Category Archives: Hawaii

Christmas morning assumptions to all

Old Sol

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I assume all of you are responding to the Universe in whatever ways suit you best this morning, and I wish that on you with profound enthusiasm and cheer.

For those of you who haven’t noticed, things have changed a lot here on earth since last Christmas.  For instance, the barycenters of earth and moon:

                                   Earth                                 
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z  
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2012 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    -  0.059985055   +  0.898520188   +  0.389478777

                                   Earth                                 
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z  
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2011 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    -  0.048871098   +  0.900279920   +  0.390286717

                                   Moon                                  
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2012 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    -  0.058478965   +  0.900591248   +  0.390372982

                                   Moon                                  
    
                     Barycentric Equatorial Positions                    
                    Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000.0                  
    
   Date        Time               X                Y                Z
        (UT1) 
             h  m   s             AU               AU               AU
2011 Dec 25 00:00:00.0    -  0.048617062   +  0.897988672   +  0.389385589

Nothing to be alarmed about, at least not yet, but still something to keep in mind.  I’m a lot more concerned about Old Sol and that Frosty The Snowman carrot he’s got for a nose at the moment.  That can’t bode well for any of us.

However, on a more cheerful note.  Or less ominous, anyway.

I just got around to opening my latest Hawaii KONATE bulletin from December 19, expecting to find out what time it was somewhere sometime.  Instead, I got this:

human clock

time greetings

I’m not certain what to make of it.  The time might be ten minutes until twelve somewhere, or  what?  Ten pm?

Then there’s this thing declaring time is valuable and what I ought to do with mine.  What the hell do these people know about time?  If it’s so valuable, what the hell are they doing lying around pretending to be a clock?

Here I was wanting to know what time it was in Hamburg sometime last week and might be in Peking day-after-tomorrow.  Last thing I wanted Christmas morning was a lot of cryptic meaning telling me what to do with my time and people lying around somewhere sometime on an upside-down clock.

But I hope you’ll all respond to it in whatever barycentric way you choose.

The New Old Jules and the Enlightened Cats

Introduction to Being a Hermit

The following is an email that Old Jules wrote several years ago and subsequently posted on a previous blog. I’m posting it after his description of the Peace Corps experience to give continuity to that time period.  ~Jeanne

Old Jules:
This was the most recent of a long line of exchanges with an online friend, a man  who mostly he believes his life is a living hell out of habit, except when he reminds himself he’s blessed, which is only when I remind him to remind himself, thinks I.

Thought I’d share it with you blog readers.  I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned my brief life as a hermit.

Morning Pal:

I suppose you’re right.  You live a complicated life.  It would be complicated, just with your interpersonal relationships, even if you didn’t have a job that would be enough to satisfy most needs for complication.  Even if you didn’t have a piece of real estate that’s located in and part of a subtle war zone.  It’s relatively easy to imagine how you’d have some difficulties focusing, relaxing, or anything else.

A long time ago, when I had a complicated life, I used to wonder whether a stay in the sort of place where you work, an asylum, would do the trick as a means of getting me removed from the system of complications I’d built around myself to help make myself unhappy.  I concluded that it wouldn’t.

 I also gave some thought to whether prison life would do it, but unless it was one of those kinds of Federal prisons all the Watergate folks went to, I don’t think it could.

Thought about a Trappist monastery a bit, even.  That might do it.  I don’t know, but it seemed so otherwise out of sync with my nature that I never tried it.

But I had the advantage over most people, because I knew what I was missing.  When I got booted out of the Peace Corps in 1964, after a bit of time trying to complicate my life in Honolulu the way a person will, I was contacted by the US Army Reserve telling me they wanted to know where I was in case they wanted to reactivate me for Vietnam if they needed people with my particular MOS.  In those early days of 1965 nobody knew where all that was going and reactivating the reserves was considered a real possibility.

My support for US military adventures overseas went away entirely during my tour in the Far East.  I was gonna have nothing to do with Vietnam.  I decided I was going to spend the remainder of my life as a hermit living in the jungle on the big island….. a place called Wiamono Valley on the drainage of the Kohala range…. used to be a village in there but it was wiped out by the tidal wave in 1947 and nobody laid claim on it since.  Nobody in there but a blind mule and me…. for six weeks that mule had company.

