In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist


There are still many of us around who remember the “olden days”, when few thought much about how many children a family should have. For one thing, it has only been a little over a century since Man abandoned the Ages of manual and animal labor, and dove headlong into the debauchery of living lives made easy by technology.

The worst part is that this age of physical ease has also led to varying degrees of personal greed, best expressed through the lives of some of the Very Rich, but also added to the Wish Lists of those farther down the financial hill.

And—if you can wander down the wandering mental path of an old shut-in—I must explain that what I am about to write came to my mind several days ahead of what I just wrote above.

First, Americans keep bragging to the rest of the world that this is the Land of the Free. Just exactly which Americans are free? Let’s accept the notion that we live in a white nation. (I wonder just what percentage of the Indians—many of whom still live on reservations—think of this as an apt description.)

Next, the black population: Almost without exception, the blacks who live here now are descended from blacks who came here in chains. I’ll bet they have a different view of what “freedom” means—even now!

And let’s not forget the latest problem most annoying to white Americans right now—the Hispanics. To review our national history a bit, our white forebears had to sail—do you get that—actually SAIL all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, and then fight off and kill a lot of the people who already lived here in order to bring OUR children here to the land which (probably someone decided) God had said should be OURS. And now—can you believe it?!—we have Mexicans, albeit many friendly, coming across a different border to Our Country looking for jobs and homes and futures for their children as well?!

Which leads us, in turn, to the caste system this country presently enjoys. We like to think of ourselves as living in a land of freedom for everyone to climb a number of—but not all—ladders of choice. The most popular are those which require Wealth, Family Name, Connections, and Just-Plain-Luck. They don’t require too much work. In almost all cases, if you got it, you get it; if you don’t, you won’t.

The most valuable and meaningful ladders are those which require a great deal of time and effort in any available education and/or opportunity which can be seen as goals of service (large or small) to others.

Why is it that, by the luck of birth, some of us are entitled to lives of comfort—and even wealth, while many others are condemned to lives spent in meaningless, often difficult jobs, unrewarded by salaries that make them worth doing; and even worse, jobs which do not even reward them with self-respect? And to make matters worse, that is the only inheritance many have to pass on down to their children. (Improvements in their lives are beginning to take place now, but they are a long way off.)

Listening to discussions right now on the matter of unemployment, the anwer which both sides seem to agree upon, apparently rests on increased jobs. BUT, how can you solve it when we have increased population completely ignored on one hand, and reduced jobs on the other, due to enormous advances in humanless technology on the other?!

As a hardrock Atheist, it amazes me that so few Christians living in what they like to proclaim as a Christian Nation, apparently have given any serious thought to the moral and eithical sins of our national way of life.

And I close with the conundrum to beat all concundrums: How can you add another drop of water to a one-cup measuring cup which is already full? The answer is, You Can’t.

Neither Man, nor any other organism can spread itself beyond the spatial or nurturing bounds of the Earth without very possibly precipitating the End for All. And I would go beyond this to realize that, MORALLY, this probably should apply to Outer Space as well.


More Creatures to Rescue

THE PET PERIODICAL – More Creatures to Save

How I could have written on how to save a fly and then neglected other insects far more in need of help is beyond me. I hope this will make up for my mistake.

There are many insects which can ONLY crawl—no flying. And the death trap most eager to welcome them is the bathtub. Once a crawling insect enters the tub, it is trapped, for it cannnot crawl back up the upright slippery side, wet or dry.

For those of you with the sense of mercy to help them, the first thing to do is close the down-drain. Then get a piece of paper (if a fly rescue cup is not available) and encourage the poor creature to climb on so that you can take it outside.

If you’re a really human Human Being, that ought to make you feel good.



THE PET PERIODICAL – How to Rescue a Fly

Sitting here in my “office” day after day, one would think that I do not have much to write about. From my point of view, however, there is a great deal. My only problem right now lies in actually getting it done. But now, at last, it is very important to me to write on this subject, as I realize how very much I am slowing down.

One day, as I turned away from the constantly and instantaneously available connection of the television screen which brings us the real-life horrors of human life and human cruelty, I turned toward the window facing the opposit direction. And there I saw a fly on the inside—just sitting.

To catch a fly you have to be prepared with instruments at hand and the ability to react quickly. The instruments of choice range from the world-famous fly swatter, back through the years to fly paper and large bowls of soapy water in whch to drown any insect with curiosity--all of them cruel, a trait which only the human animal has been able to conceive and exhibit to such a high degree.

Very luckily, I happened to have a four-ounce plastic food container with plastic lid to match, and I quickly—but sneakily--grabbed them and placed the cup over the fly. Then I slipped the lid between the cup and the window--with the bewildered fly inside--and rushed them through the garage and outside, where I set the fly free. NOW, DON’T ARGUE WITH ME; as he flew away, he waved goodbye and said “thank you” to me!

From that day to this, I have regretted all the time it took for me to learn this lesson. Somehow, instead of feeling crazier, I acually feel more human.



Don’t know about the rest of you, but the events of the past month have really sapped my spirit and my body of a great deal of their remaining strength.

Many of you—like me—must have noticed that Messrs. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell never smiled during the run-up to the election. On the other hand, President Obama’s smile is full of warmth and sincerity—as it was even when he came to the microphone to acknowledge his humiliating and unwarranted defeat. I hope that intelligent man realizes that the world is fast becoming ungovernable, regardless of who our leaders are.

As for the two Republican leaders, it was obvious that they did not lead their followers with a philosophical banner at their fore; rather, they chose to be a team opposing another team by means of political tactics. At least in my mind, there is no memory of an offering of compromise.

Which leads me, in turn, to ruminating about the real goal of this country. And that goal, I have decided, is to COMPETE. And competition entails winners and losers—between or among individuals, groups, and nations. Whether in sports, schools, groups, or nations.

At the very bottom of the human scale of achievement lie those unfortunate souls who were born with IQ’s beyond any hope of success.

At the very top are those who are blessed with both intelligence and wealth to assure them of comfortable lives.

Below them are the people financially stressed, but with minds, determination, and—often—the luck to get educated, and recognized for what they have to offer. It is this group which represents human life at its very best.

The mixture resulting from putting students of an age in a class together and grading them with a universal achievement score, unfortunately ends up with two groups—Winners and Losers. This must be devastating to those on the bottom. And the possible reaction of some might be to find bravado as their only reaction of choice.

On the other hand, I suggest that the schools establish two grading systems—one for the top, a new one for the bottom—without telling ANYONE, at least for an experimental period. In that way, a student with failing grades might find him/her self suddenly
doing a little better. And this, in turn, should garner recognition (rather than wild praise) from the teacher. Knowing you’ve done SOMETHING right for the first time in you life just might help turn a life around.


Perhaps I am missing something, or just don't understand. Sarah Palen has a pretty face and looks cute in high heels. Are those the qualifications everyone should be looking for in politics? I obviously need your help.


An Apology

THE PET PERIODICAL – A Clarification

Don’t Know Why (tum ta tum tum--tum tum tum--), I’ve been signing off as ARW on my Pet Periodical—of all things! From Now On (another song comes to mind, but not the cadence), I will try to remember to sign myself as MErcury, to include my dear, sweet little black cat, Mercury (the one minus the white spot on her chest.)

