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In Praise Of Asian Women

Audrey Giovanni
I'm afraid Mr. Parker has completely missed Asian culture.  Understandable, since it is very complex and few take the time to really delve into it.

Contrary to Mr. Parker's assessment, Asia is still a haven for 'real' men.  Women are still subservient and passive, and willingly led men lead.  They are deferential and demure, preferring men who are decisive and dominant.

My wife, who is Chinese Indonesian, is the epitome of feminine, treating me rightfully as the king of the house and family.  When I make a decision, there is no further discussion or even grumbling.  She demands that the children show respect to me.  She serves me in every way as a good and faithful woman.

In return, I provide her with a good life.  I use her support to enable me to advance my career and social status.  My success benefits my wife and family, giving her status and the security she craves, in order to perform her role.

Asian women, and the culure they come out of, is very strong, very family-oriented, and very male-centric.  Women here hold the door for me and wait to let me pass unhindered.  My daughter holds the car door for her father and takes his advice quite seriously, because she knows that I provide for the family, and my health and comfort are of primary concern for the well-being of all of us.

I believe where Mr. Parket goes astray is in looking at Asians superficially.  Asian men are virtually bereft of body hair and have a generally softer look to Western eyes.  They are quite soft-spoken, because showing strong emotion in public is taboo.  Asians highly prize a smooth and calm exterior, no matter what the situation.  They are the prime example of 'poker faced.'

At the same time, Asian men tend to be more tender and caring of their women, because they are treated properly by the latter.  One can be a bit softer and more gentle if one's woman is properly behaved and never acts in a way that is embarrassing or shaming to the male.  Even if my wife were angry at me, she would never dream of making a scene or causing me to lose face in public.

Asian families are much more cohesive than Western families.  If I were even remotely abusive or caused harm to my wife, her brothers and uncles would be at my door in a heartbeat to 'discuss' the situation.  I've seen it happen with others, and was involved with an in-law in that way.

There is a bit of cultural creep from the West.  Though there are very few 'gay' men in Asia, at least openly, there are cultures such as Thailand that has a tradition of many centuries with 'lady boys.'  Asians have a cultural tic that enjoys juxtaposing certain things.  The 'soft' male, or the dogs who look like lions are just two examples of this aesthetic.  Certainly, if Mr. Parker thinks that Asian men are soft, he should spar with some down at the dujo.

In fact, the martial arts are a perfect example of the cultural juxtaposition I mentioned.  In the West, we equate muscular size and tone to strength, when some of the weakest men I know are muscle-bound bone heads.  On the other hand, Asian martial arts don't require great strength, but rather sharp wits and knowledge of physics.  A quick read of Sun Tsu would demonstrate that the concept of meeting force with force is a futile idea, and that a softer approach is often far more effective in battle.  Even Mr. Parker could not argue that Jengis Khan, or even Mao Tse Tung were wimps, though history does not speak of their feats of strength, only their cunning and stategic thinking.

Having sat at the negotiating table with Asian men from several countries, I can say from experience that looks can be deceiving.  Even the softest-looking male can be a formidable opponent.  Those I have sat across from are polite and deferential to a fault, because they would never dream of showing strong emotion in public, but I daresay I would not trust them with a broomstick.

Mr. Parker's words are full of anger.  I suspect that he may have been jilted by an opponent who appeared much softer and weaker than he.  Certainly, his comments regarding the treatment of women in Asia sound as if he lost a battle for love.  Certainly, he has forgotten things like the Inquisition and the Salem Witch Hunts.

None of this is to say that women can not be conniving and treacherous.  History is repleat with examples.  In the contest of East versus West, though, I would not trade my Asian wife for ten Western women.  I am not aware of any that could hold a candle to my wife for sheer femininity and submissiveness.  In all my life (50 years now), I have never felt so masculine and empowered, as I do now.  I feel stronger at 50 than at 20 for one simple fact, I have a woman who treats me like a man.  In return, she is treated like a woman and all her needs are fulfilled, as such.

Throughout history, the West has always imagined the East as feminine.  To our eyes, the outward appearance is a great deal softer, given our he-man ideal of masculinity.  Perhaps it is Mr. Parker's view of the masculine that is clouding his judgment.  Whatever the reason, I suggest that he take a different view of Asia, and this time leave his own cultural blinders behind.  There is a reason that Asian women have been alluring to Western men for centuries.  It is not because they have been treated badly, but because they have treated men well.  Perhaps the Western world would be a bit less belligerent if the men had more reason to stay home.

Imagine, if your will, that the West is a dog and the East is a cat.  The dog will attack head-on, gnashing and barking, until it is spent.  The cat will stalk and wait for advantage, perferring to wear out the prey than itself.  In the same sense, the East has sat back for a couple of hundred years while the West has barked and gnashed its way into econmic oblivion.  Now, the East is ascendant again, as the dog has worn itself out while the cat waited and watched.

In the same way, Asian men on an individual basis do not prize rippling muscles and shows of force.  Rather, they prefer mental acuity and prowess, preferring to find an opponent's weakness than attack his strengths.

That an Asian woman would not look at a man's physique, but rather his mental capacity is not surprising.  Westerners tend to be brash and loud and overly emotional.  It's much the same as the play of personalities between Spok and Kirk in Star Trek.  The cool logic is more appealing to Asian women than the brash cowboy.

That's not to say that Asian women aren't attracted to Western men.  We have the same appeal to them as they do to us.  We are foreign and exotic, different and challenging.  But, Western men must learn quickly that our outbursts and emotional torrents are turn-offs.  Instead, the Asian woman wants the allure of a Western man who can think and adjust to his surroundings, observing and changing his approach to suit the environment.

This one fact is the source of many disappointments with couples of mixed cultures.  The Asian woman will appreciate that her man is brash and emotional, if the environment calls for it.  But, she prefers a man who knows how to read situations and act accordingly.  That is a trait that will win her respect, her heart and her submission.

In comparison, Western women have become masculinized.  They fight, get drunk and take the lead sexually.  They look and act like men, and the men, who have been drugged, poisoned and brainwashed, have allowed themselves to be feminized.  We must wake up to the fact that we have been manipulated.  It is not that it is wrong to choose such things, but it is very wrong to have it chosen for us and enforced by stealth.

I have never felt more empowered than with my wife.  I feel more masculine and powerful than I have ever felt.  The part that is confusing to the Western mind is that it doesn't require force or aggression.  It only requires and woman who is feminine and submissive, and treats her man the way he should be treated.  When that happens, men no longer feel the need to abuse because they are fulfilled and satisfied with their lives.  Their is nothing to react to or defend against within the walls of his home.

Ultimately, that is what it comes to: a man who feels threatened in his own home, on his own turf, can never be powerful or effective outside.  That is the secret to the undermining of men.  They can not fight if their own backyard is not secure and supportive.  When a man feels like he is going into battle every time he comes home, or that when he gets home, everything will be gone, including his wife and children, then how can he ever project power and confidence to the outside world.

When that happens, he becomes ineffective and weak, unable to care properly for his family.  In response, his family loses respect for him, and it becomes a viscous circle spiraling ever downward.