That six weeks with nobody to talk to but a blind mule changed my whole life.  It was a pivotal moment for me, one of the greatest blessings of my stay in this reality this time around.  In addition to a book-full of other benefits, it gave me a realization of what’s possible for a human being, mind-wise, if he can succeed in either simplifying his life, or in (I didn’t know then) distancing himself from the web of values, properties, interpersonal relationships and other tangle we do our best to mire ourselves in so we can’t see or hear what we’re trying to keep from seeing and hearing…… the voice of what’s beneath.

I definitely understand what you’re saying, my friend.  Hang in there.

(Old Jules)

Day of Lost Souls (Part Two)


Peer Ratings and Mid-Selection
Mid selection was coming in that beautiful land, and before it arrived, I was fairly certain I would be one of the de-selectees.  I was also fairly certain McCreary would be.  Neither of us fit in.  We weren’t much like the others I thought would be deselected, but we were different.  We’d been through the Minnesota Multi-Phased Personality Test.  The rumor was you couldn’t even lie consistently on that one, except they could sniff you out, flush you like quail in the cool dawn.  I knew I was doomed.

The morning before selection time the staff added the final horror.  Humiliation and forced betrayal.  Peer ratings.

Question:  Here is a list of your fellow trainees.  Top to bottom, list the people you consider most equipped for the task of peace corpsman, down to least favorable.  Top to bottom, who do you like the most.  Down to who you like the least.  And so on.  Sell your young souls, trainees; young Americans…..won’t accept the papers back until you’ve listed them all, every white space above a black line filled with a name of someone here around you.

I was angry, watching 80 eyes probe the room, checking names against faces.  I worked out my own strategy, locking eyes, whenever I could.  I reversed the list they wanted.  Picked the weakest and least liked for my Ajax and Penelope.  Threw the leaders to the dogs.  With my own name at the pinnacle, of course.  But I knew it was futile.

De-selection and Jumping Ship in Honolulu
Still, I was crushed when my name came out on the list of get-outs.  I didn’t notice how the others reacted, and I don’t remember much about the time between the boot and the airplane.  I do know that somewhere in there, I decided I wasn’t going back to the mainland.  Somewhere in there David also decided something similar.

The rain was falling sideways when we got off the plane in Honolulu.  Big Joe Weiss, Korean War marine was with us on the plane to Oahu.  He listened to our dreams talked quietly of staying in the islands with us.  He was as crushed as I was about being given the shove.  But in the terminal building, he couldn’t look at either of us as he told us he was going on to the mainland.  I could see that big Joe was limping inside, hurting.  Maybe worse than I was, with all my bravado.

David and I had some kind of notion about catching a sailing boat, heading for Australia or New Zealand.  We had a couple of hundred bucks each, guts, energy, and no promises to keep.  We’d signed on for a two year stint in Injia, and Injia had belched us back like a bolus flying out the mouth of someone who’s just had the Heimlich performed unexpectedly in the middle of a dying incident.

We spent a few precious bucks on a taxicab…..told the driver we wanted the cheapest hotel he knew of.  It was the Huna Hotel, he took us to.  Twelve bucks a night.  But we were young in that country.

The rain continued through the night, and we emerged from the room still full of energy and bravado….we were taking big steps, making deep tracks in our future lives…..we thought we were about to make big tracks on the land.
Picked up a newspaper looking for boarding houses……David found one belonging to a Japanese lady named Matsushige….he wrote down the address as I looked over his shoulder….wrote on the classified page of the newspaper…..2323 East Manoa Road.

We took a city bus, carrying our bags, our belongings from the dead peace corps experience, and got off at the confluence of east Manoa and Manoa.  The driver pointed a direction for us.

But at 2323, our knock was answered by a man who appeared to be dressed in a pair of WWII Japanese uniform trousers.  He explained curtly that he didn’t know what the hell we wanted, didn’t want to know.  Didn’t appreciate our disturbing his home, his morning. We walked to Manoa and looked….nothing made any sense.

So, we found a pay phone and David called the number from earlier…..wrote 2319 on the newspaper.  Hung up the phone, turned puzzled from the booth.  “Twenty twee twenty twee?”  I burst out in laughter every time I thought of that incident for more than three decades.  I can still see him turning puzzled from the booth, frowning, “Twenty twee twenty twee?”

Matsushige’s Boarding House, Finding Work and a Gypsy Good Time
We settled in at Matsushige’s that day, a second floor room with two bunks, 4 feet or so apart, parallel, a desk between the two at the head.   Shared john with some other roomers….settled in young, full of bravado, full of dreams.

