Jargon and Cross-Purposes

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September 24, 2020, Dallas-

I came here, this afternoon, to begin two weeks of deployment with the Red Cross, this time mainly helping clients who were displaced by three storms: Laura, Sally and Beta. They are staying in hotels, so our efforts are in the lobbie sof some of Dallas’s larger chain hotels. The Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham and Marriott chains are earning their stripes, these past few weeks and for the near future.

I have spent a good part of the afternoon, at Dallas-Fort Worth Inetrnational Airport, bickering back and forth with Uber’s IT department and finance office. When IT finally cleared me, Finance stuck its foot out and, with the use of jargon and God-knows-what payment model, determined that my bank accounts were insufficient to meet a $ 26 tab. (They were not insufficient and aren’t now, either.)

Such are the vagaries of communicating only by smart phone. Tabs that are easy to locate on a PC do not exist on a phone. Looping is also more prevalent on a cell phone than on a PC or I-Pad. This is not the phone maker’s fault, but that of the website designers who choose not to add the same buttons to the phone that are on their PC applications. I know this, because my banks and this Social Medium,as well as others, have the smae buttons on their phone apps as on their computer apps.

It is a challenge, when businesses that depend on the consumer act at cross purposes with themselves, as well as with their prospective customers.

The good news is that a proactive taxi driver benefitted from Uber’s foolishness and I enjoyed a fine meal of Hawaiian Poke at a nice little establishment called Lemon Shark, not far from my abode of the next two weeks.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 14: Equinox, 2020

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September 22, 2020-

The day of equal amounts of light and darkness has come just a tad later, this year. It’s just as well-too many things have been dumped on us, without warning, the first three seasons of this earthshaking year.

For me, autumn has ever been my favourite season, being the time of my birth. Gradual cooling and the vividness of colours have energized my being, after the increasingly extreme heat of summer, as much fun as the season just past brings with it. Bracing for the season of earth’s rest, that is winter, and the eventual promise of spring, makes “Fall” a most purposeful time, as well.

A few sprinkles fell, in our area, yesterday afternoon, as I was returning from a dental appointment, in Phoenix. My time in the Salt River Valley is limited, by choice, especially when temperatures remain in triple digits. Here in Prescott, we may expect temps in the 80s, until about mid-October. It may or may not rain, on any given day, though the National Weather Service rather lazily just pushes the button that says Sunny, as a default, most days. I imagine budget cuts and executive fiat may have something to do with that-as with the Post Office and FDA.

We all make choices, and as Penny would say-“You get all that comes with those choices.” She always made her own decisions, though asked what I thought, matter-of-factly, before doing so. Conversely, she expected me to do the same, and, after a previous life of bullheadedness and unilateral decisions, many not very well-made, I learned the wisdom of consultation.

I think of the above, as the inevitable debate about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and HER choices, ensues, this still being America. I disagreed, vehemently, with her take on abortion-though the role of men in that matter is largely one that ought to be performed LONG BEFORE any plug is pulled. Those men who raise their daughters, support their sisters and value their mothers, in the girls and women making their own INFORMED choices, are doing their jobs well. Those who downplay the intelligence and capabilities of the females among them, and pretend this is merely a man’s world, should not be surprised by anything at all that happens, as a result. Many, if not most, of the fetuses that have ended up aborted, (and whose souls no doubt greet those who aborted them, in the hereafter), would likely have either not been conceived in the first place, or would have been given an alternate path to life, had their mothers been raised in a place of love, empowerment and security.

The other real sticking point I had with RBG was her, take on “In God we trust”, which she saw as antiquated. I respectfully decline that observation. The Eternal cannot be so lightly dismissed, even in the name of free expression. In the end, though, “God hath no need of His creatures”; it’s very much the other way around.

Autumn plans? Well, I am spending today working with a Special Needs child. My Red Cross on-call status renews, tomorrow. During Fall Break, 10/12-16, I may go off on a sojourn, somewhere else in the West-and ditto for Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving/ 70th birthday weekend. In any case, days and nights will remain productive and largely other-centered. (More on that topic, tomorrow).

Fortnight of Transition, Day 12: Holding My Own

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September 20,2020-

Three twenties in a row brought a few challenges with them. Someone who has enjoyed calling me out, on my perceived flaws, over the past few months, finally took my patience over the edge and has been banned from these sites. I’m sure the individual will show up, anonymously, just to prove that I have poor Internet security, but no matter.

