Betrayal in Utah—a Sad Poem

Bears Ears—Listening in Pain

Sacred are the lands once protected
by more honorable men…
betrayal stings by smiling lies

Navaho gods are weeping,
for the fork-tongued leader
has betrayed their hearts

Let thunder crash as the deed
becomes known in shameful terms—
greed and deceit are the law of the land

Drums echo in the desert valleys,
vibrating the monuments of the ages
now damp with tears of the betrayed.

As the horrors and heartbreak meet
where arrows once flew…perhaps again?
Fate twists the work of Evil… to wreak revenge.

©Sometimes, 2017

 

Caribbean geography lesson…

Every now and then I like to get out a map and reassure myself that when not knowing the location of Yemen, or Utah, or Antiqua (for example) all I have to do is look it up on a map. A paper map, preferably, but sometimes even an online map will do.

So I wanted to see if Puerto Rico was really far out in the middle of the ocean someplace, or, as I suspected…in the Caribbean. So I did a search “Puerto Rico” and Bing zeroed in on a nice map of the island, in great detail of cities and even roads and topographical details like mountains. Zooming out to get the big picture…including the Pacific Ocean and all of Russia…the exact location of Puerto Rico became instantly remembered.

Looking Southward, from Florida, the island is sort of beyond Cuba, north of Venezuela, and in a line with other islands and chains of islands in the Caribbean, forming a line of defense reinforced by territories possessed by friendly allies: the French, Dutch, and British. This was perfect—especially back in the days of the conquest by Spain of the New World.

Actually the United States was interested in keeping the Spanish at bay as much as possible, while maintaining a strategic position of buffering between the British (our best friends forever) and “other” European or South American nations from getting any ideas. Or Japan…or anyone else.

The last good-size war the U.S. had with Spain was the Spanish-American War, which effectively booted the Spanish out of the area and declared US hegemony in the close-in islands, including Puerto Rico. It is true that the U.S. had a good line of defense in the Caribbean, and although U.S.-Cuban relations suffered during the Cold War…to the point where until the Cubans would acquiesce in being beaten by the U.S. Embargo, which effectively put Cuba and the Castro Dictatorship in its place as an oppressed and bullied island which “refused to straighten out” and endured sixty years or so of hardship and political hassles because of it.

At the end of the Spanish-American War in 1899, part of the spoils agreed on by the two nations was the prize of Puerto Rico…ceded to the U.S. by Spain. One of the results was that the Spanish-speaking citizens were required to speak and use English-only.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory, and thus Puerto Rican citizens are citizens of the United States, and are entitled to vote in U.S. elections…except for the office of President. They elect representatives to the U.S. Congress, who are on the same basis as reps and Senators from the 50 other states.

One difficult hang-over from the early 20th Century is THE JONES LAW, which forbids Puerto Rico to receive shipments of any materials or products from any sources except on officially sanctioned United States registered Ships. The result of this is that now that Hurricane Maria has devastated the Puerto Rican island, the Jones Law limits what foreign aid they can receive. The U.S. Congress has the power to rescind or modify the law…but has so far declined. It may be nteresting to note that the Jones Law has been suspended in other U.S. ports under emergencies created by Hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida, as well as other U.S. controlled islands in the Caribbean.

The U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Comfort has, as of this Wednesday morning, been sent to Puerto Rico. The reasons for the delay apparently have been worked out, especially the excuse of the ship being “too big to park in the harbor…” and the hospital ship will anchor off-shore and apparently transfer patients from the mainland of the island by helicopter.

https://www.bing.com/maps?&ty=18&q=Puerto%20Rico&vdpid=202&mb=19.029888040912922~-69.22080993652341~17.464867724672842~-64.03526306152341&ppois=18.2491397857666_-66.6280364990234_Puerto%20Rico_~&cp=18.2491397857666~-66.6280364990234&v=2&sV=1&style=r&trfc=&lvl=7

Johnson’s Island, Confederate officers prison on Lake Erie, Ohio (Part Two)

(all photos on this page © Sometimes, 2017)   These photos were taken in May 1981 by Bob Dreger, my late husband.

The island prison housed Confederate military officers who were originally  captured during Civil War battles, and imprisoned  at Camp Chase, Columbus Ohio.   The object was to separate the officers from the rank-and-file soldiers and house them in the Northern prison where they remained until the end of the Civil War in 1865, or their death, which ever came first.    Over two hundred of them remain there, in their graves, to this day.

