I keep changing the title, but the story itself is taking on a shape. As I said before, you can create characters but you can't make them do whatever you want. It's just like God who created us and gave us free will. If you write a story, you become as a god but not all-powerful. People do what they will.
For me, I was going to give up this project, but I could not rest, wanting to know what happens next, and the only way to find out is to keep the writing of it.
In our case Tom and Bessie went upstairs together, to bed, at the end of Part One. Part Two is titled "Sex Ruins Everything." In this case it does and it doesn't ruin everything. They made a night of it and they were immensely glad for that, but trouble lies ahead.
I will send it to you in a week or so.
A HORSE. I have been offered to ride a horse with friends in Santa Barbara. I've not been mounted in many years so it will be good riding for me. I told them I need a horse that is smart enough to do it right without me telling it, so they will get me a mule named Annie. A mule is like a horse with a union card. A horse will act with complete loyalty and sacrifice, but not a mule, not if it doesn't make sense. A mule will carry you up the mountain but then he will take a lunch break whether you say so or not.
POLITICS. Politics are fun because America is a good country -- unless you read Howard Zinn's book, a People's History of the United States. Zinn wrote a catalog of American crimes. The book is all true and it is a useful corrective to the unalloyed admiration of our own past. We did screw up here and there, but that is a side show to the overall performance. We built a hell of a country. Evidence of that is how much we complain about it -- that's the sound of freedom.
The problem with Howard Zinn is not his book, but idiots like actor Matt Damon who swear on it like it was gospel, and the young people who claim it as the basic text -- it might be the only history book they will read and they will get bad ideas from it.
EXCEPTIONAL. The disciples of Howard Zinn are neatly balanced by the Exceptionalists, who claim -- never claim! -- that we are the world's greatest country and the last best hope of mankind. This is very poor psychology. You cease to be exceptional the second you proclaim it. Real Americans strive for excellence and let others make "claims."
DAMS AND RIVERS. I used to be pro-fishing, but now I work on a farm, and now I like dams. Dams provide water for irrigation. Farms feed the multitudes. And we need the water to grow the food.
Fishing, on the other hand, has that romantic appeal of by-gone days, like that show "Deadliest Catch" which is so popular -- those wild and woolly fishermen risking their lives on the stormy waves. I like watching the show, but that's not where our food comes from. Fish are a small part of our diet.
Instead we have the farm, which is too real to make a reality TV show. Think of "Farm Cam" -- watch the farmer, now he's going down the field on his tractor. Wait, wait, he's turning around at the end of the row. Incredible! Now he's coming back!
Our ancestors used to fish and hunt many thousands of years ago and we all lived that way. Fishing is an ancient occupation, by a hundred thousand years more ancient than agriculture which was invented and developed only in the recent past. That is why the lure of the ocean and the river tugs so deeply in our souls, because if you go back far enough, your people were fishermen and hunters and gatherers.
I honor that all-human past, but our ancestors switched over to farming because it was a better way to live. Isn't it?
I am grateful for this abundance of food that we have.
THE OBAMAS. I started thinking about them again. I have heard Obama speak twice in person. He didn't use a teleprompter and he fielded questions from the audience and gave good answers. He was impressive. I also met Michelle Obama at a small gathering -- she was working a rope line and shook my hand and we exchanged a few words. My first impression was that she was tall and beautiful, I also caught a glimpse of her steely determination.
This reassured me, because I had lived through the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton, he with the roving eye and the fast hands. If the Clintons had just managed to keep it private I would not have cared, but I really did not want to know about all that. It was like seeing Uncle Bob naked coming out of the shower. Avert your eyes!
So I met Michelle Obama, and I knew instantly that Barack was never going to be chasing interns around the Oval Office. One is that she is so hot-looking. Two is that she would kill him if he did. The Obamas have a good marriage and manage to keep their squabbles to themselves.
Barack Obama has a well-known vice. He smokes. I'm an ex-smoker, so I can spot the habit. He manages to sneak two or three cigarettes a day. He's the President -- no one can make him stop.
It's good to know what a man's vices are, because he surely has vices and you want to know what they are.
RON PAUL. I met some of his supporters in 2008. Their views are even more extreme than his. There is a distant country where the far right blends into the far left. It's way, way out there. I catch a whiff of anti-Semitism in that strange region -- nothing I can put my finger on, but I'm wary. Go ahead, make your own inquiries -- visit with his hard-core followers as I have done.
My litmus test for anti-Semitism is Pat Buchanan on the right. He is okay, but anyone further right than him is suspect in my book. I don't have a litmus test for anti-Semites on the left, but it would be when the shriekers of outrage against Israel become hoarse with rage -- that is a bad business.
POSITION WANTED. I am looking for a new position in agriculture in the Ventura area. I would like to be part of making the plan and carrying it out. I'm looking for a growth opportunity. I would like to able to expand what I am good at. Marketing is my best skill. Teaching others what I know is a close second. My resume is available to anyone who is interested.
Be it a well-run large-scale commercial farm or a small hobby farm, in either case a sound strategy can lead to good results. The product is less important than the people I hope to work for. I like to make an extra effort. Agriculture teaches me that we proceed without guarantees and we never give up.
My blog is Fred Owens
send mail to:
7922 Santa Ana Rd
Ventura CA 93001