Willy, Stretch and Dee-Joe Mammal were the unholiest trinity ever conceived.
For instance, we called Dave, Dee-Joe Mammal because we were pretty sure of his species, but little else was obvious, and he was the wisest of the three.
The past summer, they had planned to rob a bar in Woonsocket.
Skinny Willy cased it; Stretch drew diagrams of it because he had passed mechanical drawing; and the three of them drank there 14 nights in a row to see what the busiest night was and where the money was kept.
Then, on the day of the supposed payoff, they stepped from Willy’s body-rotted, ‘50 Ford and were nabbed on the curb for being “suspicious looking characters.”
The cop told them to “get out of town,” and they came back to the Tradesman Lounge, tails between their legs, to find out it’s not a good idea to tell everyone in the bar where you are going when you are going to rob a bar.
The young Portuguese couple who owned the Tradesman had tipped off the cops. They never figured it out.
So, ’twas the night before Christmas, and we sat at the quarries in the Ford, sharing a green plastic canteen of Old Turkey ( a combination of remnant bottles of Old Grandad and Wild Turkey), and after a few lies about women, Stretch asked me to tell “That Christmas story” again.
No, this is true, in their mid-twenties, they still had soft spots in their hearts for this time of year – matching of course some of the more obvious soft spots elsewhere the rest of the year.
I made the family in the story Marchigiano just to make the whole thing more understandable to them. And what the heck, it was from the same general area of the world, so no harm – no foul.
There was a family, I started.
The father was a shoe worker and the mother was blessed with seven children, I told them, as Willy fired up the car again to get some heat.
They looked out the windshield at the icy black water that filled the granite quarry in front of us.
Christmas was never over the top for any of us, a carton of cigarettes or some socks or something, but they liked this story I had told them first several years before.
One Christmas, I continued, the old man spent his paycheck on the way home and there was nothing left for presents except the food money.
“Sounds like my family,” the mammal said squinting down a swig.
“If you’re going to interrupt me, I‘m not going to tell it.”
“No, tell it,” Willy said, “Shut up, Dee-Joe.”
So the mother calls Ted’s Taxi, ‘cause she can charge a ride with Beanie, and piles all the kids inside for the ride downtown.
And into Woolworth’s five and dime they march.
In the window of the store is a dining room set for, I don’t know, about six hundred bucks.
“I remember that.”
“Shut up Dee-Joe.”
“But I remember it. It was like leather or something.”
“What’s that come from?”
It’s the hide from a Nauga. Anyways, the mother goes to the manager carrying the sign from the dining room set that says if you buy it you get a hundred bucks worth of toys free.
She tells him, “I would like to buy this.”
He says OK, and she turns to the kids. “Go pick out $14 worth of toys each,” she says and gives them assigned siblings to buy for.
“Brothers and sister,” Willy explains, having heard the story before.
So the siblings all come back with a carriage each of toys, and 14 bucks bought a lot of toys back then.
Then she turns to the manager and says, “here,” handing him the $10 grocery money. The evil manager glares at her.
She says, “Put it on lay-away.”
Lay-away was a new concept at a time just before credit cards. You plunked down some modest amount and paid the rest over a period of time.
“No, lady, You have to buy it outright,” he says.
“That’s not on the sign,” she answers and stands her ground.
After a staring contest the evil manager says ”No,” and starts to walk away.
“Then you tell them to put the toys back,” says the mother, and begins to walk out the door as lips quiver and noses start automatically to run.
“You can’t do it lay-away,” he says, “but I’ll let you buy it, take it and give me $10 a week,” he says. “You have to pay it,” he says, weakening at the idea of being left with seven screaming kids in his store at Christmas-shopping time.
The mother gives him the $10, and the family has the best Christmas ever, including The Great Garloo robot and dolls that closed their eyes and everything..
“Then what happened?” Dee-Joe asks, knowing full-well what happened.
“Then, after a month, the guy comes in a truck to pick up the dining room set, and Christmas 1952 cost the mother ten bucks total.”
“So John,” says Stretch, passing Willy the canteen, “You really going in the Army?”
“Looks that way,” I answer.
“Do you have to take a test or something for that?”
“Not a hard one.”
“So you must have passed it, huh?”
“I guess so.”
“You must be smart, then.”
“No,” I said looking out the windshield, “just not suspicious.”