There is more to come from SOMETIMES, so please check back for more information about Johnson’s Island.     (I would continue now, but I have a lunch date with my best friend where we will fight the Civil War again.   We are on the same side…North, anti-Slavery, but present upheaval over Civil War statues opens up new debate across our nation—as if we don’t have plenty to debate! 🙂   For what it’s worth, this on-going perennial battle never dies.

 

 

Historiography at work

Historiography is the study of History.    It was one of my favorite mandatory seminars as a grad student at the University of Akron.

One of my friends and cohorts here in Blog Land, raised a very interesting point in  a comment on how the Historians of 100 years from now would treat the scenario in rage now of the Great Republican Plan to Obliterate the Obama Presidency.    Obviously all of us reading this will have no interaction whatsoever in the future century.   Who knows how the History of our age will be preserved, or how it will be reported to future generations.    The History of the Present hasn’t happened yet.

The Trump-Obama factionalism is too multi-faceted to tackle here.   However, the question is a good one, and leads me to ponder the basic differences between Now and Then…meaning past and future coverage of historical events.     There can be two designations here: Paper and Digital.

The most glaring difference is that what was written, published, in real books is that they were permanent.   Not necessarily the absolute authoritative sources on a given subject, but through a sort of consensus of opinions and research, and yes credentials.   In order to reach a thesis statement for a given publication, the writer presented his or her own ideas….something new, an alternate position.   There are always at least two sides to any proposition.

Here is a proposal that when it comes to Digital History, that which is presented over the internet by countless diverse sources, the information comes across only as permanent as the print-out a student or proponent, or indeed, opposition commentator, understands—or prefers to present as Truth or Falsehood—to their respective readership at any given time.

Digital History is much easier to alter, re-write, or inadvertently  distort  because of its fluidity…never permanent, always subject to a myriad of changes.    We see reports on the internet news channels… a statement made by an anchor person on CNN or Fox, MSNBC, BBC…at a given hour—that never airs again.

No one in their right mind for long will be able to watch Cable News constantly to keep up absolutely on the stream of information.    Remember when the internet was actually referred to as the Information Highway?   That was back in the 1980s, when major newspapers made the change from individual typewriters to the chaotic stream of News-all-the-Time.   Up-to-date means “constantly changing,” which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

 

the dance of the miscreants, a fairy-tale?

… and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

Chicken Little handed out cups with holes in the bottoms…
and urged everyone to please help themselves.

Uncle Paul smirked and grinned, and dreamed
when he slept, of clever tricks and double crosses.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, sent out engraved linen notes
that read: “Be here or else—but mind what you say.”

The Ice Queen giggled and tried to look cool,
as she whispered to the boss “you’re starting to melt.”

The King beamed and preened to adoring crowds
who cheered as he told them: “You all are invisible to me!”

The Witch of the Beltway cackled with glee:
“Listen to me!   What do I say?  What do I mean?”

…and the Tall Man looked down on everyone
until he tripped and came crashing down…

Topsy Turvey turned and spun… telling tales and amazing everyone.
“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”

Mr. Dowdy Pudding frumped and preened,
beady eyes glistening with malice and mildew.

It’s all a cruel joke intended to wound—impossible tricks every day:
the Media chatters and makes up titillating tales.

The Wise Women lecture and try to make sense
while the Old White Men tell them “sit down and shut up.”

The Lawyers, in turn get their say…don’t let facts in the way!
Believe nothing you hear—nor even what you say!

…and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

©Sometimes, 2017

 

the trouble with time limits

Every election, and whenever the subject comes up in between elections, there is a big
“thing” about term limits.

“Throw ’em all out…ALL of them.”      This seems like a good idea…on the face of it…except that it would almost always be a disaster.     This point of view is often described as “clear the swamp.”      I like my clichés to have literal meaning, so when someone says that I picture a real swamp, with hanging moss, fragrant jungle flowers, glass-bottomed tour boats, and alligators sunning themselves in mis-leading innocence.    Yeah, this is all very picturesque.    The thing to “clear out” of the actual swamp/jungle, presumeably is the alligators, and other creatures that will eat you if they get a chance.   In the metaphorical  swamp, to which the plotters and pundits refer,… is of course Washington D.C.   The best allusions may be to the alligators, standing in for elected members of Congress.     (No aspersions cast on the alligators.)

