Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Week Of Climate Change, War & Health

Good Morning,


Seems my posting on Health Care has generated a few comments. Very Cool. Some more food for thought:

Easy to find in the news - It costs a million dollars a year to keep a US soldier in Afganistan and Iraq. (around 2,800.00 a day or about the cost of 15 nurses or 20 teachers a year) We have tens of thousands of troops there now. No need to be exact in the math. Hmmm....

Some say that health care is a racket. I am sure that part of it is. Profit on pain and misery by corporations is just damn evil. Pure and Simple. But consider, the cost of cooperation vs. warfare. Ah, now, war! That is a profit maker! Just think what we could do with all that money......

Am I alone in that thought? In addition to how President Eisenhower felt about it let us thoughtfully consider this opinion:

War Is A Racket

This is piece was written way back in 1933, but is still just as relevant. It is an excerpt from a speech by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC. Smedley Butler is one of only 19 people in the entire history of the US military to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor twice. The Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the US military.

War is just a racket.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 19091912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Ok, enough for now, and back to my semi-daily ramblings....

It has been a busy week! Today I am taking the trusty old Mazda P-up to DEQ to be tested, and, if all goes well, off to DMV for tags. Here in Oregon this process takes place every two years. Most states it happens yearly. So, is this a good or a bad thing? Oregon has long been known for its environmental laws and mindset on one hand, and its fierce personal independence on the other. Hand in hand or small insanity? I struggle with the knowledge that when I drive from place to place I am also converting 8 pounds of gasoline into atmospheric toxic fumes. Wish there was an affordable alternative but that is part of living in the country if you need to get around. And most of us do.

Have you noticed how the weather is changing? What some call Global Warming really is Climate Change. What is the big reaction to too much rain at once, to much cold at once? In the southern hemisphere the weather is getting wacked bad also - record change all over the place. (Check out what just happened in Perth Australia).



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care Changes For Better Or Worse

Good Morning People,

Guess it is no news now - 'Health Care Reform' has become the disputed law of the land. Mixed reviews. Sword cuts both ways. Best intentions. What will come of this in 10 years? I am hopeful. I have friends that have strong feelings about it on both sides. Too much. Not enough.

Let us not forget this however, just over a year ago the American public, by a large majority, did vote for change - and this change included changes in health care.

Seems to me that all meaningful changes (for better or worse) come with headaches, pain, and searing howling from vested interests. Status Quo for those who have it in the pocket vs. the needs of those below the curve who's basic needs affect us all. I personally feel as though any country that can afford to spend billions on killing humans (endless war for profit) can afford to provide basic health care and education for all. In fact history has shown us humans that enlightened prosperous societies put education and the health of their citizens FIRST. Saying that, I am saddened that this legislation did not include a government (after all 'we the people' are the government lest we forget) option for health care provision. I am also sad that almost half of our government has rooted its mindset in another backward time where the safety of sticking heads in comfortable money sand was the order of the day.

A pity for us all. It is past time for us all to work together. The challenges of the emerging world demand a strong leading roll by the USA. Lets find a way to do it through co-operation for the sake of our children. It will not be easy and no of us will like all of it, but if we dont do it, who will? Change is war against old ways of doing things that have no place in todays world. Some say that war is sometimes necessary. In this case, perhaps it is.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Up & About

Good Morning Folks,

Yesterday we started getting things done again. The whole family is recovering nicely from the flu and the anti-biotics seem to be doing the job on my sinus. I can breath again without coughing and I can feel my strength returning. Today I return to work again - I will do the size out and buy materials for a garden project I am working on for one of my favorite clients. True, it is rainy and overcast but the attitude is sunny.



Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Mail Order Bride Aticama 1995

Good Morning Readers,

In just a little while I will be unloading our 'new to us' fully broken in '70s era Maytag washing machine! A real gear driven beauty that we bought yesterday in SW Portland for $40.00. This is gonna be good.

Reminds me of when Weng first arrived in America. I had a real beat up washer - you had to reach behind it and give the belts a tug to get it going. I embarrassed but when Weng saw it she cried with joy - her first washer after years of doing laundry by hand in the river. Now, 15 years and countless washers later, she had yet complain about our funky old washing machines. Not even once. Lucky guy, huh?

