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The Plight of the Originals

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

A few hundred years ago, North America was sitting between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, pretty much as it is now. It was not barren, and it was not deserted. It was populated by indigenous people, living quietly and peacefully, with an abundance of land to share.

cheyenne-indian-prisoners

People of the Cheyenne tribe, captured outside of their reservation, awaiting ‘deportation’

The same consuming greed of Europeans who first settled in Canada and the USA is visible in the behavior of the 21st century oligarchs, with Donald Trump as poster boy. In those early days of settling, newcomers were staking claims on large tracts of land. Why? How? Was this land theirs because they stuck a flag in it? Is the moon theirs because they stuck a flag in it?

The invasion of North America by foreign powers is an historic outrage. Considering Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower as wonderful notes in history is to take a very selfish view. The people whose land this really was are the real native North Americans. They are the people that were here for thousands of years, not our puny hundreds of years.

The real outrage is: the people who actually belong on this land are relocated. Back in the day, they were treated like animals, robbed of dignity as well as property. With gun powder against arrows, the newcomers slaughtered with bullets and disease. Thereafter, the rightful residents were shipped off to designated areas, in spite of the fact that they live off the land, and what land they’re on makes an important difference.

apache-indian-prisoners

Apache tribe people captured off their ‘reservation’, waiting for the train to return them.

I remember reading a book by Daniel Boone, in which he told of getting his gang together and preparing to go out to “shoot Indians.” Some American hero, huh?

We can never make restitution for the horrors wrought by our forefathers. Even to this day in the 21st century, northern native peoples live in constant discomfort. It is wrong.

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The Sheeny Man

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Sheeny man

In the 1950s, one could still see horse-drawn carts on the city streets. Some were the bread men, some were the ice men, some were the milk men, and some were the sheeny men. My sheeny man was Mr. Mintz, and his old horse was Annie.

I say he was my sheeny man because he was the only one I ever met or spoke with. Not too much speaking, of course, because I speak English and he spoke Yiddish. I worked on the weigh scale at a large scrap yard. Mr. Mintz came with Annie and the cart full of scrap about once a week.

It was not good scrap, in fact we’d really rather not have it. It usually consisted of old rusty bedsprings and tin oil cans. It cost more to have two men take it off the cart and throw it onto the scrap heap than it was worth. However, Mr. Mintz was a quiet, poor, religious man, so we accepted his scrap, doubled the weight and paid double the value.

One Friday afternoon, Mr. Mintz clopped through the scrap yard gate and positioned Annie so the wagon was on the scale. I weighed the wagon with the load and Mr. Mintz guided Annie to where two of the yard workers could drag the bedsprings, tin cans and rusty pieces of metal off of the cart and onto the scrap heap.

It was the end of my day at the yard. I weighed Mr. Mintz’s empty cart and subtracted the light weight from the loaded weight and paid for the difference. As usual, we cheated in Mr. Mintz’s favour and gave him double the value of his load. I realized that Mr. Mintz would be eager to get home before sundown, in time for the evening Sabbath prayers.

I left the office in time to see Annie and Mr. Mintz clopping along Carmody Street. I had always wondered what Mr. Mintz’s life might be like. Where does he keep his cart? Where does he keep Annie? On impulse, I decided to track Mr. Mintz to his lair. It was a mild evening, I was only 18, and Annie was slow. I could follow him on foot for as far as he was going.

I was surprised that it was barely six blocks to Mr. Mintz’s destination. At first, I was surprised that he went to Bellaire Boulevard, a wide residential street with large, elegant mansions on both sides. These mansions had long since ceased to be single family dwellings with servants. They are rooming houses, divided into small flats, but still, the boulevard is elegant, with old, large maple trees overhanging the street, casting cool shadows.

Annie crossed Bellaire and clopped past the street of mansions until she turned right into a back lane that ran behind the walled, mansion properties. Most of them had old sheds, garages, or parking areas accessible through the lane.

The horse stopped at a row of sheds, taller than the others around it. Mr. Mintz climbed down from the wagon and led Annie a bit farther on before he went to an overhead door in one of the sheds and had the horse back the wagon into the shed. With the wagon in the shed, and the horse outside, Mr. Mintz took the tack off of Annie and opened a swinging garage door to lead the horse into a spacious stall.

Mr. Mintz had seen me following him all along. He looked down the lane at me and waved me over. I stood near him as he saw to Annie’s bedding, grain and hay. She had an open window that looked out on the yard of the mansion beyond it. Mr. Mintz asked if I would like to see inside. Obviously, he perceived my fascination, and I jumped at the chance. He closed Annie’s shed and led me to a pedestrian doorway in the third shed.