Depending on the speaker, there is usually no consensus of exactly WHOM to throw out.     The “commenters” are not very specific either….they mostly just advocate getting rid of “ALL of them,” and starting over with an all-new brand-spanking lot of Congress people and their respective entourages.

“Don’t throw out MY Congresspeople though!”    Ah-ha, therein lies the rub…the Dems want their own representatives, and Republicans back theirs (most of the time…moreorless.)     That could be called the “Your Rep is a crook…Mine isn’t” theory of political adequacy.

Yes, I DO have an allegorical illustration for my point…which is that it is basically impossible to start over completely, from scratch, at a grass-roots level.     Once…back in the proverbial day…a would-be entrepreneur presented to our City Council a plan to open a new restaurant.    He said he intended to hire ALL NEW staff—new cooks, new waitresses/waiters, now known as “Servers.”      New hostesses, new managers, new bartender…even new dishwasher/busboys.     By “new” was meant workers who had NO experience in any of the positions.   They would be trained “to order” by the owner, in his own expectations for how to do their jobs.    In other words, no one would have even a clue of what they were supposed to do.    Needless to say, if the restaurant ever had materialized as planned it could have been named “The Fiasco Diner.”

That’s what would happen in Washington if there was a law that all new politicians had to be completely inexperienced.    Wow!     As if the atmosphere there is not already terrifying!     Actually the current experiment in Foggy Bottom threatens to loom menacingly as The PEOTUS seems to be introducing a concept of “let’s just see what happens!”     Maybe its a principle of “…keeping one’s friends close and enemies closer.”

Here’s a scary one: “let’s call up all our enemies and suggest we all play nice.”

 

Rules For Commenters…or Think First!

There should be a rule
on commenting protocol
requiring at least
(if not a working knowledge)
mini-common sense.

Every school age child
with a mite’s  intelligence
should have learned restraint
in matters of opinion…
at least a few facts.

No one should ever
consider as an expert
smart snappy comments…
an internet free-for-all
sans supervision.

Our Rule Number One:
Start out with a set of clues,
a few question marks,
a reasonably open-mind
and process of thought.

For Rule Number Two,
should be needless to expound,
an unspoken rule–
have proof, or at least
citations of information.

Who, what, when, where, why
How the commenter knows,
…at least Who Said So?
citation of source
and last—Who Cares?

© Sometimes, 2016

 

A Re-blog of “EU Mission to Mars; no thanks” by Calers. With commentary from a space-nut.

Here is an interesting post by Calers, one of my favorite bloggers…who always manages to stretch my imagination. Like Kermit the Frog, I subscribe to the like of Dreamers and Lovers and all of the many songs about rainbows and the sheer joy of speculation and imagination that is an innate part of our Human Intelligence. Or as my late husband once suggested: maybe I am just “nuts.”

 

Calers's Blog

The EU has many urgent needs. A mission to Mars is not one of them. Greece may need another bailout. The EU is trying to form an army. There is massive illegal immigration. Many EU states have terrifyingly large deficits. The PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) still suffer from massive unemployment. Among the young this is beyond massive. We need to turn to green energy.

The USA already has missions to Mars. It is wasteful for the United States too. There is no need for the EU to copy such profligacy. It is part of the EU’s small man syndrome. The European Union often tries and fails to rival the United States.

The EU is better than the USA in terms of dealing with poverty and providing healthcare. We have a far lower murder rate and a better human rights situation. Why do EU fanatics feel impelled to take…

View original post 132 more words

THIS UNREST IN ITS WIDER FRAMEWORK (Re-Blog from Jnana’s Red Barn)

I like this post by Jnana Hodson–and would like to comment here.

When anyone tells me that I should just put up with injustice and world atrocities of various degrees because I “can’t do anything about it…” I like to say YES, I CAN! Just speaking out about it! As I see it, my responsibility is to voice thoughts and interpretations in any way I can. Admittedly, “preaching to the choir” is actually what I do here in this blog…most of those who follow my blog tend to agree with me. They “get it” most of the time. So what have I personally done? I have taught university classes, written newspaper columns and decades of news and point-of-view articles. Now my main audience is other bloggers. I write poems, opinion pieces, talk to my readers through my blog, talk to my family and friends—some of whom consider me a valuable source of information—others who don’t.