Next day we went looking for work and such.  David took a paper and headed down to check out the openings on Waikiki…..I headed for the bars on hotel street, looking for a job or a hooker to fix me up for my job search.  I’d go down to Waikiki tomorrow to  find my busboy job at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  Today, more pressing matters.

In a while, I came to a booth with a pretty gypsy lady…..started flirting a bit, talking around the issue.  Was pretty certain she was a hooker.  Finally, “You want a gypsy good-time?” she demanded.
“Yeah!  A gypsy goodtime!”
She took me into an attached room with nothing but a cot, sat me down.  “$10″….she took my money and assured she’d be back in a moment.  I sat there and knew when she brought in a snaggle toothed crone that I’d just lost a sawbuck for another of my lessons in life.

“Here it is!  A gypsy goodtime!”  She and the crone danced back and forth in front of me, all of us laughing.  My life has been rich in gypsy goodtimes, I’ve been a man wealthy in gypsy goodtimes, but that one was best in those times when the coconuts fell beside us and mangos piled high under the trees blocking the sidewalks and David and I grumbled in our cots picking off sunburned skin to throw to the giant roaches.  We were young in that country.

Final Selection – Dropouts and Volunteers – Honolulu
We stayed in touch with a few of the trainees on the big island.  Lillie and I wrote and sometimes talked by phone.  We made plans, after final selection to meet in Oahu, whether she went on to India or not.  Nancy Philson and Priscilla Thomas came through a few days ahead, voluntarily dropped from the venture.  An evening of drunken revelry on hotel street and they were off to the future.

I met Lillie at the airport with the other triumphant survivors.  Chianti, baby gouda cheese, and a rented jeep, and we made long and easy love on the beaches in sight of Chinamans Hat, Hanauma Bay, the blowhole, toward the end, pounding surf spraying the moonlight.  Her red hair tickled my face as we idled the jeep down the inland spine of Oahu, back to Honolulu.

Next night, the gin mills of Honolulu and Hotel Street.  Lillie’d never seen a stripper….I took her to a place I’d been a few nights previously with Nancy and Priscilla.  The best I’d ever seen, her veils of blue velvet, blue chiffon.

They boarded the plane, and India X was off to save the world from hunger, from savage restraints, from a historic dearth of fowl in their diets.  Off to Gujarat.

Back to the Big Island – The Jungle and Solitude
In a while, I flew back to the big island and went into the jungle off the Kohala range, thinking to become a hermit, thinking to die there.  David met a Japanese Hawaiian girl named Janice and flew back to the mainland with her.
In six weeks I came out of the jungle, in a maelstrom of roiling greyblue clouds.  I’d met myself for the first time.  I finally had seen myself, seen god in that quiet forest.  I knew I had more to do.

David’s kids, when he was in the marine corps, and after came to be among my favorite children….Janice, an object of my deep respect.

This year, she left him for a Japanese man.  David’s in Seattle, trying to find what he should do with his life, henceforth. Searching for the greatest gypsy good-time of them all.

And I await the moment I’ll go again into the woods as I did so many years ago beneath a savage sky in that country of youth and springtime.

Life’s a strange place for a human being to have to spend a lifetime.” Josephus Minimus

Day of Lost Souls (Part One)

Today and tomorrow’s post (part two) is a short story that was written many years ago. We had decided it was too long for the blog, even in two parts,  but since many of our readers are also writers,  I think you won’t mind the length.  ~Jeanne

Blue on blue, I tunneled through tints and shades of airy void  from the New Mexico desert to arrive in San Francisco several hours ahead of my outbound rendezvous.  The old DC3 clubbed the air dizzy and crawled over the unconscious body getting me to the coast; hammered the molecules of blue air into something solid as ice to hold man and machine aloft and skim across the bumpy surface.

In some other reality pilots and navigators of the heavens probably do spectra-soundings of color and hue, the way old mariners sounded the nighttime and foggy channel bottoms sampling with buckets to fix their positions by mud color, or sand, or shells.  These sky mariners in the elsewhere examine the debris in the  buckets and ponder;  arid Southwest: almost turquoise.  Inland California:  grey blue.  Coastal: yellow hazy blue.  But that was 1964.  Perhaps the atmosphere has grayed these intervening years, the way my own mustache, eyebrows, and hair has shifted to bare metal silver.