One large room was neatly laid out and maintained. A small bathroom contained a toilet and old-fashioned bath tub on claw legs. A small kitchen area with a 4 element stove and small refrigerator covered a wall. A Formica counter carried a sink and dish drying rack, with a large window that looks out at the garden behind the mansion.

There was a full bookcase, but there was no television. An easy chair beside a reading lamp completed the room’s furnishings. I asked where he slept. He opened a door in the wall that faced Annie’s shed. There was a bed between Mr. Mintz’s shed and Annie’s shed. He said he liked to sleep close to her. Her body heat gave him comfort, and his presence gave Annie peace.

I walked back to my car, contemplating the life of Mr. Mintz, the Sheeny man. He was as happy and satisfied as anyone I ever met.

All Our Gods

October 8, 2017 1 comment

Many years ago there was a popular documentary film called, “Mondo Cane” (Konay). It depicted outrageous acts and traditions among various societies, either modern or primitive. There was one sequence in which a small airplane flew over the village of a primitive tribe. It was the only plane they’d ever seen, so it caused much consternation among the simple people.

The sight and sound of the aircraft led the tribal leaders to conclude that it must be a god. The tribe gathered lengths of bamboo with which to build a tower, perhaps 20 meters tall. At the top of the tower was constructed a crude, bamboo version of the small, single engine aircraft.

The new god had the appearance of a basic Piper Cub airplane, with a tail and rudder, and wing-like protrusions out from its sides. The tribe worshipped their new god. They developed holy dances and holy rituals. Annual festivals were held in adoration of the answer to all problems – a bamboo replica of a small aircraft.

The god of that simple, primitive tribe is every bit as valid as any other god. No god is any better or any worse than the bamboo tower god, because there actually is no god at all, nor is one necessary.

The Victim Is Not The Sinner

October 6, 2017 Leave a comment

David was grumbling aloud. David is an uptight guy. He needs any reason or no reason, but he’s always nervous. Apparently his mother was severely depressed, and it was a burden on David while he was growing up.

David had just given $20 to an old man at the door. The man claimed to be a rabbi without a congregation, and was hoping to create a synagogue. Now David was grumbling. He was thinking, what if the guy wasn’t a real rabbi? What if he just takes the $20 and buys a small bottle of gin and a cheap hooker.

I just wanted to give David some relief, if I could. I pointed out that he’d done nothing wrong. In fact, he’d done a gracious act of generosity, which is a good thing and it was the right thing to do. If the man is a liar, he has sinned. David, however, is honorable, and has not sinned. The victim is not the sinner.

If someone disappoints you, and does something against you, don’t blame yourself. You’ve done nothing wrong. You are the victim and your antagonist is the sinner.

This is not Bigotry

July 14, 2017 Leave a comment

I am going to avoid forming friendships with two groups in the future. One group is the Jewish cult of Hassidic people. The other group is black people. I know how it can look like bigotry, but I am not against any kind of people in general. Let me explain.

I have had friendly relationships with three black people; two women and a man. All three disappointed me. They took advantage of my sincerity, my ability, and in general, they each, in separate friendships, disappointed me. Of course I will meet with and talk with other black people, but I will shy away from forming any kind of friendship or relationship. I have befriended three different black people in three different environments. They did not know each other. Each one, in ways similar to the others, betrayed my affection.

Similarly, I am never going to form a friendship with a Hassidic person. I have done business, and formed friendships with three Hassidic families. We enjoyed many conversations, teaching each other things from our separate societies. Each was a separate relationship, in business and in friendship. Of course, they knew each other, because they are all connected within their division of the cult.

In spite of very comfortable relationships, each of the Hassidic businesses cheated me. They refused to pay bills, even bills that I had to pay to my suppliers. They would pretend the colour was wrong, or the type was wrong, and used that to justify their thievery.

I did some research into how orthodox people can be crooked. What I learned is this; they have a connection with god, and their allegiance is to god. That’s why they pray 4 or 5 times a day. Their connection with society, however, is unimportant. It doesn’t count, as long as they’re in god’s good books. If one is not a practicing orthodox Jew, one does not qualify for honesty.

All religions, in one way or another, are built with the same self-importance.

