Category Archives: History

Circle of Powwow

Time stands still–
There is no time,
Yet every time melds together.

The hunter stalks the deer;
The priestess prepares the sacrifice;
The leaders accept merciless defeat with courage and grace;
Generation Y snaps, twitters, tweets, and posts.

The drums and flutes weave a melody
In tune with the rhythm of the seasons
And the heart of humans.

Bright colors flicker and fade
Among earthy browns and greens,
A veritable kaleidoscope
Of harmony with nature and the eye.

The minority stands and leads by example,
But the youth…
Where have they gone?
Why do they leave it all to old, grey heads?

Author’s Note: In fairness, I suspect the youth are either at school or at Standing Rock… which I hear has a temporary reprieve until the election cycle is over.

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Standing like a Rock

Author’s Note:Ā I interrupt my regular posting schedule in honor of the needs of others. šŸ˜‰ This has been written after days of seeing Standing Rock and the native (or maybe it’s indigenous now) peoples in my Facebook feed. I’ve seen a lot of stances for and against the pipeline. I’ve wrestled with where I should stand–as a professional, as an American, as a Christian, and as a human. I think the piece adequately shows what I do and don’t know. And yes, I did let several Scriptures influence my stands, but I did not do the thorough-cross reference of a Bible study.

In all four corners, the natives are restless.
Every tribe in our nation is on the move.
They’re coming to the edge of civilization
At a place on the prairie.

I don’t understand what it’s all about.
It’s about property and money and land and energy.
It’s about the needs of the many
In conflict withĀ the needs of the many more.
It’s the pain and agony of broken promises and failed treaties.
It’s about the pinch of inflation and rising costs and falling opportunities.

There they stand,
Survivors of nearly the worst–
Smallpox blankets,
Forced marches,
Ghost dancers dancing into eternity,
A Wounded Knee never repaired,
Stolen land and broken dreams.

Rolling like a rock that gathers no moss,
I pick up speed until gravity smashes my memories.
Standing, begging,
Wanting unity and a place of their own,
They fight the snake that threatens to poison the land and water.
Should I stay? Should I go?
Am I with them? Am I against them?

The spirals of history
Weave an elusive, illusive vision
Of the different and the odd…

Muslim martyrs
Christian knight skewers
Witch torches
Catholics losing voice against sin
Protestants losing voice against Catholics
Women subjugated as property not people
Writers and thinkers and creators jailed
Jews shot and gassed and infected
Children enslaved to perverted depravity

And somewhere, the Rock of Ages
Both whispers a psalm of peace
And yawps a barbaric war cry.
The Father weeps for all His children–
Those who serve Him and those who refuse.
The Spirit is restless among the nations.

As a daughter of God Most High
Whose Abba King is no respecter of persons,
My people are the people of the world.
Standing on His promises,
I choose love and life and light;
I fight the serpent
Who comes to steal and kill and destroy.

And so…
No matter what others may choose,
I choose to stand with Standing Rock.

#StandwithStandingRock

My 10 Favorite Original Trek Episodes

I love science fiction. I appreciate the writers who can challenge societal norms and address social conflict through stories set in other places. Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry, was most excellent at doing this.

In this post, I’m listing my ten favorite original Star Trek episodes along with summaries of the episode andĀ the ideas that were explored that are still relevant nearly 50 years later. Some will be perennial favorites, and others will just be personal favorites. There is no order other than chronology.

City on the Edge of Forever (S1, E29): This episode explores both the risks of time travel and pharmaceuticals. Dr. McCoy gets accidentally injected with a massive overdose of a legitimate drug. He goes crazy and ends up taking a trip to old Earth, saving the life of a shelter worker who goes on to kill American history by turning the government pacifist so Germany wins the war. Spock and Kirk have to go back to a brief window before McCoy’s arrival, find him and let the woman die. Finally, this episode explores the value of a single life and how individual incidents good and bad affect others.

Journey to Babel (S2, E10): This episode explores the ideas of collaboration for peace, masquerades, and the duty to blood and professional family. The Enterprise is transporting delegates to peace talks. Spock’s father Sarek is one of the delegates. There’s a murder and Sarek’s the suspect until he collapses due to heart issues; Kirk is attacked on the way to sick bay. Spock is torn between his responsibilities to the ship and his father’s need for a rare blood type only he can give; as Spock wrestles, you can see the emotion of dealing with his unique hybrid nature, the pain of isolation from purer Vulcans, and the struggle to deal with the emotions of his human half. In the end, a Romulan masquerading as an Andorian is actually the guilty party and commits suicide because he failed in his mission to eliminate the peace talks.