Please humiliate me by correcting me, loudly, in verse if possible, and for all the other reader to see.



The Should ‘a’ Been Original Introduction

The most important thing for my readers to know is that I do not intend to write about animal cruelty (of which there are endless amounts.) That said, I intend to write about animal wonderfulness, and hope to share it with and/or to inspire you from firsthand knowledge.

For each of us, what we become is seldom what we started out to be, however, and I have decided to include one of my very early blogs below just to let you know that—like all humans—I have “osmosed” into what I have become.

Rodeos used to be—and undoubtedly still are--a major form of “entertainment,” and I used to “enjoy” them, along with most people of my place and time. Don’t ask me how I could have started so far behind on the concept of unkindness; my only defense is that it must be a matter of background.

At any rate, I am going to reprint one of my very earliest writings, below, or following, as the case may be; and then I will give my view of animals, as opposed to my view of “humans.” THUS,

THE PET PERIODICAL – Introduction from pre-Pet Periodical Days (01/06/10)

I Wish It Hadn’t Happened That Way

When I was young, I grew up on a ranch in Wyoming. My family were well-to-do, so the ranch was a retirement home. My father didn’t do any physical work unless it was for pleasure, which it often was. We ran a few cattle, and we had riding horses and two teams of workhorses. No one out our way had electric lights or telephones until we moved in and had the wires extended from town. (The telephone line was communal, so we all took turns on using it. If it was busy, you just waited. Our telephone number was 28.)

One day we children were whisked into town for the day, but I know what went on. A large hole was dug down closer to the barn, and the four workhorses were led into it. Then, one-by-one, they were shot. My father was a kindly man, but I do not recall why he had that done. All I can remember is that, after that, we had tractors—and no work horses. One of our saddle horses died of sleeping sickness (possibly near that time), and it may have been that the other horses were also coming down with it. I just don’t know.

It has always been my belief that most ranch hands have felt love for the animals they worked with. Red, our ranch hand, had no family that I was aware of, and no car to get there. This was 70-some years ago. Not everyone had cars, many hitch-hiked, and there was little to do in town except drink and look up the “girls.” He probably hitched a ride into town with Elmer, the foreman.

Thinking about that time from the viewpoint of the ranchers, having no car, and nothing much to do when you got there must have been a pretty lonely life for a ranch hand, especially if he was the only one on a ranch and uneducated to boot.

But this is not just about one family, one ranch, and four horses. It is about the beginnings of a time when so many ranchers and/or farmers were making changes, abandoning live animals for machinery. It is about a large part of human life when too many people (in town as well as country) began to turn from a life of depending on animals as well as returning their love to using things made of metal and glass in their stead.

By the same token, people began to turn from country living to living in cities packed close to each other. The odd thing is that, in a world long past, people could live far apart, yet count on each other at harvesting time, as well as when emergencies arose. And you always waved at everyone you passed, whether you knew them or not.

On the other hand, if you move into a large town or city, the tendency is to ignore most everyone, even your neighbors (sometimes even those in trouble.)

Here I am at the end of my blog, and where do I find myself without even realizing it? Pointing out a major part of what happens to humans as our numbers increase.

Don’t know why I have been signing myself as ARW--on The Pet Periodical—of all things! From now on, I will try to remember to sign myself as MErcury, to include my dear, sweet little black cat, Mercury (the one minus the white spot on her chest.)



To fill in those people who may not know, I post what I write on both of my outlets,, as well as and Paws de Deux , my blog. Except under rare circumstances which don’t presently occur to me, my message is the same. That said, I will relate some more biographical background, to kind of fill you in as to why I have become the rather strange person I am—and which I hope you may find interesting.

As I have told you before, I was born into a rich family. And that is important because it allows for avenues and choices. Whereas, in a poor family, help by every member is of great importance, participation by members of a rich family is usually voluntary. At least that’s the way it was
in my family in the days of the Great Depression of the 20th Century (chiefly the 1930’s.)

Our connection with the Rest of the World was tenuous at best, even for the educated; and as a result, our values and our knowledge were tenuous at best. We had no connections with the world such as those we have today. Many of us—even today—do not want to know what is going on in the world. For those of us who DO want to know, we are blessed--in most cases--with conscience.


THE PET PERIODICAL – The Rescue of the Rat

One day, I strolled from our house on the ranch down to barn, taking our four dogs with me, tails wagging, and noses sniffing the ground for scent.

As we drew near the barn, the dogs suddenly darted forward. I rushed after them to see what was going on, and found them sniffing at a long pole lying alongside the barn. It looked like a telephone pole—which it probably was. I yelled at the dogs, knowing that there must be some animal trapped behind the pole, and eventually, they gave up and went off in search of greener fields.

I stayed behind to see if whatever it was was all right, and eventually a small rat climbed up on top of the log, sat up on his haunches, and thanked me in rat language for saving his life.

This may sound like a really sweet story—which it is—but it has much, much more meaning to me. It was experiences like this that have converted me to the singular religion which was conceived in my heart and now consumes my mind and soul.


First, Some Family Background

Although we and our siblings are often recognizable as having come from the same family, we are just as often totally different, both in views and lifestyles. And so it has been with my family.

Also, keep in mind that we are products of our century, our time, and our history.

My father, Poppy, came from a middle class family in Buffalo, New York. He did not go beyond his sophomore year in high school, but he had a brilliant mind and a charming personality. At the time when I was born, Poppy owned a paint manufacturing company in Cleveland, Ohio--very possibly financed with the aid of my mother's inheritance from a very rich lake freighter family.

My mother, Mother, was--to my knowledge--the last remaining heir of her family. My memory of her revolves around the sight of her sitting by the radio doing needlepoint or reading Redbook or Cosmopolitan. She was not what I would call an intellectual, but she was an example of her time and class.

My older sister, Liz, led a miserable life. She eventually ran off with--and married--a rodeo cowboy, and they had two little girls, Teensle and Toni. Why it is that such awful things happen to the most miserable people, I don't know, but Teensle got into a drawer of prescriptions and swallowed a bottle of pills--which killed her. And that took away whatever joy poor Liz had ever experienced in her life.

My younger sister, Cynthia, on the other hand, was the "little princess" of the family. Whereas I was large of bone and struggled with overweight, she was--and remains, from her pictures--the darling of the girls.

My brother, Gus, was the baby--and the pride--of the family. He loved classical music (as do I.) Except for one or two temporary jobs, he never worked, until my mother sent him off to learn how to conduct a classical orchestra. He conducted various orchestras (as a guest conductor, I assume) around Europe and the United States. Next to conducting, by far his greatest interest was himself.

As the second oldest sibling, I, Anne--aka Duck Duck, Rudy in boarding school and college, Mommy, Ma, or Mother (depending on mood or relationship at a particular time)--have had an up-and-down existence.

With pride and conviction, I can say that I am easily the most mentally endowed and practiced of all the rest of the family.

And so, with all modesty, I close this enumeration of my family members.


The Ranch


My family moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to a lovely ranch in northeastern Wyoming in the early 1930’s.

Our home was built under an enormous cottonwood tree—about a mile from the front gate. From the long veranda along the front of the house and facing west, we had a panoramic view of the Big Horn Mountains. And from the back of the house facing east, we had a panoramic view of a very long grass-covered mesa, a section of which was grazing land for our cattle and horses. And the foreman’s home, the bunkhouse, and the barn were situated halfway between our home and our front gate (to the west.)

