It So Happens


October 31, 2021-

Tonight was one of the mildest, and nicest Hallowe’en nights in quite some time. I set out a table with candy in a bowl, and a lit Jack-o’-lantern, in front of Home Base, and ten people took from the bowl. I was also helping out at the American Legion post’s treat distribution, which saw about 60 people and 3 service dogs come through. This is the kind of community we have, where a neighbour watching through a window can monitor treats set outside, while the host is able to offer greater services, in a different location.

There is also the matter of sixty people, lined up on either side of the entrance to our major hospital, engaging in protests against any vaccine mandate. They drew the Far Right “Let’s go, Brandon” crowd, which is distracting from the basic message of letting people decide for themselves, as to their health regimen. I have mixed feelings about the vaccine mandate. I was allowed to decide for myself, and made the informed decision to take Moderna’s vaccine, because I was working around children, in fairly close quarters. I do believe others should have the same latitude, while acknowledging that not everyone takes the time to learn for themselves about this very complex matter. The conservatives are not the only antagonists here. Shaming people, rather than educating them, may be an understandable reaction of frustrated officials-but it is not working and not helping. The only effective tool, at the disposal of those trying to bring the pandemic to heel, is education. That takes time, especially when so much misinformation and distraction is being thrown out by those whose sole intent is to divide and rule.

Then, there is the poison bait of “Let’s blame parents”, also originally tossed out to the frustrated officials, by those same controlling forces-who then turn around and present themselves as advocates for the parents. Parents are partners, not adversaries, of educators. They are not terrorists, even when they lose their tempers. Parenting is the greatest influence on a child’s life. Education is the second greatest.

There is the red herring of “Critical Race Theory”, which is not even a real thing, anymore. I was present when it was being bandied about, in the universities of the 1970s. I have heard threads of it being discussed, in incoherent and disconnected ways, as part of the general effort to tell history in all its messy completeness. That overall mission is laudable-and long overdue. “Old times there are not forgotten”, nor should they be-but they need to be understood in their true light: An economically expedient and morally putrid system, that bankrupted the souls of the ruling class in the South, their economic partners in the North, and all their immediate underlings, as well as terrorizing and debilitating the enslaved. Listen, however, to the demagogues, and you would think that CRT is ubiquitous in middle schools and high schools. I work in some of those schools, talk to others who work in others of those schools and IT IS NOT.

It so happens that, when people at the ground level talk with one another and listen with both ears, they figure out that the demagogues are duping them. They figure out that Demagogue A is more interested in getting rid of Demagogue B, and vice versa, than in really solving problems-which in many cases is akin to making sausage. Thus, the obfuscation, the name-calling, the blamecasting that has come to characterize politics, worldwide. Thus, does it fall to us to start making informed decisions, for (and with) our children, for our communities, for our country and for our planet. We, on the ground, whether “liberal”, “conservative” or “progressive” have more in common than we have different. We need to remind those engaged in the art of distract and rule of that basic fact.

I am no fan of J.P. Morgan, but his tactic of locking discordant people in a room, until they found a common purpose, merits investigation. I’d like to see that done with the demagogues.

Rain, Fading Colours and Certitude


October 30, 2021- Rain put a slight damper on the celebration of Hallowe’en Eve, in Salem. The last day, or two, of October constitutes a prime commercial windfall for the Witch City. Indeed, October as a whole has emerged as Salem’s prime tourism season. The confluence is that of the city’s being the site of several, but not all, of the trials of people (mostly women and girls) with the American observance of All Hallows Eve-itself a metamorphosis of the early Christian (ca. 4th Century A.D.) honouring of departed saints, and family members of the faithful, for the three days October 31-November 2. British Celts began the custom of disguising oneself as a departed person, and going house to house for small food items. This custom came to North America, with the mass immigration of Irish, Scottish and Welsh people, from the 17th Century onward. It gradually evolved into today’s secular practices of widely varying costume play and the disbursing of treats. Should the rain continue, tomorrow evening, in Salem and environs, it will diminish, but not cancel, the celebration. Having grown up in a town not too far from Salem, I can predict many ghouls, goblins, witches, even 10-foot-tall dinosaurs and skeletons will be afoot-even some in rain gear.

Some scenes from Salem were shared by cellphone, as Hiking Buddy and I drove from Prescott, through Jerome, Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, to the overlook at that canyon’s North Rim. The idea was for HB to be able to see at least some of the remaining fall foliage-a bit of which was still bright, despite being still in recovery from an injury. That mission was accomplished, and was a good use of a day which was quite open-ended.

