Saturday, November 9, 2013

Life and Death

So, we have this lovely pond/flood retention area not too far from our place.  It's an amazing spot, attracts herons, ducks, geese, birds of prey, is full of "spring peepers" and bull frogs, and even has its own fox.

Oh, did.  Hang on, let me start again.

We HAD this lovely pond/flood retention area not too far from our place, read above.  About a month ago, authorities came in and bulldozed/backhoed/shredded to bits this pond, tearing out all the vegetation and hollowing out deep pools with strips of land between them.  And then went in the hundreds of perforated "pipes," a couple of inches in diameter and three or so feet tall.  And then hundreds of little plants (that I'm assuming are inside those pipes now), along with "scare geese."  You know, like scarecrows, except these are tin FOXES meant to keep the birds away.  It works.  These black, tin foxes keep this area absolutely free of birds.

The irony, of course, is that they destroyed the habitat needed by the real fox so they could put in fake ones.

I also find myself wondering how our peepers and bullfrogs will fare.  I'm not sure these pictures truly capture the scope of the devastation here--everything is gone.  Maybe something better will sprout in its place, but right now I'm feeling like they leveled something lovely and replaced it with a pale imitation complete with tin wildlife.


I came across some bit from a rather popular celebrity the other day.  I've had precious little use for the woman or her words since she spewed a wave of anti-Palestinian invective years back.  Using a thousands-year-old religious tome to draw modern political boundaries is, in all ways, ridiculous, regardless of the tome. Laughable. To (rightfully) decry the horrors visited upon your own people while visiting horror upon those whose lands you illegally occupy?  Hypocritical and sickening.  To support the destruction of homes, the theft of land, the occupation and oppression of a people while calling those who dare fight back "terrorists?"


To then proclaim yourself a champion of girls?  A hero dedicated to empowering young women?  A spokesperson for organizations seeking to address such issues as education, clean water, sanitation, health, livelihood, and agricultural/food security?  Through a system of "empowering" youth?

Are you kidding me?  Been to Gaza lately?  Taken a look at the merciless clearing and "settling" of Palestinian lands, in blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention?  Considered the money raked in by Israeli companies who flout international law by exiling native peoples and then exploiting that stolen land for profit?  Ever put yourself in the shoes of the Palestinians, who have seen their homeland stolen, their homes bulldozed, their families torn apart, their groves and orchards uprooted in favor of illegal settlements (don't let anyone tell you that the Israelis "made the desert bloom."  Contemporary reports and photographic evidence show that Palestine was "blooming" just fine before occupation)?  When those children eat fish sullied by sewage spewed into the water by a treatment plant bombed by Israel's military (a plant that can't be repaired or rebuilt because Israel won't allow the materials needed to be imported), do you champion THEM?  When Gazans are told they cannot farm the land, and are shot for attempting to do so, where is your concern over issues of food security?  When yet another West Bank neighborhood is leveled to make way for yet another illegal Israeli settlement, do you step up and publicly decry the attack?  When Palestinians die at checkpoints because sadistic soldiers won't let them through for medical care, where is your activism?  When Israelis sneak into Palestinian villages in the night and drop off trailers, knowing they can then claim the land under those trailers due to apartheid laws (yes, APARTHEID--look it up, it's not about skin color) that crush one race and glorify the other, where is your charity, your indignation, your humanity?

When a native population is exiled, driven from their homes, and barred from returning, while another people, with no ties to the land, is granted "right of return" to a land they've never BEEN, where is your OUTRAGE?

Where is your support for the power of Palestinian girls?

Maybe, someday, this woman put an ounce of unfettered thought into the whole "stealing something, then spraying violent indignation at anyone who calls us on it" way of being.  Maybe, just maybe, she'll jump off the bandwagon and see just how ridiculous it is to think that theft, genocide, murder, oppression, apartheid, and exile can be excused by a thousands-year-old mythology book that proclaims one group "God's Chosen" over all others.  It's garbage when Muslims justify violence with the Q'uran, it's puke when Christians justify hatred and prejudice with the Bible, and it's no different when Jews justify "Zionism" and apartheid with their holy writ. It's MYTHOLOGY, kids.  It's the 21st Century, can we stop killing people over ODIN?