Looking toward the mesa and to the right of the house was a small hill which played a prominent role in ranch activity. For it was that hill that our horses chose as a staging area for one of their most notorious tricks.



Having gone from a three-year stint in an Episcopal boarding school to full-blown atheism in my declining years--thinking about values (aka Real Thinking) as compared to religious belief (aka Being Told What to Think), I decided to look up The Lord’s Prayer last night. And sure enough, it was all about ME! I tried to copy one of the many versions, but don’t know enough about the computer to do it, so I am printing it as I remember it from those boarding school days.

Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kindom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory,
Forever and ever. Amen

Speaking from the mind of an atheist, there probably has never been a person in the world who has not sinned, and there are only two sources from which to seek forgiveness. The first should always be the person or creature who has been wronged. The second should always be yourself. There should be no other make-believe source, like God, that you should be able to seek as a source of relief for a guilty conscience. If you are too late, or if you did something unforgivable, be prepared to live with it for the rest of your life.




When we first moved to Wyoming, we rented a small ranch in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. And there we kept our black and white Shetland pony, Skunk, and our two horses at the time, Tex and Red.

One day, we came home to find the three of them in the corral, as usual, but with what seemed like an unusual restlessness among them. Skunk appeared to be his same sweet self, but the other two seemed to be putting on some sort of act. They were wandering around, noses in the air, as if they were humming softly to themselves. It was obvious that they had done something wrong.

Let me set the scene. Our saddlebarn was a long, one-story building built on stilts. You climbed up two steps, and that is where the saddles were. From there, to the left and down one step, were the goodies.

Upon closer observation, the two outside steps appeared to be slightly askew. Upon entering, we found two holes in the floor of the saddle room. AND THE GOODIE ROOM WAS A MESS!



(Two issues too late)

In this new periodical, I have decided to include stories of ALL living creatures, not just pets. Almost all of them will be true stories from my own life, while some of them will be musings on the state of things. Many will be happy, many will be sad or even horrifying, some will be stories which I have written before, but from a different point of view.

I admit to being an extremist—and hope that you can bear with me as I ramble on about the things that have made me who I am—and expect to be
for the rest of my life.


Just a Thought


It suddenly occurred to me last night that the middle of the 20th Century was very possibly the Beginning of the End of Everything.

Many of us were born before World War II. A few of us were born at the beginning of the 20th Century, just as some of us were born at the beginning of the 21st Century. And there may even be 2 or 3 people still here who were born at the end of the 19th Century. But most of us who are presently here have been born since World War II.

As Shakespeare would say, “Aye, there’s the rub!”

The reason being that the 20thCentury saw both the great jump in world population, and the beginning of the Age of Technology. Technology has eased the work of most of us and increased our capacity to produce more and better of those things which, so far, we have needed and wanted. It has also made it possible for more of us to be born and more to live longer and better.

On the other hand, technology has cheapened many of our values and made them more personal and private, thus loosening our bonds with other humans and other creatures and living organisms on this Earth.

Tractors have replaced workhorses; cattle are for making your hamburger or steak, and chickens are raised in tiny little cages where they can see each other, but not mix. Their eggs are laid in those cages and collected each day for your comfortable and comforting breakfast, secure in the knowledge that they have not come from chickens just running around in a barnyard, living normal chicken lives (eeuuw!)
And now, since mid-20th century, mankind is replacing itself with technology. This brings to mind the many complaints about our President Obama and his failure to create more jobs for us. But don’t blame it all on him; he just happens to be at the nexus of the problem; and that is that WE HAVE RE-CREATED OURSELVES INTO TECHNOLOGICAL OBSOLESCENCE. We’re NOT NEEDED ANYMORE!

To all of President Obama’s critics out there, what would your solution be if you were President?

The Socialist

Just a Thought



The Tail of the Tunnel

Before I moved to Santa Barbara, I lived in Oakland, California. I was a librarian, and I worked over the hills in Contra Costa County. To get there from my home, I took a major highway that went through the hills via a three-part tunnel.

The righthand tunnel always went TOWARD Contra Costa County, the lefthand tunnel always went TOWARD San Francisco, and the middle tunnel changed directions twice a day to carry the overflow traffic going toward San Francisco in the morning, and toward the suburbs at night.

This information sets the scene for tremendous traffic around three holes in a mountain every day of the year—and this was one of them.

I was in the lefthand lane, only yards away from the eastbound tunnel, when I came across a terrified German shepherd plastered against the divider between us and the middle lane, with nowhere to go.

Because the traffic was particularly heavy, it was also very, very slow, and so I simply stopped, got out of my lefthand door and opened my rear door; and it took no invitation at all for the dog to jump right in.

One wonders how many cars before me just passed him by, and the man in the car behind me was honking furiously. Surely, some may have passed him by because they just didn’t know what to do; others may have worried about their jobs and their bosses. There were no cell phones in those days, as there are now. (That reminds me of a suggestion for the future; if you have a cell phone, at least call the highway patrol, if not for the dog’s sake, then for the accidents it might cause.)

In my case, I simply drove into a neighborhood (miles from the incident, but the first I could reach) and asked the woman there to call my office and let them know I would be taking an unforeseen day of vacation.

Then, having NO idea where the poor dog came from, I took him to the Berkeley animal shelter, which was supposed to have a pretty good reputation. Having a bunch of rescued animals, including large dogs, already, I did not dare try to keep him even temporarily. Besides, I had a hunch his owner would be trying to find him.

The really happy ending that I got, however, was a reward beyond anything I could have dreamed of or wished for—as soon as I got in the front seat, HE PUT HIS NOSE ON MY LEFT SHOULDER AND LICKED MY EAR EVERY INCH OF THE WAY.




How to Rescue a Dog on the Freeway

You can’t be a freeway user and not have seen at least one dog in your life trotting along the freeway—almost always going in the same way as traffic. For starters, your first reaction should be to realize that rescuing the dog is YOUR responsibility. So go about thinking how to do it.

First, DO NOT attempt to pull over right away. You may well cause an accident that way. Moreover, if you pull over too soon, he will be well ahead of you before you get stopped.

First, be sure your signal lights are flashing properly, then gradually get your car to the shoulder of the road and stopped, and open your RIGHTHAND door without getting out. As the dog approaches, speak to it in friendly, welcoming tones, gesturing for it to get in. Speaking from experience, the dog almost certainly will be glad to see a friendly face, because I can assure you that it’s in trouble and it knows it.

If you are both lucky, this will have been just the first step of your rescue. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT take the dog to the next off-ramp, a few houses down into the neighborhood there, and let it go. That will NOT BE ITS NEIGHBORHOOD, and the dog will be more lost than ever.

The next thing to do—all the while, reassuring the dog—is to look for identification such as an address or veterinarian or rabies tag. If none are available, take the dog to your own vet. These avenues of help would be much less stressful than contacting animal control, or some such avenue alien to the dog’s knowledge. Call the latter, however, as a last resort.

You will be late for wherever you were going. Use your cell phone if you have one, to alert the person or appointment you will miss. If you don’t have one, get to a telephone as soon as possible for the same purpose.