Mr. Parker has missed the point entirely.  His impassioned plea is exactly what is unfavorable in the eyes of Asian women.  Western men can find real women and real happiness with Asian women, but they have to be smart and adaptable.  You don't have to be a flame when smoke will do.
Now posted on, and linked at  Thanks, Doc!


Bule Kampoeng

This past weekend, we balik kampung, or returned to the village.  We spent the past four days in Tegal, so that I could be introduced around to the rest of the family, as well as the childhood friends.  Needless to say, I took the kampung by storm, becoming a minor celebrity by the end of the trip.  It didn’t hurt that I was able to speak a little of the local Javanese dialect.  That was a major ice-breaker and within minutes, I was fast friends with just about everyone we met.

It’s traditional for the children to care for the parents, so we brought money and oleh-oleh (gifts, usually food, from other places).  At first, mother-in-law was a bit icy, but by the end of the weekend, she was worrying about me (a good sign, I’m told) and when we left, I was calling her mami and was given cium-cium (double-cheek kiss).  Apparently, where my wealth and status had failed, my personal diplomacy had won the day.

We spent four days in Tegal, seeing the sights and meeting a thousand people.  We were so popular that we were double-booked for every meal, and everyone wanted to take us to this place or that.
Tegal is a small city of about 250,000 people, and it is also the equivalent of the county seat.  It has a mixed population of Java, Sunda and Chinese.  The local dialect is a confusing mixture of all three languages, and the culture is dominated by the Chinese.  In the center is a large traffic circle with traditional markets all around it.  At night, there’s a pasar malam, or night market, which is a distinctly Chinese thing.  There are food stalls and a small carnival, as well as hawkers of all kinds of trinkets.

Tegal is a very old seaport that has been taken over by Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, and Japanese at various points in history.  Its primary agricultural product is sugar cane, which grows in dense fields all around the city.  It also has an area called Japang Indonesia, which is widely known for back-engineering Japanese machinery and making local knock-offs.

The city also hosts part of the Indonesian naval fleet, and there is a large compound on one side of Wati’s old neighborhood.  In fact, their band led the parade, which I’m coming to in about 43 pages.

I mentioned oleh-oleh before, which is typically some kind of specialty food from any given town or region.  Typically, when people travel to a place, they are expected to return with oleh-oleh for the folks back home.  It’s a regular cottage industry, especially in Tegal, which is famous for a number of foods.  In fact, even the restaurants that are peculiar to Tegal have become ubiquitous around the country.  They are called warteg, or warung tegal.  They are semi-permanent sheds built off the sides of houses that are known for being cheap, delicious and having good portions.  Various warteg specialize in one or two types of food and become well-known for it.

The street where Wati grew up is quite famous for its warteg.  They completely line the cobble-stone lane that stretches about five or six blocks.  There’s a morning market, where you can buy all sorts of cakes and rice dishes, as well as fruits and vegetables, and ginger coffee.  Around the corner is the Buddhist temple, which celebrated it’s 40th anniversary this weekend (more on that in a minute) and the hotel where we stayed, about three blocks from Wati’s home.  In the center of all this is a massive grey building with no windows, or door that I could see.  It looks at first like a factory, standing about four stories tall and spanning a full block.
Turns out it’s a bird house, and there are a couple of smaller ones (only two-story) nearby.  The Chinese love birds and consider having them live in the house to be very lucky.  Not only are there massive buildings dedicated to birds there, but many of the houses have roosting huts on the roof to encourage the birds to move in.

Wati’s mom, being somewhat ornery, chased the birds out of the house after Wati’s father died, because she was tired of cleaning up after them.  She’s a feisty little white-haired woman in her late 70s, and everyone is afraid of her (except me).  She has an opinion on every topic and is not afraid to speak it.  She lives with her maid in a large house, which is typical of Chinese design.  From the street, it looks like a small, simple brick house, but when you enter, it just seems to get bigger and bigger the longer you sit there.  It goes impossibly far back with a split second story facing on to a central commons that was probably open originally, but has been roofed over.  There’s probably six or seven bedrooms, plus formal living room, family room, dining room, and maid’s quarters.  When you step outside again, it’s hard to imagine how all that gets stuffed into the tiny façade.

We arrived in Tegal on the train.  This was my first train trip in Indonesia.  Tegal doesn’t have taxis.  The only form of public transportation, besides the usual angkot (small buses) are becak, which are the famous pedal-powered rickshaws one sees in movies.  Being so big, I had to take one by myself, along with the luggage, while Wati and her daughter Vanny followed in a second.  They delivered us to the hotel and the whole time I felt deeply sorry for the poor driver.  He was barely up to my chest and about as big around as my thumb, but he managed to get up a pretty good head of steam despite the load.
The hotel owners are friends of ours, so we stayed in their house at the back of the property.  This was also due to all the rooms having been taken by people coming for the temple celebration.  Their house was a large, breezy place full of plants, fish, birds, dogs, and a monkey.  It was like staying in the deep jungle, especially with the birds making all sorts of sounds that could have been the soundtrack to a Tarzan movie.

On Saturday morning, hour hosts loaded us in the car and took us to Guci (goo-CHEE) in the mountains northwest of town.  They have a mountain home there, on a ridge overlooking a broad valley, at this time full of cabbage, green onions and strawberries.  It was blessedly cold there, possibly the coldest I’ve felt in three years.  The views were jaw-dropping and the air was snapping clean, and it was blessedly quiet.  If our land ever gets a decent road, it would be a lot like this.

After spending a short while there, we proceeded up the mountain to Guci, which is a famous resort centered around a number of hot springs.  There are several high-end hotels that have a large swimming pool fed by the springs, but the poor folk go to another area of natural springs, falls and pools that are all steaming hot.  People flock to the area for the health benefits of the springs and the fresh air of the mountains.  I took a good soak in the pool, which was very refreshing, and even more so when I had to get out in the cold mountain air!
Going back down the mountain, we stopped at a restaurant famous for its sate kambing (goat satay).  They only use young kids, slaughtered and butchers on premise, and grilled to juicy perfection in the back.  Sate kambing is always served with kecap (where we get out English word), sweet soy sauce, and a salad of half-ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and chili peppers.  Sate kambing happens to be one of my favorite dishes, so I’ve become somewhat of a connoisseur, and I have to admit this was one of the finest I’ve eaten.
After gorging ourselves, we continued down the hill, stopping to buy durian, red rice (a special variety) and various other local goodies.

When we got back to the house, it was mid-afternoon, so we took a nap before meeting up with some of Wati’s family and friends for yet another round of sate kambing, which was also delicious and again we were rubbing our swollen bellies.
After coming back to the hotel, we went out to look at the festivities at the temple.  This was only the second time that the temple had been allowed to celebrate Sejit Kong Tjo.  Normally this is an annual type of festival, but the local wali (city government), being heavily slanted to Islam, had banned the annual parade for many years.  Two years ago, a more moderate group had been elected, and the temple had been allowed to celebrate with a parade.  For the occasion, groups had come from 42 other temples around Java.  There were literally bus-loads and truck-loads of people and stuff that had been arriving through-out the day.  Each temple had sent a toa pe kong, which are somewhat smaller versions of the old royal sedan chairs, carried on the shoulders of four to eight men.  They are intricately carved and painted, and each temple’s is unique.  There was even a small one from a temple in Bandung that was carried by children.