And before anyone pulls out the "anti-Semitism" card, don't.  Judaism isn't the problem (any more than any other religion being used to justify dominance over another).  Jews aren't the problem. Judaism is a religion like any other, and Jews are people like any other.  It's the Israeli government, the Israeli military, illegal settlers, and the world's tacit support for an apartheid occupation.  Saying that those who disagree with Israel's policies are "anti-Semites" is like calling those who opposed South Africa's apartheid "anti-white."

Or "terrorists."


Here, let's lighten the mood, huh?

I love that, which surprises me.  Often, it's not so amusing when people "mess up" a beloved piece of art (and this is one of my favorites).  But I love this, find it light-hearted and funny.  In case you're curious, here's the real deal:

The composer's name was pronounced, they say, "Pax-uh-bell."  Who knew?


Spent last Sunday exploring and photographing a couple of old cemeteries.  It was wonderful, amazing, and the history associated with them was fascinating.  Hey, this is Virginia--you can't get away from the history.  We went to one cemetery, where we found the grave of a young man who died at Louisa, Virginia in August of 1862.  A little checking found that he probably died during one of Lysander Cutler's raids on the railroads.  We learned all about Lysander Cutler last year at the Second Manassas anniversary re-enactments at Brawner's Farm.  I also found the will of of a woman buried there--she died in 1855, and, in her will, freed all her slaves.

The second cemetery wasn't in nearly the good shape the first was, sadly.  Yes, the first also had headstones down (not a surprise, when you have headstones as old as 1777), but the second had a pile of broken and damaged stones just laying in a neglected heap at the back of the church, and areas completely overgrown by wild blackberry, honeysuckle, and poison ivy.  It was sad to see.  Today, we're going to another graveyard to take more pictures.  See, once I have the pictures, I go to work cleaning them up in Photoshop, then uploading them to Find-a-Grave and other historical sites.  No, I don't get paid for it, but it feels important--these stones are deteriorating at a devastating rate, and if they aren't catalogued, they'll be lost forever.

First Cemetery

Second Cemetery


One last thing before I sign off--a new batch of funny Utah names!  Remember, none of these are made up--at least not by me!  These are honest-to-goodness names real, live people have been saddled with.  I included "Jereece" to show that it's not all old folks with "Mormon" names--Utah has some fancy, kinda new, kinda wow bad names, too!

  • Verald

  • Veraldine

  • Zenda

  • Thello

  • Jereece Shintyl

  • Virl Effie

  • Adair (that's a woman)

  • Borman

  • Vanetia

  • Doan

1 comment:

  1. When I was very young, I read the original novel that "The Fox and the Hound" was based on. I read a lot of other novels that were later raped by Walt Disney, such as "Bambi" and "Bambi's Children" and "101 Dalmatians" and found all of them to be very good, I can see why the Disney company knew they'd sell. Anyway, the F&tH ends with the fox, having survived the deaths of two mates, the urbanization of his territory, and years of hunting, stubbornly sticking to his old stomping grounds until he collapses of exhaustion after leading the hound on a final, epic hunt. The hound is nursed back to health but the hunter has to put him down due to old age. It is heartbreaking, but the part that made me the saddest was the urbanization of the farmland and the fox's territory. I am weird, I guess. Come to think of it, so is Disney, why would they choose such a realistic and tragic tale to Disnify? The point I was trying to make is that your neighborhood fox will hopefully adapt and survive the loss of his pond and prey, although an urban fox is a sad thing.
    Final note:Doan is my nephew, my brother named him after another Doan that he was friends with in high school, but none of us knows where that name came from and we mock him endlessly. My brother, not the poor baby he named. I call him Doanut. Donut has a half-brother named Rynden, I call him Ring-Ding but that's sounding mean because he's chubby. Then there is a half sister named Kylir but they call her Mimi. I don't get it either. :)