All of this takes a great deal of time—BUT IT IS TIME THAT YOU WILL REMEMBER FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.


New Subjects

New Subjects to Come Up

Yesterday, on our way home from an appoiontment, my caretaker, Rocio, took the freeway, which I hate. The reason I hate the freeway is the fear of seeing a dead, injured, or terrified dog and not being able to do anything about it.

But there ARE things you can do, and when I was able to drive and could make decisions about things like that myself, I did them myself—as do
many other like-minded people.

The knowledge and tools needed for such a task are:

Willingness to sacrifice time
Recognition of DUTY to help something or someone you don’t know

I will be writing a great deal about animals in the future, much of it from personal experience—and some of it with shame.

The Atheist



On behalf of all non-believers, of which I am one, I beg you to stop going door-to-door attempting to save our souls. Speaking for myself at least, I find this very intrusive and somewhat insulting. I would never consider going to your homes in an attempt to dissuade you of your beliefs. I can assure you that many of those who do not believe in God or practice other religions have very well-thought-out views of their own on the subject. Only some Christian sects, that I am aware of, are making overt attempts to convert others. But non-believers, to my knowledge, have no desire to convert others to our way of thinking, or to be converted.

A non-believer has spent years of his life thinking his way to a set of individual values which best suit his relationship to the vast Out There--the Earth, and its creatures (including vegetation and minerals on and/or under its surface.) We have a sense of responsibility toward all that we are aware of—and in my mind, that includes any rights or responsibilities we may or should have with regard to the Universe around us. Very few of those of us who THINK are concerned about what happens to us when we die. Thus, we do not have concern for any possible afterlife for OURSELVES as an urgent question in our minds.

As for the sins, large and small, which we have committed, we have already sought to settle them within our own consciences. Regarding any sins for which it is too late to seek forgiveness, we will carry them within our minds for the rest of our lives (as we should.) We would prefer that to seeking absolution through an intermediary.


There has been a great deal of talk lately about some Christians seeking to cram their religion down the non-believer throats of the rest of us by enshrining some of your mores in our Constitution. As a born-bred-and- will-die American, I am TELLING YOU to keep your beliefs out of my rights!

The two main issues between us are the RIGHT TO NOT BE BORN and the RIGHT TO DIE.

As for the first, there are many, many children who are born into this world with their futures already decided for them. They may be badly crippled or mentally retarded. For every such child, it may have a mother who does not want it, a society which will reject or deride it, and a future possibly growing up alone and unable to care for itself. (Your answer will be that there are lots of people who will be glad to take care of it, but even that kind of care does not really give it a LIFE.) And you seem to be stuck at the point of a dear little baby, just delivered—and not beyond, to a miserable middle-aged man or woman living in despair.

And your answer will be, “Oh, I know lots of exceptions!” Well, that may be, but they won’t come anywhere close to the number of those whose unfortunate lives follow the rule.

On to the Right to Die, many Christians with no connection whatsoever to a person who wants—or needs—to die, apparently think their own beliefs should prevail over the beliefs and desires of the person involved. Since death will come to all of us, such intervention goes far beyond concern to the apex of unwarranted intervention. The person in question may be suffering excruciating pain, or just as bad, unbearable despair.

In either of the cases discussed above, any decisions must be up to the patient, his/her doctor, his/her family, and any other persons the patient chooses.

Addendum: Isn’t it odd that this “Christian” country is willing to send out many of its young men in the prime of their lives to kill enemy young men who have been sent out to kill ours for the very same reason—sometimes one side, then the other on the defense or offense?

Well, without realizing it—or even thinking about it—overpopulation is largely what causes the wars in the first place, and wars are the means by which mankind will continue to try to control its overpopulation.


Hate Runneth Over

My god, what many Americans (unfortunately) won’t do to find someone else to hate!

Recently, it was poor starving Mexicans risking their lives coming across the border seeking work so they could send most of what they earn back home to feed their families. OK, OK, so many of them are trading drugs; so they are crooks and thieves. Well, we have plenty of crooks and thieves at the border to meet them; and many of those are RICH because of what they do. In addition to which, the drug runners have all sorts of customers waiting here for their wares.

But America has moved on, folks, to other old bones. We’re also back to picking on gays, especially those with religion in their souls, who seek some sort of acceptance in society. Oh, they’re good targets, so what they desire is some sort of normal life with someone they love—a trait just too precious for a true hater to miss.

And now we move on to our latest targets: the Muslims who want to build a house of worship near the site of the tragic bombing of New York on 9/11. For all I know, the Muslims who want to build the mosque had nothing to do with 9/11. Are we going to hate all Muslims forever because of what happened then? And that brings up the Indians; and, going down the road of hate, shouldn’t they continue to hate all of the many other races here now, in the 21st century?




MY recollection of our national history, as I was taught it, and as I have observed it for 87 years, is that we came here as victims of prejudice and/or cruelty by other nations, in search of a land whereon we could establish a nation of our own, built largely according to noble Christian values, a land of our own (after annihilating or imprisoning a great many of the previous inhabitants) many of whose descendents live—to this very day—in prisons without walls, euphemistically called reservations. In the end, what I am trying to present below is a slightly different view of this great land as we know it.

One of our most popular sports, at this time in history, is hating homosexuals and lesbians. Oh, it does our Christian hearts good to try to convert them, but that argument either does not persuade them; or, if it does, it assures them of lives alone and without love that is best expressed by sexual activity—as is the case with us lucky heterosexuals.

Ah! But we have forgotten the most numerous among us—those who, either by choice or lack of luck, have no way of expressing and answering their own sexual needs. And it is the dilemma of those in this group which I wish to address.

So far as I know, there is no relief for the members of this group except through masturbation!—a word which no one is willing to say, read, hear, or even think. And to make matters worse, as far as understanding or sympathy are concerned, there is probably not a living soul among us--normal, heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or child who had discovered his sexual organs—who, at one time, or another, or another, or another, has not masturbated.

Give that a little thought!


Lets “Try It Again (Uncle) Sam”—Part Three

Sorry, I left off my most important point (the last two paragraphs, below) on Part Two.

Our forefathers, we are told, came to these shores in search of freedom, both religious and political. The motto of our most famous monument, the Statue of Liberty bears this motto: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

And so here we are! We have usurped this land from its original owners—or at least from the people who preceded us. And we put them into prisons without walls, where most of them live to this very day.

We have sought to convert them to Christianity—just as we have moved on to other lands in more recent years in an effort to convert the people living there, who have their own religions, to our Christian ways. Note: By the way, I do not recall having Muslims, for example, knocking at my door with the hope of converting me.

Evidently, many Christians don’t realize that a person’s religion is just that—thinking. It is best accomplished, by each of us individually, through IQ and education. For those not lucky enough to have much of either, active conversion, while effective, is not genuine, because it has had no fertile source from which to flourish.

And now, the American people, in general, do not want to have any Mexicans knocking on our doors or climbing our fences, as our forefathers figuratively did, without an invitation. And when they get here, we are happy to pay them a pauper’s pay to work themselves to death doing our most menial jobs.

My most important thought is: If you’re going to have Mexicans (used in the generic sense) legal or illegal working for you, for God’s sake, do not pay them starvation wages for the most dangerous, exhausting, and often degrading work they do for you, and which no one else in this country will do. They deserve better, and if you can’t afford them, do it yourself.