Always in the Wrong Flock

March 27, 2017 Leave a comment

I came from an upper-middle class family. Sufficiently ‘upper’ to belong to a top country club, an exclusive yacht club, and to have a fine city home and a fine summer home on a lake. The catch is; I hated it. I liked having a speedboat, a sports car and a free credit card; after all, I was a teenager. At the same time, I hated the kind of people among whom I lived. I hated the country club ways, and the people that gathered there. If you’ve seen ‘Goodbye Columbus’, you get a look at what it was like. It wasn’t for me.

I like simple people. Honest people with car payments and rent problems like average people. So I lived among simple, hard-working people. I became a simple, hard-working person. I worked in a wholesale fabric warehouse, assistant to the shipper. But I was always separate. Most of those people are devoted Christians. I’m a devoted Atheist. I speak in a more accurate way than my neighbours, and it’s obvious to them. I know some things about art, theatre, and music. They know country music, agriculture and animal husbandry. The people in my area tapped the trees and boiled sap into maple syrup. I helped neighbours with that, just for the love of the experience.

After a few years, I had some friends in the area, but still at arm’s length. I dated women I met on the Internet, so I could seek some that were from a somewhat similar background to mine. They were just small social events among people who wanted to spend less time alone. I believe some of the women would like to have formed relationships with me. To avoid misunderstanding, I always made it clear that my intent was to enjoy with her, some dinners, some movies or concerts, some picnics and goodnight. Each always agreed that it was simply keeping company. These women were usually up to twenty years younger than I was, and a relationship wouldn’t work.

I felt fed up with being semi-accepted in my community and in my private life. I decided to change up, although I’m not sure that the wealthy community is up and not down. Especially during the era of Trump. In any case, I sold out and took my talents into advertising. I used my art and writing commercially. I also created and wrote a television series. I was soon able to buy my way into the pinnacle class of Private Clubs. The average member family had at least a billion dollars. I wore the right suits, I spoke the right words and dated the right ladies. Still, I was again on the fringe.

It was the reverse of the simple, hard-working people. These people never worked. They only lived high and wasted excessively on grandpa’s efforts and innovation. They collected art by price more than quality. They supported operas but rarely attended. Their children were ghastly and destined to replicate their decadent parents. I didn’t fit in. I couldn’t stand them.

Finally, I realized that I’m deeply antisocial, and all of these different levels of society don’t fit me, nor I them. I took a job as a lighthouse keeper. Now I sit out there on that rock, the sea around me leaping and dancing, while I make lunch. Sometimes I paint pictures. Sometimes I watch seabirds, plunging and rising with their struggling prey held tightly in their sharp beaks. I have my dog. He and I have an excellent, calming relationship, and all is well in the lighthouse. My flock is me and my dog.

Terrorists Have Changed My Mind

March 22, 2017 Leave a comment

I’ve enjoyed my life as an adventure. I never took anything too seriously, except my obligations and commitments. Those I took very seriously and fulfilled them promptly, to the best of my ability. To make certain I did the right things for my obligations and commitments, I refrained from wasting time and energy on things that were not my responsibility.

Recently I have been bothered by urges to care about things that are not my responsibility. The behaviour and the words of the Murderous Muslim Fanatics make me care about things that go on far from me and my loved ones. I don’t like to feel that I want to do something to stop them.

Of course I can’t do anything about it. That’s frustrating and irritating. I’m old ‘way beyond my ‘best before’ date, and I’m a peaceful, non-violent person. I can draw and write, but I don’t have access to media distribution. What a feeble thing it would be to write blogs about how I feel about the present state of the world.

The USA is totally nuts. The Eastern areas of the world are totally nuts. The cops are trigger happy. Billionaire sociopaths are ruining morality among lawmakers and courts.

Wealth is an addictive commodity. People who are addicted to it become sociopaths under the illusion that they’re correct about everything and are more important than other people. They are wrong about that, obviously, and must be taught a lesson.

I believe that the pen is mightier than the sword, and the only thing I can do for the resistance against the oligarchs is write. Unfortunately, I haven’t the patience to figure out how one ‘promotes’ their blogs. More importantly, I just don’t want to waste time promoting when I could be writing… which I enjoy very much.

Here I sit, safe from some kinds of attacks. We live in a tiny village of small homes. A wide, former highway runs through the middle of the village. Now it’s just an enormous road that is a quiet ‘main street’. There are no stores, markets, gas stations or restaurants from end to end. There is, however, an enormous, cathedral-like church, and a delightfully picturesque, ancient cemetery behind it. The village is virtually like a little cluster of homes in the midst of broad, fertile farmers’ fields.

We live a lower risk way of life, so we feel fairly safe compared with our former ‘big city’ homes. I can now only fight the oligarchy with my pen. I would never take up a sword.