San Francisco
But we were young in that country.  The November 9, 1964, San Francisco airport terminal teemed with us. We milled around the gate that Sunday awaiting our flight to Hawaii.  Ten more days and I’d be a full 21, a legal man.  Full of mature, critical appraisal I skulked the waiting area; studied the rosy cheeks and sunny attitudes; the strapping young adults I knew I’d spend the next piece of my life among.  Though some carried more years, I thought to myself they were mostly kids.

I watched those youngsters straight-on for a while, until they noticed.  Then I shifted and gazed covertly at the reflections from the plate glass window/wall shielding us from the din of steel-gray planes and scorching ash-gray runways cut by yellow stripes threading the distant taxiways to vanish in the heatwaves and hazy yellowblue skies.  I pretended to read my book and scrutinized my soon to be companions out of the corners of my eyes; strained to hear the dribble of their conversations which each seemed to say, “I’m a neat person.  I’m worthy of this.”  Some, I could surmise, tacitly agreed to allow certain others to be as neat as themselves.

We were an elite, the acceptance letter implied.  Only one of every forty applicants, the letter whispered, were accepted for the intensive preparation to save the poor in hungry backward lands.  We were all riding on the bobsled thrill of those flattering words.  As a result the fast pulsebeat of waiting in the terminal became a political caucus.  Probably most of us figured those others were likely to be awfully special, but secretly believed they made a mistake in letting our particular selves in.

The candidates talked films; of Viradiana, of Antonioni, of Fellini and of a swede who made foreign films in those days. Of existentialism.  Talked about the beatnik poets.  All so serious.    What’s your major?  Where did you get your degree?   I pondered the words, scowling to myself.

I could see these mostly weren’t my kind of folks.  I’d scraped and cheated to get a high school diploma several years earlier, did three years in the army.  Hitch-hiked across the country several times, been in jail more than once.  Sweated under a blazing sky in dozens of hellish jobs that didn’t carry any prestige in these circles of toy-people, I thought, who were going off to India to teach the native how to raise chickens.  Bouncing off through rainbow skies bearing the weight of the white man’s burden to teach a culture older than our God how to raise poultry.  But we were young in that country.

I felt uncomfortable in my snazzy dark suit with narrow lapels. My only suit.  It had been the leading edge of fashion when I bought it for $20 a couple of years earlier in Boston.  The pencil thin blue tie with gold flecks felt awful on my neck, and worse as I became conscious of the width of ties the others were wearing.

Trainees impressing one another
As the morning wore into early afternoon more of the India X peace corps trainees filtered in the waiting area from incoming flights, draining the rest of the country of heroes…..I hung around alone and tried to guess which were trainees, and which were just transients.  I gazed at the women who were obvious volunteers, wondering whether any peace corps taboos would stand between me and female companionship during the next few months.  I idly checked out the prospects, most of whom didn’t bear up under a lot of scrutiny.  Rules of training could make for a long dry spell, and the fraternity boys were already busy staking out their campsites among the curly haired goldiloxes of the crew.
Eventually, I noticed a lean, freckle-faced red-headed Irish looking chap hanging around watching, same as I was……he wasn’t mingling with the other selectees much, and he appeared gangling and awkward.  I smiled to myself, musing, probably feeling superior, just as I felt somehow superior to all these fresh-scrubbed college folks, off to slum among the huddled masses.  McCreary,  I learned, was his name.  David McCreary.  At that moment I  watched, listened to, studied a future friend for life for the first time.

Strangely vacant blue-eyed, lanky, ruddy faced and scarlet haired, a lady schoolmarm from Virginia caught my focus.  I heard her tell someone she was an English teacher.  Lillie Rogers.  Lillie Belle Rogers, I learned later.  No raving beauty, but a touch of class, presence, bearing.  Straight and tall.  I sensed an underlying tinge of bitterness in her manner.  Sometime later it came to mind, and in some ways, a female counterpart to McCreary.  There among all the others, I didn’t sense that Lillie would be the lady of this group I’d come to know best.  I’d have rejected that notion, then.  Lillie Belle Rogers.  A long, sensuous neck ahead of Nancy Philson and  Priscilla Thomas in a dead heat.  Women I wouldn’t have picked for myself that day in the San Francisco airport, but in a few weeks, the training gave everyone a chance to show their mettle.  Or their fluff.  For those three and a few others, it was bare, polished metal.

