The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Saturday, February 18, 2017

THE DAMAGE THE WRONG WORDS CAN DO


Everyone all over the world knows that we have a new president who, among other targets, has a running battle with just about all the news sources in our society.  This is not the forum to discuss our personal attitudes toward this new president, but it is obvious, from all the ‘tweets’ he posts, that he believes, or at least says he believes, that ALL the news is fake and that ALL the news presenters are ‘enemies of the people.”


Well, the following statement is by Thomas Jefferson, yes, that president, and what he wrote in 1787 is very, very, very true today:



“The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.”

Thank you, Mr. Jefferson.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A KIND OF SPRING


In this part of the world, we are very fortunate to have four seasons.  The interesting thing is when we can experience all four within the same week.  Our weather reports look like a roller-coaster:  one day it is cloudy and chilly, a stiff breeze makes feel even colder and we are all wearing sweaters or coats; the next day the sun is out, the temp will be about 70 degrees, and everything, including us and the plants, is dazed.



Yesterday we raked leaves and wore long-sleeved shirts and started out wearing light jackets too.  Today we raked leaves in short sleeves and my mate needed a sweat band, and we both had on sunglasses and hats against the sun’s rays.



Of course it isn’t spring yet, and we are mindful that there could still be a ‘polar vortex’ from Canada bringing a sleet storm or even late-season snow.  Yet we are going to prune our one rose, Martha Gonzalez, a wonderful species rose with single petals, no fragrance, and the tendency to bloom all the time.  The one peony that I have found that tolerates the heat here, so far, Krinkle White, is showing its emerging buds, once I cut back last year’s dead foliage.  And everywhere, jonquils and daffodils and hyacinths and Spanish bluebells and daylilies are sending up leaves.  One early jonquil, Minor Monarque, is blooming away, as is our white species iris.  An irrepressible trailing white lantana has had the audacity to send up white blooms through the leaves that we left to insulate during the very hard freezes we had this winter.  And did I mention our flowering quince?





Sometimes I ask myself, as every gardener probably does from time to time, why we go to all the bother, the planting, tending, watering, trimming, mulching, protecting.  But I am always answered, as probably every gardener is, when I walk around and see the relentless determination and courage of plant life.  We humans share not only the earth with plant life, but also some of the same tendencies and challenges.



In this country, as well as in the rest of the world, we are being tested by erratic climate changes and those who deny them.  We are also being tested as a nation, and as citizens of the world, by troubling political behaviors.  And just as the gardener must find remedies for problems in the garden, the citizens must find remedies for problems that must be resolved.  With plants, as with each other, kindness and caring and persistence help so very much.

Friday, February 3, 2017

POLITICS IS NOT A GAME


This is a guest post from a friend of mine, Luke Adams, and is so well-written I wanted to share it out to those who might appreciate it as I have:

"I am tired of Trump's followers acting as if my opposition to their leader is simply based on either a hatred of Donald Trump, political sour grapes, or my being upset that "my team lost". It is not about hating a man named Donald Trump. It is not about him being on the opposing political "team". Politics is not a game. Politics is the means by which we determine the course of our nation and of the world. 

My opposition to Donald Trump is based on the fact that on moral, philosophical, and intellectual grounds I oppose practically everything that Donald Trump claims to support and is attempting to enact into law. Although his actions and statements are deplorable to me, I personally view him, much like Nixon, as a tragic figure, one who is consumed by narcissism, fear, bigotry, and a nagging need to be adored and worshiped, and hatred of anyone who does not fulfill that need. He is a man who let his ego drive him to pursue a job that he was not qualified for, and is now troubled by the realization that that decision will probably destroy the reputation of the Trump brand that has always been the most important thing in his life.

I do not want Donald Trump harmed. I simply want him to return to selling Trump steaks, Trump vodka, and gaudy hotel rooms. I want him to go back to his TV show, his fake University, and his get rich quick seminars. I want this carnival barker to go back to his life of trying to separate gullible people from their money. I want Donald Trump as far away from the United States Government as possible unless it is defending himself against representatives of our Government in a court of law.

I am not simply angry that our country has fallen for this grifter. I am also ashamed that the country I love has fallen so far away from its principals that they could allow someone like him to become our President. He has capitalized on the fears, the hatreds, and the economic insecurities of Americans, and like any good con-man, has found a way to benefit from them.

In all of this, there is one good thing that Donald Trump has been able to do. He has brought rational people from all over the political spectrum together in their opposition to this unstable, unqualified reality show star being our President. I truly believe that he will be impeached and that it will be the Republicans who impeach him in an effort to save their party from being associated with him in the history books. Even if honorable Republicans are not able to put their love of country above their love of party, maybe their love of party will push them to finally separate themselves from the malignancy of the Donald Trump presidency. America can only hope."

Thank you, Luke!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

FROM AMERICA, by John Pavlovitz

 
       
  




 



   

   

   
   
 
 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

RESPECT FOR THE PRESIDENT-ELECT


THIS IS FROM A GUEST WRITER WHO I RESPECT UNLIMITEDLY:

I have no credentials.  I'm not known.  I don't trend.  All that I am is a human being on a very small planet with a bunch of other human beings.

So read no further if you wish.
The other day an acquaintance of mine spoke up about how angry she was that our President-Elect wasn't getting the respect he rightfully deserves.  After all, he was to be President in a few short weeks, and whatever people thought of him, he would be speaking for us as a country.  So he was entitled to our respect and admiration.  


So I looked up the definition of the word "respect" to reacquaint myself with the actual meaning, because it seems to me that lately in social media people have been using words without understanding their real meanings, so I wanted to get this one right.

respect - A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.

