512: Top 10 Review of Lord of the Flies, by William Golding


Top Ten Review of Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Number 10 – There are no women in this book

Number 9 – We learn you can start a fire with your spectacles. Yeah, we watched Survivor.

Number 8 – They are obsessed with pigs.

Number 7 – We learn that dancing will make you a savage – which explains why Baptists don’t allow it.

Number 6 – They set fire to the island….twice.

Number 5 – You can worship anything….literally anything.

Number 4 – A private place all to yourself is very, very valuable.

Number 3 – They are on an island, and nobody thinks to fish for food.

Number 2 – We learn that a diet of fruit will upset your stomach….duh.

And, finally number ONE: We are shown that boys are total animals, which girls already knew.


472: Fair trade clothing

download (2)


Most people do not consider clothing when they think about fair trade: they think instead of diamonds or of coffee. Not everyone drinks coffee or can afford to buy diamonds. However, every human on the planet wears clothing of some sort. Therefore, the issue of fair trade in the manufacture of clothing items is a far larger issue than fair trade with either coffee or diamonds.

download (1)

Fair trade refers to the ethical and humane treatment of the people (and other living creatures, such as sheep) who all participate in the production of clothing from fiber origin to the ultimate consumer. This includes the farmers who grow organic fibers, the miners who produce the raw materials which are used to manufacture inorganic, or synthetic fibers, the workers engaged in the production of yarns, those who weave or knit the fabric in factories or in collage industries, those who cut and sew the clothing items, those who dye, embellish or otherwise enhance the finished garments, inspectors who ensure quality, and transportation workers who move the finished products to market – not to mention the people involved in the marketing and sales of the finished clothing. Many people are employed in the creation of clothing, and all of them deserve to be treated ethically, without exploitation of their labor.

The primary role of enforcing fair trade ethics in the clothing manufacturing industry world-wide lies with the various governments that oversee the countries where garment manufacture takes place. There are still countries in the world where laws that restrict child labor, or forced labor do not exist.

CNN (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/15/world/child-labor-index-2014/) reported the to 10 countries for the worst child labor abuses as the following:


It should be clear that this is a prevalent problem in developing nations, but it should be noted that even so-called advanced countries are not immune from child labor abuses. So-called sweat shops don’t only employ children. Often adults who are desperately in need of employment work under inhuman conditions. The owners of such factories are able to exploit their workers’ need for a job, any job.


Fair trade clothing is produced using a supply chain from origin to consumer that is guaranteed legal and ethical, with fair practices employed in the treatment of all the humans and animals involved. Consumers who choose to purchase only clothing articles identified as fair trade are choosing not to financially support the exploitation of people and animals.


385: Raising Livestock

pets 015At my home here in Panama, I raise livestock. I have chickens for eggs and meat, rabbits for meat and sheep for meat and cash. Livestock, while still lovable and entertaining, are not pets. I name the breeders: the moms and dad who are the foundation. Their offspring I do not name, because they are for the table. That moms, plural, is not a typo. There is a single dad. There are multiple moms. I am running an Islamic animal society: multiple wives. Lots of women is desirable, but you only need one man. The rest of the men you EAT. For DINNER. With sauce, spices, and HERBS.

sheepies! 012

If you are an animal man, life is either short and sweet, or long and satisfying (but only if you are a very lucky and EXCEPTIONALLY handsome man who is gentle with your wives). Most animal men end up with a life that is  short and sweet, since one male is sufficient for the needs of the livestock owner´s multiple females.  Since one male is enough and feed costs are an issue, most males are extra, and end up as dinner after a short time.  You do need to change him out (trade him to another farmer) every other year or so, so he does not breed his own daughters (yuck).


The ladies, however, live long and productive lives. The only ones of THEM you eat are the ones who don´t make good mommies. If you are a girl, your chances of a long life are pretty good. You don´t, however, usually get to choose your spouse. It does not appear to bother them a whole lot. They don´t seem to mind.  It is pretty much the same situation in the wild, except there, it is the bully who gets to be the husband to all the available ladies. At least I choose a husband who is gentle.

April 30,  Linda gave birth to twin lambs. The herd is growing! The chickens are getting their own outdoor pen soon, and the rabbits need another lady bunny to be a wife to the second male breeder bunny.

So far, the livestock has pretty much been all cost and no benefit, but that is normal whenever you start raising animals. The youngsters have to grow up and mature enough to reproduce before you begin to see returns on your investment. Since I have been in Panama only a few months, I am not there yet.  SOON!!

330: Oh, My Holy God

This morning, I accessed my Facebook account before I went to my normal morning duty post, because I wanted to check on my husband, who is still in Morocco, tidying up details left over from our three-year life there. Because of the five-hour time difference, he has usually already posted a message for me by the time I arrive at work to start the day with whatever he needs me to do, or to update me on his progress (or lack thereof). So, when my Facebook page opens, there on my friend newsfeed, is this picture.


My friend is an animal lover, too, but she loves dogs and cats equally well – I am partial to kitties (I tolerate dogs compassionately, but I don’t love them). This picture absolutely wrung my heart out to dry. I burst into tears at this image, similar to my reaction when I see those awful, horrifying, gut-wrenching photographs of the piles of broken humans taken after the Holocaust death camps were liberated. I sobbed.

We as humans will have this to answer for, too, on that day when a holy God brings us one-by-one to the throne of judgement. I know I cannot save them all. I know that. I understand why animal shelters, staffed with people who care for and love animals as much as, or even more, than I do have to do what they have to do. There HAS to be a better way. And people, these broken, wonderful, beautiful, loving creatures are “”just”” cats.