All of these were arranged around a large courtyard, and in the center was a massive incense burner.  It stood about 12 feet tall, and at the base was five feet wide.  It put out so much smoke that the entire neighborhood smelled of jasmine and sandalwood.  In the big hall, there was a shadow puppet play acting out the life of Buddha, which I had seen before in Houston, but never this elaborate.  The area in front of the stage was jam packed with food offerings from various families.  On a smaller stage were performances of dance and music put on by the various temples.

The next morning, we were supposed to go to the beach with more of Wati’s friends, but we were so exhausted from the day before, that we had to wave off in favor of sleeping a bit later.  By the time we got out, the parade was already forming up the street.  There was an incredible racket of drums, bells, cymbals, gongs, and fireworks.  Each temple had assembled in groups with the centerpiece being the to ape kong.  In most cases, there were flag-bearers, a push-cart with drums and bells, and a large group of ‘walkers.’ 

We watched as the parade led off with the Navy band, followed by a traditional Javanese band.  Then the first dragon came through the gate, followed by all the temples.  People were singing and banging anything that made noise and setting off strings of firecrackers on sticks, with little or no concern for anyone standing nearby.  Needless to say, we were pelted with shrapnel on a couple of occasions.  As each temple group came through the gate, they performed various things, such as flag-waving or group drumming or swinging the to ape kong back and forth while people timed themselves to run up and put offerings inside.

Finally, the last dragon came through and the whole parade began marching over the entire city.  There was a formal route, but at the end of it, the groups broke off and went in different directions, covering the town.

Wati and I took a position on a corner, because when the reached the wide spot in the street, they would perform various things, like swinging the to ape kong, or running around in circles, or various other feats, which you have to keep in mind, these things are quite heavy, made of jati and stuffed with offerings.

Unfortunately, the leader of one of the groups from the Tegal temple was Wati’s cousin.  When he spotted me (being the only six-foot tall white boy in the entire town), he ran over and recruited me to be a mikul (carrier).  He did this just as the group was reaching the intersection, which meant that, never having done this in my entire life, and being blind to boot, I was stuck in performance mode.  The lead mikul was barking directions and we all had to start running in a circle with the sedan car being the focal point.  Immediately, an entire herd of photographers appeared to document the bule mikul, as we marched another block or so, before they mercifully let me go.

The unfortunate part was, seeing that I was a good sport, three other groups recruited me, as well.  One was very heavy, with only four mikul, and I had to walk sideways with this thing.  At the intersection, they started dancing back and forth while swinging the to ape kong.  I had already lost my sandals while walking sideways, and the pavement was extremely hot.  I followed the guy next to me while the leader coached from the side.  People were running out to pour water on the street to cool my feet off while yet another herd of photogs and video cameras surrounded us.

The crowd went crazy seeing this giant white boy jumping into the festivities.  After that, I couldn’t walk ten feet without someone wanting to take a picture with me.  I’m sure there are several hundred of them floating around the internet by now.  Poor Wati was very patient and made jokes about people paying for the photo ops.  After the fourth to ape kong, Wati and I slipped away, before I died of heat stroke.
Needless to say, I’m now an honorary citizen of Tegal.

Even at 5 o’clock this morning, as we made our way by becak back to the train station, I heard several remarks to the effect of ‘there he is.’  As I sit here writing, my shoulders are bruised and battered, but none the worse for wear, and it was a good way to work off all the food we had eaten over the weekend.  I’m now, officially, bule kampung.


Singin' WWIV Blues

Since I was one of those lucky kids who had to hide under my desk at school every Friday at noon, when the air raid sirens went off, I think i can safely say this is the opening of WWIV.

WWIII took place from the end of WWII until the 80s, when the rest of the world went socialist and there was no point to fighting with your friends.  It was a 'cold war,' which means the sides blew up other people's countries as a proxy for their own ideological differences.

Here in WWIV, it's the banksters against the rest of the world.  This war is fought in board rooms and stock exchanges, using paper and bytes.

There's no nation vs. nation, because all the governments (with the exception of Libya) are already owned lock, stock and ice-cold barrel.  Any country that has money and a fair cut of resources has been subsumed.  The few that haven't, well, they're not important because they don't have anything of value to the banksters.  Qaddafi had about the only large stock of sovereign gold and oil left that wasn't in the bankster inventory.

WWIV is a war of thinking people vs. the Sheep.  The handfuls of independent folks out there who still think and act in ways that aren't sanctioned by The Owners are slowly being cornered.

Things like the TSA grope-a-ropes are actually sorting bins.  The Sheep just shuffle through silently and take their vaccines and soma.  Those who complain are being tagged and catalogued for later rendering.  The hot war will come soon enough, but for now, the banksters need to figure out where all the hiding places are, since the rebels aren't in a single physical area, like a country or something.

The whole thing reminds me of that old Star Trek episode called, "Taste of Armaggedon."  The gang lands on a planet which is at war with another planet, fought by computers.  The machines launch virtual attacks and calculate virtual damages, and then the assigned Sheep are tagged to voluntarily walk into disintegration chambers.

I mean, every time I read one of these 'cyber-war' stories trying to make me afraid of someone else' bytes, I just have to laugh!  Did all those Pentagon and bankster idiots watch Star Trek too?  Because it sure seems like they're trying to bring that episode to life.

Certainly, one gets the impression this whole charade is coming to a head.  The US is fighting six wars at once, while at the same time it's going flat broke.  The EU is about to go 'foof!', which is Greek for "oh hell."  Russia and China are playing footsie as they look at the entire western hemisphere going in the crapper.  The entire Middle East is singing the Rolling Stones (hey you, get offa my cloud!).  Even Antarctica seems to be having troubles, since Emperor penguins are swimming 2,000 miles to New Zealand to get out of there.

That's almost a good as Spalding Gray swimmin to Cambodia.

The interesting part of all of this is that one gets the distinct impression that the banksters are acting out of desperation.  They are moving fast and apparently not too concerned if people see behind the curtain now.  Maybe their TSA headcounts of the wild ones is showing just a few more heads than they had anticipated.  Certainly, places like Texas passing laws making the 'yellow shirts' criminals was not in their play-book.

Where's Gandi, or Emerson, or Thoreau?  Where are the Bob Dylans and hippies?  Where's the righteous indignation and the social conscience?  Have everyone gone nuts, gone soft or gone completely to sleep?

What really amazes me are the hippies.  They turned on, tuned in and burned out.  They vanished into the woods and became Microsoft and Celestial Seasonings.  An entire generation of trouble makers have become a bunch of gelatinous proto-plasm whose biggest concern is timing their investments and and hoping Social Security lasts long enough for them to get theirs.  A complete waste os resources, that bunch is.

It's a sad state of affairs when the shining hope for the future is a bunch of pasty cyber-punks whose idea of fun is cracking security on the US Senate's webpage.  I mean, come on...that's not a victory, that's a flea on an elephant.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain
You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud  -- Bob Dylan, Masters of War
It's over, I think.  \\If the world was turned right, neighbors would show up at the house next door with pitchforks and torches when the banksters came to repo.

If the world was turned right, people would shun corporate products and sparkly gee-gaws and politicians, and start their own economies governments.