Every scrap of information, from any source, counts. I never make snide comments or asides, and I do make every effort to back up what I say with references and citations. Nothing is ever black or white, always shades of gray. I can be wrong (really!) Sometimes I have a complete about-face…there is no shame in changing one’s mind. Some call it being “wishy-washy” or “easily swayed”…I like to call it “flexibility.”   The point is that my opinions are based on information and facts, unless clearly stated otherwise.       What is wrong is not to share what we know (or think we know.)

Jnana's Red Barn

Oh, these polemic rants! Maybe they become endless? There’s always injustice and inequality and those who would cheat us.

Sin, in other words, inflicted on the public. Bring on the repentance and cleansing.

So that’s the underlying struggle, it’s over spiritual values and action in motion or their lack, whether the candidate and the party are pressing for the greater good of all or the private enrichment of a few alone.

In the face of overwhelming odds, that’s the equation. But remember little David facing Goliath.

And then the way preaching, even to the choir, does renew the soul and prepare the faithful for spiritual battle.

As well as prophets, who often sound like Woodpecker, off in the wilderness somewhere.

One thing I’ve found in releasing Woodpecker’s drumming is a breakout from a feeling of helplessness. A cry as a kind of prayer. Now, back to the fray, together …

View original post

rats and sinking ships

Donald Trump finally succeeded
in shocking his fellows…
now he’s watching in dismay
while they scramble to jump ship.

It was OK when Mr T made nasty remarks
about Megan and Rosie and Miss Universe
that were just worthy of snickers…
his followship barely wrinkled.

The insane idea of using the nukes
as long as they are stacked up waiting
to annihilate or “educate”
various would-be belligerants.

A good idea to plan alternatives
for marching aliens back to their spaceships
peacefully and obediently…even citizens.
Build a wall…keep ’em out in the first place.

Women don’t know what’s good for them,
so The Don and his lackeys will teach them
that they have no say over their bodies or lives.
Population control through legislation.

Playing footsie with long-time enemies
is acceptable, if frowned-upon….  effective
as long as it insults and  slanders the President.
Were they not paying attention during the Cold War?

But now—the ultimate straw–the camel’s
nemesis!  At last something that loosens the
groveling and politically correct echoing
of the Party Line by even the most promising!

Dirty Words…bad expressions of filth and misogny
that bring snickers and good-old-boy “locker room”
banter from sycophants and hangers-on…
Bad Words uttered to impress and shock admirers.

Well, at least The Don didn’t try to blame Barack Obama,
the usual scapegoat for anything bad that ever happened…
as his role-model for dirty talk about women.

The rush to get off the threatening-to-sink ship
the politicians will fall all over each other trying
to escape.   Some of these chaps, it seems,
would support the Devil himself for political gain.

 

 

 

Observations and Gossip

Wow!   Just WOW!   That’s a new IN saying, has anyone noticed?    It is a simple phrase that can be applied to most any situation.

Admiration…Wow!  Did you check the CNN anchor’s HAIR!   Wow!  I haven’t decided if I like her hair that way or not.   Between you and me, it may be a tad TOO blonde.   In fact, while on that subject…have you noticed how so many of those women are blonde?–even the brunettes are blonde.  How come there aren’t any redheads?   It used to be de rigeur, back in the day, to try to get an equal number of blondes, brunettes, and redheads.  This will probably date me, but how about Betty Grable, Hedy Lamaar, and Rita Hayworth???   Huh??? (wink wink)

Say what?    NO…I really like blondes.   I love blondes.    And furthermore, to demonstrate that I am definitely NOT sexist…I also love “blonds.”  That’s how fair-haired MEN should be described.    In my family, which is VERY-extended, there are always lots of blonde/blonds.     I always attribute that to our Viking ancestor that someone found back in the family tree.     But to be fair, there are LOTS of ancestors back there….and they all have different colors of hair.

I always ought it was a tremendous rip-off that I had brown hair…nearly black in fact…and my sisters were BLONDES.   My cousins were Blondes.  Even some of my kids are blonde/blonds.      I was always very jealous of this fact.   Once I thought of becoming a redhead, which was what I always wanted to be…but when I tried it the dye (oops…coloring)  that the beautician used produced more of a brassy copper sort-of-maroonish hue.  It was quite remarkable—and WOW! what comments I got.

