Thursday, March 29, 2012


Thank you, Barbara Z, for renewing your subscription to Frog Hospital. Your check for $25 is very gratefully received.

Barbara Z is one of many intelligent, socially-concerned subscribers to the Frog Hospital newsletter. You can join this excellent team. For more information on our spring subscription drive, see the bottom of this newsletter.

Ted P. from Boston sent a check. He's been with Frog Hospital since the beginning, in 1999. He sends me postcards from far away places like Cuba or Finland, but he gets around and sees the world. I got to know Ted years ago, in 1993 when I lived in Boston and belonged to the local Tikkun group.

Spring. I left the dahlia farm in Ventura after 17 months. I had hoped to stay long enough to see the sweet peas blooming again because I had worked on that crop all winter. But things didn't work out. I was replaced by another fellow -- I guess you could say he shared the owners' vision, while I did not.

I landed on my feet, and I think that's why I like living in southern California so much. The day after I left the farm, I secured a six-week job restoring two gardens in Altadena, at pay better than I was making on the farm, so I guess that's all right.

It's landscaping work, which pays a lot better than farm work, except it's not steady. You have to hustle and network and accept it that down periods will come and nobody calls. But I put my rate low enough to catch the market and there is more work out there -- I'll find it. They might even find me -- whew!

The weather has been good. We had some decent late-winter rains, so the hills might green up a little bit.


The only time I ever got beat up by a cop I was wearing a hoodie. This happened in January 1976 in a suburb of Orlando ( not Sanford, but nearby ). It late at night. Wearing a hoodie, you can't see the face too well. I compounded the error by thrusting my hands in my pockets -- a stupid move. The cop worked me over with his night stick. A young man should know -- keep your hands visible and don't cover your face. That's been my custom ever since......... Orlando was kind of a nice place in 1976, before Disney World blew the place all to hell. But back before that it was a sleepy southern time, and we were there that winter, just hanging out in the park downtown, enjoying the sunshine......... The thing is -- what was I doing wandering around at 2 a.m. in the morning? That's when I ran into the cop. I decided, after this one-sided altercation, that I just ought to get off the street and stop hanging around.... Shortly after this, I asked my sweetheart to marry me, and we had two children and the rest is history.... That's how it worked for me.
But I'm still careful about where and when I put on a hoodie. It shows very poor judgment on the part of Trayvon Martin's supporters to be using the hoodie as a symbol of righteousness. I stand with Trayvon and his supporters, and I say keep your face free where I can see all of it and keep your hands out of your pockets and pull up your pants.
And, jeez, I wouldn't ever go back to one of those cracker-barrel redneck towns in Florida. The cops didn't hate Trayvon,. They weren't glad he died, but there's seems to a lot of evidence that they took the easy way out, like how can we resolve this situation with the least amount of paperwork and expense. Because a homicide in a small town is a huge problem. First of all, they don't have their own full-time homicide investigator, so they need to bring one in from the big city, some wise-guy know-it-all who takes over the investigation and makes everyone else look like a bunch of hicks. So they don't want to do that.
What I think is that Trayvon Martin is lying dead on the sidewalk and the cops are strategizing on a plausible scenario and a way to wrap this thing up -- Self Defense! Yes, that could work, and that's where the racial prejudice comes into play. Trayvon Martin. His people are not well-connected. They won't fight the ruling. We can spare ourselves a lot of paperwork.
Not forgetting the expense of a murder trial that could absolutely ruin the budget of a small town in Florida. So they had reasons -- they wanted that self defense ruling. They were all sweating in their socks. They knew their careers were at stake......Or they just wanted to go home that awful night, and maybe they just didn't care enough about the youth bleeding, now dead, on the sidewalk.

the annual spring subscription drive.

Save Frog Hospital!

Actually we don't need saving and we face no crisis, but we sure could use a few checks. Subscription revenue keeps the editor from getting cranky. It makes me feel good. It helps me to point out the good things going on in our trouble world. Subscription revenue prevents the harsh tones of self-righteousness. It helps me to make my point without preaching.

So please make out a check to Fred Owens for $25 and mail it to

Fred Owens
35 West Main Street, Suite B #391
Ventura CA 93001

Or, much easier, go to the Frog Hospital blog and hit the PayPal button.

Cops in Florida. Okay, back to my essay about cops in Florida. It seems that this little town in Florida might be one of those shit-heel places where the mayor's brother gets arrested for running a meth lab, and the town treasurer is embezzling the funds, and the town council members are all first cousins to each other. These places exist and they have lousy cops and the harsh glare of national publicity is what they deserve.

But I wouldn't smear the whole region. Not every small southern town is like that -- some are just as good as anyplace on earth -- you know, Mayberry, with Andy Griffith and Barney Fife -- that's not a total fairy tale, it's real and it's the flip-side to this sordid tale from central Florida.

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My blog is Fred Owens

send mail to:

Fred Owens
7922 Santa Ana Rd
Ventura CA 93001

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