Saturday, October 20, 2018

Me too and the patriarchs, plus lawyers and medieval history

FROG HOSPITAL -- Sept. 28, 2018

Me Too and the Patriarchs

Fred Owens

I saw the Patriarchs sitting on the left, lead by Sen. Grassley of Iowa. I saw Me Too on the right, lead by Sen. Feinstein of California.

I have to admire the stamina of these people, sitting through a nine-hour hearing, especially Feinstein at age 85.

I wouldn't last an hour in that room. I supposed that's why I work in the garden.

Having heard most of the testimony on Thursday, I was most impressed by the vehemence of Lindsey Graham of South Carolina -- he got really lit up and he is usually the calm one.

Blasey was direct and clear, maintaining her composure. Her presentation was credible. Kavanaugh was defensive, maybe because he was defending himself.

I certainly liked Blasey a lot better than Kavanaugh, but that doesn't make her right. And I go out of my way to avoid guys like Kavanough, but that doesn't make him wrong.

I wished Blasey could have put a time and place on the event in memory. She described the assault in detail, but where on this earth was it? Time and place would give it an anchor, if that makes any sense.

Kavanaugh talked too much. He didn't really have much more to say than I'm a good guy and I didn't do it. His opening statement was way too long at 45 minutes. I would have advised him to limit his words.

If I was on the Judicial Committee I would have to come to a decision and vote, but I don't have that responsibility. I do not have to decide this. I can mull it and chew it and sit on it until things fall into place and that might never happen.

Most of the people I know believe Blasey. But I'm hearing a lot of talk that goes like this -- "you can just tell"

Well, maybe you can just tell, but I can't just tell. That's how it seems to me this Friday morning. I'm still listening. 

new post starts here

Writing a 750-word Frog Hospital essay requires focus and discipline. Normally, I just sit down in front of the laptop and start typing, even if I don't want to, even if I have no ideas. I never wait for the inspiration. I just write.

That spirit had been guiding me since 1999 when I began the Frog Hospital journey. But these past few days, nada, no energy. I did have enough energy to shovel pea gravel on the path down the hill in back of the house. That was yesterday.

Today I will get a haircut at 10:30 --- I should write about that barber shop. After the haircut, I go to the Santa Barbara Kiwanis Club for lunch --- I should write about that club.

Or I could write about my friend, Attorney Matt Moore. We are scheduling an appointment for legal advice in November. Oh, I don't need a lawyer, not for any pressing problem. But that is the point. The best time to meet with a lawyer is when you don't need to. That means you will actually have to like him. That means you will have a bit of social context and he or she will know your story. That way, when you do have a problem, you just call the guy and he or she already knows who you are.

You don't want to be looking for legal help when you're under the gun and a little desperate. It's like buying property insurance when the house is on fire.

Beside that, I like lawyers. I mean I like the lawyers I like. And being free of a prejudice against that profession, I can choose the agreeable ones -- the ones who can stand with me should that ever become necessary.

Did you notice that Brett Kavanough stood alone in defending himself against the accusation of sexual assault? He being too proud and arrogant to appear to ask for legal counsel. He being too entitled to realize that a man who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Okay, that's politics. Back to the law. I love the law. The law protects me. The law is a shelter in the storm of nature.

I finished reading a medieval history book about the law, 1215, the Year of Magna Carta by Danny Danziger. It's quite a good book and easy to read. For me it was the antidote to watching the Kavanaugh hearings, knowing that brave men struggled with legal issues 700 years ago, and seemed to be getting nowhere, and seemed to be writing powerless words on sheets of parchment. Yet the words of that day were strong and true, and written down, and they have lasted 700 years.

Seven hundred years give us a context. The Kavanaugh debacle is a bump in the road. No, it was more than that. It was important. I just can't find the right metaphor.

So that is my Frog Hospital essay for this week. I tricked myself into writing it. Now I have more gravel to shovel on the path below the house, and trumpet vine to trim next to the garbage bins. These ever-growing vines partially conceal the brown, green and blue trash bins, but after a while it gets too complicated and I must cut them off.


FROG HOSPITAL -- Oct. 20, 2018


By Fred Owens

Trump is unstoppable. He is flying around the country and banging on his war drum. I am disturbed and pessimistic and it feels like there is nothing I can do about it except mourn for the future.

But wait. There is an answer. I can go to Hawaii. In fact, we are going to Hawaii, on Tuesday, to the Big Island, for ten days. Enough of this election gloom that I have been generating. Instead I will be lying on the warm sand and soaking up the ultimate energy of sublime relaxation. That is how we win in the finally analysis.

Did you know that Hawaii is part of the United States and that babies born in Hawaii are American citizens? Barack Obama himself was born in this tropical paradise and he is an American citizen and he was a darn good President too...... But I see the point about Hawaii not being so American -- because it doesn't look at all like Kansas. I have been to Kansas and it looks very different than Hawaii. I lived in Kansas for two months in 1976 and I should tell you about that sojourn some day.

But if you have a big heart and a big mind, you can imagine Kansas and Hawaii both being part of our grand and glorious country. Each place special. Each place a home and way to make a living and do good things.

Yes, we are going to Hawaii, and it is we who are unstoppable.

Elizabeth Warren for President in 2020. I'm starting to like Warren, but she needs a nickname. Not Elizabeth, not Liz, not Betty. Certainly not Pocahontas. But I am beginning to warm up to her since the DNA fiasco. Her effort to prove her native American lineage didn't fly right, but I liked seeing her vulnerability. She made a mistake in doing this and good for her. She will make a good president and she will make a lot of mistakes.
Trump never makes mistakes. He is always right and never wrong. That's scary. Warren is more like the rest of us. Normal.

Warren, if elected, will be the first Okie in the White House. Almost everybody from Oklahoma is part some-teenth Native. Go to Oklahoma, and you can almost feel it, that Native air.  Warren is one of those Oklahoma people and it's a good thing. I call them Not Quite White..... and unstoppable.

Raising Children. This is a complete change of topic. Raising children is an important responsibility. I raised two children and it was the most important thing I have ever done. Every morning when I woke up, I knew what my priority was -- to take care of those two kids. Nothing else mattered very much. You do the mom and dad thing until you are finished or until you drop dead, but you never stop doing it until they grow up.
And they do grow up and move out and that breaks your heart. I remember when my youngest went off to college in 1996. It was fun for about two weeks, but then I began to miss them and I had this emptiness all around me. What was I supposed to do? Work? Have fun? I was lost without those kids to look after.... Well, a lot of people go through that.... which is why we have grandchildren, to get some of that feeling back, of being a part of something very important, which is raising those little children. They need us and they keep growing and they are unstoppable.

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

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