Sunday, March 22, 2015

It Could Be Worse -- part 2

I do not understand Yemen. Some war is going on. I cannot tell what side we are on, but we send drones and have military advisers. What a screwed up country!  They had a suicide attack at two mosques and killed 137 people – just for belonging to the wrong religion.

This is the kind of madness that makes Benjamin Netanyahu look less bad in Israel. “Less bad” is a category that should be used more often, like “well, it could be worse, it could be Yemen.”

Words cannot express – “words cannot express” being a cliché that negates the craft of writing – but words cannot express the horror of the suicide bomber.

We can illustrate this by comparing Stalin to Hitler. We correctly and morally allied with Stalin during World War II, a terrible murderous man, but he didn’t want to die. You can make a deal with someone who wants to live. You have something in common with someone who wants to live.

Hitler – I don’t care to mention him at any length – but he was the arch suicide bomber and he did not want to live and we could not make a deal with him. We fought Hitler until he destroyed himself. But Stalin died in his sleep.

Among Middle Eastern countries, where cultures seem to welcome suicide, Israel manifests the strongest will to live. That is an excellent quality and we rightly ally with them.

Jacob said to his sons in Genesis, “I have heard there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.”

That was a tough choice -- famine and starvation in Israel, or exile and slavery in Egypt. But Jacob said it was better to live and not die. So it worked and his people are still with us.

And the best way to live is to not die, so don’t be a suicide. Kill them if it cannot be helped, but don’t throw yourself on the flames.

Although Jews have chosen martyrdom over conversion at times, mainly they have chosen life, which might explain while they are still with us 3,000 years later.

Live! And the way to do that is Don’t Die!

Whereas Yemen….. boy …. What a screwed up place …. or Syria … and you want to weep for Tunisia.


But I live here in California.

Grounded in Santa Barbara.  I have the luxury of not explaining or defending myself, but I will enlighten you. I work on an organic farm ten miles outside of Santa Barbara, some ten acres of pretty vegetables, going to the farmers market and sold directly off the farm to fresh food lovers.

The men toil in the fields, undocumented and underpaid. I would bet good money that most of them are – first, grateful to be working here for ten times what they could earn in Guatemala or Mexico, and second, hoping and dreaming that they could get some better kind of work than sweating in the dust on the farm. My kids are gonna do better than this, they say in Spanish.

Ninety percent of people who do farm work ardently wish they had some better work. It is the lowest status and lowest paid of all occupations. Imagine being a young farmworker up from Jalisco and trying to impress the girl you want to marry. Do you think she wants to marry a farmworker? No, she wants the guy on the construction gang building houses and strip malls and he’s got a new truck and some plans to start a new business and some money in his pocket.

The guy hoeing weeds on the organic farm takes second place in that drama.  But he’s not a criminal, and he’s not a fool. He works pretty hard. You know, it could be worse.

Farm work is like some kind of Kevin Costner movie -- the life story of Wendell Berry and Thomas Jefferson and Tom Joad.

Frog Hospital Is Recruiting New Readers

You are not a new reader -- you may have been with us for years and years, and it has been fun, and there’s a lot more to come.

But now we want to gain some more readers, 100 more readers being the goal.

That will bring us to 500 in total, and when we reach 500, we will instantly set a new goal of 1,000.

I was reading George Will at the Washington Post  --  it doesn’t make sense that so many people read his column. Frog Hospital is so much better.

You need to nominate friends, relatives and colleagues for presentation to this distinguished company. You, a proud Frog Hospital reader, can let a few good recruits join us in our weekly endeavors.

Send me a name, an email address, and a few words of description – occupation, place of residence and demeanor. Such persons will be added to our list, and we will grow.

We will grow because we are alive. To live is to grow. That is our choice.

And don’t forget paying for a subscription – always voluntary, of course.

Frog Hospital Subscriptions.

Go to the Frog Hospital blog and hit the PayPal button for $25, or
Send a check for $25 to

Fred Owens
1105 Veronica Springs RD
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Thank you very much,

Fred Owens

No comments: