Tuesday, December 08, 2015

President Obama tells us to be calm

By Fred Owens

President Obama addressed the nation Sunday night. He wants us to calm down and be patient. I am already calm and patient, so I skipped his speech. I spend a lot of my time in gardens, in parks, and on farms -- those are very calm places. I suggest you spend more time outdoors, you will not only feel safer, you will actually be safer.
And just to make a political comment -- I do not care if you feel safe or do not feel safe. That is no concern of mine. I do care very much if you are safe, or if you are not safe. Is that too picky?
Speaking of terror, I realized that my knowledge of Islam has expanded a hundred fold in recent times. You all know the difference between Sunni and Shia. And you learned that difference sometime after September 11, 2001. You may know that a Pakistani is a Moslem, but not an Arab. You probably know that the Saudi Arabians practice a very stern version of Sunni Islam.
Islamic terror has become the teacher about Middle Eastern ways. That is not a good thing at all. We're learning about Islam from fear, not from admiration.

You can arrive at a point of admiration, but it was fear that got you started.
I notice this difference because of my genuine delight in learning about the cultures of people around the world -- Jewish life, Buddhist chants, African dance, Latin food -- all a delight, all to satisfy my curiosity. But not Islam -- I approach that topic defensively.

Weaponry. Recent events, the killings in San Bernardino, in Paris, and at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, have intensified the debate about gun control in our country. The voices are louder, but I observe no change of heart. This is not going anywhere, not that I can tell, except people are getting more strident and that is a concern. First I thought, what could be worse than mass killings? But there are many things far worse than that. You could choke to death in the Beijing smog for starters. You could get shot six different ways if you lived in Syria. Let's ask the people in Syria if America is hell on earth. They all want to come here.

Friends in Prison. I seem to be connecting with friends in prison. Eben has been in for 15 years and this was the first time I sent him a letter. How do you write to a friend serving time? By talking about ordinary things and not making petty complaints, and by not asking questions about the crime that got him there. It is a good deed to visit those in prison, it says so in the Bible. You don't need to get into it any deeper than that. In the case of Eben, he will not see daylight in my lifetime, and how much punishment he deserves is not a matter for my judgment. I'm only his friend, and I write him letters.
Time to Finish the Book

"Tom Blethen sat at the edge of his bed reading a letter in the men’s dormitory at Rockland State Hospital in New York...................."

That's the opening line of an autobiographical novel I have written, although I might change it. I worked there as a psychiatric aide in 1973, but I was about to quit and head for Texas to get the mental hospital aura out of my system. That's the story. And I met some people along the way and stuff happened.

Most of what I wrote actually happened, but I never, not in real life, had Maria for a girl friend, so I turned it into a novel and I became Tom Blethen and he and Maria had this thing --- but that was short-lived..... it's in the book.

Except it's not finished. To finish it would require a degree of concentration that is not possible for me at this point. Maybe, if I spent six weeks starting in January, and did nothing else but finish this book -- that's what it would take.

I chose Tom Blethen as the name of the main character. Tom, because it's a family name and common to most people. And Blethen because it's a Welsh name like Owens.

Owens and Blethen -- both with two syllables, both sounding soft and easy.

I had a girl friend named Rosana Blethen in 1989. She was related to the Blethens who own the Seattle Times. Those Blethens are very wealthy and powerful in Seattle, but Rosana's father was the black sheep of the family and Rosana herself had no position of wealth of prestige for that reason.

But Blethen is a good name, so I hope she does not mind that I borrowed it for my main character..... Tom Blethen..... what do you think?
Subscription Income Reaches $600. Frog Hospital had a good year in subscription sales and we still have a few weeks left. We took in $600 which is $50 every month and almost like getting paid. The income improves my attitude in a tremendous way and I appreciate it very much.

Remember how small we are. You might like the New York Times, but try reaching them on the phone. Well, you can call me anytime, 360-739-0214. I won't pick up, I never do, but if you leave a message I will call back. Or send me an email  -- i would love to hear from you.
The Frog Hospital goal for 2016 is $5,000 in income and 5,000 readers. And the emphasis will be on gaining new readers. I would like the audience to get bigger.
Frog Hospital Subscription Drive.   Your contribution of $25 is greatly appreciated. The Frog Hospital newsletter has been cruising down the Internet for 16 years now. I have tried to kill this newsletter several times – tried to stomp it out like the ember from an old campfire, or dig it up like a pestiferous weed, but it won’t die – Frog Hospital just keeps on going. So please send a check. Your contribution keeps me from getting cranky. It helps me to maintain a detached attitude. Let’s keep it going….
Go to the Frog Hospital blog and hit the PayPal button for $25,
Send a check for $25 to
Fred Owens
1105 Veronica Springs RD
Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Thank you very much.......

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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