“Let’s go buy some presents for everyone,” Willy says, “Some fool company sent Dee-Joe a credit card.”
And that, children, was how the three wise guys, and the rest of America, learned to spend beyond their means and go deep into debt every year in December.
Willy, Stretch and Dee-Joe Mammal were the unholiest trinity ever conceived.
The following is a bit of fiction based on a real story and some real friends.
Knowing Santa Doesn’t Mean He Ain’t Real
I was a jaded child by the time I met the real Santa Claus.
Until then, I had a few years of total belief, then a few of total disbelief, thanks to Spike Warren who said, “You don’t even have a damn chimney, fool.”
But then my old man came home from work early on a winter’s Thursday. He didn’t usually come home at all on paydays so I figured 8 p.m. was early.
“Hey Jocko,” he says as he comes in the front door,
“Grab a coat, you’re going with me and Biff.”
“Where?” my mother asks.
“Salvation Army. They got a big party tonight, cake, candy, Santa Claus and everything.”
Then to me he says, “Jocko, this isn’t some department store guy. This is the real thing. . . the whole shooting match.”
“Why just him?” my mother asks.
“He don’t believe.”
He was right. How could anyone believe in a fat elf who can make a sleigh and reindeer fly and go to every house in one night, and go down chimneys that don’t exist?
But I had to go.
I wanted a Fanner 50 gun set this year and he was the only chance I had. I was groggy in the DeSoto on the way to town. It was hot and had the sweet smell of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
The captain met us at the door in the snow.
I pushed on by the clutch of adult legs while he talked in very stern tones to Scrapper Jack and Big Fat Biff.
In the open and well-lighted entryway I met up with Lorenzo.
I am told Lorenzo would go on to get golden gloves almost 20 years later.
He got out-pointed for two rounds and then knocked the guy out in the third, anyway that’s what I heard.
But for now it was him and me in winter coats and wondering what the heck was going on.
We weren’t really bad kids, but we weren’t usually allowed into these things.
The old building down near Main Street had a big room with a stage, and row after row of chairs that were already half filled with kids. We knew most of them, and everyone knew and had a healthy fear of Lorenzo, so we got to go down the front and sit where we wanted.
We both knew that Christmas for boys like us was an impossibility. That whole thing of, “Have you been good all year?” threw us. Maybe Fridays or something, or even February we could be good since it was a short month, but all year? Fat chance.
The catch that nailed the thing shut was that if there really was a guy who could actually tell if a kid was naughty or nice, he wasn’t stopping at our houses.
The room filled, and adults ringed the wall like a smiling parental necklace.
First there were cartoons. Good ones too, Looney Tunes, not some stupid parade of bugs chanting along with classical music. It was the good stuff.
Then he came.
He was red and white and fat and jolly and he was beaming “Ho Ho Ho” as he came from the back of the room.
But then as he passed our row, something weird happened.
He stopped, just for a split second, and looked right in at us, me and Lorenzo.
Instinct told me to say, “Hey, I didn’t do it.” But then he was gone and up on the stage.
He emptied his bag of gifts on the floor. Most were the size of boxes of hard candy, but there were a few bigger ones and he stood next to the 15-foot Christmas tree on the stage with some fake presents under it and started calling out names.
I swear every kid in the place had been called by name except the two of us. It wasn’t surprising. We waited patiently for the end. If nothing else, we had seen some cake on the way in.
He called another name.
“Holy crap Lorenzo, you got one!”
He looked smaller and more like a kid as he climbed the stairs to the stage.
Santa Claus gave him one of the bigger ones and he beamed.
Then I heard it.
It was that familiar sound.
The sound that usually happened just before I got in trouble.
Then there it was again. “John Hourihan? Are you here Johnny?”
On the way to the stage I scanned the floor, there were none left. The bag lay crumpled and empty at the back of the stage. But he was dragging a fake one out from under the tree and smiling at me.
He knew my name and he had a present, but if he was the real Santa Claus the name would be on the present I figured. As he spoke, I searched the box the size of a Fanner 50 gun set, and there it was, my name written right on the side. How the heck did he do that?
I looked up at him, stunned.
He bent down, and a sweet familiar smell blew by me as he asked, “Still don’t believe in me, Johnny?”
We both knew the answer.
“Sure I do, Biff. Merry Christmas.”