The flight to Oahu was long…..I was seated next to a tough blonde named Georgia Grover…..nice humor, vaguely pretty, and I began laying what I hoped was groundwork for later.  Foundations for things to come which never came.

Arrival in Honolulu
When eventually we arrived on the islands the alienation I felt was already rising.  I didn’t like a lot of folks in those days, and I could tell I mostly wasn’t going to like these.  The chaos leaving the main terminal created visible stress among the chosen.  We had half a mile or so to walk to the Hawaiian Airlines Terminal and the next jump to the big island.  No transportation for the bags.  An early test.

The husky young college gentlemen struggled with their own bags and staggered in macho competition to help the attractive ladies.  Mr. and Mrs. Eebie, the elderly retired couple of the group shuffled along behind with the jaded males and less attractive females while the girly girls and ex-twirlers chattered across the tarmac admiring the white man and his burden.  Georgia Grover shrugged away the offers of help and shouldered her own bags.  Most likely, Lillie Rogers, Priscilla Thomas, and Nancy Philson never had the offer.

Hilo Training Center
During the next weeks the time passed quickly;…..language lessons, chicken house made from lava rock passed down hand to hand, chopping sugarcane in the fields for the thatched roof, a walking bridge made from downed palm trees, formal exercise, poultry disease classes, inoculations against the diseases of the distant east.  I gradually came to know the other trainees, and they, me.  I gradually found a few  worthy of respect.

Somehow we found time to frolic in bluegreen waters under the bluewhite waterfall.  We climbed the nearby cliffs and gazed into the swift discharge.

And late one afternoon I found myself with Lillie whispering from a cradle of limbs in a huge banyan tree near the falls; lips brushing ear and neck to be heard above the cascading clamor of falling water.  Forms and futures swirled in clouds studied through a break in the green umbrella.

One afternoon in a distance run, I began jogging beside the redhead, David.  We outdistanced the whole crowd on a ten mile run, came in long before the rest.  Found we weren’t appreciated for our efforts.  Evidently it was intended to be something of a fellowship, team thing.  The whole affair on the big island was a distance run, and David and I were already far behind.

That night, David and I went into Hilo and had a few beers, exchanging a few dreams, disappointments, and observations about the place and the people.  We were young in that country.

Vietnam or Korea – Flip a Coin

Even for people who lived it, the past squirms around and tries to avoid close examination of how things looked going in, compared to how things appeared later.

It’s not easy for the mind to put itself into a time when Vietnam wasn’t a name anyone would recognize.  But in 1962 when all the enlisted men in my unit in Massachusetts were required to attend counter-insurgency training the first session required an explanation:  “Vietnam is Indochina.  Next to Laos.” 

Everyone had vivid recollections of a ‘brink of war’ incident in Laos a short while earlier.  And Everyone remembered the daily news reports from a few years earlier of the French getting themselves soundly booted out of French Indochina.

Counter-insurgency training turned out to be the pointee-heads in the US Army feeling around for soldiers interested in one of two particular types of duty.  ‘Special Forces’ units were being organized, mainly for people who’d already gone through Airborne and Ranger training.  Some were already serving in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.  “Sneaky Petes” they were dubbed.

The other type was the Military Advisory Group.  MAG.  Regular troops stationed in remote areas with Republic of Vietnam units to provide advice, which we Americans were already good at giving a lot of without following it ourselves.

We went through the training, but nobody from my unit volunteered for either of those duties.  But within a couple of months three of us who’d attended the training were levied for overseas, to Military Advisory Groups in Vietnam.  May, or June, 1963, we’d arrive there.

In those early days a soldier, even an enlisted one, had a number of options regarding assignments, despite the initial levies, if he played his cards right.  Sitting down with a friendly Sargeant-Major early in the game and asking advice was the first step.

Vietnam and MAG duty was considered a ‘hardship’ tour, as was Korea, and at that time, Alaska.  It wasn’t combat duty.  It was just one of the particularly lousy places a troop could be sent in the service of Queen Jacqueline Kennedy.

It’s a tough call.”  Sargeant-Major Griggs had served all over the Pacific during WWII and afterward.  “Korea’s colder than hell in the winter.  It’s the reason we call it ‘Frozen Chosen’.”  He held up his hand showing me the finger he’d had shot off while he watched the Chinese coming across the Yalu River during the Korean War. 

