If the US is considered a melting pot, Hawaii has long been the tip of the spear in the fire. Unexpectedly had most of four days at a high-rise hotel in Honolulu to attend the commissioning of the brand new destroyer my granddaughter serves on. It was the second time in a few months that i had been to Honolulu since 1965, and it was still much like i had entered a time warp. Back when there had been no high-rises, in fact no highways, so i was a little wide eyed and gawking. Over the few days I spent a fair amount of time outside at a special hidden, smoking area and over time got to be nodding acquaintances with others that came periodically on whatever schedule their habit drove them. Most conversations were fairly surface level, but occasionally a few went deeper and one such was a recently retired very black, very squared away Army Master Sergeant, and the topic came around to the new administration in DC. As soon as the November results were in this fellow retired. After 26 years serving his country he had had enough. Continue reading “Continuing on Jodi’s Stereotypes”
the sky on a clear night in January
Flash addition 31 January: the blood moon eclipse dimmed the nearly full moon so the stars and planets all came bright….
If you get up early say 0300 and the sky is clear and you look toward the south and east there is a pageant in the sky that you may not be able to forget. Rising in the southeast and curving toward the south as it rises further is Jupiter, the brightest of the night, the king of the gods to some cultures, and, if you have binoculars, some of the attendant moons. Jupiter is so bright that many of the stars nearby can barely be seen. But the four large Galileian moons, named in 1610 and often visible by eye, can be clearly seen because they are large and so much closer. In all Jupiter has 53 named moons and an amazing 69 total.
Just above it is Zubenelgenubi, the Arabic name for the brightest star in what we call the constellation Libra. Below Jupiter is reddish Mars, in the head of Scorpius closely followed by red Antares and the Hawaiian fishhook tail with the two stars of the stinger at the end.
High above all, is bright Spica and a little to the right nearly due south, is Corvus, the Crow, Alala flying to the west. And directly underneath it, Crux, the Southern Cross, nearly vertical, as far above the horizon as it is tall. To the west the Moon, Canopus, Sirius and Procyon are chasing after Orion diving into the horizon.
If you continue watching for an hour or two more, Jupiter, Mars and Scorpius will continue rising, arcing up and toward the south. Below them will appear Saturn, and then toward dawn, Mercury. These four planets arcing across the sky describe precisely the flat disk of our solar system tilting up above the Milky Way, the bright lumpy disk of our home galaxy seen on edge. And soon after as all these dim rises the sun. All this rarely seen and hard to forget when they are flung across the sky so majestically before us.
In the coming months where as we move around the sun, we get to see the Milky Way continue its clockwise twist until the Teapot, Sagitarius, rises in the southeast and we can see the center of the galaxy directly between the the spout and the stinger on the tail of the Scorpion.
Ursula K. Le Guin: may her name be a blessing
I learned that Ursula K. Le Guin died a few days ago. When I told my daughter she said: “You’re going to write a blog post about it, aren’t you?” At the time I wasn’t sure that I would, but see, she was right, my wise daughter, struggling, as we all do, through her teenage years. Continue reading “Ursula K. Le Guin: may her name be a blessing”
I love this picture of my granddaughter in her pink skirt filling the oil in her daddy’s truck. She seems to embrace and ignore many of the stereotypes we have of girls. Continue reading “Stereotypes”
Once in a while you win
It was a clear warm early fall day in Vermont almost 50 years ago. Was walking with my wife to be through the mixed fields and scrub trees struggling to reclaim the once tended pastures, following or climbing over the old stone walls that marked forgotten boundaries, a few miles from the nearest farms, drawn on to finding “the right place” as in “you will know it when you see it”, in no hurry. The nights had been cold enough to color the trees, brief flame before browning and dropping for the fast approaching freeze. After an hour or two we stopped to soak up the early afternoon sun, warm our bones, and bask in the stillness, so different than our life in Boston a hundred miles away. Here we were silent too, a prayer to the beauty, a revery to a different distant time. We were blissed and blessed.
After a spell a loud clumsy crashing noise, the breaking of small downed branches, interrupted our meditations. It was quite dry, even the grasses crackled. First thoughts a drunken bear or moose, drunk or shot. The noise went on for some minutes, seemed longer, and finally a figure emerged from the scrub to the east, a 30 something guy all decked out in the latest brand new dark green forest camo carrying a shiny compound bow and broadheads, a pack, and bedroll, standing out in the dry yellow grasses. We had not moved or spoken. He stood stock still when he finally saw us sitting there about 50 feet away.
I decided to break into the silence that descended when he stopped. “What are you doing?” “Oh, huntin’ deer, seen any?” He was a coupla days unshaven, so trying to size him up a little more I asked how long he had been at it. “This is the third day” he said as he came closer. So not letting my eyes leave his, not wanting anyone unknown near us with a silent quite deadly weapon, i replied that we had seen a couple yesterday down in the shallow draw about a mile to the west. He thanked me and continued on toward the west, finally crashing and crackling his way out of earshot. There wasn’t a breath of wind. Amazing how far sound travels in silence.
Turning to my gal i said “must be lost and blind too, out of his element”, and nodded in the direction of the two young does with their spotted fawns that were bedded down for the afternoon about 20 feet away to the north, heads up watching us for a few seconds before curling back up and closing their eyes again.
When Your Day Starts with a #$%*^$% Ballistic Missile Alert
I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to feel.
About an hour and a half ago, as I was making a pot of tea after doing the morning chores, my cell phone starting blaring the way it does when there is a civil defense message. Usually these are flood warnings but it was a bright and sunny morning in the middle of a drought so I was a bit puzzled.
I picked up my phone and there was the message BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. TAKE IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Yeah. Nice. Fuck. Continue reading “When Your Day Starts with a #$%*^$% Ballistic Missile Alert”
A recent conversation with a fundamentalist Christian has left me wondering why it seems we fail to recognize the dangers of extremism? Americans expect Muslims to call out radical Islamic extremists, but we seem unable or unwilling to do the same in the case of Christian extremists. Christians who deny the reality of climate change, who believe that humans have a God-given right to exploit the earth no matter the consequences pose a danger to society. I think it’s time we talk about that.
My daughter brought home her art projects at the end of the semester last year. For her final Illustration class project she had drawn a poster of a great tree spreading its limbs into the upper reaches of the page. Stacked beneath the roots of the tree were a pile of rectangular books. Continue reading “Eve Asherah”