I have heard it every years since I was first able to hear.
“Let’s remember the true meaning of Christmas.”
Then people usually follow this up with “It is the birthday of Jesus.”
Well, we all, including Christian scholars, know that is not true. December 25 is probably not when Jesus was born. He was probably born more like in August or September.
So what does it mean to “remember the true meaning of Christmas?” And would Jesus even approve?
Well, I know the true meaning of Christmas. I have known it for a long time.
We know the human spirit is different at Christmas time, but I know how it is different because of Lenny Loupier. (Everyone, of course, called him Froggy.)
The difference is not just happiness. It is, instead, an intensification of the entire spectrum of feelings.
It was mid-December, so the double-digit first snow from the night before was a wet, heavy fluff that built to a foot or so on the school lawn. But it melted on the still-warm asphalt creating a perfectly etched outline of the playing area.
The school driveway slipped off the road and immediately downhill between two granite-walled buildings, the high school and the grammar school, and then down further into a tarred expanse where we played, cradled by the other buildings, the St. Joseph’s Guild home where the mothers met at night.
It was a freezing, jacket-and-hat lunch time even in the sun, and we first-through-eighth-graders had huddled between the two big buildings for shelter from the wind and body heat.
Usually those of us in the seventh grade ran around, but today it was too wet and the janitors had sanded the night before, so the hard tarred yard was too slippery for worn smooth soled shoes to get traction on wet sand. So there we mulled – me and Eddy Cormier punching each other from time to time just to keep warm.
Froggy came running up Main Street, about 50 yards away. He crossed, sprinting through the parking lot of Zersky’s gas station and headed for the intersection with Winter Street.
The school faced Winter.
Instinctively everyone turned to see where Sister Miriam Patrice was. She was the toughest nun of the lot and said often of yard duty, “It is something to offer up for the souls in purgatory,” so we knew she didn’t think much of standing out here watching us.
It wouldn’t do for Loupier to get caught off school property where he shouldn’t be, especially not by her.
He darted across the road holding a foot-square brown paper bag. Half-way across the road, his Cub Scout hat blew off. He stopped, bent and retrieved it in one swoop.
If he hadn’t been such a dork we probably would have cheered as he made it to the sidewalk.
Patrice was on the other side of the building and couldn’t see him. He had reached safety when it happened. His feet started slipping, his arms flailed and then he rose and nose-dived, flat on his face in the driveway.
Lenny Loupier was a weird kid. He had a too-big head; too-big brown eyes encircled by too-big Coke-bottle glasses with a black patch over one lazy eye; a too big mouth and his teeth stuck straight out at you when he talked.
The only thing that wasn’t too big was his nose – and the rest of his body.
He looked like a frog with hair.
It was just like him to hang onto the hat and lose touch with the bag. It sailed up then crashed to the asphalt. The contents shattered and were regurgitated from the bag in a shotgun of pieces. And they skipped across the schoolyard like stones across water.
Some of the remnants slid right to my feet. It had been some kind of dinner plate, with a picture of the shattered Holy Family on it and something had been etched on the edge in gold paint. I read it. “To the bes. .” it said on the biggest piece.
The whole yard laughed at once to see Froggy, face down, his bagged prize at the feet of various clumps of recessers.
He looked up, glasses all crooked on his big head, tears rolling down his face and his nose running.
No human being could ever have been more vulnerable, not even naked in the middle of the gym in a dream.
He lay there flat, his head raised, eyes searching for a friendly face in a crowd of unfriendly faces.
At my feet, The Blessed Virgin Mary looked up at me, and I stopped laughing.
I looked at Froggy, and his eyes caught mine. He was only about 15 feet away, and he said, “I had it made special. It’s my mother’s Christmas present.” Then he returned to bawling.
I don’t know what made me pick him up. It wasn’t like me, and I sure don’t know who said “I’m sorry Lenny.”
As I walked away I saw him stumble the driveway gauntlet of laughing and heckling kids. I leaned back against the hard granite.
No one really saw what happened next, and wouldn’t have believed it of me if they had.
Cormier looked at me strangely and asked “What’s wrong with your eyes?”
“It’s cold out here,” I said, “How long we got left?”
I couldn’t have choked out another syllable, or they would have known what was going on.