Simply put, it is more imortant to me that the vast majority of people of good will may access these posts, than that I have airtight computer security, with a passphrase that has 100 characters, and is changed every five days. I have taken steps to minimize, if not eliminate, hacking- without taking on cybersecurity as a second job.

It was, otherwise, a very nice penultimate day of Summer, 2020. Two lovely Zoom-based devotionals-one honouring the late Helen Hamilton, about whom I wrote a memorial post, two weeks ago and the other honouring Race Unity, graced the morning and early afternoon.

It looks like a street fair that was to have taken place across the street from me was COVID canceled. I also had a rain check given me for a visit with friends north of here, as food canning took precedence for them.

This week brings what will pass for the start of Autumn, a dental check-up, anda possible second Red Cross deployment. September is not what is known as a “power month”, but it has called on me to sharpen a few skills of discernment and forebearance.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 4: Legalese

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September 12, 2020-

Good things happened today. My middle brother turned 65, surrounded by the Georgia branch of his family. It was good to speak with him and to hear the vibrant voices of nephew, SIL and the little ones.

I am reaching an understanding with someone who thought I could be the brains behind his operation. There are legal points, like “Conflict of Interest” and Federal tax laws that would present problems for my being the Great White Hope. I think he gets it now.

“Cuties”, the well-intentioned, but misguided, film has run into a buzz-saw of valid criticism, for its reported perseverating on the physiques of pre-adolescent girls. I haven’t seen the film, nor will I-since Creeper Status is not something with which I identify, as well as the fact that my primary role with young people, male or female, is to encourage them to avoid being objectified and to follow dreams of their own choosing. Hopefully, there will arise a sense of propriety and like misguided projects before it, “Cuties” will disappear from the media.

Our Baha’i group had its tri-monthly consultative meeting and planned out the overall course of activities, over the next three months.

That brings me to the Red Cross-and that I was already asked when I could resume Disaster Response activities. A look at the map shows why-Fire to the left of us, Storms to the right-and I will be stuck in the middle, for at least another week, as I have personal business on the last day of summer and will focus on other matters here at Home Base, in the interim.

The Farmers Market is a bustling place, with a new venue. I was happy to visit there this morning, seeing some of my better friends, locally. Next weekend will bring me to Dharma Farm, in advance of Equinox, and the Weekend of Peace will see some events, both on Zoom and in the park across the street from me.

With that, let’s all take a deep breath, to the extent possible, in a climate of widespread smoke.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 100: Water, Water, “Neverywhere”

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September 8, 2020-

I have been back from a very wet area, for three days. I have back in a very dry area, for the same amount of time. I hear a voice saying- “No rain until at least October, and if La Nina like it here, not until November.

La Nina refers to the weather pattern that keeps moisture stuck off the southern third of the North American west coast, thus guaranteeing that California, Arizona, and everywhere due to their north, will remain dry as the Sahara.

It usually breaks up around the first part of Autumn. This is, however, a year which regards “usually” as an extended four-letter word. La Nina may well like it here enough to wait around until people start following the pronghorn and the deer, to see where they are getting moisture. She may then dry that up, as well.

There is no value in dryness, unless one is trying to kill mold or get a respite from life in the swamp. I was in the Bayou Country for two weeks, so the aridity has not quite gotten to me, yet. It has long since gotten to my friends here-and doubly gotten to people who live between Vancouver, BC and Ensenada, BCN.

It did cool way down today, as we caught the lower end of the storm that is leaving snow in the Rockies. Not to worry, though, it’ll be close to 90 here, by Sunday, as the remnants of summer hang on, into October.

In the meantime, summer ends-for this series of posts, while people all down the West Coast wish it would end for real.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 97: Cramped, but Not Squished

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September 5, 2020, Phoenix-

America’s hottest (temperature-wise) metropolitan area welcomed me back, this evening-with an air temperature of 113F-at 8 p.m. This is just another reminder of why I left this city, nine years ago. It could, of course, be worse- I could always find myself, at some point, on the plains of northern India, in the Arabian Desert or in Baghdad. I will wait, though, and not be in any hurry along those lines. Thankfully, it was a short walk from the air-conditioned terminal to the air-conditioned van that will bring me back to Prescott (Air temperature, a balmy 81F).

The day started in Baton Rouge, with a relaxing morning and a lunch of left-over jambalaya and crawfish pie, from the delightful Rice & Roux. The business manager of Spring Hill Suites drove me over to the airport, as she has NO desk or transport staff, at the moment. Such is life, in the sneering face of COVID-19.