The day started with my consideration, again, of the balance between serving this community and following insights from my spirit guides. It is, in my condition of certitude, a question of balance. There are those whose mantra is: “Bloom where you’re planted!” There is also the mantra of “Follow your own path!” The truth, for me, means following a path that incorporates both time spent in one place, serving those living here, and extending one’s network to people and places further afield. My path to certitude thus does not subscribe to the dictates of even the most well-meaning of those around me. Rather, it derives from intense reflection and meditation.

Even the most open-ended day can bring sunshine into the lives of others.

Fog Clears


October 29, 2021- Ninety-two years ago today, the Universe reacted to nearly a decade of excess and careless handling of finances, across many strata of society. Today, there was a modest amount of give and take, in the financial markets and they ended the month of October on a mildly upbeat note.

Ninety years ago, with a year left before the Presidential Election of 1932, what was left of the nation’s business elite was blaming the entire mess on “shiftless workers”, who “expect handouts”. Today, there is little changed, in that regard. The difference is that the philosophical heirs of that elite are blaming Unemployment Compensation and Social Security, as well as “lazy workers”, for what is largely a supply chain jam-up, caused by a variety of factors-only a few of which are independently verifiable. Much remains in the realm of speculation, and thus is beyond the purview of this web log.

Eighty-nine years ago, a president who was in over his head was replaced by a man who had been governor of the most populous state in the Union and who had a fair amount of experience in the financial markets. It was a gargantuan task that greeted that successor, and it took him the better part of three terms in office to promulgate a recovery. Today, we are a nation in gradual recovery from a worldwide disease pandemic, a year after another president who struggled was replaced-by a somewhat more seasoned public official-who is also struggling.

The difference between then and now is that we are faced with the ambiguity that comes from too much contradictory and rapidly flowing information. Most people are at their worst, when faced with ambiguity. No one likes to be wrong, so shades of gray flummox us. Good guys aren’t supposed to wear black hats. Villains are supposed to lack virtue. The fog is supposed to clear by Noon.

When the fog does clear, though, we see that there are all manner of contradictions-and no one gets off scot-free. The physical disease will lose its pandemic status, probably in less than a year. The disease of ego gratification will take longer to curb-and will entail some loud voices, coming from ungainly personages-on both sides of the aisle, being rendered silent-by the power of the voting booth. We will, each and all, be left with the challenge of learning to listen to those who see things differently than we.

It would be well to resume, or at least start, that process now.

Two Pandemics


October 28, 2021- The viral scourge is ebbing, around these parts and in several other locations around the globe. In other areas, the stubborn Delta strain is proving to be far more than just a nuisance that keeps people from living the lives they had planned. It is, in those areas, a reminder that nothing can be accomplished, in the long run, without a personal commitment to healthful living. Without a robust immune system, any microbe can take root and develop into a “Superbug”. Fortunately, there are advances in organic diets and bona fide natural supplements that can help us to build such immune systems.

There is another pandemic, that of intolerance and false certitude. This is the pandemic of illiberalism, and it infects those on both ends of the political spectrum. We see it in the national governments of several countries-again, both ultraconservative and progressive. We see it in the pronouncements, on and offline, of authoritarian mindsets. I see it in the people who have turned on me, for making honest comments that don’t mesh with their own narrow views of how the world should be. Again, the only remedy for this is a robust immune system: Imperviousness to personal attacks, sudden emotional shutdowns and backs turned; a groundedness that sees one through attempts by others to shun and isolate.

I have had two doses of Moderna vaccine-at the behest of both my employer, Educational Services Incorporated and of the American Red Cross, with which I volunteer my services. Quite honestly, I feel no difference in my health and might possibly have managed to not become infected, given a commitment to using natural supplements and largely keeping to an organic diet. Yet, minimizing even that risk-even if it means running afoul of those who oppose the vaccinations, is not altogether a bad thing.

In adhering to my personal values, it has been reassuring to avoid being swept up in the political maelstroms that go in both directions and collide in the middle. I have lost friends on both the Right and on the Left-people who claim to love God above all else and others who claim to be filled with love for humanity. That love is very short-lived indeed, when they are faced with those of differing opinions. It all boils down to how one views the world.

So, ask yourselves- Which is most important: Loving people as they are and gently encouraging them to do better, or hammering people, relentlessly, until they toe the line you have drawn? I have a feeling that each knows the answer.



October 27, 2021-

I spent a fair amount of time today thinking about how I view various things.