The difference at this time of year is not that we are inordinately happy, in and of itself. It isn’t that we are supposed to think religious thoughts. It is more that we empathize with one another. We feel what the other guy is feeling. And we care about each other.
This is as close as we get to what human beings are supposed to be – as close as we get to what Jesus tried to teach. That is the true meaning of Christmas.
It seems to be the only time of year that we realize that everyone, even Froggy, has a mother.
People say the country has changed, that it has become more divisive and angry.
I agree and was wondering why, when I remembered that when I was young the Lucier boys had a monopoly sanctioned by the church.
I’m sure today there are those who would complain of its unfairness to all the others who plied the same trade.
In today’s anger-riddled world there are those who would stand and argue with the boys and tell them they had no right to be in their place of preference.
Eventually the arguments would win out and some sort of round-robin system would be instituted, some sort of capitalist conformity that would spread the wealth evenly among the rich and poor.
It was the Christmas of my eight grade. I had a paper route. It was a morning affair that began my daily trek through the blue early morning snow and finished in the stark white sunlight and slush.
As I finished my Sunday route and worked my way back toward my home on Winter Street, just a block or so away from St. Mary’s Church, I saw the early walkers trickling down Winter Street and the more affluent who drove to Sunday Mass were parking their big black cars along the roadside.
The bells would ring soon and people would come in droves to fill the pews and then filter in behind the back row and stand. The men who would later pass the basket for donations would stand in the foyer near the holy water, talk to each other and nod hello to those going in to actually attend the Mass.
I had to hurry. I had to change and get back here before the eight o’clock Mass.
As I passed the church the Luciers were setting up.
They pieced together the wooden box they had made from boards stacked beside their house up on the North Purchase, just south of us, closer to town.
Then from the trunk of a car that had just pulled up and was allowed to park right in the street blocking off one lane of traffic, they unloaded the Sunday newspapers. As I walked by, they were loading them onto the top of the wooden box and putting the money box on the side. There was a folding chair that would be added later.
It made me wonder how they had been awarded this money-making singularity. But I didn’t care all that much. I knew the pastor must have had a reason ,and besides, their family was as large as mine and no more affluent. I was sure they could use the money, and, well, it wasn’t as if they weren’t working for it.
We all attended Mass and as we exited the church, there in front of us was the newspaper stand. The main walkway to the street led straight to the two boys, a few years ahead of me in school, hustling the Sunday paper. Everyone who could afford it bought one.
I think back on those days when people took care of each other, and when the older boys of a large family found a way to make a few extra bucks we didn’t fight to take it from them, we were happy for them. Sadly, I just know that if this happened today there would be a group of people who had children with paper routes who would complain. They would demand that everyone share evenly in the spoils of journalism. They are the same ones who now complain that socialism is bad if it helps only the poor and doesn‘t also help fill the coffers of the rich. Fair is fair.
They would complain that those people who have little are in their predicament only because they are lazy or stupid and should be left to their own devises.
These, of course would be the same people who have shucked off the heart of religion in favor of conservative Christianity – who have clustered to those parts of the Bible that can be interpreted to say, “anyone unlike myself is not worthy.”
And “I believe in Jesus, I just think He made some mistakes about this helping those in need.”
This Christmas I would rather see the Lucier boys selling Sunday papers outside the church to the emptying full house, than what I see today.
Now, there are so relatively few who even go to church, and no one could make a buck selling newspapers, even if they sold one to everyone who came out.
Maybe that is part of what has turned us all against each other.
To get a gift, we usually know we are getting it, and that it’s a gift. But not always.
The feelings of Christmas come and go too fast.
As an adult, I have a jaded song running though my head. It goes, “Oh, it’s over the rerouted aquifer, and through the industrial complex to grandmother’s condo we go. The horse knows the way, but we’re taking the car so we don’t have to step in the snow … with our Australian ostrich leather boots.”
Even Christmas has changed.
You know, “For-lease Navidad” and all that.
I was on my way out about a week before Christmas one year, to do some shopping… “jingle money, jingle money, jingle all the way…. silver dollars, silver dollars, it’s Christmas time in the city…” and I knew it was going to cost a ton of cash.
But I took a detour, at least in my mind, by what used to be DeBoer’s farm near where I lived through most of grammar school, and the real Christmas came back to me.