But unless you want to take a chance on getting Malaria, you might be better off in Korea.  All that crap down in the South Pacific is a mosquito hell.   If you’d like me to I can call the Sargeant-Major of the Army in the Pentagon and see if we can get you a tour in Korea instead of Indochina.”

So, after kicking it around a while, I asked him to make his call and find me an assignment in Korea.  May, 1963, I found myself on the USNS Sultan with around 2000 other GIs headed for Frozen Chosen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Admiral_W._S._Benson_(AP-120) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:USNS_General_Daniel_I._Sultan_(T-AP-120).jpg

We had a wild old time on the Sultan.  The cruise was a long one because every few hours they’d shut down the engines and lower some kind of sensor to the ocean bottom as part of an ongoing undersea research project.  The sea was generally calm, almost glass most of the way, porpoise and flying fish cutting the surface, sometimes banging themselves against the side of the ship.

Below-decks fortunes by enlisted-man standards were lost and won in 24/7 poker, gin, and rummy games.  So long as there was no fighting nobody cared what went on down there. 

We reached Pearl Harbor and everyone got shore leave for a few hours, preceded by dire warnings about HASP.  Hawaii Armed Services Police.  “Don’t mess with them.  Do what they say or you’ll end up in the stockade or back here on a stretcher.”    But 2000 GIs with cabin-fever were too many even for the HASP to keep in line.  “Be back on board by midnight.  Anyone who isn’t checked in here at midnight is going to wave us goodbye from the stockade.”

Hotel Street briefly had all the usual suspects of merchant mariners, US Navy, and enough wild-assed drunk youngsters off the Sultan to satisfy the most discerning needs of the community.  At 11:30 I was standing in line at a tattoo parlor waiting to get a tattoo on a dare.  The guy in front of me was getting a cherry tattoo with the words, “Here’s mine!  Where’s yours?”

As the artist finished up someone shouted, “We’ve got to get back to the ship.  We’ll be lucky if we make it!”

Luckyluckyluckylucky.  Back on board as everyone began sobering up the head was full of GIs trying to wash off tattoos.  One guy had “In Memory of My Mother” with a rose vine wrapping itself around a tombstone on his bicep.  “She ain’t even dead.  What the hell did I do that for?”

More endless days at sea, a brief stop in Japan for half-dozen of us toughees to get the socks whipped off us outside a bar by three Australian Merchant Mariners, and on to Inchon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_General_J._C._Breckinridge_(AP-176)

13 months later the trip home on the USNS Breckinridge was a different matter entirely.  The sea was rough, pervasive odor of vomit on all decks.  Discipline severe, pecker checks every few days to ferret out the multitude of VD cases.   I’ve sometimes thought those troop-ship pecker-checkers might have found the sorriest job a human being could have.  Imagine hitting the floor in the morning knowing you’re about to have to watch 2000 of those things milked down before breakfast.

And everyone suddenly knew exactly where Vietnam was.  Rumor had it anyone who was going stateside reassignment would be going there in a few months.

Old Jules

 

Second Harvest – The Cast-Offs of Affluence

When I got booted out of Peace Corps training at Hilo, Hawaii in December, 1964, I dropped off the plane back to the mainland at Honolulu.  I went to work in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel Makahiki Restaurant for a while as a bussboy while deciding what to do next.

I was the only Haole working at the Makahike.  All the other bussboys were Filipino and the waitresses, managers were all Orientals.  The bussboys all worked for minimum wage and a percentage of tips, which still left things marginal as a means of survival.

But I soon discovered the bussboys all had an edge.   On my first day, maybe first hour working there I went into the back carrying a huge tray full of dirty dishes and food left behind by the eaters.  I’d no sooner gotten out of sight of the customers before the head bussboy grabbed me by the arm, put the tray down and began screaming at me.  Moving dishes and pointing at leftover food items  I’d mixed, spilled water over, made no effort to keep separate from others.

Garbage!  You made it garbage Haole bastard!”

It turned out all the bussboys kept discarded food separate and put it on a table in the back each time they unloaded from the customer service area.  Then, anytime one of us had a brief break in customer demand up front, we’d go to the table and gobble a half-eaten steak, papaya, anything suiting our fancy. 

During the time I worked there I ate well.  I’m not certain I’ve ever eaten better, more consistently, even during times of affluence.