When I look in the mirror, sometimes I see my father and his older brother. Other times, I see my oldest maternal uncle or Grandma’s family. Mainly, I see a unique personage.

When I look through my front window, I see the golds, reds and yellows of autumn, with the residual green of a summer that has shed its heat, but not its life. I see Thumb Butte, rising majestically, five miles to the west, and not in the least compromised by the power lines across the street.

When I look at the landlord, outside in our backyard that has become his workspace, I see a driven, uncompromising workhorse, most at home with the tools that could have been consigned to a bygone era, but which still find a use, as they did when we collaborated on upgrading and cleaning my apartment’s furnace. I see the value in not throwing some things away.

When I look at my once and future hiking buddy, still on the mend, I see a determined, sometimes flustered woman-in-full, concentrating on her healing arts, occasionally needing a change in scene, and always grateful for a hand up.

When we looked at the green mountains, and the granite boulders, with their polyglot shapes, to the west of Prescott, we saw the majestic aftermath of all the upheavals that have riven this still very active planet.

I look at life, and see no end to the possibilities for fullness, growth and joy. I see that we must not give up on our efforts, whether individual or collective.



October 26, 2021-

Who is more uncomfortable teaching math to a group? The question was on both my mind and that of my co-teacher, earlier today. The kids were not too concerned. My group seemed to understand the lesson, and took my fat-fingering the Smart Board graphics in stride. The other group loves their teacher too much, to not cut her some slack, in the one-day absence of her regular co-teacher.

Besides, these two classes are perfect examples of what keeps me connected to education, even after official retirement. They are typical, robust, sometimes devious 11-year-olds, but when it comes to learning, to paying attention, their concept of their role is spot-on. Like the native speakers of Parisian French or Mandarin Chinese, all they ask is that you try.

Trying to explain a concept that is a bit rusty, from decades of scant use, is a temptation for shyness or self-doubt to set in. I said “No”, to that temptation, and took the fat-fingering in stride. It was made all the easier by the students’ assumption that Boomers know nothing of Smart Boards, and their inherent patience. (Disclosure: Penny was in the first group of teachers in Arizona to use a Smart Board, in 2002. I got to try the tool out, several times, on visits to her classroom.) The kids were amazed, at how quickly I learned to use the tool.

There is joy, and power, in extending oneself. That is the most important lesson I hope the students picked up today.

Right Choices


October 25, 2021- The six-year-olds with special abilities, as those needing extra academic and medical attention are called, these days, admonished their classmate for running about the room, reminding him that he had fallen and injured himself, whilst doing the same thing last week.

It does not take much, anymore, for even the youngest children to extrapolate lessons, from either one’s own suffering or from that of others. The child chose to listen to his friends and sat down for a listening activity. Earlier, he had approached two teachers with a raised, clenched fist. That he would not have done any damage to either person was irrelevant. Somewhere, he had picked up this method of trying to intimidate others. Both teachers calmly and firmly explained to him that this is never acceptable behavior at school-or anywhere else, for that matter. All in all, the child learned a few critical lessons today.

Generation Alpha, those children born since 2010, and up until 2025, will likely shed their more impulsive behaviours more quickly than their predecessors, as much because of peer pressure that is more positive than the group mores of times past and be more engaged in affirmative self-advocacy than in confrontation and retributive acts. This looks, to me, like an unintended consequence of the self-centeredness that has been associated with generations prior, starting with Baby Boomers. Alphas are noticing that good choice making is as important as getting one’s needs met.

Mankind is definitely on a much more positive trajectory, as generations develop. Though there will always be a certain number of miscreants, in any generation, the depth and range of positive interactions between people is on an upward spiral.

No Grooming


October 24, 2021- The earnest, committed statements of the polished man gave the young ladies a feeling of relief, and over the ensuing year, they gave him their trust. Little by little, he played on their insecurities, while feigning admiration for their accomplishments. Little by little, he turned them into his personal playthings. Little by little, his baser nature took over, and their self-esteem plummeted.

Many people, over the centuries, have claimed to be advocates and standard bearers for the rights of the less fortunate, while pursuing a far more hideous agenda. This has been true of fields as varied as religion, education, social work and law enforcement. What has fueled the pernicious appetites of judges and politicians has done the same for teachers, police officers, and clergy. It is the person inside, not the uniform or the title, that has led to so much betrayal.

The road to clarity and integrity in this, and other matters of trust, is not always a smooth one. The thing I noticed, long ago, is that those who indulge in surreptitious seduction always get caught. The minute the focus becomes personal gratification, and not helping a client or associate realize her/his dreams, the slope has been greased and the downfall begins.