The DeBoers were an elderly couple who lived out my back door, between the cedar-shingled barns over the back hill, across the part of the barbed-wire fence that a tree had fallen on in the big storm a few years before I was born, and there, just down a snowy slope, beyond the skeletons of the raspberry patch, was the farm.
It wasn’t the light in the kitchen window that marked where they lived. It was the smell – Mrs. DeBoer’s egg shell-applesauce cookies mixed with the smell of the chicken coops. It was a warm, heavy, safe smell that I have never found again.
One winter, about a week before Christmas, I was to bring them a cake. My mother had made it and it was on the kitchen table. Placed strategically on top of it was a small piece of paper torn from some schoolwork. It said “For the DeBoers,” next to the one “For the Costigans,” and the one “For the Chalmers.”
It was cold outside the back door, even for December, and the snow crunched under my rubber boots as I made my way into the darkness.
I had to hold the cake sideways in its brown paper bag wrapping.
Butch, our black cat, followed me between the barns. I knew this path so well I could walk it even when it was hidden like this with the snow. At the top of the hill I smelled the coops.
The DeBoers were Dutch and a generation removed from my parents. They were old I guess.
I delivered the cake to the back door to the kitchen and rapped on the screen door. It seemed Mr. DeBoer usually had changed it to a storm door by now, but I liked it because it made a better sound.
I was ushered inside as Mrs. DeBoer fixed her grey bun of hair and smoothed her ruffled apron.
“Sit it over there,” she said nodding at the perfectly clean table while she collected a plate of cookies from the counter next to the kerosene stove.
“Here,” she said, “You eat some of these.” She pronounced it “Dese.”
And she put the cookies in front of me.
Raspberry, they were, and I felt immediately guilty.
She smiled. “You are surprised I have some left?”
I was, but I didn’t say.
“Where’s Mr. DeBoer?” I asked.
She sat across the table and smiled at me. Then, when I thought I’d choke on the cookies from the guilt, she said something.
“He knows you steal the raspberries,” she said with a raise of her eyebrows.
Mrs. DeBoer’s talking was like singing, like Dutch people do.
“He does?” I managed.
“Of course he does. There aren’t enough rabbits to eat all those berries.”
“I guess I have to go,” I said stealing a glance at the door to the den where he was sleeping.
She walked me to the door, while I thought about the beautiful big cultivated black juicy raspberries of summer in Mr. DeBoer’s garden, and afternoons of hiding among the rows to fill my hands and mouth.
As she held the screen door open for me and I stepped into the night she said, “He grows them for you kids to steal.”
As I crunched home up the dark slope I thought that was the best Christmas present anyone had ever given me, and it usually came in summer.
That was the last year I had them, though. I guess Mr. DeBoer was older than I thought.
The feelings of Christmas come and go too fast.
Christmas Eve 1955 was black — black, slippery and laceratingly cold as we four walked from town — and it was the day I learned the truth about Santa Claus.
An afternoon ice storm had coated the town, and the temperature dropped out the bottom as night fell like a curtain of onyx..
My mother, my two older twin sisters and myself were trekking to my grandmother’s house, a frozen mile from the light and bustle of Main Street shopping.
The sidewalks were like intersecting bobsled chutes with snow bolsters iced smooth on the sides. After I had fallen for the third time, my mother finally gave up and said “OK, we’re walking in the road.”
The sanded street had traction, but it also had cars, big ‘51 Packards lumbering out of the night with glaring headlamps and tire chains that announced their arrival. Each time we heard the rhythmic clinking, my mother sheep-dogged us to the side and stood as big as she could in front of us.
Once away from Main Street’s lights, we passed through the darkness and the smell of oak and smoke, arriving at the home of the towering Rose Brigette O’Flynn Hourihan, herself, for our annual dose of what Christmas really meant.
My grandmother was a most unique woman — an Irish realist.
The walkway to the stairs was short, but the hedges lining it towered over us and glistened like a kalaidascope, their ice coating twinkling all the colors of the neighbors’ holiday lights. The huge wooden door opened, and a rush of warmth engulfed us and cuddled us inside.
At the end of the hall stood herself, waiting.
My mother nudged us along past the statue of the Blessed Virgin with the constantly refilled holy water fountain, past the cross of Easter palms, the vase of lilies and the red glass candle holder, and directly toward the full-sized color oil painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that looked at you no matter where you walked. Just before Jesus, we took a left into the kitchen.