The photos from top are:

Weng with Lencho, Alishia, Dallas and Sheryl

In los cocos

On the rocks

With her Caddy.


Friday, March 19, 2010

The Big Fish & The Road To Aticama

Hello Again Readers,

I have received a number of notices from friends letting me know that my link to Francis was not working. It is now.

This dumb illness is finally breaking up and Weng and I are actually moving around. Since my hacking sounds like someone on the deathbed with a bullhorn I did not attend Tommys school choir presentation last night. The rest of the family did and you will find out about it on Wengs blog no doubt. I was restless so I set about doing some light work around the place. As Mexico and warm weather was on the mind it only seemed natural to put an hour or so into actively working on our next trip down. So, I rebuilt part of the charging system on 'The Big Fish' in preparation for it's permanent integration into our 'Bird House' resort in Aticama. We bought the Big Fish many years ago in Hillsboro Oregon from a man who had owned her for decades. This guy was a professional machinist who tricked out the electrical and plumbing systems so that Big Fish could be self sufficient for a month at a time, or more. Any of you RV'ers out there reading will appreciate some of the conversions and I will post them from time to time. So, anyway, we found this rig on Craigslist and we are captivated by the beautiful and futuristic lines - pure George Jetson vintage!! It was created in the Washington State Chinook MobleLodge factory back in 1970 out of super thick fiberglass and as far as I can tell it the body is as good as the day it first hit the road. A super rare rig - built only for a year or so with the ultra swoopy lines. Zero wear. Problem was/is - the transmission is gone. Not there at all. Missing. But for $200.00 and a call to the travel insurance tow guys she found a new home. Or rather, a safe harbor whilst being re-fitted for a new life as a true Surf Shack in the Tropics. We did a little remodeling, a new bamboo floor, stucco walls, fiesta colors and set her level, overlooking the pond. Sweet. Still no transmission until recently when we brought back the exact same, dodge 727 torqueflight tranny from our old beater rv in Aticama!! Now it is sitting in the driveway. Waiting. Waiting for me. We have been giving Big Fish a big tryout for the last week. Comfort city. Light and Airy, cant wait to get this baby on the road for her swan song south.

MoLater with photos!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

John Lennon's Childhood Front Door

Evening Music Lovers,

The scanner is up and running so I can send a few pre-digital images your way now..... about 15 years ago a friend named Linda gave me this photo of the childhood front door of John Lennon's home as a christmas present. If you are familiar with his art and music then it is easy to see the power of childhood perception and it's effect on later life...

for a little john lennon tune sung by johnny cash just click HERE

guess the words and melody will work with anyone's life, rich or poor, famous or not, happy or sad.

Salud John Lennon

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Mail Order Bride

Evening Readers,

Went out to get some fresh air with Thomas this evening. We wandered over to the 'Sub' (bus spelled backwards). I brought the Sub to Oregon from Ohio about 33 years ago, parked it and here it has stayed. It is full of the world that was my life before I married Weng. My mail order bride. Here she is on the island of Boraci back in 1994 whilst on our honeymoon..........


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Good Evening,

What a day. Once again Weng and I were at the Doctors office. And the result? Could be worse. Weng left with some medicine and an all will be ok. I diagnosed with severely infected sinus and walked away with some really big anti-biotics and a firm "take it easy, drink a lot of water, use a nette pot and sleep, sleep, sleep"


Salud Amigos

A Couple Of Really Rough Days On The Bonny Slope

Hello All,

I am pleased to tell you the Francis, Thomas & 'V' are all doing much better! They still sound bad with the awful cough but, no doubt due to the miracle of youth, are up and at um......