If the world was turned right, everyone would stop paying credit cards and mortgages at the same time, and shove a middle finger in the face of anything that resembles 'old school' power and control.

Than's if the world was turned right.  As it looks from here, it ain't even turned at all.

Pretty soon, the scanners at the airports will become disintegrators, and we'll all be living a Star Trek episode where we march happily into them and vanish forever, on command.  There won't be need for bullets and bombs, we'll all just fall on our swords when told.  When the message comes that little Johnny had his virtual leg blown off in a virtual attack, poppa will eargerly run over and hack it off so that the game can continue.

Who knows?  Maybe Roddenberry was on to something.  After all, we all have communicators now, phasers are being tested at Livermore and warp drive exists for the privileged few.

Beam me up, Scotty.  There's no intelligent life down here.


In The Beginning...

"What the hell was THAT?"

The leader was a very tall, willowy man with shocking blue eyes and a complexion so smooth and white, that it was nearly self-luminescent.  He was still wearing his flight gear, and the helmet made his head look much wider than it was.

"We're still scanning, sir, but it looks like they pulled the trigger," answered another man, very similar looking, but wearing brown instead of white.

"What do we know so far?" Enlil spoke with authority and the force of many centuries as a Supreme One.

Enke responded slowly, trying to grasp the scale of what he was learning from his station.  "It appears that Tiamat is gone, sir."


"Yes sir.  Long-range scans show a lot of rubble where it should be.  There's a large HD signature in the region.  It looks like Cronus went through with it," his voice cracking with stress, as he struggled to maintain composure.  "From what I can see, Maret is still there, but it's in an erratic orbit, and there appears to be a large gash on one side."

"Is there any communications?"  There was an edge to Enlil's voice, something the others were unaccustomed to hearing.

Ishtar responded, "No, sir.  All channels are completely silent."

There was a long pause.  Everyone kept their eyes on their stations, while Enlil stared at the tactical schematic that was up on the main panel.  Where Tiamat should be, there was a rapidly expanding cloud of thousands of objects.  Even more alarming was a sphere around that, which showed as water ice.  It was already past Maret and moving fast.  It would probably arrive at Terra within a few sidereal months.

"Navagation, what are we looking at here?" Enlil's voice seemed on the verge of panic, which was deeply disturbing to the rest of the crew.

Oshirus paused before speaking, to make sure of what he was about to say.  "Tiamat has been destroyed, sir.  Those objects are fragments.  There is a sphere of water ice from the oceans that is expanding rapidly.  I estimate that it will arrive at Terra in approximately five of the local months.  Maret appears to be intact, but it's orbit is erratic.  I estimate that the entire opposing hemisphere has been buried in rubble approximately 20 kliks deep.  According to calculations, when the ice sphere reaches Terra, it will likely cause a flood of planetary proportions."

Silence again as everyone stared at the display in disbelief.  Cronus and Tiamat had been at war for centuries, but no one every thought it would come to this.  The Cronusites had created a weapon of of such massive destructive power everyone had assumed it would provide sufficient deterrent to open war.

The weapon was capable of drawing unimaginable power from the sub-space aether and was capable of pulverizing entire planets.  The only draw-back is that it would draw every ounce of energy from their entire system to fire it one time.  Everyone assumed that the threat of mutual destruction would be enough to stop them from actually activating it.

Enlil snapped out of his trance.  "Inventory!"

Oshirus spoke first, "We ejected the HD drive before entering the atmosphere.  All systems are online and functioning, except we can't go anywhere."

Ishtar was next, "Communications are fully functional, but we are not receiving any signals from any of the colonies.  None of the automatic nav systems are online anywhere in the helios.  All of the pulsar beacons are still functioning, so long-range navigation is possible."

"If we can get off this world," Enlil said half to himself.  "Oshirus, what is the status of Terra?"

"The Cronus project was nearly completed.  The atmosphere was nearly complete, though the CO2 levels are a bit low compared to Maret.  The gravity roughly six times our normal.  There are multiple species divided into five super classes.  There's a secret species that Tiamat had been developing, sir," he trailed off.

"A what?  What do we know about it?"

The display shifted and a window popped up on the right-hand side.  Two creatures appeared, along with various read-outs on their genetics and abilities.

"They look like us," Enlil said in a hoarse whisper.

"Yes, sir.  That was the reason Cronus attacked.  Tiamat wanted to take over Terra and create a...pleasure world.  The project was called Edun.  Cronus wanted to kill them off because they were an abomination."  Oshirus was uncertain of his own feelings on the matter, as well.  "From the intel we've been able to intercept, Tiamat was engineering a hybrid species as a slave class to mine strategic metals and minerals, as well as"

"What?  My cousin!  You're accusing MY family of genetic crime.  Watch your step, mister," Enlil said with genuine anger in his voice.

Oshirus was silent.  Enke and Ishtar turned quickly to their stations, so as not to incur the legendary wrath of Enlil.

Enlil collapsed into his chair and continued to stare at the display.  The entire group appeared to be deep in shock and thought.  Enlil wanted to retch his lungs out at what he was looking at, but he had to maintain composure or EVERYTHING was lost.

After a very long while, Enlil stirred and looked around at the small group that appeared to be the last survivors of Helios.

"We need to survive," he said, as if trying to convince himself.  "Can we breed with those creatures?"

Enke spoke up when no one else did, "According to what I'm seeing here, Tiamatians were already doing that.  Apparently, their city was a massive brothel, to put it mildly."

Rage appeared in Enlil's eyes, but he choked it back painfully.  "Get a team together and get as many breeding pairs as you can find.  Collect DNA from every land species you can.  Don't worry about the water creatures.  What's the story on the water ice?"

Oshirus cleared his throat, "According to calculations, it will reach Terra in roughly five months, eleven days, by local reckoning.  The amount I estimate to reach the surface will inundate all dry land.  It'll be a holocaust by any measure."

"We need help.  Save as many of the chimera species as you can.  We'll re-engineer the land animals after the flooding receeds.  We'll need seed from all the food-bearing plants, as well.  We don't have much time, so hop to it," Enlil said robotically.  He was running on pure instinct at the moment.  "Start designing a power plant using only local .materials.  I don't want to scavenge the ship, if we can possibly help it.  Did we lose anyone in the crash?"

"No, sir.  We have full compliment of 600," Enke reported automatically.

"Step to it, then."
To be continued...


Adventures In Acupuncture V

This is part 5 of an on-going series of articles about the use of acupuncture in treating the effects of multiple sclerosis, especially blindness.  See Part 1 herePart 2 herePart 3 here, and part 4 here.  The standard Western medical approach gave no hope for recovery, and the use of life-long drugs (with distasteful side-effects) offered a ‘possible’ protection from further attacks.
This is week five of acupuncture, and I've received a total of eight treatments.  At this point, I seem to have reached a plateau, with incremental gains, but noting Earth-shattering.

The sin she has gotten more aggressive, and we are adding a third treatment each week.  Now I will be going to the clinic on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, though this coming week, I will be out of town on Saturday.

By 'aggressive,' I mean that some of it is very uncomfortable, and even downright painful.  My wife, who had been considering using acupuncture for her own complaints, has had second thoughts after watching me.  The really difficult part is that the more tense you are, the more difficult it is to insert and seat the needles correctly.  I don't particularly like needles in the first place, and having them jammed into various parts of my body and wired to a 'thumper' (what I call the battery pack that delivers current to the needles) challenges my ability to relax.