We sat at the round wooden table with the doily in the center, folded our hands and waited to be spoken to.
“Are you excited?” she asked.
We nodded, seen but not heard.
Nancy was the courageous one: “Santa Claus is coming tonight,” she said. I wonder even today if she knew this was the exact wrong thing to say at that particular time.
The presence of Rose Hourihan struck the fear of God into nuns, and made priests cower with her admonishments that they showed “a sure lack of piety.”
We knew we were about to hear how this was “not about presents” but about “the birth of Jesus Christ,” and how, if we couldn’t understand that, it would be “the back o’ me hand to ya.”
She leaned, palms against the edge of the table, and was about to speak, when my mother said gently, “Rose, it is Christmas, and they are children.” It seemed my mother was the only person in the world, or at least the diocese, who wasn’t afraid of Rose Hourihan herself.
The grey-haired protector of the faith did something then that I had never seen her do. She went into the living room and returned with her prized candy dish. The one we were not to touch unless we were told to. She placed it in the center on the doily and said, “Go ahead, eat. I want to tell you something about a boy who was born around this time.”
Here it comes.
“1,700 years ago.”
We looked at each other in disbelief. Seventeen hundred years? That was wrong.
“He was born in Turkey of very rich parents. Christians they were, and raised him up to serve the Lord, but they were taken sick and died, leaving him alone, but rich, at a very tender age.”
She continued, “The little boy shared his wealth. He began to help the poor and the hungry children, and for his efforts he was made a bishop while he was still a child. He built an orphanage, a hospital and a place for the elderly to be taken care of.”
She pushed the candy dish across, “Go ahead, eat some more,” she said.
“You know this boy,” she asserted.
We looked at each other confused.
“His name was Nicholas. You call him Santa Claus, and this time every year he is allowed to come back to life, by the grace of the Almighty, to teach us all how to give to each other, and charity prevails over all the negativity of the year. But you have to believe.” She winked at my mother.
“There are presents for you at the back door, and I’ve called a cab to take you home. You’ll have to hurry and get to sleep so Saint Nicholas can come.”
We were silent on the way home. I had had my doubts, and my older sisters were fairly entrenched in the belief there may not even be a Santa Claus, but to hear Rose Brigette O’Flynn Hourihan herself tell his story convinced us all.
One thing we knew for sure.
Grandmother never lied.
The truth is, there is a Santa Claus.
I’ve heard it both ways.
Only religion can end wars.
Religion is the cause of all wars.
Neither is even close to right.
Religions, sane religions, proclaim several very nice rules for us to follow in order to lead a good life individually, but if we follow them there will still be those who don’t go by the rules and continue to start wars.
And nowhere do those same religious rules advocate war as a solution to anything.
We have wars because human beings like to fight and kill.
Religion has never been able to stop it, and in many cases after we wage war we blame it on religion, but war really doesn’t have anything to do with religion either way.
We have wars because human beings like to kill stuff. Property, land, religion, philosophies, politics are all just examples of the excuses we use to explain away our genetic predisposition to war.
The only way to have peace is simple. End war as a possible solution, but of course that is not possible because of the nature of human beings.
There is something in the water. No, really.
In 2004, Charles Clover, Environmental Editor of The Telegraph in the UK, published an article explaining that water companies in the UK had been asked to examine ways of removing traces of the female contraceptive pill from sewage effluent after the widespread evidence had proven “the pill” was causing sex changes in fish – turning male fish into female fish.
A study involving 1,500 fish in 42 rivers in England found that more than 33 percent of the male fish had female characteristics.
An environments agency had reported “Male fish with advanced changes in their sexual organs are unable to reproduce,” and that the report said, “Was a potential lily serious implication for fish populations.”
How did this happen?
In the mid 1960s “the Pill” became a household word since so many women opted to use it as their both control. The hormones in that pill do not break down in the body; neither does it break down in sewage treatment plants. Therefore; female hormones were since then flowing into the rivers and lakes of the UK. And the drinking water.
T study said “the latest stage of a 20 year study showed the feminizing effects of fish were directly related to their exposure to effluent in which the Pill was 1,000 time more powerful than natural oestrogens.”
BBC also reported that year that James Owens of the National Geographic noted, “The same cause.
The scientists who had just finished a seven year study “warn that he gender-bending effects of certain man-made substances…threaten polar bears, alligators, frogs, mollusks and other wildlife. The report stopped short of naming humans as a species that has been affected.