I know that on this planet we live on, right now, this very day, somewhere, there is a pile of broken children and adults that looks just like this neat and tidy pile of euthanized kitty people. I call my babies “”fur children,”” and “”kitty people,”” because they ARE. Anyone who has shared their life with a dog, cat, bird, etc. KNOWS that there is a tiny, thinking, responding, loving entity inside that little furry or feathered body. WE are responsible for this Holocaust of life-snuffing that still is going on, across nations (and across species). Life is life, and all of it is infinitely precious. God help us.

268: Random Thoughts, no hallucinogens involved

What would it be like to taste things with your feet, like flies do? Would we still wear shoes, or not?

How would wings actually attach to your shoulders if you could fly like a bird?

How have we evolved and advanced since every human born starts from scratch all over again? I teach, and the process of dealing with adolescents really makes you think about the fact that we just don’t live long enough to re-make ALL the mistakes all over again.

I could get sooooo much done if only I did not have to sleep. Or eat.

Why is love so HARD?? Is it supposed to be this way? Or have we just messed it up? (We are pretty good at that, you know – look at the world!)

Why are animals so much more rewarding than most people? Is it so we will adopt them? Or is it that they are smarter than us? (I have often thought enviously of my cat’s life…….)

How much is TOO much, and how do you know it is too much?

Why are we all cute when we are babies – is that so we adults let them live??

Why do some animals eat their young – is that just disgusting, or actually pretty smart?

What sort of dictator would I be?

Would I choose to do the right thing even if it would cost my life, or would I choose to live instead?

Since nobody starts out with the goal to be a drug addict, why do we have so many of them?

Is God like a kid with a magnifying glass sitting beside an ant hill, or what? He has sure been a lot kinder to this ant than this ant deserved…..

260: Ishmael

This is a book, not a diatribe about the Muslim side of the Jewish family of Abraham/Ibrahim. Ishmael is a wonderful story that is far easier to read than Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” Ishmael is a gorilla who teaches his human student (yeah, I KNOW) all about how things came to be, and why humans are captives of our Mother Culture. If you can get past the novel’s premise (takes some doing) the persuasive essay that is this book is a pretty good one.

Everybody knows intellectually that we humans are doing a lot of destruction to the planet we live upon and share with countless other species, sentient and not. We already know this, whether you believe in Global Warming or not, as a theory. We ‘know’ this, in exactly the same way that a chain-smoker ‘knows’ that cigarettes stand a pretty good chance of killing you, we ‘know’ we are doing damage to the planet. And we ‘know’ this, and do absolutely nothing to help, and continue doing lots of harmful things.

This is not a diatribe against living a good life, either. I ALSO hate those people who decry harming animals while they are standing in their leather running shoes, wearing their leather belts, and kicking around their leather footballs, basketballs, soccer balls (etc), and eating their hamburgers or bacon and eggs. If you are going to preach, your hands need to be clean, people.

What I am saying is that deciding to help save the planet your feet walk upon is an individual choice, that probably should also be backed up by villages, municipalities, towns, cities, states, provinces, regions and nations – but probably won’t be. Each human walking needs to understand the mathematical concept of exponential change. I KNOW, math, ugh, but bear with me, people, and consider:

Start with one. One becomes two. Two becomes four. Four becomes eight, and then sixteen, and then thirty-two, and so forth, until finally, after admittedly a very slow start, we humans all come to realize that our planet is worth saving, and we start living like we know this fact. We “put out our last cigarette,” and we start living our lives like we actually do ‘know’ this fact.

250: What to do

How does somebody know what to do? In any given situation, how do people know what to do? Animals have instincts. They know what to do most of the time, except when they come into contact with one of us, and then their instincts let them down, because we are manipulative creatures, and we don’t follow the laws of Mother Nature (for the most part). We cheat, a lot.

Animals know if they are far enough away from another animal that they can get a pretty good running start if threatened that the other animal can’t usually hurt them. That law does not apply to a human, though, and lots of animals learn that one the hard way – as their last lesson. The only way to be safe around a human is if they don’t know you are there, or they cannot see you, and even then sometimes…….

At any rate, how do people make decisions about how to behave and what to do? Culture accounts for a lot of it, and upbringing accounts for even more. Still, all of us know individuals who “buck the system,” choosing ways to behave that, quite frankly, don’t make a whole lot of sense to everybody else.  I rather think that if everybody else is wondering why I am doing something, perhaps I should reconsider and think about it a little more, but just because everybody else thinks I am doing strange things is CERTAINLY not a legitimate reason to stop doing them. So, then, what IS a legitimate reason to stop doing something? Or, sometimes, not to begin doing something? What are the standards or “proper” behavior?

Well. After some consideration (not too much, mind you) here is what I have come up with.

1. DO NO HARM. This one is a toughie sometimes, because each one of us is interconnected with a great many others of us, and sometimes doing no harm is pretty difficult. As an example, I waited until my children were old enough to begin college before I accepted a job teaching overseas. My daughter handled it fine, my son imploded. This is not to say that he would not have had significant problems even had I been there and more easily accessible,  but being mom, I feel somewhat accountable because my son is not coping with being grown up well at all. Still, he’s making his own decisions, something he told me repeatedly his last year of high school he was waiting impatiently to do……….

2. Align the behavior with your Supreme Being. If you don’t have a Supreme Being, refer to number 1. If you do, make sure your behavior is compatible with what your scriptures (NOT YOUR RELIGIOUS LEADERS) have to say about ethical behavior.

3. That’s about it. The rest can go hang.