The Watering Hole; Friday November 6 2015; A Mogollon Soliloquy

“Americans who read and think are patriots of the first order . . .”
(Barbara Kingsolver)

Morning Campfire, Edge of Mogollon Rim AZ, July 2003

Morning Campfire, Edge of Mogollon Rim AZ, July 2003

It was a dozen years ago. July 2003. It was hot in Phoenix, so we decided to head for the high country, to an old favorite camp spot on the edge of Arizona’s grand escarpment, the Mogollon Rim. The elevation at that spot is close to 8000 ft., so the air is cool and pine scented. Plus there’s the stunning view one might typically expect when standing (fearlessly, of course) on the edge of a 2000 ft. high cliff.

We traveled light, back in those days. Camping gear, chow, a couple changes of shorts and tees, a bottle of sunscreen, jug or two of wine, and several books. One of the books in the pack was by Barbara Kingsolver, titled Small Wonder; she had written it in the aftermath of 9-11 — a series of personal essays that were largely concerned with current and newsworthy topics such as the environment, war/peace, societal issues, etc. So, I kicked back, settled into my easy chair near the edge of the Mogollon Rim and within minutes found myself riveted; couldn’t put it down.

The final essay was titled ‘God’s Wife’s Measuring Spoons’ in which she recounted many of her personal experiences, her travels, and her attitudes concerning both national and global issues. One portion of one section caught my eye and tweaked my interest to the point that I bookmarked it (with a small black feather, presumable ‘donated’ by a crow) for transcription once I was back in the vicinity of my keyboard. It’s not very long, but most surely manages to sum up a whole pile of my own (admittedly Socialist) ideas and ideals.  Kingsolver’s formula for a much better world:

“RESOLVED to live with a little less so we can all share in the safety of having enough.”

In many countries, they give you that option. Our leaders tell us that these problems of ours are insoluble except by force, and that we must cede certain casualties to poverty and violence, and yet nearly every problem has already been solved by someone, somewhere; I’ve witnessed first-hand the blessedly kind health-care system of Spain, and I’d like to see ours follow its example. And the examples of Curitiba, Brazil, which recycles 70 percent of its trash, and Freiburg, Germany, which has brought back its streetcars and made automobiles unnecessary. Paris, Tokyo, and a hundred other municipalities have efficient public transportation systems that I’d like in my own city, thank you. I’d like to see an end to corporate welfare and multimillion-dollar CEO salaries so we could put that money into ending homelessness, as many other nations have done before us. I’d like us to consume energy, on average, at the modest level Europeans do, and then go them one better. I’d like a government that creatively subsidized renewable energy and conservation, as Canada has done in some of its public school buildings, earning more than a 100 percent return on the investment – which is returned again to the schools as equipment and teacher salaries. I would like us to ratify the Kyoto Protocol today and reduce our fossil-fuel emissions with the help of legislation that will ease us into safer, less wasteful, sensibly reorganized lives. I’d like to stake my pride on a nation that consistently inspires rather than bullies, that brings unconditional generosity to the table, and that dispenses justice over the inevitable bad deal with diplomacy and honor rather than with more bad deals. If this were the humane face we showed the world and the model we brought to working with it, every time, I believe our children might eventually be able to manage with a military budget the size of Iceland’s.

So there it is. In less than 350 words she managed to completely and precisely sum up MY attitudes on society and what should (and by inference, should NOT) be its goals, its aspirations. I was, needless to say, muy impressed!

My soliloquy was interrupted by a loud clap of thunder and a rather sudden blast of chilly wind. I looked up, and WOW! Grabbed the camera and headed for the overhead tarp. Nothing like the sudden onset of a summer monsoon mountain rain event to cut short one’s time in the high country!


In any case, a week or two later, after having transcribed the marked text from the ‘God’s Wife’s Measuring Spoons’ essay, I caught myself wondering how the bulk of her premises as stated and described might impress, say, your typical (pre-teabagger) Republican. I decided the best way to find out would be to put one to the test and see for myself the reaction. So I emailed the transcript to my Wingnut cousin and asked what were his impressions. His response was no big surprise.

“I could shoot many holes in that composition, but I won’t. Sounds like it was written by a feminist liberal. Ain’t got no time for them.”