The two needles that are placed into the back of my neck, just under the base of the skull, are dug in so deep that they cause my eyelids to flutter and a 'twinge' that I can feel from head to toe.  The two that are placed on either side of the bridge of my nose are pushed in until I can feel them touching my eye balls.  The ones above the outside of my ankles are downright painful, if I move my feet at all, even to wiggle my toes.

I know what the sin she is doing, and what the theory is behind it all, which is why I chose acupuncture as a modality.  It doesn't make it any easier to tolerate, though.  But, I am receiving some benefit from it, so I will persist until my immediate commitment of three months.

You may be asking yourself, why have I chosen do submit to this?  Well, to answer that, it may be instructive to go back and look at what's wrong, and then see my reasoning.

Multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disorder, in which the immune system suddenly decides that the myelin sheath on the nerves is an invader, and so attacks it.  Current theory is undecided as whether it is genetic or environmental.  In my studies, I have come to the conclusion that one is genetically susceptible, but there is an environmental trigger.

In my case, I have come to the conclusion that the trigger was aspertame.  I have made exhaustive lists of everything I ate and drank in the week prior to the attack.  The only thing that wasn't part of my regular diet was Mylanta, which I was taking for a particularly sour stomach.  I almost never use things like Mylanta, but I was desperate for some relief.  Listed on the ingredients is aspertame, which normally I would not eat at all, since most of what I eat is meat and vegetables that are fresh and unprocessed.

The reason I blame aspertame is because it is a powerful neuro-toxin produced by E. coli.  I am convinced that ingesting large amounts of it too quickly will cause problems for just about anyone, much less those predisposed to multiple sclerosis.  There are others, such as MSG and improperly cooked cassava root, which are both common in foods here in Indonesia, but I avoid both and I didn't have any in the week prior to my attack.  (As a side note, I have accidentally eaten cassava/singkong twice in the past couple of years, and there is a strong effect on my eyesight within 12 hours)

At any rate, after the body attacks the nerves, it leaves scars called 'sclera.'  The sclera block the signals from the nerves, and so cause various problems with the senses and motor control.  The senses are the easiest to notice, at first.  When your sight, hearing and touch are profoundly affected, there's an immediate feedback.  The motor control is a bit more insidious.  It creeps in year after year until one is bed-ridden or must use a wheelchair to get around.

Some people have particularly aggressive forms, in which they have frequent attacks and deteriorate rapidly.  Others may only have one attack, but then suffer a long, slow deterioration over many years.  The disease seems to strike primarily over-40 folks, with a preference for women, though statistically only a small number.

My attack felt like the onset of a very bad flu.  I felt extremely weak and tired, like my limbs weighed hundreds of pounds.  I laid down for no more than five minutes, and when I opened my eyes, everything appeared vastly over-exposed.  Within 24 hours, my world had gone black.  The textbook treatment is heavy doses of steroids to reduce inflammation of the nerves and restore as much as possible.  After that, the only options for treatment in Western medicine are to pop pills for the rest of your life in the hopes that they will prevent future attacks.  However, there are no guarantees, the pills are rather expensive and the side-effects are quite undesirable.  I opted not to go that route, and instead seek alternative means to control, and possibly cure, the situation.

After quite a bit of study, and a certain amount of intuitive reasoning, I decided to go with acupuncture, combined with a vitamin/mineral regimen, and various herbal supplements.  I had read a number of papers and testimonials concerning the efficacy of acupuncture in treating MS, and intuitively, stimulating the nerves seemed like a reasonable means to restoring them.  Everything I found, though, said that acupuncture worked best when combined with other modalities, which is why I have focused on the vitamins, herbs and reflexology, which is a form of non-invasive acupuncture.

With that said, I have now finished eight sessions of acupuncture.  I have noticed some rather amazing effects, though from an outside observer, it may not seem like much.

Previous to treatment, I was only able to perceive the color blue with any certainly, and even that was not very strong in my central vision.  After three or four sessions, I noticed colors starting to come back across my entire field of view.  The first one to reappear was yellow, which is the compliment to blue.  That meant that my blue cones were being re-invigorated.  Lately, the colors red and green are increasing, as well.  That implies that the red cones are turning on again, as well.  The colors are increasing across my entire field of view, and not just in the peripheral areas.  My night vision has improved the most, to the point where I can make out details and colors at night, which is a major advancement.  Previously, I could only see with any certainty for about six feet around me.  After that, all I saw was lights floating in black velvet.

I am perceiving more detail at greater distances, as well.  Things I can see sharply have moved out from about six feet to more than 20 feet.  I can see individual leaves on trees, up to a point.  I can see more detail further ahead, which makes walking much easier.

I still have problems in dynamic situations, where things are changing rapidly.  Crowds and traffic are particularly disorienting and exhausting.  I also still have problems with people's faces.  A lot of what we read from people, as far as recognition and other information, requires a lot of detail.  People that I know very well are easy, but I rely on a lot of other information, like voice, body shape, hair style, etc.  Some people are more distinct than others, as well, and that helps in some cases.  In any case, I still have a hard time reading emotions using facial characteristics, and I have to scan someone's face constantly, since I can only clearly see an eye, or the mouth, at any one time.

My sense of balance has increased and I feel more stable when walking or doing things that require a strong sense.  Carrying loads up and down stairs is one example where I have a particular problem, with regard to balance.

When it comes to acupuncture, there is a definite hyper-state immediately following treatment, which tends to stabilize over the following 24 hours.  Then there is a sort of tapering off over time after that.  The sin she wants to increase the number of treatments for that reason.  Apparently, acupuncture requires raising the activity in the nerves and keeping them in a hyperactive state in order to be most effective.  By moving to three sessions per week, she can keep the nerves at a super-active level with no more than 48 hours between treatments.

A couple of things I can highly recommend acupuncture for include sinus problems, aches and pains, and apparently weight-loss.  I have met a number of folks at the clinic who have attested to dramatic weight-loss using acupuncture.  In my own experience, I know that one treatment can cause my sinuses to literally snap open in a matter of minutes, and my sense of smell increases dramatically.  Also, if I tell the sin she about some pain (say...lower back) then she adds an extra needle or two, and the pain goes away almost immediately.  For those suffering from various chronic pains or sinus problems, I highly recommend acupuncture.  For those seeking to lose weight, you may want to investigate this further.  I can only offer what these folks have told me.

It's tempting to say that these effects are psycho-somatic, and I have gone to some effort to eliminate subjective variables, by using things like color bars and alignment charts to verify that I am actually receiving a benefit, and not just causing myself to think that I am.

And so the process continues.  I'm not really sure what the outcome will be, but I can say with some certainty that acupuncture does have an effect, and for some things it's rather dramatic and immediate.  I am seeing (pun intended) some benefit with my vision.  I somewhat of an up and down process, but more colors and greater detail are objectively proven.  Whether I will be able to drive again, or resume my work with cameras remains to be seen.  Those activities require a great amount of visual acuity.  At this point, I'm happy to walk down the street without falling in a hole.

More as things develop...