Baton Rouge Regional Airport is a small enterprise, and was rather languid, even somnolent in places. TSA, though, was alert, and I found that I had not been thorough enough, in sorting stuff out of my carry-on. A nearly-full bottle of water and some plastic cutlery bit the dust.

The puddle-jumper to Dallas-Fort Worth left on-time. With the two seats in front of us remaining empty, my young row mate got his own row-giving both of us some sorely-needed space. The other good thing was that the tiny plane was in the air for barely an hour.

A snack and a vitamin water, at DFW, sufficed before I boarded the somewhat larger plane to Phoenix. We were told that the plane would be “quite full”, leading a different young row mate to take her seat in the middle of the row, with me in the window seat. Fortunately, she was able to take the aisle seat. Given that there was a large backlog of planes waiting to take off, and the seat space is much smaller than I even remember from two years ago, I can’t imagine how it would have gone, had a third row mate shown up.

Two hours later, the still restless and anxious young lady, facing God-knows-what, in the hours and days ahead, was off the plane and out the terminal door like a shot. She said nothing, only glancing at my copy of “The New Jim Crow” and taking note of the title and author, then going back to availing herself of what little comfort the seat allowed. I felt nothing but empathy.

Another friend had suggested ditching the plane in Dallas, taking a train to OKC and from there, going to Flagstaff, via Amtrak. Two things- I flew on the Red Cross’s dime and there is no direct transport from Flagstaff to Prescott. The train is always an option for the future, but I do like the freedom offered by driving.

So, off we go, up to Prescott, and at least two weeks of respite from disaster response.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 92: Foreshadowing the Full Moon

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August 31, 2020, Alexandria, LA-

The length of today, into tonight, saw one set of challenges after another. Fortunately, disease rumours turned out to be false and more conventional health challenges were handled quite well.

Much is made of the influence of the Moon on behaviour-and frequently, that seems to be true. There is an increase, certainly, in quirky activity. There is a jump in domestic violence, in several communities.

I have been fortunate, to have not felt such an influence on my own behaviour, likely because of physical equilibrium and spiritual centeredness, which have come over time. Both have paid dividends, during this past 1 1/2 weeks.

The actual full moon comes within the next few days. That will be on my next-to-last night here. It ought to be interesting.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 85: Curbing the Projector

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August 24, 2020, Beaumont-

As several of the planets of our solar system are in retrograde, in relation to Earth it is said that we each go back over old ground. In my case, I have found, in meditation, that I want to pull back from groups of people- and the more insular I perceive the group to be, the less I want to do with them, of late.

Group leaders seem to pick up on that, and I end up excluded more from discussions and more specific conversations. I know, deep down, what my own task is, in reflecting a more positive self-image in their presence. It is a matter of shutting off the aspects of my own being that end up being projected onto those whom I perceive as more “prominent”, “eminent”, “powerful”.

This old ground will be raked over, a few more times, until I can at long last manage to cease viewing myself, internally, as less worthy of being part of a given group-especially as I have been included, at least to some level. That this goes back to high school, which, in reality, was essentially a happy time for me- with only my self-concept occasionally getting in the way, is a sign that it is long past time to realize, and accept, how far I’ve come.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 81: No Dichotomy

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August 20, 2020-

I have written, on another medium, about both regarding the right of a human being to care for own body to be sacred and the right of a child to life as also being sacred. I see no contradiction between the two, but our society has allowed itself to view the two as somehow at variance, in certain cases.

I see this as one result of our movement away from the concept of the sacred. This does not specifically have to do with “unchurching” or movement away from long-established organized religions. It has more to do with the rising of uncertainty, of insecurity in people’s lives, in this time of massive, and sometimes instantaneous, transition. It opens the door for a relatively small number of people, with untoward views of how to attain population control, to seize control of a debate which did not even need to happen.

There will always be adults who are uncomfortable, even hostile, in the company of children. There will always be those who don’t understand the nurturance of infants and toddlers. They were either mistreated, or not treated at all, in their own infancy and childhood, or are of a temperament that doesn’t mesh well with the organic nature of child behaviour. They prize strict order and predictability in their world. These are the vanguard of the Abortion Lobby, and of the nascent Neo-Eugenics movement, which seeks to bring about social acceptance for the killing of newborns with certain disabilities.

That this segment of society should link arms with the political Left, that element who have, for so long been associated with inclusion, and who have been in the vanguard of genuine progress in the advancement of women, people of colour, sexual minorities and immigrants, is both cognitively dissonant and profoundly concerning. The linchpin here seems to be the right of a woman to decide what happens to her own body, a right that has always existed in the sight of God, but has, for so long a time, been slighted by patriarchal thinking.