Lets “Try It Again (Uncle) Sam”—Part Two

Our forefathers, we are told, came to these shores in search of freedom, both religious and political. The motto of our most famous monument, the Statue of Liberty bears this motto: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

And so here we are! We have usurped this land from its original owners—or at least from the people who preceded us. And we put them into prisons without walls, where most of them live to this very day.

We have sought to convert them to Christianity—just as we have moved on to other lands in more recent years in an effort to convert the people living there, who have their own religions, to our Christian ways. Note: By the way, I do not recall having Muslims, for example, knocking at my door with the hope of converting me.

Evidently, many Christians don’t realize that a person’s religion is just that—thinking. It is best accomplished, by each of us individually, through IQ and education. For those not lucky enough to have much of either, active conversion, while effective, is not genuine, because it has had no fertile source from which to flourish.


Moral and Ethical Views No. 1

Let’s “Try It Again (Uncle) Sam”—Part One

First, let’s talk about ourselves, rather than any other countries. We’re going to talk about overpopulation and greed. Both are problems also caused and experienced by other countries, but we should try to reform ourselves before calling on the rest of the World; and besides, we cause most of the harm, and the harm that we cause has enormous consequences for the rest of the world.

Pure Reason should tell us that the more children we have, the more population we have, and the more of the World’s once-and-only resources we consume.

It stands to reason that the more babies a couple has, the more resources that family will consume. Many resources are irreplaceable, and thus generally consumed to a greater degree by large families than by small families.

And this leads to similar discrepancies caused, generally, by families that are rich being able to afford to consume more than can families that are poor.

Running through what I am writing is the thread of morality and the charity of consideration. However, because I am atheist, what I write may carry less moral weight with the average believer simply for that very reason.


Moral and Ethical Views

One Road, Many Paths

One Road, Many Paths

Henceforth, I’ll be including a new feature designed by me especially for those who can’t spell. No, that’s not right—it’s designed especially by me for those who can spell. Well, you’ll get the idea. Example below:

Won Rode, Men-eeeh Pahths

Hen’s-fourth aisle bee inn-clue-ding a knew feet-you’re Dee-signed buy mee S-pesh-alley fore thoes hoo cant spell. Know, that’s knot write—its Dee-signed S-pesh-alley four thoes hoo cans-pell.

Inn sum Kay-says, their arhh werds with differ-rent mean-ings that halve thuh saim spell-ings.

Sew Fahr., inn enknee case, eye can know long-rrh! sleap at nite. Hah-pee inn-venting!


Illegal Immigration


One of the very most serious of all human failings is dishonesty of any sort, the more so because the person who commits it does so of his own free will. Listening to a discussion of illegal immigration just now is what brings forth my thoughts.

Immigrants coming across the border illegally are doing so dishonestly. Many, of course, come to peddle drugs. Many others who make their trek across the desert do so to look for work—dishonest too, but somewhat mitigated out of their need for work so desperate that they are willing to face a distinct possibility that they may die in their attempt.

What is largely being ignored by people on this side of the border is that those immigrants, though guilty, are not as guilty as the Americans on this side of the border who are willing to hire them—undoubtedly in most cases, because they can get away with paying them wages far below the value of their work.

So it is, before the judge of common decency, that the employers who hire them have committed a sin of far greater depth. Many of those who knowingly employ illegals absolve themselves by going to church, where kthey ask God to forgive them.


Thought for the Day

If you’re too old to move about
With a sense of daily proclivity,
Then getting to the pot on time
Can be a most rewarding activity.


To Borrow from the Past. . . .

Help Me! I’m composing—and I can’t shut up!!


Ode to Paper Clips - Addendum

Paper clips, O’ Paper Clips
You bring my thoughts together.
Delicate as you appear to be,
You withstand most any weather.

Even when discarded
To lie upon the street,
Your strength withstands the cruelties
Of auto tires and feet.

Lying left upon the filthy street
In warm or stormy weather,
Your understanding of the human race
Grows daily ever better.

Your sense of order gives the cry
For more organization
Than there appears to be right now
In the world and in this nation.

Things seem to be becoming worse
Instead of getting better.
But Paper Clips, dear Paper Clips,
You bring my thoughts together.


The Art of Composition

The Art of Composition

Just so you’ll know—I composed my last two blogs while I was asleep in bed. The first, Paper Clips, gnawed at me until I finally got up at midnight and wrote it down.

The second, Staples, left me alone until about an hour before I normally “arise from my couch” on the morning of the following day.

Don’t ask me! They—not I—selected the subjects. I just followed orders.


The Staple


Unlike the colorful and delicate paper clip, which calls for poetry, the brutal masculinity of the staple is best described in prose.

While the delicate paper clip’s purpose is to gently hold papers together, it does so in the interest of the owner, available to removal and replacement.

Made only in gunmetal silver, the job of the staple--as the staple envisions it--is to brutally stab the papers to which it is affixed, and to stay there into eternity. Staples are lined up in their original box in militaristic rows, each to follow the one before it as the owner wishes.

Occasionally, the owner craps it up, and the staple strikes the paper at an angle that mutilates its body, and it is replaced by the staple next in line. And sometimes the two staples are left that way—side by side, with the mutilated staple further humiliated by the perfection of the staple next to which it lies.

Brutality may be the profession of the staple, but nothing can compare to the thoughtless lack of sympathy of a human being.



Disparities Within the United States

Most Americans, when asked to define democracy in this country, are inclined to think of all citizens as having equal rights and responsibilities. This is not entirely true, for good or ill.

Probably the two most important qualifications for modern American life are education and wealth, neither of which is widely and fairly available. Your opportunities are many times enhanced if you possess at least one—and especially both. This leaves many hundreds of thousands of people forced to make the best they can of their lives--and luck.

On the other hand, if you have inherited a certain amount of wealth, and have at least a modicum of eduation, your chances are very much higher.

As Shakespeare would say, “Aye, there’s the rub!”

The best solution appears to be the Vote. At the same time, it can also be the worst. The uneducated can easily be led to vote For or Against, based in many, many cases on religious belief—a subject which should be sacrosanct. (The elections throughout the country this year have been loaded with religious pressure upon those with whom they do not agree, but should have no right to prevail.) An enormous problem may be that the uneducated seem to be outgrowing the educated in numbers, thus increasing their power in the country as a whole by sheer numbers.

At the same time, at the other end of the spectrum is the problem of wealth—or too much of it. On one hand, there are benefactors like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who have devoted their lives and wealth to helping other people. Thank God, there are people like them!

Nevertheless—and excluding people like them—it would appear painfully obvious that the disparities in wages must be rethought—not only rethought, but legislated or relegislated.

Here we are, living in the “Land of the Free” with many thinking only of sumptuous lives, while many, many more are living in indescribable filth and want!

ARW 6/18/10



Yesterday, I spent most of the day composing one of my masterpieces. It was two full pages long, and I worked and reworked the text until it was perfect. Not only that, it was a terribly important subject to me.

But, somehow, when I set about printing it, I forgot to save it. Not only that—I can’t even remember the subject! WAAH!!


Wouldn’t You Think....?

When listening to the news of the oil spill, I heard the newsman say that many people with plans to go down to the area for fishing and other sea sports had canceled their hotel reservations.