Why Monks Chant

Let's see...less than a week ago, the heads of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others go to the Bilderberg meeting, and now we see that the NSA is teaming up with internet providers to track and trace your every online move.  Still have doubts who pulls the strings in this world?

I like George Ure's idea (  We need to file a class-action suit against all the governments of the world in the ICC, on behalf of all the real people in the world, for gross violation of every Natural Law there is and stomping all over us real people.

Government...the deadliest force known to Man.

About 2500 years ago, the Buddha postulated that the real Universe is composed of something like sea-foam.  When a vibration enters it, a bubble emerges, which we call 'matter.'  It exists for a time, then pops and returns to the foam.

Quantum physics has come to the same conclusion, using brute force and big, expensive toys.  We can stipulate that the Buddha didn't have scanning electron microscopes and Large Hadron Colliders, I think.

If you put metal filings on a piece of wax paper with nothing underneath, and then take a tuning fork and touch it to the center, you'll see all the filings clump together in a vibrating pattern.  That is the macro version of the micro Universe.  Of course, macro and micro are all a mater of perspective.  So, when a vibration (or wave) enters the Cosmic Aether, it clumps together and forms the things that we perceive through our five senses.  As long as the vibration keeps up, the 'matter' will exist to our senses.  Once the music stops, the 'matter' ceases to be and the filings all just slump back into the Aether.

Light, being both a wave (vibration) and 'matter,' is the creator of all things that we sense.  We are, truly, beings of light.  The reason we can't see beyond the 'speed of light,' and our mathmatics goes to hell in a hand-basket at that point, it that we enter the realm of Creation.  Beyond the 'speed of light' is the 'sea foam.' Past that, we can't imagine in our limited existence as 'sensory' beings.  But we can experience the effects of vibrations.

Music soothes the savage breast, we always say.  I'm picking up strange vives, the hippies would opine.  And experience sent chills down our spines.  The power of words, as we writers know, are the vibrations that they create.

Words are vibrations, and so have vast amounts of latent power waiting to be released.

Photons vibrate our retinas, and that's why we see.  Sounds vibrate our ear drums, and that's why we hear.  Textures vibrate our fingertips, and that's why we feel.  Odors vibrate our silia, and that's why we smell.  Essences vibrate our taste buds, and that's why we taste.

When people and organizations do good things, it creates harmonic vibrations that affect everything around them.  People like Mother Theresa and Gandi and others created positive vibrations that caused others to move in harmony.

People like Obama, Shrub and Hitler, like many others create sour vibrations, and that in turn causes irritation and bad reactions around them.

That's how the Bastards are destoying our world.  They know about vibrations.  They know that if you send the right frequencies into the Universe, you can create 'anti-matter' that destroys 'matter' in cataclysms.  It's the same as magicians speaking magic incantations and tapping with their wands.  They are making vibrations that create other things.

We've all noticed how children and animals gravitate to some people, but won't go near others.  They are sensitive to the vibrations of others and know which ones are putting out positive 'noise' and which are not.  When we become adults, we tell ourselves that is non-sense and stop listening to those vibrations, but we still feel them.  "I felt it in my gut," we say.

Surly you've noticed how some noises put you to sleep, but others will keep you awake all night.  Or maybe some music makes you feel dreamy and reminiscent, while others make you angry and agitated.  Changing our mood is as easy as changing the station.

It's why we fall in love.

So, at this point, you're asking, "What's your point?"

Glad you asked.  You see, all our governments and financial systems and media have got us surrounded with bad, if not downright evil vibrations.  It's making us all whacky and irritated and wanting to go to war.  They know it.  That's why they are doing it.  It's coming through all the media.  That's why I tell you to turn it off.

The other part of that is that we can change things just by changing the vibrations we put out.  In acting, we call it "The Method."  You recall a situation that gave you a certain feeling, then you transfer that vibration onto the situation at hand.  The really outstanding actors, like Gary Oldman, can do it so well that you can't recognize them in different roles.  You can have bad days and good days just by changing the vibrations you put out.

Try this: start listening to music that only makes you feel dreamy.  Turn off the TeeVee, there's nothing there of any positive value.  Try to surround yourself with positive things, like favorite foods, good smells, soft things, pleasing pictures.

As you do this, start noticing the way other people react around you.  I'm willing to bet that if you are feeling 'groovy,' others will pick up on it and start behaving the same way.

Change your vibration, and you can have a far-reaching effect on everything around you.

Next time you go to vote, think about which candidate made you feel most positive.  Don't listen to the words, feel the vibration.  You won't choose the front-runner, I guarantee it (especially if you turn off the TeeVee).  Who gives you the most positive feeling?  That's the best choice (if you are not swamped with media hype).

The Buddha taugh us about karma.  Whatever vibration you put out into your environment, that is what you will get back from your environment.  Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

It's all about the vibrations...

Physics And The Art Of Sun Tea

Going to show my age here, but what the hell?

Remember going to the five-n-dime as a kid and buying those balsa wood airplanes?  The ones with the big rubber band that made the propeller spin.  After you destroyed the plane, you could use the rubber band to snap your brother on the rump.  OK, hold that thought.

Now, for those who think that the sun has no influence on Earth’s climate, which if you listen to NASA you might, let’s do a couple of experiments.

First, get a big glass jar with a lid and fill it with water.  You’ll want to start this in the morning.  Put a couple of those big tea bags inside and seal it.  Now, place it in a nice sunny spot while we go off on some adventures.

Next, we climb aboard the new LFS private jet.  You know, the new Airbus transparent plane that would make Wonder Woman green with envy.  Now that we’re at cruising altitude, you’ll notice that we occasionally run into some turbulence, where the plane bounces up and down.  That’s because, as the sun warms the surface of the Earth for 12 hours a day, the surface air warms and starts to rise.  As it does, it creates a vacuum that’s filled with cold air from higher altitudes sinking.  This creates a convection current.  That one we just flew through is only one of thousands all across the sun-facing side of the Earth.  Those currents, among other things, create wind, which we use to fly balsa wood airplanes and kites.

OK, now we’re landed in Chile, despite the dire warnings about volcanic ash.  I want you to run back to the toilet and flush.  That’s all, just flush.  Notice how that pretty blue liquid swirls around in a clockwise direction?  Great!  Now we’ll head back north.  Good, now here in Europe, where the entire EU is collapsing before our eyes, I want you to run back and flush again.  Notice how the blue stuff swirls in a counter-clockwise direction?  Excellent!

That’s called the Coriolis Effect.  It’s what causes ocean currents and north-south trains to wear one side of the tracks more than the other.  It drives cyclones and anti-cyclones alike.
So, now we come back to the house and check on the tea.  It’s not finished yet, but notice how the dark tea is sliding down one side of the jar, while the clear water is climbing up the other side.  And since we’re on the equator here at LFS world headquarters, go ahead and flush the toilet one more time.  Did you see that?  The water went straight down without swirling at all.

See?  This physics stuff is really fun, isn’t it?
Why all this running around and making tea?  Because, what happens is the sun warms both the air and the oceans, causing convection currents.  Then, the Coriolis effect creates streams like the Gulf Stream current in the North Atlantic and the jet stream in the upper atmosphere.  Those streams carry the sun’s energy, in the form of heat, and distribute it around the globe in a fairly even way, so that we all experience a pretty narrow range of temperatures across the face of the Earth.