A person who has been relegated to the back of the line, in self-determination, who has not been loved and nurtured by those around her, who feels totally alone and friendless, is easy prey for those who hold a skewed understanding of population control. Abortion of a pregnancy, which in cases of an unviable fetus may well be medically necessary, is now being promoted as a mere option, an elective procedure, one of many ways by which a person may exercise birth control. A subgroup of the Abortion Lobby has even hit upon the aborted fetus as a resource- a source of organs to be harvested, a source of Deoxyribonucleic Acid, a source of stem cells for research and for vaccines.

Women who are pregnant, regardless of circumstances, need and deserve to be completely enveloped in a culture of love. They neither need nor deserve judgement, from a standpoint of shallow morality, nor do they need or deserve to be the foils of those who, either consciously or unconsciously, detest infants and children, seeing the innocent and vulnerable as simply a means to an end. A loving culture feels the pain, sorrow and confusion of a woman or girl who is at wit’s end. A loving culture presents, and discusses with her, all the options available in this most personal and delicate of circumstances. It honours her informed and well-considered decision. It helps her heal.

Indeed, it is a shorter step than many in the Abortion Lobby realize, from the practice of their craft to the organized trafficking of children, a phenomenon from which the majority of abortionists would, no doubt, recoil in horror, but which nonetheless is a clear and present danger.

We, as a society, have one long-term choice-to return to a place in our hearts where all life is sacred.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 79: That Which Hangs Heavy

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August 18, 2020-

The air before a thunderstorm tends to sit, held in place by an almost perverse high pressure system, of anti-gravity. Eventually, as the sun’s influence wanes and evening draws near, the barometric pressure often falls, and the moisture being artificially held in abeyance will be released.

The same is true in human affairs. Those who thrive on artifice, and control of the masses, have gone to great lengths to devise systems by which this control may be monitored, adjusted and synthesized, so as to fit the ever-changing state of affairs, which seems to elude their initial grasp.

There is an old joke about the Brass Ring, that it is thinly coated with brass and is in fact largely iron. It comes with a magnet, carefully placed above it, which unseen manipulators swiftly lower, grabbing the ring and raising it up, away from the longing hands of the underdog. It’s a variation of “You can’t beat the system”, “Murphy’s Law”, “Business as usual is the only business that counts”, “Corporations are people, too”, “You can’t always get what you want”-and so on.

There are a couple of other truisms at play here: First, patience is a virtue. The young, and those who have waited forever for their just desserts, are understandably short on patience. We see this in the outbursts that initially came after the deaths of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor. We see it in the outbursts that continue, seemingly without purpose or direction, in cities like Portland and Seattle. We see it in the outbursts that DO have purpose, in Beirut and Belarus. Patience is a virtue, but so is purposeful, constructive action. The trick is in knowing when to turn off the patience and turn up the heat-without unintentionally scalding or singeing innocent bystanders.

Secondly, those whose purpose lies in control of others are not going to lie down and play dead-ever. The Far Right has been masterful at playing Donald Trump’s ego, and his insecurity, like a fiddle. It has been ingenious at drawing in the fanciful minds of the New Age community, the orderly, obedient and heartfelt members of the Fundamentalist Christian and Orthodox (as well as Conservative) Jewish communities and the business-minded, obedience-oriented legal immigrants from Asia and Latin America. It has an End Game, summed up by “He who has the gold, makes the rules”. It foresees an America divided into palaces and favelas. It envisions a gradual elimination of those who deviate from what it defines as the norm. It will play the Master Race card.

The Far Left, no less authoritarian than its identified opposite number, has mastered the Game of Shrillness: It has capitalized on the lingering fears of Nazism and Fascism, which are ever-present among both those whose lives are well-ahead of them and those whose best years are behind them. It has owned the Megaphone, snatching that device away from White Supremacy, while being careful not to give it up, too much, to Black Lives Matter. It has dangled the nebulous term “Antifa”, in front of people whose own mantra is “Just let me go to work, come home and enjoy my family.” The idea is to cow people into submission, by shouting: “What are you, a bunch of Neanderthals?”, to anyone not toeing the line of its agenda. Its End Game is that-It has no End Game, except perhaps that same, pesky, Master Race card, which will be face up-should more people buy into the false dichotomy between the lives of children and the rights of women, the concept that ridding mankind of the congenitally-disabled is a key to a healthy community, or the equally false notion that religion cannot co-exist with free will.

Time hangs heavy-just like precipitation that is stuck inside a cloud.