Now, assuming that most of this country’s citizens are God-loving Christians-- unlike the rest of us heathens—don’t the rest of you people realize they need us down there more than ever? Wouldn’t it occur to you to fill their hotels and restaurants with people eager to be there—to learn what real tragedy is, both human and animal? And, incidentally to enjoy the pleasures which they still have to offer, while at the same time returning the favor with your presence and your assistance if and where it might be needed, and especially your money to help allay the loss of thousands upon thousands of livelihoods?

Unfortunately, I am 87 and sitting in a wheelchair, so I can’t go, but I—and many others, both heathen and Christian, have been pouring our money and our hearts down into that part of the world ever since Haiti. As for the rest of you, think of someone beside yourselves.




Many years ago, I wrote a very important article on the subject of the above. But, despite the fact that I am a retired librarian whose life has been built upon “everything in its place,” I-- even I-- cannot find a copy of it! So I’ll have to start my crusade all over.

It didn’t take me long to become aware of the “paperclip problem.” I must have been not much older than somewhere in my 70’s when I discovered that the ground of almost every city and town in this country is practically paved with them.

Paperclips, I assume, were invented sometime during the 20th century, and what a convenience they have been. They sort of compete with staples, which also have a purpose of maintaining order. Staples, however, have an air of permanence, which can, in turn, become a sort of imprisonment, while paperclips have an air of “do what you wish.” This, unfortunately, has enouraged slovenly, and—worst of all—a “who cares?” attitude among the public.

For me, there came a day when I finally stopped, bent over, and picked up my first paperclip. And from that day forth, I have bent over—on the sidewalk, the parking lot, or the middle of the street—and picked up every paperclip I have seen. Many have been brand new, some bent or stretched, and some old and rusted.

Paperclips were made to be useful and used, which most are, until the day they are wantonly thrown down. Small as they are, they symbolize both the inventiveness of the 20th century and the decay of its human values.




The time has come for me to reveal myself to my faithful fans—I watch NASCAR! And not only that, I like it! It relaxes me.

For starters, I remember very few of the names inolved. The Bush brothers always seem to win, but on the other hand, I can never remember who wins. My favorite is Mark Martin. He is the oldest, in his fities, and he smiles all the time, win or not. (I realize I spelled “fifties” wrong in the last sentence, but it looks cute, so I left it.)

There are few, if any, women in NASCAR, and NO animals, which is its most saving grace, especially with world news as it is right now.

My computer and my TV are at right angles to each other and separated by about twelve feet. Thus, I can work at my computer, and turn my head to the left only when the noise level changes in both cause and intensity. Those are the most exciting moments to watch. And besides, they are always played over again right then so that those of us at home will not miss any mayhem—just one of the many marvels and services of modern TV.

Well, I finally got that off my mind, so back to work. To those of you who are still left by now, I hope we will still be conversing in the future.


What Do You Think of the Gulf Catastrophe? You Ask

I’ll tell you what I think of it, but do not read the rest of this unless you don’t mind reading the real horror that goes on in my mind when I hear of things like this. I am particularly sensitive to such events, especially when they involve animals, and even insects. I can no longer read the news or watch anything about it on television, nor can I listen to the radio at night.

When my family first moved to Wyoming over 75 years ago, the country was enduring a drought far worse than the present one. While our home was being built, we rented an old home halfway up the mountains, and used kerosene lanterns for light, sitting in large bowls of water to drown the moths.

We had a terrible plague of grasshoppers, and another of mormon crickets. The latter would come over a hill, and the hill would become black as they approached. One of the main methods of dealing with these was by digging trenches which they could fall into but could not get out of. Then gasoline was poured over them and they were burned alive.

One story was of a rancher whose horse broke a leg and fell on top of him. The rancher managed to shoot his horse and started to cut him in half, but he, too, died before he could get free and before they were found.

The cruelty of rodeos is horrible. One horse broke a leg and died due to an act of mercy. He was shot in the head after breaking his leg, a rope placed around his neck, and he was dragged from the center of the corral. But he still was not dead and suffered terribly from the dragging, and he had to be shot again. All part of the entertainment of those days—as well as these.

My father backed out of our garage one day and ran over my favorite dog. To this day, I cannot bear to be in a car being greeted or wagged goodbye to without thinking of that incident and worrying.

One of our beagles got left by accident in a basement food closet, and was not found until some time later, when he was dead, having eaten everything he could find and before anyone realized he was missing.

One of our horses got her foot tangled in a role of old wire in a field, where she was found several days later, dead, with her foot nearly torn off from trying to get free.

But probably the worst for me was a picture in the famous book by Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, about the horrors of the Chicago stock yards. I remember seeing a copy of the book lying on a table at the library where I was a librarian, exposing a picture of a hog strapped in chains to the moving ramp carrying him up to his death, the most horrifying expression of fear and helplessness I have ever seen on any living animal, human or otherwise.

By and large, the human tends to be the only evil—or at least utterly selfish animal. Strange dichotomy between us and the “lower” species.

These memories have stayed with me for 80 years. Now you know how I
feel about the Gulf of Mexico, where suffering business and lifestyle far outweigh the suffering slow death of animals. Sorry to pour this onto those of you who have gone ahead and read it. These memories have been so close to the surface of my mind, that any new addition just brings it all up.

P.S. I sit here at my keyboard garnering your sympathy and admiration as I say these things—I, a meat-eating animal all of my life. What a fraud I am!
As long as I can’t see what goes on, I eat meat like a glutton!

I truly apologize to all animal life which I have betrayed in this fashion, and I swear from this day on never to eat meat of any sort again!


Civil War?

Splitting the Country

Thanks to several of you who expressed interest in my Civil War musings about breaking up the United States.

First, let me apologize for taking so long to get back to the computer. Both my personal condition, and that of the country have been so hard for me to digest that I just haven’t been able even to try. As I sit here at the keyboard, I realize how much I have missed it. At any rate, back to the subject at hand.

The two most important aims on my list are control of population and individual opportunity. I’m speaking here of the United States, but the needs of the whole world are hovering over all of us.

First of all, God, if there is one, has some really superb methods for coping: disease, starvation, suicide, murder, warfare, natural catastrophe, etc., etc. One would think that those who pray, especially, would get the message, but somehow they have gotten it all backwards (keep them alive at all costs, no matter how much they beg to be let go). As Shakespeare once said, “examples gross as Earth exhort us!” Instead, the human animal is well on the way to suffocating us to death by sheer numbers alone.

And you may be lucky enough to enjoy a comfy carefree life, but try taking a look at pictures of those at the other end of the scale, even here in the Land of the Free. The only REAL help for those at the bottom is Education—rather than charity. The road to freedom is very long and steep, the end of which most of them will never see.

As for what we might do to get a start on things in this country, the growing rifts between the states, one with another, seem to center more and more on religion. Religion’s shadow hovers ever darker over the freedoms of non-believers, even in Congress and the laws of the nation. At the same time, the True Believers call ever more stridently for control and removal of the two most effective reins on human error—birth control and the right to die.

Wonderful as this country may be, it has one serious flaw which has won its way into our most cherished beliefs—the right to become very rich. Some of the richest, luckily, have spent their lives helping—really helping—others. Unfortunately, the lucky levels below the very rich are more inclined to wallow in their own good luck. And on a level below these is the level of the real saints, many of them choosing to ignore wealth, and self-taught the values of their own personal religions, who devote their lives to the needs of those below them on the scale of life.