I suppose there must be a lesson embedded somewhere in that, but damned if I can figure out what it is. Suffice to say that it’s a grand thing to realize there are other worlds ‘out there’ — worlds that allow communications with Nature, with stimulating ideas. And no Republicans!



67 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Friday November 6 2015; A Mogollon Soliloquy

  1. Nice day out Fru – photos just put you right there. That was a good manifesto too, practical steps all of which make a difference.

    “I could shoot some holes…” yes that says all you need to know, violence is first reaction, closed, limited mind, no thoughts at all.

    • I think you just defined the wingnut “mentality” (quotes indicate I use the word loosely when in wingnut context). Analytical thought is clearly not a wingnut trait.

  2. New The Force Awakens trailer with never before seen footage. This movie will open YUUUUGE.

  3. Obama and Kerry to hold a press conference at 11:45am est, to REJECT THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE!

    • Don’t ask them today, wait until Thanksgiving. That’s usually the best time to bring up stuff like that. And when I say “best”, I mean most entertaining for everyone else. 🙂

      • Ah yes good plan – and of course when Teabagger says to you “The stockmarket doesn’t help me much” – you say: “Oh so trickle-down theory isn’t working then?”

        • If the stock market doesn’t help them much, then they don’t have a retirement plan or 401(k). If they do, then it does.

          And if they have a job, they should count themselves among the fortunate and give thanks for that.

  4. WSJ questions the validity of Uncle Ben’s Ready Lies.

    BONUS: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) misquotes the country’s founders in his books and speeches so frequently that BuzzFeed reporter Andrew Kaczynski, who’s been fact-checking Rand since 2013, published a letter last month asking the senator to stop using fake quotes.

    Paul dismissed Kaczynski as a “partisan hack” at the helm of a “ridiculous cottage industry out there of people who think they’re smarter than everyone else.”

      • So delighted to read one of the few blogs of women “of a certain age” (I am 74) who are smart, witty, and relatively with it! Just to tease you — I’d remove the ‘relatively’ if you could convince me never to use the ‘f-word’ e.g. I identify with ‘smart-young-things’ when they appropriately use an expression like “We are fucked”. And I wasn’t able to use that word until I was middle-aged! But I now see occasions when it’s the only appropriate word! Love your blog! 🙂

    • You’re most welcome, and thank YOU — glad you stopped by, and feel free to come more often!

      As for my cuz, haven’t heard from him since when, 2008 maybe? There clearly can be some advantages implicit in the passage of time, even for old buggers like myself. 🙂

    • Hello and welcome! The Zoo is a great place to blow off a little steam and try to laugh at the predicament of the modern world.

    • Now THIS pisses me off.
      What if I could’a had a scholarship to West Point in 1967, but instead, like a dummy, I enlisted and wound up in Vietnam in February 1969 as a damn buck sergeant. Hell, I could have been a second louie, and….oh…never mind..

  5. Lady caller on Thom Hartmann: ‘Couldn’t Bernie Sanders save the Democratic Party, and shouldn’t the Progressive Caucus get behind him?’

    Alan Grayson: “The short answer is that Bernie is showing the way forward, and that is to debate the issues and debate them with truth and justice on your side. That’s a wonderful accomplishment in this campaign that won’t never be forgotten, win or lose.”

    He hasn’t endorsed Bernie, but it sounds like he would if it wouldn’t cost him in his Senate race with DINO Patrick Murphy.

  6. Speaking of Bennie (a commenter on another person’s thread on FB was outraged that I refused to admire his “intelligence, for all that he went through medical school):

    Robert Altemeyer notes that extreme compartmentalization is one of the central features of right-wing authoritarian (RWA) thinking. For my part intelligence — real intelligence — is about the breadth of one’s ability to engage in analysis and inquiry, not merely the narrowness of one’s focus. It is this narrowness of focus which, combined with compartmentalization, enables RWA people to achieve advanced degrees and schooling w/o ever engaging in real thought.

    But Carson is a special case: the extremity of both the focus and the compartmentalization actually seem more akin to that of an idiot savant. This is not simply me being sarcastic, either.

