Saturday, January 24, 2009

Charles Leiper Grigg and Elzi Crisler Segar

I note, in "CRTA Contact" magazine, that it is the California Retired Teachers Association's 80th anniversary. That means that the organization began in 1929, the year the Great Depression began. An article in the mag. notes that a retired teacher received a maximum pension of $500 a year at that time. I'm proud to note that I receive a bit more than that a month! In an accompanying article we are reminded that our pension fund has lost a third of its value since this past fall.

I quote a section from this issue of the CRTA mag. called "Remembering 1929:"
~ Herbert Hoover was president of the United States
~ US population reached 120 million (over 300 million today)
~ Dow reached a peak of 381.17 on September 3rd, prior to the slide and eventual Wall Street crash in October
~ Cost of a first-class stamp was 2 cents (now we don't even use a cent sign)
~ Bread cost 10 cents (for a good size loaf)
~ Popeye, a comic strip character created by Elzi Crisler Segar, made his debut
~ Academy Awards, popularly know as the Oscars, were started
~ 'The Broadway Melody' became the first major musical film of the sound era
~ The soft drink 7-Up was invented by Charles Leiper Grigg
~ The first car radio was made by Motorola
~ Sir Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin
~ The first public phone booths appeared in London.

Pension Funds

The people of the great republic of Argentina now control their pension fund. The Pension fund was nationalized last month. What other republics now control their pension funds?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hemlock Society

The Hemlock Society is not a garden club.

The Society is interested in death.

They have promoted 'death with dignity.'

They have promoted increased freedom of choice in the matter of one's death. I'm grateful.

They have helped develop the hospice movement.

They have been helpful in end of life decision making.

They have provided guidelines for patient-physician dealings near the end of life.

They have dealt with rights and obligations, they have dealt moral and ethical considerations.

They have worked with dying at home and more.


A 'We' Story

It begins at he far southern tip of South America in the early days of Spanish Exploration. Certain sailors and explorers for Spain have such difficulties with their ship that they feel the need to stay in that place for a time. They see the place as cold, bare, and windy, but there is just enough wood and water for their needs.
In this land they find people. They find men, women, and children living together there. The explorers see a very poor people, an impoverished people. The seem to have no towns, crops, or industries. It appears that they may be godless. Rather than houses the have low windbreaks and they are nearly naked. The men of the ship wonder how these people can live in this hard land. Yet the people of the land seem well formed and healthy.
Soon the people from the ship find that they can barter with these lowly people for food-stuff. They also begin to see the land people as lazy. They spend much of their day sitting around and talking or listening to each other. The people of the ship say to each other that there is no wonder that the land people have so little. They say that the people of the land sit around talking, Rather than working to better themselves. In their hearts some of the people of the ship feel envy of the others' ability to sit and talk.
The ship people believe that if they have to stay in this land they will surely die before their time. Most of the ship people have always worked and they were working hard now to end their suffering in this land. How did the land people live here and spend their time talking while they, the ship people, worked hard all day and feared they would die here ir they did not.
In time, the sailors made their ship ready and sailed away. Somehow, two of their number were left in the land. Of these two one learned to speak with the people. He joined in their talk. The other despised them and their talk. The later died.
In more time, another ship came. Some of the sailors on that ship knew of the two who had been left. There were a few who knew even the towns and families of the two who had been left. They were sad to hear of the death of and pleased and surprised at the life of the other. The one with life was pleased to be with those of the ship and also seem much at home among those of the land.
In the company of his countrymen and comrades, the one alive left the land. They noted tears in his eyes as they left. The shipmates of the live one asked him how he had managed to live among those despicable poor and lazy people. They asked him if it were true that the people of the land were poor because they were so lazy that they sat around and talked instead of working to better themselves. They wanted to know if he were able to trick them or become their king.
The live one seemed unable to answer. But finally he did say that he had come to love and respect the people of that land and that there was a wonderful power in their listening and talk. They had a powerful way of talking that had a gentility in it he tried to explain. His shipmates looked sad and shook their heads a bit. They said that he had had a terrible ordeal, but would get over it in time.
The live one later tried to tell those aboard who knew him best that the people of the land did not feel themselves to be poor or despicable, rather they were quietly proud of themselves and abilities. He told them that their talk enabled them to cooperate in powerful ways. His friends looked at him with large eyes and said, "Those, poor, ignorant, lazy, godless, savages!" "No,' said the live one, "they are powerful, kind people who speak of godly things!" His friends thought it best to speak no more, or to speak of other things.
When the live one left the sea to stay mostly by his home-fires, he sometimes spoke a bit of people in a far land who spoke to excellent effect. He tried to explain the power in their way of conversing, but was seldom understood.
He explained that their talk enabled them to easily share the location of food gathering sites and do so completely, frankly, without jealousy. They told each other not only the location of these places, but also of their size and the state of the life within them. So, they all knew when to gather and the sustainable amount to gather. Their talk enabled them to trust each other and to nurture the life around them to their mutual benefit. Their listening led them to an understanding of each other's needs. He would tell his listeners that those people were able to live in their land in happy health because of their talk. Some few listeners began to ask questions and gradually to learn some of what they called 'ways-of-nurturing-power-talk.'
It is a lot like the "we" forming dialogue I speak of.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In Iraq

It is remembered that lightning can cover the land like a cloth.

In its democracy of 5000 years ago, power rested in a general assembly of all the voters. In their cities of the time in the southern reaches of the Fertile Crescent Mesopotamian art and literature were well developed.

There, listening and hearing was the mark of intelligence. Political discussion was called 'asking one another.' To have ones ears wide open was to hear the wisdom of God.

People knew that existence was movement and configuration, activity and godly dance.

Purity was valued.

People there understood that man could be godly enough to enter into the identity of the great cosmic forces of the universe, and sway them by action. Men, then knew that their entering and action was best done with cooperation, respect, reverence, humility, and their greatest wisdom.

Law was respected and justice valued.

Perhaps 2000 years later Greeks began to learn some of the same things.

About 1500 years after the Greeks we began to know some of those things.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Olmec, Zapotec, Toltec

Most of the Hispanic world loves to hear Spanish with an old Mex accent.


Some men face their religion like children. They see the legs and horns and forget the heart and lungs.

Others Writing

As I have imagined more readers attending to these posts I have imagined more writers. I've mentioned Don. Let me mention others:

Arthur is not so deep in alchemy that he could not help us to a better understanding of certain or its more widely interesting aspects. He certainly can edit and write.

BB has talent for helping others to find strength to better handle practical things. She has been called a life coach and could choose to share a bit with us.

Dr D. appears to man to as but a mild mannered doctor of psychology. A few know him as an explorer and warrior of wide and deep understanding. None may remember that he has walked by night and learned things hidden in the hearts of men and women. He might offer us a succinct complete sentence now and then.

Eleanor has a touch for books and fabrics. She also propounds a poetry of rare insight. She could write us a compelling paragraph or a small bit of poem.

Rex knows a bit of things related to oil, cars, energy, oil, and some of the interfaces of construction, engineering and finance. He sometimes finds a phrasing noble and clear.

Gerry has a bright way of telling about present interests. She has know joys of practical family genealogy, photography, short wave radio. She is an artist and teacher of fabric and needle. She might fide time for a word to us.

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