For the time being, it seems to me that we should have an election in which the citizens should have the right to choose to align themselves with other states in order to give each other support, though not to attack those states with very different views and needs. These alliances might become mini- nations, independent of other mini-nations. I do know that many of us who are atheists (heathen to many of the rest of you) find our nation’s laws becoming more onerous and ill-conceived. We owe you the privilege of your beliefs, but at the same time, we claim our right to live by ours. If you want to bring a deformed baby into this world at the expense of his chance of a miserable and painful life, and if you want to force an extremely ill or injured man to continue to live out his misfortune, please make those decisions for your own, and do not force your religious beliefs on the rest of us.

To sum it all up, there is too much of this going on in this country right now. That is why I suggest that the States vote on how they want to proceed—all together, in smaller groups, or separate and different alliances (or countries) beholden to those we choose, but not to those with whom we disagree.

P.S. It feels so good to be back, regardless of any response.

Love you all,

ARW 6/7/10

In-Between Politics


Consistent animosity toward the man who won the election and is doing a pretty good job, as with the Republicans versus Pres.Obama, is like trying to force their way into having won a game which they have not won by claiming that “the American people” don’t want his legislation.

It seems to me that if you are an opponent of a man of his obvious education, intelligence, and good humor, but with whom you disagree, you would do well to support him when you can, and oppose him without animosity. It might come to serve you better on either or both sides in the future.

Thinking seriously, without rage, one wonders if this country might be better off divided into two countries after all.

The anger expressed on TV does not sound like two neighbors trying to work out a problem. Why not give a newly elected President cooperation and support for the first year? If it seems to be working out, continue your support through his four years. Then, if the opposition really thinks it can do better, make your try for office, don’t just try to make it harder for him.

When Toyota started having trouble with its cars, the Ruler of Japan came to this country to apologize personally for the problems it was causing in the United States. And he was greeted with extremely rude quizzing (on TV news) by the congressional committee handling the matter.



There is no question that U.S. citizens who live near the border with Mexico need and deserve governmental control and protection. After thinking about the new legislation signed by the governor of Arizona yesterday, I have been giving a great deal of thought to the dangers this law Might inflict upon the many millions of Hispanics already living here.

A forest of hispanic roots had been planted here long before Europeans made their entry, thus making the Americas more their land than the land of Europeans. (This, for present purposes. leaves out mention of the various Indians who preceded all of us.)

The purpose of this paper is to discuss identification. But let me stop for a moment to mention that the TWO GIANT PROBLEMS which no one in government in any nation on the globe has the courage to mention are RELIGION and OVERPOPULATION, the former responsible for the latter.

Catholicism, in particular, got a good headstart on teaching the masses that God has decreed what is now happening to us. And Catholicism’s followers include the high and mighty as well as the ignorant and penniless. The current sex scandal in the highest reaches of the Catholic Church is probably the most meaningful warning the world has had as to its weaknesses on a subject which deserves to be completely rethought in all its ramifications.

Some of those ramifications include, too many people, too little education, too few jobs, AND the citizens of a very poor nation living a river’s-width from a very rich nation. It is not surprising that all of these conditions can easily lead to those who are destitute looking at the rich nation as an exciting road to quick riches.

The requirement that those who migrate from Mexico to the United States for any reason carry a permit is only half a solution. This would leave all Hispanics who are legal citizens of the United States standing there legally naked. The best solution, it seems to me, is that all Hispanics in this country should also carry a card identifying them as U. S. citizens. This would simply identify them in the same way that my red hair would identify me. (And there may even by another good reason why ALL Americans should carry national identification in their own home country which will need to be considered in the present or future.)

Identification of Hispanics who are citizens here is most important for their relationships with other American citizens. Many Americans who lack education and spoil for fights, I am sure, will be drawn out to do their version of “defending America” when they see someone who looks and sounds Hispanic, i.e. unAmerican. A card identifying an Hispanic as a U.S. citizen could be a shield of security in a country which is finding out, unfortunately, that the experiment of mixing all races and religions may not be working.



I THINK I used to have a little palm adding machine, but it really wasn’t serving the purpose of my high-stakes financial dealings. So I got rid of it and bought myself an adding machine capable of handling money dealings up to the mid-hundreds.

It didn’t take me longer than a couple weeks, however, before I realized that the new marvel had troubles of its own. I will try to re-create IT BELOW.

I have to admit that I am having a few problems myself, but after trying to correct the typing on the second row myself, I have thrown in the towel and couldn’t make it to the john, so I’ve decided to let life’s problems flow – so to speak, and go with the flow.

The new adding machine was really Having troubles of it’s own, and I will attempt to recreate it here on the computer. AND THIS IS REALLY WHAT I GOT FOR MY worek:

314,319 --
10,000 =
-20,000 *

Anyway, that machine really needs to go back. And my new machine is much larger, does all sorts of things I’ll never use, and cost twice as much. The trouble is that it’s Easter weekend, the stores are closed, and I’ll have to wait the usual several days more before I can get someone to help- me. Oh yes, the new machine works, I am fairly sure. It’S JUST THAT I CAN’T FIND THE DIRECTIONS FOR THE NEW MACHINE!

The one great thing about rtyping without looking is that I m now baring my soul to all of you so NOW YOU KNOW ME AS I REALLY AM.


Religion in Law

Overpopulation and Underthinking

THIS is the most important problem on the earth, no quibbling, and if humans don’t solve it for themselves, Nature will solve it for us.

The most important weapons directed at the human race are uncontrolled growth of population and laws against the right to die. These are two rights of great importance, rights which should belong only to the person involved. Most women would like to have children of their own. However, in the case of a woman who just loves to breed, her selfish reproduction may cause another woman who also wants one or two children to decide not to have any children at all. There should be a law warning all women of the rights which we owe each other in this regard.

Death has been decided on for all of us by whomever or whatever created us.
Just as important is the right to choose to die, whether to end a terrible illness, or an agonizing and endless struggle with mental illness. This, again, is a tragic, but private decision which should be made by the person so involved and his close family.

Religion is largely responsible for the disasters which await us, urging women to produce many children, and condemning them for having an abortion by teaching them that they must multiply, as well as condemning them for abortion and even birth control as sin. This undoubtedly goes back to the early days of our conquest of the Indians in our crusade to usurp their land-- very successfully, by the way-- and to convert them to Christianity as a means of control.

One of the saddest results of these beliefs is the resulting birth of many physically and mentally ill-equipped humans, many of whom must live relatively long and unrewarding lives, for their families as well as for themselves.

In any event, religion should play no part in our national laws governing all of us, except to confirm that no religious belief, or lack therof, shall control any of us except by the will of the individual so involved.


FLIGHT, by Richard Lippold

Confident recognition of true merit in a work of art comes as a great source of satisfaction to the amateur critic, and my daughter and I experienced this thrilling sensation during our visit to New York City in 1962. The work of which I speak is Richard Lippold’s sculpture, “Flight,” which was completed shortly before our trip, in the Vanderbilt Avenue lobby of the new Pan Am building.