  7. Watch Fox News Stumble Through Outstanding October Jobs Report

    Fox & Friends co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocy stumbled through a segment on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) job creation estimate for October 2015, which showed the largest monthly jobs gain of 2015, attempting to minimize the significance of a strong monthly report that beat most analyst expectations.

    On November 6, the BLS released its monthly jobs report for October showing that the U.S. added 271,000 jobs last month, easily beating analyst expectations en route to the largest monthly jobs gain of 2015. Within minutes of the release, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy portrayed the news in an uneventful light while co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck lamented that the economy created “only 271,000 jobs.”

    Such sad faces! Elisabeth Hasselbeck was wasted on The View! She could rival Meryl for next year’s Oscar!

      • His “dictatorial powers” aren’t so bad when one realizes that he’s also lazy, incompetent, and ineffectual. There are times when I almost envy the rightwhiners for their complete inability to recognize irony, hypocrisy, and contradiction.

    • It all makes sense as long as you remember the rules.

      Rule 1: Everything sucks and it’s all Obama’s fault.
      Rule 2: If something doesn’t suck and/or can’t be blamed on Obama? See Rule 1 and make shit up.

      The really funny part is that the GOoPers could actually take credit for a bunch of good stuff that has happened in the last few years, truthfully or otherwise, but they can’t force themselves to admit that anything good can happen when there’s one of “those guys” in the White House.

  8. Tutankhamun: Infrared Scans Show Possible Hidden Chamber in Pharaoh’s Tomb, Official Says

    Hard to tell though because the images were so grainy.

  9. So the current lie from Uncle Bennie and the Boiled-Rice-Pudding-For-Brains crowd is that the whole West Point thing is just another media “hit piece.” His story, now, is that he never applied.

    Which means that he’s claiming that the Military Academy at West Point spontaneously sent a letter of acceptance and a full scholarship to a low-life thug who was attacking people with hammers and knives, who never even applied to The Academy in the first place …

    Savor that thought, for a moment …

    In order for The Academy to even acknowledge your existence, not only must you apply, but you must apply with letters of recommendation from someone with Federal standing. Usually this will be your Federal Congressman, but it can also be a Field Grade Officer in any of the services.

    Contemplate how stupid a person would have to be in order to believe Bennie’s current lie. I mention this, because I’ve received outraged notes on FB telling me this is what I’m supposed to believe.

  10. TPP: A Sweetheart Deal for Corporations, a ‘Disaster’ for People’s Rights

    On issues ranging from climate change to food safety, from open Internet to access to medicines, the TPP “is a disaster,” declared Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now.

    “Now that we’ve seen the full text, it turns out the job-killing TPP is worse than anything we could’ve imagined,” added Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America. “This agreement would push down wages, flood our nation with unsafe imported food, raise the price of life-saving medicine, all the while trading with countries where gays and single mothers can be stoned to death.”
    ‘Act of climate denial’

    Major climate action groups, including and the Sierra Club, were quick to point out that the text was notable as much for what it didn’t say as what for what it did. “The TPP is an act of climate denial,” said 350 policy director Jason Kowalski on Thursday. “While the text is full of handouts to the fossil fuel industry, it doesn’t mention the words climate change once.”

    What it does do, however, is give “fossil fuel companies the extraordinary ability to sue local governments that try and keep fossil fuels in the ground,” Kowalski continued. “If a province puts a moratorium on fracking, corporations can sue; if a community tries to stop a coal mine, corporations can overrule them. In short, these rules undermine countries’ ability to do what scientists say is the single most important thing we can do to combat the climate crisis: keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

    Furthermore, Friends of the Earth (FOE) said in its response to the final text, the agreement “is designed to protect ‘free trade’ in dirty energy products such as tar sands oil, coal from the Powder River Basin, and liquefied natural gas shipped out of West Coast ports.” The result, FOE warned, will be “more climate change from carbon emissions across the Pacific.”

  11. I’m watching Ben responding to reporters questions. He’s dancing pretty fast defending himself and accusing the media of having given Obama a pass. His movements are quick and he’s talking fast. Then, a question that he could answer from his campaign/book tour speeches and he reverted to quiet, gentle Ben. He’s in it for the money in my very humble opinion.

    • Yes, she is in desperate need of psychotherapy.

      How the hell can she truly believe converting one religion to another is what jeesus needs to ‘re-visit’ earth?

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