In 2008 scientist sin Canada “found the miniscule amounts of estrogen …could decimate wild fish populations living downstream.”
The research led by Dr. Karen Kidd, an NSERC-funded biology professor “confirms that synthetic estrogen used in birth control pills “and “wreak havoc.” And that male fish exposed to (it) become feminized, producing egg protein normally synthesized by female fish. Only
But that was England.
In the US, in 2009, CBS broadcast that “Something strange is happening to the fish in America’s rivers and lakes. Something “seems to be disrupting the hormones, blurring the lines between male and female (fish)”
Turns out that the country where more “Pills” are ingested than any other country in the world is experiencing the same problem.
And all have found that the synthesized hormones in “the Pill” have been passing through millions and millions of women in the country, through the ineffectual sewage treatment plants and have been flowing like , well, water into the streams, rivers, lake, and reservoirs of this country.
That is our drinking water, and if according to the seven year study in the UK animals as large as alligators and polar bears can be affected by it, why is it that no one has said the obvious?
Have you noticed that young people are seldom seen without a bottle of water close at hand? Have you noticed we have been told to drink more water? No I don’t think it is a plot. I think it is just something we should look into with a little more fervor.
Have you noticed more effeminate males in our country than there were in the past? Does that number seem to be growing?
Have no problem with those who are gay. I believe it to be genetic and unavoidable for many, but I don’t think it is right to cause people to be gay, by indoctrination or by chemical in the water or both. Since it takes both male and female to propagate the species, I think this might be something we should be more interested in than say, whether or not people can gate across our borders.
To all who have taken the ice water challenge and feel just so great about it, here is another great cause you can challenge each other to do something about. Nearly 780 million people in the world lack access to clean water. Lack of clean water kills the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing and killing everyone inside every four hours. About 3.4 million people die every year for lack of clean water. And lack of access to clean water kills more people in the world every year than any war. Go ahead challenge each other to do something about hat, but please, please don’t do it by pouring clean potable water over your head onto the ground in you back yard. It is just a stupid idea. No wonder so many people hate us entitled Americans.
As I step back into the dream we are surrounded by a thin line of touristy stores. It is daytime. We are lost again. There is a rotary of stores with open or glass-window fronts surrounding a small fountain in the center of a tarred circle for pedestrians only, about a 30 yard diameter.
One store window is filled with clocks, small silver pocket watches with chains, table clocks made of polished dark wood (a round face with outstretched wooden arms clinging to a small round glass shelf), a standup-Mickey Mouse clock, Krazy Kat on the wall. They all say 12:15.
A furniture store – the expensive kind, but old.
Next is a liquor store. In the window are, Drambuie, Crème deMenthe, Galiano, auburn, green, golden. There are decanters of leather and glass,and wine skins with Spanish words on them. A four-foot leather cat standing in the center of the room.
The clothing store that sells multi colored shirts and pastel shorts with white canvas belts. Things in which I have no interest, is the only one that is open. I don’t go in. The owner doesn’tknow where he is anyway, not even the name of the street, so he won’t know where I am either.
There are people, families on vacation, looking into the store windows with ice cream cones from the other shop across the circle, but I’m not here for that.
Behind the circle of shops, on the other side, is only a path across the rocks between the scrub brush that has managed to grow through cracks in the rocks leading to a downhill path to the ocean. It is a quiet ocean.
We climb down the rocks to the slim strip of white sand and look out across the lake-like ripples. It is comfortable, a docile ocean. We swim. We are way over our heads, but I am confident of our safety. Then the water begins to swell.
Many of the swimmers are frightful. For some reason I am calm, swimming with more expertise than I have ever had. I swim from swimmer to swimmer, making sure they are safe. The ones who aren’t safe I direct to a part of the shore that has a way up the rocks.
We usher them from the water because the ocean is becoming a menace of deep swells filling the cove, climbing up the rocks and then retreating down the sides by 20 or 30 feet at a time.
We scamper up the rocks and look down as the water floods across the beach and climbs the rocks to nearly the level where we are standing.
I don’t see it as unsafe. I know it looks it, but I know it isn’t.
I turn calmy and walk back to the midway of stores. They are still closed except for the clothing store, but now I am alone and looking for my lost car.