Weng and I on the other hand. WEll, the last 3 days have been punishing. I have not slept for days more than the occasional cat nap. Both of our heads are exploding with sinus migraines. I am not sure if mold (in combination with this nasty virus) is to blame but we have taken mighty measures to insure that we are living in a controlled mold free zone - in the belly of the Big Fish. Last week I scrubbed every interior inch with soap and bleach and mold killer (not sure it needed it tho) then installed a dehumidifier, a 4 way air purifier (negative ions, uv, hepa filter and charcoal filter) and a two piece ion agitation system. I am sure it smells like an ocean beach now, if only my sence of smell would return! Weng and I are more than lucky to have such wonderful clients to work with. We let everyone know that we have been ill and the support and understanding has been fantastic.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Escala Live

Hello Music Lovers,

What happens when you combine full string classical music with dramatic rhythm and amazing instruments played by 4 classically beautiful women musicians playing 'Pallaido' ? The golden girls in the photo above is the group - you will be suprised when you do yourself the favor of listening to them.....

Simply click HERE.

*NOTE - I have noticed that on a few YouTube videos you may see a little box telling you that there my be missing content. These videos may take a couple of seconds longer to load. Not sure what content is missing but the music seems to be ok.*

We are all on the mend and will be back up and running by midweek. This music pepps up the spirit.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bonny Slope Weather Report - Its A 'Bear'

Good Morning All,

Love to read Ms. Tioga weather reports - thought I'd do the same in kind, so, here goes.

Live from the Bonny Slope Oregon - outside it is now 38deg. with zero sign of the sun. Inside it is 65deg. with cranky children. The Iron Woman is warmly rusting in bed.

In honor of todays weather I humbly present Mr. Lyle Lovett singing 'Bear' live in 1998. Simply click HERE to listen to this musical bit of warm weather. Or how about Lyle Lovett and John Hyatt together live on Letterman last year. Very cool. Click HERE to listen.



A Late Night Hello,

Check out my ThinkMusic section for a some fond memories..........'Amy'

Anyone out there remember the tune?

Salud and Sweet Dreams

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rust Never Sleeps

Hello Again Readers,

We have been home for 3 weeks now and the Iron Woman has decreed that a major spring cleaning is in the works. Starting tomorrow. That is, weather permitting. One downside to living in a natural rainforest area like Portland Oregon is winter time mold. Well now, I have lived here for over 30 years and have never been bothered by mold, but that may have just been for a number of reasons - strong constitution, malt-o-meal, running away for the winter months, luck..... who knows? Hours of internet research on the subject shows an entire industry of mold busters living off of this silent, demonic condition so for sure the thing is real. I have seen it from time to time growing in clients homes but never here in our living areas. It is what I do not see is what I am concerned about.

We are a family of breathers, eaters and skin/hair shedders. So, while there may not be a lot we can do about bugs the children bring home from school, we can bring the home humidity levels down to 35% with a dehumidifier, pick up a hepa air filter and make sure that the sink is always free of dishes!

I wonder how the human race ever managed to survive in a place like this before we all became 'civilized'. Which brings up an interesting question - with a place as damp and rainy as western oregon, why is it that cars and outdoor metal machines very seldom rust?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Ultimate Rube Goldberg Machine

Hello Again Readers,

Thanks for taking a moment of your day to see what our day is doing! Today marks day 6 of 'Big Flu On The Bonny Slope'. I am getting better and Iron Woman is holding steady, Tommy was sent home yesterday with fever from school, Francis discombobulated with stuffiness, and Commander Vee is puffy red eyed and home from school. We are all in bed and I am thinking about investing in Progresso Brand Chicken Soup. We have gone through 12 cans of it in a week. And Vicks vapo rub and loads of other stuff. A couple of days ago I dug out the old Negative Ion Generators from storage and fired them up. I do think it is doing some good! Perhaps not as good as Aticama ocean air. All of our heads are totally plugged up and we look like cartoon characters from a sinus commercial. complaining, though it may sound that way, just happy we have blessings to count. Heaps of rainfall is expected the next several days here in Oregon. What to make of it all?

Humor, thats what!! If you have not seen it then click HERE to check out a truly amazing rube goldburg machine that was added to youtube only last week......

