alloted time before waking her with soft words and gentle stroking of her feet. Fifty years later these are the things I remember. What a pleasure it would be today to have the company of such a tender companion.

Climate Change

While those who have been belatedly enlightened by Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" and Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour" dither about what they should do to "stop Global Warming", others are telling us that it is too late to begin. While it's true that the quesion is not whether billions of inhabitants of "the Blue Planet" will have their lives seriously altered by climate change in the near future--but to what extent; nevertheless, there is plenty that can be done to minimize the effects. The following is a list of things that we can do to ameliorate the deadly consequenses of humaity's actions that are altering the future of Planet Earth forever: (NOTE: the list below appears in the "Peace Calendar" on the month of September page, and was compiled by Guy Dauncey and members of SCW Community -- copyright 2003 -- DVD, book poster, notecard, post card and bookmark available.)
--I've added a few of my own--send yours and I'll add them too!--
1. Visual the fragility of earth from space.
(a) Switch to Energy Star applinaces.
(b) turn off lights / use solar panels & wind energy / no incandescent bulbs
(c) Put on a sweater.
(d) minimize use of air conditioners / consider a "swamp cooler"
(e) use a clothes line / get rid of that hair dryer
(g) buy tree free / post consumer paper
(j) [I'll add your emailed suggestions]
3. Drive only when you must/use a scooter, elec. or hybrid car.
4. Use public transportation & walk more - cycle more - skate more -- don't forget the cross country skiing option.
5. Eat locally grown food/ support local businesses.
6. Fly as little as possible; take the train or a cruise when possible.
7. Vote for and support climate friendly politicians.
8. Take pride in being "GREEN & RESOURCEFUL."
9. VISUALIZE and spread awareness of a SOLAR-HYDROGEN economy.
10.Boycott coal burning power plants / BUY GREEN ENERGY
14.Demand strict emission controls and fuel efficiency on all vehicles
15.Remember: "TO HELL" with the carbon economy


Thursday, September 20, 2007


Halleluhjah -- Dan will get his revenge after all, thanks to the lawsuit filed Wednesday against CBS, the CEO of CBS, Les Moonvies, CBS parent VIACOM, and the Chairman of the parent company, Sumner Redstone himself. Revenge is sweet, as we know, but for Democrats expecially, Dan's revenge will be SWEEEEEET !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At last the truth will be told about George W. Bush's 2004 escape from a major scandal over his draft avoiding in the 1960s & 70s, and his status as a "deserter"--(AWOL from the Texas Air Guard.) Given the pace at which such litigation proceeds through the courts, by November 2008 the voters should at last have heard ,and fairly recently, the real story of the fratboy / future Commander in Chief whose Daddy's connections got him a coveted National Guard position when Average Joes were being drafted and shipped out by the millions to serve as cannon fodder for LBJ and Nixon. Even with that, the frathouse flyboy couldn't play by the rules. His Daddy got him transferred from Texas to Alabama to work on the election campaign of a racist Republican. Dubya's service in the Alabama Guard was practically nonexistent, according to official records.
Of course this story could have cost Bush his re-election in 2004, so it was essential for Karl Rove and his minions to do the following: (1)destroy John Kerry's reputation as a Vietnam warrior by waging a smear type campaign now known infamously as "Swiftboating"; and (2) find a way to blunt anticipated attacks on Bush's record as a draft dodger and "deserter." This was accomplished through the "Swiftboater's" slander, along with the huge smokescreen that emerged after Dan Rather's "60 Minutes" producers at CBS were duped into using apparently fraudulent documents linking Air Guard higher-ups to special treatment for the fratboy with the powerful Daddy. But where did those doctored letters come from? How could professionals like Rather and the "60 Minutes" team fall for such a hoax? Could these documents, like those that set the 2003 Iraq invasion, have been forged by insiders? Could Rove and the Bush re-election team have secretly leaked them for the purpose of "preemptively" discrediting CBS, Dan Rather, and critics of Bush's "military service", or lack thereof, by creating a smoke screen big enough to obscure an ignominious Vietnam "war record?" If so, the scheme worked like a charm.

These tactics are becoming so common that they are increasingly less likely to fool even average voters (the majority of whom in 2004 supposedly voted for the bumbling, discredited administration that launched an illegal "preemptive" war over non-existent weapons of mass destruction.) The story was far different in 2006, and unless Republicans succeed in vote stealing on a massive scale in 2008 (click on link below), a Democrat President and Democrat control of Congress by wide margins seems inevitable. Rabid right-wing attacks on and war hero / congressional representative Jack Murtha are the latest examples of attempts to use blitzkrieg media campaigns to divert attention from Bush administrations outrages.
Here's the link:


Saturday, September 01, 2007

the big apple

Aloha all,
Boy have I been busy. Haven't been hanging out with my LDS freinds lately-- I hope they haven't given up on me. Instead, I'm really tight with a number of the denizens of Fort St. Mall. Getting away from them was a big reason why I was eager to get away to New York City ( in addition to spending time with my son and my friends Jerry, Amy, and Lidia Wang ; the evening I spent worshipping at the feet of Vanessa Redgrave--literally, in the front row Center at the Booth Theater; and the chance to enjoy a lovely apartment in Chelsea near NYU on W. 24th St. and 9th Ave.)
More about this later.
Here is a photo of Jerry at Crystal Windows Co. in Flushing N.Y.)
a hui hou
Mike / Misha