Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Frog Hospital's "Syrian Refugees Are Welcome Here." What Are YOU Going To DO About It?

Dear Fred,

Thanks for Frog Hospital!

Good edition.

I like your Skagit reflections. 

Did you know I spent a summer - with Paul Schulte - squatting on Lousiana Pacific land in a plastic covered lean-to above Larry/Laurie and Randy's places?

Your inked calligraphy - "Many Hands" - is very good!

I am conflicted about China. 

Late this afternoon, sister Janet and I spent a couple hours at Chinese-owned-and-operated Li Ming Global Market -- a sprawling emporium -- where we ate pho, flounder, bok choy, won ton and roasted duck. 

Li Ming's Global Market


How To Eat A Bowl Of Pho Like You Know What You're Doing

The women behind the chafing dishes spoke a smatter of "restaurant English."

But when verbal communication broke down there was no smile nor playfulness indicating an intention to "work it out." 

It was as if they felt their proper role was to let a curtain fall.

They didn't "use" their eyes to actually look in mine.

Ostensibly they were looking in my eyes but there was no perceivable engagement. 

It was more like they were looking "at" my eyes, determined to get no farther than the surface.

To paraphrase Jack Webb: "Just the cornea man. Just the cornea." 

Perhaps our respective cultures are so different I can never "get" what "the inscrutable Chinese" are really up to. 

Like trying to understand what a scaled fish "senses" with its lateral line system. 

(I must confess that my "sample population" is waaayyyyyy too small to have any sort of statistical validity.)

Anyhow, I've never warmed to Chinese people who live on "the Chinese side" of "The Great Wall." 

On the other hand, my sister-in-law -- a third generation Chinese-American -- is great!

I have an easier relationship with her than with most people.



I'm pretty sure I want to share my home with Syrian refugees.

My sister thinks that diocesan headquarters -- the so-called "Chancery Office" -- would be the place to start.

Do you have any insight how one engages this process?


Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!

Pax tecum


On Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 5:57 PM, Fred Owens <> wrote:

FROG HOSPITAL -- November 26, 2015 -- unsubscribe anytime

Syrian Refugees Are Welcome Here

By Fred Owens
I am not expressing any concern for the Syrian refugees because I am not doing anything about it. Yes, they can come here. No, I do not have a spare bedroom.
What is the point of merely expressing concern? There has been a great deal of shallow posturing on social media about this. Yes, you have a right to an opinion. But are you actually doing anything about it?
I don't care how you feel. Tell me what you are doing.
Becoming an American. Speaking of refugees landing on our shore.........It's possible to become an American, but it's never been easy. Newcomers were given the worst jobs and lived in the worst neighborhoods. They were mocked and abused and worse. People said they looked funny and they couldn't speak English and their food smelled awful. People said much worse than that, but over a period of time, we got used to them, and they became like us, and we became a little like them. But it was always difficult.....It was never easy. Immigrants today are treated with more tolerance than in years past.
Cultural appropriation. I confess. It started with pizza -- I didn't think anyone would mind. I thought I was being cool. But it got much worse. Listening to Marvin Gaye late at night, taking karate lessons, reading Black Elk Speaks, doing Zen, and not just eating salsa but talking about it like I knew the context. Finally, I asked for help.
Donald Trump. I have not figured out how to get Donald Trump to shut up.
Islam. It's all about Islam. It's all about God. It's all about religion. You can say otherwise. Say it all you want. My devoutly secular friends want it to be about "criminality" or "psychopathic tendencies" or "becoming marginalized."
Hillary Clinton and President Obama express this idea most sincerely. Because they want it to be true. But it's not true. It's all about Islam. It's all about God. It's all about religion.
I should pretend it's not about Islam because my Moslem friends won't like me if I criticize their culture? We should mince words?
Christendom and Islam have been at odds for 1,500 years. These are competitive systems, sometimes at war, sometimes at peace. Currently we are at war with Islam. Not for the first time. We will survive. They will survive. We might even achieve a more lasting peace. I have hope of that.
But we are not friends. Not now.
Substandard Housing. When I lived in the Skagit Valley, it was always hard for me to make a living, and I had very little money and I settled for living in shacks and trailers and low rent dumps. So I lived in the great beauty of the Skagit Valley, but my own premises were really crappy...... That was the deal I made. It was like I got to live there but not live well....I'm so glad I left.
(I left out my ex-wife and my two grown children who were with me in those shacks. I might ask them how they feel about it. My ex-wife has returned to Oklahoma, back to the home town where she started out. I speak with her on the phone now and then. Susan Semple. A lot of Skagit Valley people will remember her. My son Eugene is a librarian in Los Angeles and he lives in a nicely appointed apartment in a good neighborhood  -- no shack for him. My daughter Eva lives in Ballard, in Seattle, and she is quite comfortable in her residence. She has no longing for the old farmhouse we lived in.)

Chinese Characters. Let me know if you cannot see the photo I inserted here. This is a page from my Chinese notebook. I draw the characters over and over again. Repetition leads to success. The two characters are "many" and "hand."   Together they make "many hands."  or in Latin letters "duo shou."  I have not progressed too far in pronunciation, as I am in search of a learning partner -- some Chinese student who wants to improve his English. We can make an exchange.
Laurie and I hope to visit China soon. If I learn some Chinese I will be able to read street signs and say stupid things.
We discussed Islam earlier in this newsletter. Islam and the Middle East are saturated with religion, hip-dip, wall-to-wall. China, by contrast, is the least religious of all cultures. That's why I like it. In China it's not about God and it's not about religion. That is a relief from the drumming sounds of war
Gardens. Spend more time in the garden. Go to work on a farm. These are safe places. Never a terrorist attack in these places. When traveling abroad, visit vineyards and parks. And always be attentive to your surroundings, no matter where you are.
Or you can hang out with horses.
Happy Thanksgiving. Happy thanks, everybody.

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….

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Santa Barbara, CA 93105


Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

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

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