The Gulf Stream swirls around the Gulf of Mexico, picking up the nice warm water, and then carries across the Atlantic, where it releases the heat when the current slams into the west coast of Europe.  Though it’s not a lot, it’s enough to keep the permafrost out of the Queen’s Wheaties.

Back to our rubber band airplane.  Go ahead, wind it up.  Watch the rubber band as you go.  It twists up more and more, getting tighter and tighter, then…POP!  It gets one of those big knots in it, then another and another.

The ends of the rubber band are the north and south poles of the sun.  As the sun spins, its magnetic field gets wound up tighter and tighter, until…POP!  A sunspot appears, then another and another.  This goes on for about 11 years until the magnetic field turns completely inside out, and the poles reverse, clearing all the stress in the system, until the next cycle begins.  Just like letting go of the propeller on our plane and letting the stored energy out of the rubber band.  After roughly 22 years, the poles have reversed twice, so that north is back at north again.

For the past 20 or 30 years, the sun has been wildly active, spewing out tons of plasma and radiation, called coronal mass ejections, or CMEs.  They carry huge amounts of energy at blinding speed out to the far reaches of the solar system.  As a consequence of this very active period, there has been global warming on virtually every planet in the solar system. 

The oxygen levels have jumped in Venus’ atmosphere.  Mars’ polar caps have been receding at an alarming rate.  Huge new storms have appeared on Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus.  Even Pluto’s rather thin atmosphere, which at this point in its orbit usually freezes and falls to the ground, is still hanging in there.

On Earth, we’ve noted some warmer general temperatures, some polar melting and more powerful and frequent storms.  Algore and the Alarmists have tried their damnedest to convince us that it’s our fault, so they could tax us for carbon, which they don’t seem to notice is what life itself is made on, at least on Earth.  Or maybe they did notice, and the whole point was to put a tax on the biosphere itself.  Also, 0.039% of our atmosphere is carbon dioxide, so a fraction of a percent here of there really doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.  Mars’ atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide, and it’s damn cold.  So Algore can jump off a cliff.

Anyway, I digress…

The other day, NASA came out with an announcement that there are signs the sun’s magnetic poles may not turn inside out this time around.  In fact, the whole cycle may slip into neutral for a while, if all the data points are right.  In fact, there are three discreet signs that all point towards a less active period for the sun, and that’s not good.  “Scientists” are saying it could even be the beginning of another Maunder Minimum.
Between the years 1650 and 1700, the sun spot cycle (knots in the rubber band) came to a screaming halt.  What does this concern us?  Well, it seems that the Maunder, Sporer and Wolf minima have corresponded perfectly with a drop in the global average temperature.  Also, the recently passed active period, as well as past maxima have lined up perfectly with generally warmer phases in global temperatures.

At the time of the Maunder Minimum, there was a phenomenon known as The Little Ice Age, which came directly on the heels of the Medieval Warm Period.  In other words, an extended period of increased sunspots corresponded with warmer global temperatures, followed by a period of almost no sunspots, when Europe, Russia and North America experienced incredibly cold, long winters.

Many spots=palm trees in England and record harvests, no spots=famine and freezing to death
Algore can take a hike at this point.  We don’t need him any more.  This is a pattern that has repeated throughout the past 400 years that records can be correlated.

If we are heading into a period of reduced solar activity, then the amount of heating on Earth will lead to cooler air and oceans.  That, in turn, will slow down the convection and ocean currents, which will cause overall colder temperatures, reduced harvests and greater reliance on fuels, such as petroleum, to keep warm…at least until you die of starvation. 

It would also cause the El Niño/La Niña cycle, which is basically warm water sloshing back and forth between Asia and South America, to slow, and even stop.  This would cause devastating droughts in some areas, and equally nasty flooding in others.

If the sun does indeed quiet down, and especially if it reaches the extremes recorded during the Maunder Minimum, then we could be in deep trouble.

One of the biggest fallacies of the whole global warming farce was that we would all bake to death.  First of all, warmer temps would have caused more evaporation from the oceans and poles, which would have increased rainfall and the amount of fresh water available.  It would have also increased harvests and gone a long way to restoring rain forests.  All beneficial to life as we know it.  People don’t catch colds when it warm, right?

On the other hand, if we head into a mini ice age, food production will drop, overall humidity will decrease, more fresh water will get locked up as polar ice, and it will take vastly more energy to keep warm.

What are some of the proposed causes of the Mini Ice Age?
“Several causes have been proposed: cyclical lows in solar radiation, heightened volcanic activity, changes in the ocean circulation, an inherent variability in global climate, or decreases in the human population.” – Wikipedia, The Little Ice Age

Ocean currents, sunspots, volcanoes, and…decreased human population?!  You mean all this crazy talk about reducing the population could actually cause the world to freeze in the dark?  Hahahahaha!  What a bunch of loonies those warmists are.

Let’s try another thought experiment here.  Suppose we have the technology and research to lead us to believe that another mini ice age (or worse) is coming.  How would we react, given unlimited resources to make it happen?

First, we would need to store up supplies, like seed, food and other necessities.  Then, we would set out to lock up as much oil as we could get our hands on, even if it meant starting a half-dozen wars and crashing the economy in the process.  We would have to distract the masses by making them look in the wrong direction so they wouldn’t compete with our preparations, or panic in the streets.
The Little Ice Age by anthropology professor Brian Fagan of the University of California at Santa Barbara, tells of the plight of European peasants during the 1300 to 1850 chill: famines, hypothermia, bread riots, and the rise of despotic leaders brutalizing an increasingly dispirited peasantry. In the late 17th century, writes Fagan, agriculture had dropped off so dramatically that "Alpine villagers lived on bread made from ground nutshells mixed with barley and oat flour." [33] Historian Wolfgang Behringer has linked intensive witch-hunting episodes in Europe to agricultural failures during the Little Ice Age.” – Wikipedia, Little Ice Age

Sound familiar?

On the other hand, the Medieval Warm Period went hand-in-hand with the Great Age of Exploration, the Renaissance and some of the most enlightened social and political thinking our civilization has every produced.

Little Ice Age=starvation/death/despotism, Medieval Warm Period=Renaissance/exploration/expansion

I’m just sayin’…

Wow!  That tea is hot, just from the sun’s rays!  Here, let me add a little sugar and some ice, and…VIOLA!  Some delicious physics!  Don’t worry, Algore and the Warmidiots tell us the sun has nothing to do with our climate, and by extension, our civilization.  So, just relax, drink your sun tea and rest assured that everything is j-u-s-t-f-i-n-e.

See you next time!  And don’t get sun burn!
As an aside, if you want to study ocean currents, you need to drop markers of some sort into the water.  Color dye is one way, but is hard to see, when the background is completely black.  The best way is to use radioactive or chemical markers that can easily be traced, even by remote satellite.

What's this?!  Last year, BP dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf Stream, and this year, Fukushima is dumping untold millions of gallons of radioactive water into one of the key northern Pacific currents. if you can dump these markers into the water and call them accidents, so that you can get around things like the EPA, wouldn't that be helpful?  And we can map these currents long-term to see how they are changing as the sun's output decreases.

Just a thought...