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ok, Down For The Count On The Bonny Slope

Hello Again Readers,

Weng, the Iron Woman, has fallen to a tiny bug! Last week the children brought home this bug from the university of bugs - grade school. By Sunday we were all hacking like crazy and Weng and I were in the state of denial over it. We could not possibly be sick! WELL, .................... yesterday Francis went for a 'fit in' appointment at the clinic, and, yep, it is a throat ripper that slows down kids but knocks down parents. Rats, we are almost out of tissue! Is there a lesson to be learned here? Probably not. I was sick when I began my blog last year and it seems like I have spent more time being sick than doing anything else! Am I complaining? I am not sure but I do wonder at our folly sometimes. I mean, here we lay in our snug and cozy bed living vicariously through the adventures of our pal, George of Ms. Tioga fame. Small comfort in knowing we are not alone! Our heads are plugged up and aching and it is all I can do to scribble these few thoughts. And, while this 'mortal coil' of flesh may be suffering, our attitudes are as fine as frog's hair.

About todays warm photos: Photos of George and Herman, both the same age and looking the world like brothers, trying to make water boil...... (really).... the iron woman............ Paloma and her daughter Donna, and one of the resident iguana's - Ol' Baggy


ps . the

Monday, March 8, 2010

Down But Not Out On The Bonny Slope

Good Morning Readers,

"Sweet Misery, she loves her company....."

Seems like the change in climate this year was too much for our little family! Normally we return from our southern home in Aticama in the spring. The middle of the winter in Oregon can be a real difference - 40deg. difference in fact has left us all (in the words of Weng) 'barking like dogs'. Let this be a lesson.

Now on a more positive note - a couple of days ago I won an Ebay auction on a used Dell laptop, just my old one that was destroyed in the big storm in Aticama last month (could that have only been one month ago?!) The computer arrived and it was as slow as the March Turtle so I spent some good sick time over the weekend re-programming it. Aced it. Now I have a machine I can use!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Breakfast On Bonny Slope

Good Morning Readers,

Breakfast is a very important meal. For almost 40 years I have been eating Malt-O-Meal for breakfast between 5am and 7am. Almost a pound and a half when you add bananas, cream, a tablespoon of butter, honey, half a cup of natural yogurt, handful of raisins and dried cranberries. It takes about 20 minutes to eat and you really must eat it before it gets cold!! Cold it has the consistency of curing concrete. Towards the bottom of the bowl the going gets a bit challenging as the ol' stomach fills up...........

This simple formula keeps me going until around 11am....then its time for the mid-morning sandwich......

For those of you crazy enough to want to know more about Malt-O-Meal click here.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Way It Was

Good Morning Readers,

Yesterday I returned to work. I have the good fortune to have work in these troubled times! Pure AutoPilot. Tools. Materials. Project at my fingertips, I watched as the thing opened in front of me - this to that to this to that. All the while my mind was in a place far away and my thoughts moving a couple of story lines along. I have decided to write about my childhood nanny, Josephine Ross and her extraordinary life and times. I think I mentioned her once last summer. To my knowledge there are no photos existing of the woman. That is something considering she lived to be over 100 years old! She left no heirs, no family and all her friends died decades ago. You would think in the mountain of stuff that I have accumulated over the years I would have something to remember her by other than my memories. Indeed, I must go back 50 years now to feel her touch again. To taste her cooking, to listen to her rich southern, easy feminine voice. She was long legged tall and dancer thin. Light brown almost white skinned with hair not often seen out of coarse thick salt & pepper braided hair. Her most striking feature was her face, all impossibly wide cheekbones with the darkest brown eyes and huge perfectly formed lips.

At least that's how I remember her looks. Small wonder I married Weng I recon.
Todays photos were not taken 50 years ago. They were taken only 7 years ago in Aticama, just before Weng got pregnant with Kawena May Ruth. When I started in earnest building the 'BirdHouse'.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Across The Universe

Good Morning,

Yesterday we watched the film 'Across The Universe' again. For those of you who are not familiar with the movie I would urge you to see it - particularly if you lived through the '50s, '60s & '70s. The story line, acting, script and music are unmatched. The visuals are something to behold. It will move you. Click here to hear a moving version of 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' (and humorous footage) Click here to see an amazing rendition of 'I Want You' - pure genius. These young actors actually sing the music!

Well, it is now 7am and work calls.
Salud Amigos