In the post Could you choose to live on the street? I described a man I knew as a youngster who dropped out of being president of a bank to live under a bridge.  I suspect one of the ways he survived involved carrying what I did at the Makahiki a step further.

Similarly, in the post, Who Has Been an Inspiration in Your Life, and Why? I described a man who’s used second-harvest of affluence as a means to pursue what he considered worthy human activity.

This morning I’m reposting a couple of blogs of people who are following the second harvest route to life.  I admire the spirit.

Old Jules

Muddy muddy muddy etcetera

You’ll be happy to know Old Sol’s finally getting things under control up there.

 
That line of misbehaving sunspots that were marching across above the equator so long finally got its comeuppance.  Today there are only three honest-to-goodness ones and the litter of little peckerwoods just coming around the horizon. 
 
Astrophysicists aren’t in agreement about what was getting out of hand up there, but many now assert it might be mud and all this rain that finally got it under control.  There’s been so much rain lately every stick of firewood here’s been soaked, and even though cooling down Old Sol with wet firewood would be a big job of work, eventually it was bound to happen.  Probably the reason for this cold snap, too.
 
But the other line of thinking among Hopi Elders, surviving Mayan track-of-time keepers, and the folks at BUREAU INTERNATIONAL DES POIDS ET MESURES, ORGANISATION INTERGOUVERNEMENTALE DE LA CONVENTION DU METRE, believe there’s a more novel reason that line of sunspots dwindled.  They couldn’t stay in step. 
 
Time, they assert, is so screwed up it’s impossible to keep anything going with any regularity and the sunspots finally just got too frustrated to keep trying.
 
There might be a lot to that.  I get the email reports from the Hawaii Konate folk, and the circular always starts off with the caveat:
 
“Coordinated Universal Time UTC and its local realizations UTC(k). Computed values of [UTC-UTC(k)]   and uncertainties valid for the period of this Circular. From 2009 January 1, 0h UTC, TAI-UTC = 34 s.”
 
Those uncertainties cover a lot of ground all over the planet and the people making a living trying to keep track of what time it is send out the Circular to advise interested parties of what time it wasn’t, mostly, any given day in cities of clockwatchers.  But even telling what time it wasn’t has a considerable uncertainty factor, which they aren’t ashamed to admit.
 
I don’t know why they even keep those people on the payroll if they can’t tell us what time it wasn’t.
 
I’m going to kick this around with the cats and chickens.  See if we can’t figure out a way to get a piece of the action on this timekeeping racket.
 
Old Jules
 

Guide: Adopt Selective ‘Remember’ BS Rhetoric With Surgical Precision

Alive and safe, the brutal Japanese soldiers who butchered 20,000 Allied seamen in cold blood

Just keep it safe and simple pretending to remember something about the ‘fighting’ by Allied troops across the planet.  Hug yourself with some feelgood to help you feel sensitive and patriotic.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-491548/Alive-safe-brutal-Japanese-soldiers-butchered-20-000-Allied-seamen-cold-blood.html

Carefully remember today ONLY the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor carrying some vague message we should remain prepared against similar future events. 

Carefully do NOT remember the Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March, the savage treatment of Allied POWs and civilians in occupied territories of The Greater-East-Asian-Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Carefully do NOT remember the beheading of hundreds, maybe thousands of prisoners, the starvation and death by disease of a huge percentage of other prisoners compared to elsewhere, almost anywhere among the armies of either side.

Carefully do NOT remember  the overwhelming percentage of that conduct was perpetrated by enlisted men and officers below the rank of captain.  Men who returned to their homes to be accepted within a couple of years as allies and fast friends of the US and other nations they fought, invaded, raped, pillaged and slaughtered only months earlier.

Carefully do NOT remember the Marshall Plan and the rebuilding of Japanese industry and infrastructure destroyed by the war, rendering much of US industry obsolete or absolescent.  DON’T remember the 20,000 suicide-before-surrender Japanese cliff-jumps at Okinawa.

And while you’re at it see if you can find a feelgood argument with someone  about the ethical and moral side of the atomic bomb, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Better to forget all of it than pretend to remember some of it.  Crank up your Mazda, turn on the FM and listen to some oldies while you remember what it was like to have a job.  What happened 1941 – 1945 had nothing at all to do with anything happening today.

You don’t remember a damned thing about anything that happened to other people.  Just remember Santy’s coming to town.

Old Jules