Okay.

Without going further and explaining the definitions of "abilities", "qualities", and "achievements", it has come to my attention that the aforementioned definition, with few exceptions, has never applied to anything that the President-Elect has done.  Remotely.

I can, however, come up with a word that the President-Elect would apply to the American people - disdain.  Disdain for being mentally and/or physically challenged, another race, another gender - you name it.

But what I really think it boils down to is that he has disdain for us simply because we are not him.

For he can do no wrong, never lies, and has absolutely no accountability for his actions.  In his eyes, if we were all him, the world would be a better place.

A world where anyone could say anything, regardless of it making sense or not, or even if it hurt anyone.  And any actions would only be a boon, not a burden.  Because after all, life is all about doing what's best for yourself.  Other people are just collateral.

But the President-Elect lucked out, actually.  No, he wasn't born into a world full of himself, but into a world where some people desperately want to be him.  They want him to succeed, because they believe that his success will be their success.

And that's where the disdain comes in, because to quote Ferris Bueller - "you can't respect someone who kisses your ass."

So the President-Elect will become President in a few short days, after an election that may or may not have been rigged by Russians, may or may not have been influenced by hate groups such as the alt-right, and may or may not have been just decided by a bunch of people who desperately wanted the world to be full of him.

So let's take a moment and take a peek into his head - so to speak - and you might discover his definition of "respect":

Why shouldn't you admire me?

I have an ability.  I have an ability to persuade people who are normally in their right minds to accept things that just aren't true, regardless of the evidence which suggests it.  Who are you gonna believe, them or me?

I have a quality.  You don't get to where I am without having something that appeals to a certain group of people.  And of course, that certain group of people's money.

I have achievements.  I have a lot of achievements.  I have the best achievements.  Just read my Twitter feed. 

So okay.  I'll go along with my acquaintance.  I have decided that, on Inauguration Day, I will respect him just as he has respected me:

1)  Expected me to believe things that aren't true because he doesn't believe I have the capacity to figure things out on my own, like truth.

2)  Promised to benefit the wealthy over me because hey, it's my fault I never made millions, right?

3)  Taken credit for things he either had nothing to do with, or even worse, did.     

So I will respect the President-Elect just as he has respected me, and for that matter, the American people.

Which is to say, not at all. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

RANTS AND WORDS


In a world where too many countries, including our own beloved America, are roiling with dissent and refusal to cooperate within themselves, personal foibles and frustrations really do not signify, in one sense.  But in another sense, words do matter.  It is important that we use our individual languages as accurately as possible, in order to communicate, because communication, along with organization, cooperation, and respect, are the four skills that we could use, if we only would, to help each other and ourselves.


So here is a small personal rant, shared by both of us. We have at least 3 major uses of the English language that we really do not appreciate. First is the use of the word 'hack' in articles about recipes or organizing the kitchen or whatever. 'Hacking' represents, to us, illegal and unauthorized access to personal information electronically and for it to be used casually is to us, to diminish its awfulness, when 'hacking' is despicable. :(



Secondly is the use of the word 'curate', a word overused in describing the grouping of everything imaginable, particularly in home magazines; someone 'curates' their salt and pepper shakers when what is really meant is that they like their salt and pepper shakers and like where they keep them. Museum curators curate, the rest of the world simply picks and chooses, according to us. :)



Finally, in articles about houses or celebrities or designers, the word 'bespoke' is used when they simply mean 'custom made'. But 'bespoke' must sound so very much more grand.



Well, phooey, we say. If any reader of this rant has not encountered this usage before, we apologize for bringing it to their attention.



Otherwise our personal solutions are to 1) stop reading those house magazines, 2) stop reading any article that uses these words, and 3) deleting any e-mails with the word 'hack' in the title, even if it is about cookies, etc. Enough for now!



Oh, and Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A FOX NAMED MISTER


Maturity is similar to every other stage of life: some of it is fun, some of it is difficult, and most of it is unexpected.  Think about it.  While most of us mature folks have silver hair and like naps in the afternoon, and try to avoid chores we dislike, that description is similar to a young child, except for the color of the hair.  And I learned a long time ago from my grandmother that inside we don’t necessarily feel ‘old’.  I put ‘old’ in quotes because I dislike the term unless it is applied to antique cars, antique furniture - well, anything antique.



So, getting to the real subject at hand, recently we watched a new version of a film about ‘The Little Prince’, based on the book by Antoine de Saint Exupery.  The story is considered for children, but it is so much more than that.  Since I do not have the capability of expressing the full loveliness and enchantment of the story, I will tell about how I related to it at this mature time of life.  There is this fox.  He is clever and independent and observant, as most foxes are.  He is charming.  And he charmed me.



Then, while we were spending a bit of time in a local bookstore, sipping coffee and looking at magazines, I decided to stroll around.  I passed the children’s section, and there was a fox!  Actually, there were all sorts of creatures, but included was a fox!  Well, I wanted it, but really, it sounded absurd that what I wanted was essentially a toy.  But I did want it.  For several weeks, I thought about that fox, and then a coupon came along, very near my birthday, and I decided that someone who had achieved that level of ‘maturity’ could certainly have a fox if she wanted it.  So I got him.





Mister Fox, for that is his name, decided between him and me, has proven to be much more than a toy.  He has become a talisman evoking fun and laughter among myself and the two other household members.  Mister Fox really gets around.  He has appeared on the computer, in various chairs, in fact in places one would never expect a fox to visit, and every time, we laugh, we dismiss worries for a while, we just appreciate Mr. Fox and the inspiration he has brought to us to remember our hearts are young.