I think of these scenarios, as I learn of the successes, and struggles, of young women whose personal growth and self-actualization was a huge part of my professional focus, from 1981-2011-and which still is a significant part of my work. My work was to provide very clearly-defined safe havens-and there were no strings attached. I guess the saving grace was that I was in a committed marriage-and since Penny’s death, the primary commitment to helping people-women and men alike- to become their strongest and most secure selves- has remained unshakeable.

Strong women cannot be groomed-and strong men don’t need to try.

On Having Signed Up for This…


October 23, 2021- I spent close to eight hours, this afternoon and evening, at a small gathering in the front patio and fire pit area of the forested home of two long-time friends. We were joined by twin sisters, Libertarians with interesting ideas about the near future of this country-and of mankind. The conversation alone was probably one of the more interesting, and lengthy, dialogues I’ve experienced in some time. The ladies’ positions were not rooted in religious doctrine, as some other people have based their stances, but on their given, and deep-rooted notions about personal freedom.

My own views range from “conservative” (While women have the ultimate decision to make, re: abortion, the right to life of every human being is an at times inconvenient, but essential, factor in what is finally decided.) to “progressive” ( I don’t have a high regard for efforts to limit methods of voting by confirmed citizens of this country, though I have no problem with people being asked to verify their identity and address-at the time of their registration to vote.) Rights of citizenship, in sum, belong to all citizens. Rights to humane treatment belong to everyone.

We readily agreed on one basic principle: People who are sure of themselves can manage to be friends with all people of good will- and be more discerning, as to the inner goodness of a person’s heart. The ladies maintained that money is what makes the world go around. Granted, it’s an essential tool of physical human life. I hold that love is the basis of human life- period. It’s not always a given, that being loving is a ticket to material fortune-but it makes the presence of wealth more fulfilling, and the absence of wealth far more tolerable, as well as probably of shorter duration.

I signed up for whatever is sent me, by the Creator and by Universal Energy. I believe in the efficacy of the Law of Attraction, having received both positive and negative vibrations, in fair abundance. These days, my bent is more on the positive-despite a brief period of doubt and self-criticism, after a hard decision I made, five weeks ago. Yes, I am sticking with “Love is the secret”, to a life of well-considered choices.

Penny Said….


October 22, 2021- I looked up a student, from long ago, and she had some searing things to say, on her social media page. All of it is true-and is unfortunate. We ignore these messages, to our peril. She was one of Penny’s favourite people, and I link her messages to what my dearly beloved wife told me, when we first met, forty-one years ago in December.

Penny said, “Hit me, just once, and we’re done.” I wouldn’t have hit her, anyway, but the message stayed in my heart.

Penny said, “Cheat on me, just once, and I’m gone.” I wouldn’t have cheated on her, anyway, but the message took.

Penny said, “Go and get those girls, and bring them home to their parents.” She did not have to say it twice. I got in my car, found the girls and brought them home, where they belonged. No Native child disappeared on my watch.

“N” said, “Treat all children like they are your children.” This was in reference to the hundreds, nay thousands, of Native women and girls, gone missing and unaccounted.

“N” said, “Where is the concern for all my missing sisters?” It is a continental disgrace, the epidemic loss of sheer human talent that is in a state of limbo, or loss, or suspended animation-maybe just left to rot, by others who took their own lack of self-worth out on women, girls-and male humans, cutting their lives short, then just walking back into the community, as if nothing has ever happened.

The case of Gabby Petito has brought renewed attention to the missing Indigenous women-and countless other people of colour whose fate is unknown. Ms. Petito’s family has it right: Every missing person, every abused soul, deserves the same energy and attention that has been directed towards justice for their daughter and cousin. Her likely abductor is himself dead. Other perpetrators are living in shame.

What of a young man, whom I knew as a boy, and who has been missing for over a year? What of the three dozen or so Dineh teenaged girls, whose posters one may see in any trading post, convenience store, post office or truck stop on the Navajo and Hopi Nations, or in any border community? What of Latinas, missing from even the smallest barrios, across Arizona and New Mexico?

I know that every child matters. That is precisely why it’s imperative to listen, when a fierce woman like N, or J, or T-or my ferocious late wife, comes forward, puts up a straight-ahead message: “PAY SOME *#@!! ATTENTION!” I would have paid attention, anyway-but the work still lies ahead.

If you see, or hear, something, say something. Better yet, DO SOMETHING!