Even before entering the building, we were overwhelmed by the brilliant immensity of the sculpture as it first came into view from beyond the glass and granite wall of the lobby entrance. Composed entirely of gold and silver wire, “Flight” is an abstract geometrical design which rises from the center of the otherwise empty ground floor upward and outward to the extremities of the ceiling above the mezzanine surrounding it on three sides. These two levels, an exposed escalator at the rear of the lobby, and the enormous plate glass windows at the entrance afford an almost complete sphere of vantage points from which the sculpure is visible.

“Flight” might almost be referred to as architecture, for it is inseparable from the building, depending on it for its size and support. The wire strands—no two of which come into contact—are strung in the form of cones and wide ribbons, the latter spiraling in a half circle as they progress from floor to ceiling, The centerpiece is a large cone standing on end upon a foundation about ten feet long and half as wide. Anchored around this cone are four smaller cones and four ribbons of wire, and from this starting point they extend upward and outward until they fill the upper reaches of the foyer. Spotlights around the base of the work and in the ceiling are trained upon the whole so that the otherwise austere hall is dazzling.

Much of its fascination is that “Flight” becomes more mysterious with study. Technologically alone it is a masterpiece, and even the hastening passerby involutarily pauses to reflect upon the method of creation. Here is a work of genius in concept and skill. This is no assembly of prefabricated parts; it was given form where it stands, strand by strand. Contemplation of the difficulties involved in merging the wires, and in the fact that the slightest kink meant removal and replacement of the entire strand only serves to increase the marvel of the accomplishment.

As we began slowly to circle the sculpture, its tremendous power became apparent. The sculpture suddenly became alive, and we felt ourselves both led and followed by the ever-changing reflections of light as they sped along the wires, now straight, now undulating, now darting off at unexpected angles as new wires captured the rays. Entire expanses of wire which had heretofore been invisible insinuated themselves into our field of vision, and familiar surfaces unobtrusively slipped from view.

Being in the presence of this work of art was for us an emotional experience. The myriad paths made by planes across the heavens—some visible only as they fade into eternity, some never visible at all—have been given their monument. With motionless light and stationary wire, Richard Lippold has embodied the very essence of flight.



I recently received a request for a charity donation for an Indian tribe fairly close to where I grew up in Wyoming, the Crows in Montana. That got me looking for an article I wrote about a buffalo roundup with them.

It also led me to quite a few papers which I wrote in college in my 30’s-50’s. I have read through several of them and hope that they might be interesting to you, so I am going to post several, signing with the date at which I first wrote them. I hope you will enjoy them, especially because they will take you to a different time in history, very different from what is going on now.

I also plan to write from the present, so I will offer some of everything. The old articles will have their old dates in order to identify time. Also, they were written over time, but I haven’t figured out yet what time is covered. In that time, I attended college at the University of Wyoming, the University of Arizona, and the University of California at Berkeley.



The boarding school chapel was stifling with the heat of the first day of Spring. Dr. Lee’s sermon, as always, was an opiate rather than a stimulant, calling forth daydreams instead of resolution. Much as we loved him, we were only teen-aged girls, and not yet able to share his dedication.

As I sat mentally lolling, my thoughts progressed backward over my years of religious training. I had grown up in a non-church-going family, with an agnostic father and a mother who did not practice what she professed. Although I was given my religious training by my father, I was always encouraged to go to any church I chose. That was how I came to be sitting in the chapel of an Episcopal boarding school, and how my thoughts happened to turn back to another occasion nine years before.

That first occasion—the one I remembered while Dr. Lee was “sermonizing”-- came to mind for no particular reason that I could think of except that there were similarities between that day and the present situation. My closest friend had asked me to go to church with her at the Presbyterian Church. I was delighted to have a social occcasion to take part in, and this was especially exciting because we were both 10 years old—old enough to go to the main service like grown-ups.

Churches fascinated me, especially since I went to them so seldom, and I loved comparing them. My friend’s church was much plainer than the Episcopal Church at home, and the service was not as mysterious. The minister stood on a platform behind a sort of lectern, but there were no lovely windows to look at, no beautiful altar as at Mother’s church.

I was slumped rather dejectedly in the pew, wishing that I were at home, when down the aisle came two beautiful silver trays, one with crackers, and the other with small glasses of wine. Suddenly the occasion seemed worthwhile. “Ah,” I thought, “refreshments! And it isn’t even Christmas!”

I straightened up on the hard bench, took a fistful of crackers, and two glasses of wine (because they were small), leaned comfortably back on the bench, and ate lunch.

That was all. It was just another pleasant occasion of the type that is soon forgotten. It had not become a memory until the day nine years later when I sat in the boarding school chapel.

“Whatever is the matter with you?” whispered my roommate as Dr. Lee ended his sermon. “Your face is as red as a beet!”

When I was able to muster enough control over myself to answer, I croaked, “I just realized that I already celebrated my First Communion nine years ago!”

ARW 5/15/64

Dear Pat: 1963

This letter is also available on my new blog IT'S NOT POLITICAL-JUST PERSONAL at:

Dear Pat: September 24, 1963

The end is finally in sight! With two winters and two summers of school behind me, I have only one more winter to go before graduation.

Full-time, year-round school has been rather exhausting, especially at my age, but it has been a marvelous experience, and I have enjoyed it much more than I did when I was twenty years younger. Having new things to think about each day has been very exciting—much more so than everyday adult life usually is.

The number of older people going to college now is simply amazing. There have been at least one or two in their thirties, forties, or fifties in each of my classes, and there is even a woman in her eighties who has been a “coed” at least as long as I have. There is probably an even greater percentage of older people attending the night classes at the University.

Of the women I have gotten to know, most, like me, interrupted college by getting married. They have come back now to get their degrees because they are widowed or divorced, or they are preparing for the future. I would guess that most of these older people are planning to teach, but it is hard to tell, because I find that there are whole segments of the University population that I never even see, not being in the same college.

One rather unique aspect of school at this age is that I find my friends’ children are my classmates. I am trying desperately to graduate before my niece does. Incidentally, she gave me a University sweat shirt and pennant for Christmas last year, which tickled me to death. I wear the sweat shirt (at home) and have the pennant displayed in my bedroom.

Another unique aspect of school at this age—homework—is hanging over me at the moment, but I will keep you supplied from time to time with news of the college world. In the meantime, I will be looking forward to your news of the world outside.

Much Love, Anne (Aged 40)


ARW (Aged 86)


A few moments ago, I was watching a CNN newswoman talking on the telephone to a representative of Toyota about her Prius. The Toyota rep, unfortunately, evidently either did not know about the problems currently in the news, or was reluctant to give any information on the subject. The CNN newswoman should have made sure she was talking to a thoroughly qualified representative.

Getting the wrong person on the phone is a problem which confronts many people when contacting businesses of any sort. That may have been the problem in this case. I have had excellent service when contacting the Toyota dealer here in Goleta for any reason.

Unfortunately, I am a month away from 87 years, but fortunately, I was intelligent enough to recognize that fact while driving one day. So I gave my precious car (and my freedom), to my daughter. (The car was free to her, by the way, but she is now saddled with the burden of carrying me.)

So far as I know, there is nothing wrong with my daughter’s Prius, even though it falls within the time period of possible problems. In any event, what I want you to know is that I Love My Prius and always will.