Down On The Farm

Being a seventh generation Texan, it just wouldn't be right if I didn't have a farm, even living on the far side of the Universe from home.

A while back, I bought 7 hectare (~17 acres) up in the mountains.  Beautiful place on the side of a hill with a view of three volcanoes and a couple of distant cities.  The previous owner had quite a spread, and for whatever reason, decided to break it up into parcels of 3.5 hectare and sell it off.  He even cleared the land down to the money-trees (fruit and jati, or mahogany).

When I first went up there, the land was cleared down to the dirt with a couple hundred jati trees, some avacado trees, several durian, and a metric ton of bananas.  This past weekend, it was already overrun with chili peppers, corn and cassava bushes.

The volcanic soil here is amazing.  I tell folks that if a woman stands in one place too long, she'll get in the family way pretty darned quick.  I've seen this type of thing down in Cental America, as well.  You can clear a patch down to dirt, and in about three months, it's overrun again.

Getting to the place is quite an adventure in itself.  Once you get to the end of the line, then keep going about another 8 miles and you'll be there.  You have to walk the last kilometer or so, because the road stops at the neighbor's horse barn.

As usual, everyone in Jakarta bails out into the country on the weekends, so the road up the mountains was at a dead stand-still starting just before the foothills.  We didn't want to wait, so we paid an ojek $5 to lead us up the hill on the back-roads.  Great investment!  Not only did we blow past all the traffic, but got a rather scenic tour of small villages, as well.

When we rejoined the main road, it was just in time to see two tour buses run into each other.  They had jumped into the opposing lane to try and run around the last bit of jam, but the one in front locked up to avoid killing a motorcyclist, and the second one smacked square into the first right next to us.  Rather exciting.  Keep in mind this is a tiny two-lane blacktop that puts the word "switch-back" to shame.  Everyone runs that road like they are Mario Andretti, passing on blind turns and cutting across hair-pins.  It's truly frightening, so I concentrate on the scenery and pray like it's the Second Coming.  So good.

After about an hour or so, we came to a medium-size village on the main drag.  At that point, we turned off and started down a road that makes driving on the Moon look like a picnic in Kansas.  We drove through half a dozen smaller villages full of rice fields, strawberry patches and flowers.  It reminded me a bit of the back roads in Holland, only not as flat and a lot more gritty.

After a while, we came to a turn-off that lead up the mountain.  If the road we turned off was the Moon, then this one made the Moon look smooth.  The pavement ended after an hour or so, and it actually got smoother at that point.

We passed tiny villages, a lumber mill, and scenery that makes me gasp every time I see it.  Driving within inches of the mountain's edge, you can look down into a vast valley covered in dense jungle.  Occasionally, you see some monkeys, if you look sharp.  Up the hill in the opposite direction, there are mahogany trees six feet in diameter and nearly 200 feet tall, and an undergrowth of smaller trees covered in orchids.

Finally, the road just ends.

The neighbor has a beautiful spread with orchards, a horse barn, a couple of houses, and a bunch of ducks.  we parked here and talked with the caretaker for a bit while we waited for the motorcycles to show up.  When they got there, we mounted up for the last leg of the journey.

The footpath was slick as a weasel.  It had just rained an hour before we got there.  We managed to get up the hill and level off on the path to the farm.  Finally, none the worse for wear, we rounded the bend and came onto our land.

After the engines cut off, you realize just how far you are from anything.  It's so quiet, you can hear your blood cells bumping into each other.  Just some birdsong and the hum of hornets the size of sparrows, and a light breeze in the leaves.

I stood for a minute, sucking in the clean, cool air.  You can't find a spot anywhere in Jakarta like this.  And with the recent rain, the earthy smell and flower scents were overwhelming.

The caretaker had planted corn, so there were rows upon rows of it down the side of the hill.  The jati trees stood tall and straight as arrows, with their strange puffs of leaves way up at the top.  They were nearing 20 cm in diameter, and would be ready for harvest early next year.  There are about 150 of them.  There's also five golden jati trees.  They're protected and you have to have a government permit to cut them commercially, but you can cut and use them on your own land.

I picked up a good walking stick and started off down the hill.  At the first banana tree, I stopped and picked a hand of pisang ambon which are little suckers just bigger than my thumb, and really sweet.  They were warm from the sun and perfectly ripe.

A little further and I checked the durian.  Wasn't ready yet.  Maybe another two months.  Curious fruit, too.  It can get to the size of a rugby ball, covered in a very thick, hard shell covered with large, mean spines.  It smells like a pair of old gym socks full of rotten onions, and it's delicious.

When it's ripe, the husk splits open, giving you a fighting chance to get at the goodies inside.  If you don't end up in the hospital, then what you find is about four or five flesh, pale-yellow, worm-like things inside.  Each one has a singe, large brown seed in it.  You peel the worms out and start snacking!  It has the consistency of a thick custard and a similar flavor, though it's completely unique, like nothing I've ever eaten before.  If it's overripe, it has a slightly bitter taste and will get you drunk.  In fact, it's unseemly for unmarried couples to be seen eating it together in public.

Next stop was the avocado trees.  The fruit was still small and green, and hard as rocks.  By September, they'll be the size of softballs and rather good, though the flavor is not the same as the black Hass variety back home.  Still, they make pretty good guacamole.  From the looks of things, I'll be making guacamole for the entire neighborhood, come the time.

At the bottom of the hill is a river with ice-cold, clear water.  It has plenty of lele, which are small catfish.  Very popular around these parts.  There are a couple of other varieties of fish, but I haven't learned the names of them yet.

Later, I plunked down in the shade with my bananas and ate my fill.  For good measure, I added a mango and part of a papaya, as well.  I just relaxed and let the wind caress me with its chilly tendrils.  Through the trees, I could see the outlines of the mountains in the distance, and the large valley stretching out into the haze.  I drank in the smell of sweet Earth and listened to the birds I couldn't find, and whose songs I have never heard before.

I dreamed of the house I will build at the top of the hill.  The top will be level with the footpath, and the house will sink three stories into the ground, with the entire downhill side being nothing but glass.  From the top, I will have an elevated walkway that will run out to a landing in the tree tops.  At the base will be a fish pond and swimming hole.  The view will face the rising Sun and offer a commanding perch over the surrounding jungle.  There will be chickens and goats, and a horse, of course.

Since there's no grid there, everything will be solar-powered, and water will come from a well down by the river.  I'll put up a four-foot stone wall around the living area, but the rest will be a controlled kind of wild.  The chickens will eat the bugs and the goats will clear the undergrowth, and both will be on the menu, as well as good home-made goat cheese.

I mapped it all out in my head, while my wife took photos so I could design the place.

As the sun set and the air cooled quickly, we saddled up the motorcycles again.  Back down the horse barn.  There we sat with the caretaker, who loaded us up with all kinds of strange and interesting fruit.  I also bought five macadamia saplings from him for $2 (all together).  We ate and joked and hung out until dark, then it was back down the mountain and back to the crazy rat race that is Jakarta.  At the tea plantation, the air warmed up again, and soon the fog of bus exhaust and the roar of motorcycles were assaulting us again.

Won't be long, though, and I'll have my house on the farm, and later, my retirement home.  With any luck, I'll be buried there, too.

You can take the boy off the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy.