Cat In The Box

By Jamie, a Trail Mix Contributor

Copies of this wonderful story by Dana Michel of the well loved little grey cat are very rare and you can’t have mine.  More than a half century ago, this was my daughter’s favorite book because it went up and down from the little cat in the box on a chair in the room in a house on a street with five trees in a city in a state in a country in the whole wide world and back down again to the box on a chair each trip going from the detailed & specific to faster and faster as adjectives and adverbs were omitted to speed the trip until finally you got to “Now Go To Sleep”.  She loved it for its view of the safety of the little box to all the places outside her door.

Little gray cat inside a square box. Square box on top of a big striped chair. Chair in the room. Room in the house. House on the street. Street in the city. City in the state. State in the country. Country in the world. Oh, where in the world is my little gray cat?

In the world a country. In the country a state. In the state a city. In the city a street. On the street a house. In the house a room. In the room a chair. On the chair a box and inside that box is my little gray cat.

So how is this political?  I’ve come to the conclusion that Conservatives, Libertarians in the US and the extreme right wing movements around the world, simply don’t have a clue how big anything is, and they really need to read this book.   Their views barely reach beyond the limits of their family to the street and colors every issue from employment to taxes to refugees.  They need to read this book.  The Liberals, Democrats and general left wing see the big big picture with a wide wide world of variables, possibilities and interests, but forget that many of those issues can feel like an alteration of all that is normal in a culture and that the majority of people live and look at a street with five trees.  They really need to read this book.

So where are you on the spectrum?  How to adjust to a globe that in communications and movement is shrinking almost by the second?  How does your view from the little box on the chair to the whole of the globe color your political attitudes?

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Respite Needed

One of the things that make Trailmix a special place is that there are so many interests that even at our angriest and most contentious, there are references to family, music, books, and pastimes with a view to real lives that can’t be contained in 142 well pounded characters.  Even with all of that, the longing for a gentler age must sometimes intrude.  So let’s take a day off as far as humanly possible to just talk about family, friends, the joys found among pages and the notes stroked out of a willing instrument.

The image above is a gentleman from the early 19th century, roughly about the time England tried to take us back and failed.  Fortunately Jane Austin took it upon herself to create a character who has made the world forget the War of 1812 completely ever since if you don’t think of the charming and party loving Dolly Madison fleeing the White House with Washington’s portrait.  Meet the “Real” Mr. Darcy.  When the 21st Century gets to be too much of a bad thing, I find visiting the 19th a respite.

What are you doing, reading, listening to, playing to get away from it all???

It’s All Politics and It’s Ugly

thats-all-folks

By Jamie44, a Trail Mix Contributor

It very well could be that the Clinton’s are too ambitious (signal Julius Caesar).  Rising from barely middle class they may be greedy.  When you peer too closely at some of the interrelationships of sex, wealth and power they may just have played a little too fast and loose with all that is noble.  

Now that I have disclosed the awful truth why is this couple so hated beyond all reason to the exclusion of the exact same actions as virtually ever politician who has ever existed on the face of the earth?

More importantly this year, why is the woman in this mix expected to dance backwards in high heels to prove, that in her absolute superiority, the men shouldn’t be jealous of her mind, accomplishments, and basic decency for having a Conservative Brain and a Liberal heart.

Did George W. Bush “lose” 21 million emails?

Does Trump & other politicians get six figure fees for speaking?  Did Trump “endorsements” for his institute earn more than a million while bilking others out of their life savings?

Then there are the sex scandals.  Let’s face it: The men (all of the them) have used wealth and power to acquire willing or unwilling comfort, companionship and cohabitation.  The lady has been married to one man for 40 years.

picture-of-the-dayIn eleven days, there will be an election.  On one side we have an ignorant and arrogant man with absolutely no knowledge of the world and issues, whose only qualification for the office is a bunch of right wing haters, who has to pay people to praise him because no one he knows actually likes him.  The woman, whatever her failings, is brilliant, accomplished, and has decades of experience — and genuinely liked by all who have known and worked with her.

It’s all politics folks.  Make the best of it and go vote.

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A Touch of History

Hugh_O'Brian_1964

By Jamie44, a Trail Mix Contributor

Hugh O’Brian, best known during his career for portraying Wyatt Earp and in later life for his creation of the HOBY Foundation that encouraged so many young people in public service, has passed away at the age of 91.  The link above gives an excellent tribute and biography.

Several years ago I wrote a rather light hearted blog article about kissing the handsomest man on television, but with the deeper meaning of all the ways we are connected to history.  With that in mind here is a tribute to a good man

Kissing History

What we consider as the “Old West” was for the most part the 30 years following the Civil War. Then civilization caught up with them and a lot of gunslingers were out of business and working at regular jobs. Wyatt Earp lived long enough to appear in a silent movie. He was a little more creative than most and had many romantic and personal adventures in his long life, some of which were probably true. Courtesy of a friendly biographer, his fame has become a bit more reel than real, but who wants to ruin a good story? On January 13, in 1929, Wyatt Earp died in Los Angeles was buried in a Jewish Cemetery in Colma which is another good story. Only a little over 25 years later, in 1955, Wyatt got to television for a seven year run in the form of actor Hugh O’Brian playing the marshall of Dodge City. O’Brian was born on April 19, 1925, overlapping the last four years of Earp’s life. So much for major coincidences, and the idea that everything is connected to everything.