To get back to the News Media people’s hair,   it always strikes me as incongruous when a striking, intelligent, educated, knowledgeable woman—especially if she is wearing a slinky cocktail dress under her flack jacket—is reporting in a serious and somber no-nonsense tone of voice the latest news about murder and mayhem and general disasters across the world.      I like the more casual hair-styles the news people are allowed out in the wind and rain….by the way, did you SEE what happened when the storm blew up and rain poured down on the CNN broadcast yesterday?      That was a great segment—wind whipping  hair and blowing chairs around?

WOW!    I LOVE that kind of stuff!

 

 

The Butler would have done it…

I always thought that it was against the law to threaten the life of any politician…let alone the President of the United States!   Isn’t that called  TREASON?    This nasty, goofy old idiot–the butler–is he going to be allowed to get away with this business?   I really would expect the FBI to come bursting in the door, guns blazing, and drag the potty-mouthed guy out the door in chains.   What ever happened to that?

As for Donald Trump himself…well, folks…all you doubters out there who laughed at the detractors better start thinking pretty soon.   Put on your thinking caps and realize exactly what you guys and gals are thinking you all want in leaders of the government.  WHAT is it that you all really, really want anyway?

As for Paul Ryan, the erstwhile Speaker of the House…good lord, it will be fascinating to see him pull this one off!  I hereby forecast that one day (not in my lifetime probably) Speaker Ryan will be POTUS.   Oh, and another one of my predictions is Marco Rubio.  These guys are The Little Engine that Could personified.

And–did you guys see where TEXAS is planning to secede from the union… again?  And another thing I’ve been wanting to mention is that magnificant shoot-out in the Texas cafe last year.   Talk about a the Perfect Story…it had absolutely everything…motorcycles, guns, pretty girls in gun-belt skivvies hiding under tables…Texas Rangers!!! Oh the possibilities are endless to preserve this priceless legend on the Silver Screen.

Yeah, that Texas shootout was awhile ago, but some of the best film-videos remain to be hauled out on the News Broadcasts on significant anniversaries.   The amazing thing is, I guess, that law enforcement officials are having trouble deciding just who did what and bringing charges to a court of law.  Yer talking about stalwarts of colorful characters there!

 

The News

Every day–as if by magic
there’s a new crisis to cover
each worse and more tragic;
The Angel of Death faithfully will hover
over events which appear strategic,
choreographed, and artistic maneuvers
directed by an invisible hand–
that is not necessarily beneficial.

Breathless reporters thrilled with new news,
of open skies storming–ice defying global warming:
topics discussed and promoted in a myriad
of views…put forth by the ignorant
who deny their own tunnel vision.
Rivers run dry and farm land floods…
as camels and llamas in opposite hemispheres
suffer cooling of heat zones, and warming the cold.

Pollution and holes in the ozone  layer
threaten the livability of our sustainable atmosphere. Hunger and thirst belies the goodness of Mankind. Terrible catastrophes around the world’s surface bring heartbreak  to the homeless,
compounded by death, and hopeless despair.

All of this bad news is presented by enthusiastic
announcers, who report the daily Big Story.  And if THAT doesn’t provide the viewers with news
worthy of  consumptive tongue-clucking–
there is always news of the antics of the –bejewelled, bewitched, and beautiful–
rich and famous of the world.

© Sometimes, 2016

The Donald’s March to Infamy (re-titled and posted again.)

This is one of my personal favorite assignments from writing class last year…in response to rules that the work be a limerick and contain certain other attributes of writing poetry.  I had great fun writing it—and I think it is very pertinent at this particular time, less than a week away from the  Election for President of the United States.    I have reposted this before, and I have changed the original title previously as well.

           THE DONALD’S MARCH TO INFAMY

There once was a boy named Donald

Who wanted to  be rich, and grow up to be President

ha ha! said the people as he started to

stump

but he knew what he was doing and had all the cards he needed to

trump,

and win the game

opponents screamed like angry cat matrons

and picked on his hair and his noisy patrons

but Donald just said they should “lump it!”

You haven’t a chance, you’re not one of us, they wailed

“is that so?” said Donald as he placed a standing order for tea and crumpets

to serve to his fans to keep them from starving on the campaign trail

His crowd of the faithful grew and grew

’til they filled the land

so they bought him a very big trumpet.

© Sometimes, 2015