Earp Obrian

In 1957, I was a 13 year old who looked 16 enduring one my interminable summers in Fresno. One of the major Polio epidemics had happened in 1952. My stepsister was paralyzed from the neck down and confined to a wheel chair. As a result, I was very active in raising money for the Red Cross. The Salk vaccine had just been approved for massive distribution, but the money that had supported the research, now was helping to fund the injections for all school children. As part of a charitable campaign, Wyatt Earp came to Fresno. If you were female and had a pulse, you were in love with Hugh O’Brian.

On a dare from girlfriends, I took the money I had raised to where the local TV station was showing the telethon, but wouldn’t turn it over until he kissed me. It was a rather decorous kiss, but the poor man ended up kissing virtually every woman in Fresno, including my grandmother who collected one on the cheek for each of her 12 grandchildren. He was a good sport about all of this smooching, but when I turned up in the late afternoon, O’Brian pointed at me and said, “You started this!” At which point, I got KISSED. Bent over backwards, strong hug, the works. When I came up for air and the knees were again working, I staggered off stage to an embarrassing round of applause from the audience. He would have probably been scandalized if he knew my real age at the time, if for no other reason than that this is a man who has dedicated his life to the development and encouragement of young people.

In 1957 the fans of “Wyatt Earp” stole the headstone of Wyatt Earp, so that now he has only a flat marker instead of the large monument.
Another 20 years plus later, “The Shootist”, John Wayne’s last film about a former gunman coming to terms with the changes in the “Old West” and his own mortality is being filmed in Malibu and Burbank. Hugh O’Brian played one of the older gunmen who take him on in his last great gunfight, and Hugh still looked like a greyer version of the TV Wyatt. My son liked to go to the studios and the crews got used to him being there to run errands, so he met Hugh O’Brian and we own a reel of film for the opening of that movie as John Wayne shoots his way through history.

Mr. O’Brian was married for the first time recently at the age of 82 to his long time ladyfriend, Virginia Barber, so he is passing the older Wyatt in age if not quite in legend, all while continuing his charitable ways with his long standing HOBY Foundation. As a symbol of his humor, the wedding “to die for” while formal and celebrated by hundreds of guests was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of gifts the couple requested donations to HOBY.

So there you have it. Four generations covering 128 years connected by the same character and a little story: Wyatt Earp, Hugh O’Brian, me and my son from cemetery to cemetery. Write down your memories. History not recorded is history lost. I’ll close with a bit of a speech given by Hugh O’Brian.

I do NOT believe we are all born equal. Created equal in the eyes of God, yes, but physical and emotional differences, parental guidelines, varying environments, being in the right place at the right time, all play a role in enhancing or limiting an individual’s development. But I DO believe every man and woman, if given the opportunity and encouragement to recognize their potential, regardless of background, has the freedom to choose in our world. Will an individual be a taker or a giver in life? Will that person be satisfied merely to exist or seek a meaningful purpose? Will he or she dare to dream the impossible dream?

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Missing Barry

H2OBy Jamie44,
a Trail Mix Contributor

We have all seen the “Daisy” commercial multiple times.  Obviously the Republican candidate for President in 1964 was dooming us all to a nuclear conflagration unless we would have the good sense to vote for Lyndon Baines Johnson.  We have all heard the quote “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”  The man was capable of anything, and we were all afraid.1964PresElect

In the wake of the Kennedy assassination and the loss of “Camelot”, this was a risk we could not take.  The end result was a political wipeout never seen before.

More than a half century later, I am longing for a Republican party that was that sane and remembering a man whose reputation was in many ways the opposite of what was presented to the public.  To put it simply, Barry Goldwater was a good man.  Compared to the current Republican candidate and the party as it exists, he would be a worthy opponent but more than likely he also now would be a Democrat.  Why do I believe this?  Because of his actions after that overwhelming defeat.

After Goldwater again became a senator, he urged Nixon to resign at the height of the Watergate scandal, warning that fewer than ten senators would vote against conviction if Nixon were impeached by the House of Representatives.  The term “Goldwater moment” has since been used to describe situations when influential members of Congress disagree so strongly with a president from their own party that they openly oppose him.

The GOP now has a candidate thoroughly rejected by whatever bit of sanity  left in the party … a massive meltdown and “Goldwater moment”.

Hopi Child GoldwaterAll of the above was on the political front, but Barry Goldwater was a whole man.  He was a ham radio operator who regularly “chatted” with other aficionados all over the globe.  He was a photographer well known for his images of his beloved Arizona and the indigenous people and he was so “conservative” that he rejected the concept that intrusive religion had any part in politics and was a strong advocate of gay rights and freedom of religion: “You don’t need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.” … and: “I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”

ArizonaSo right now, I’m missing Barry. I’m missing the Republican party of my childhood.  I hate what the GOP has become and I think Senator Goldwater would be ashamed.  This year he would have also been a truly great GOP candidate.

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