Trouble with Tribbles (S2, E15): This is the episode where the Klingons and Enterprise members have to share a space station near a disputed planet. Whoever can prove the best developer of the planet will get ownership. Tied into the disagreement is some hybrid grain and born-pregnant fuzzballs. One of the best things was that the fuzzballs discovered the poisoned grain and indicated it through death; I wonder how influential Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was in developing this episode.

A Piece of the Action (S2, E17): In this episode, the Enterprise is sent to look for a missing starship. When she gets to the local planet, she can tell the last visit was beforeĀ the Prime Directive–the local inhabitants were trying to set up their society based on 1920s Chicago Gangland based on a book from a member of the earlier ship. Most telling is that Spock’s computer can’t find a logical solution to the problem of trying to unify the different gangs. Kirk has to step in with some human creativity to save the day. Maybe this is an early warning about over-reliance on technology?

Patterns of Force (S2, E 21): The Enterprise is sent to a dual planet sector to find a missing Federation cultural observer and walks into a scenario where something has obviously gone wrong–Nazi culture is completely replicated. As the episode progresses, it is clear that the cultural observer broke the Prime Directive; he believed that the Nazi rise to power should be emulated to unify the dual planet races. Unfortunately, he forget the end of the party was complete destruction. In the words of his character, “Even historians fail to learn from history. They repeat the same mistakes.”

Bread and Circuses (S2, E25): In this episode, there is space debris indicating destruction of the space equivalent of a merchant marine vessel. Our faithful trio–Spock, McCoy, and Kirk–beam down to investigate a culture that is a hybrid between 1960s America and ancient Rome. The missing captain, a Starfleet flunkie, has violated the Prime Directive of non-interference and risen to a position of being a Caesar. There is continual fighting between the citizens who accept the Roman pantheon and slaves who follow the sun and peace. There are two ideas that should be noted. Spock identifies that slavery seems to have been institutionalized through government-subsidized healthcare and pensions. At the close of the episode, Uhura suggests that it is not the sun being followed by the slaves, but rather the Son of God.

The Paradise Syndrome (S3, E3): The Enterprise is sent to help a culture similar to Native Americans survive an impending asteroid strike. Kirk triggers a very powerful obelisk to suck him in, and then gets zapped because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Spock and McCoy have to leave to try to deflect the asteroid. The Enterprise fails, so it has to lead the asteroid back to the planet while trying to analyze the obelisk and how to save the planet. Meanwhile, Kirk cannot remember his name but does some amazing and magical feats (based on advanced knowledge) that make himĀ medicine man and husband of the chief’s daughter Miramanee. As the asteroid approaches,Ā the planet goes berserk causing the people led by the former medicine man to stone Kirk and MiramaneeĀ at the obelisk because they cannot activate the obelisk; Spock and McCoy arrive to save Kirk Ā and get the obelisk to function to zap the asteroid. However, Miramanee dies due to internal injuries. This episode explores the tension between technology and the perceived simpler life of less advanced peoples. And Kirk once again loses a woman to death…

Plato’s Stepchildren (S3, E10): In this episode, the Enterprise receives a distress call to a planet with a rare element. They are greeted by a little person Alexander who struggles with some kind of problem. They proceed to meet the people of the planet who claim to live by Plato’s ideals; the leader needs assistance. As the episode progresses, the leaders display telekinetic powers that they use to force those without powers to serve. Our trio figures out telekinetic power is achieved through biological processing of the element, and Alexander has no power because a genetic issue prevents his body from doing so. They all get injected with the element to develop the power. Meanwhile, the Platonians bring down Uhura and Nurse Chapel. Before the power develops, Uhura, Chapel, Kirk, and Spock are forced to act out various episodes, including some romantic scenes. Although the point is that absolute power corrupts absolutely, there are those that claim Kirk and Uhura haveĀ the first interracial kiss on US television; however, there were Caucasian and Asian kisses on both The Wild Wild West and I Spy in 1966, and Sammy Davis Jr kissed Nancy Sinatra on Movin’ with Nancy in 1967. More important to me as a woman were how Chapel and Uhura both expressed how the force and lack of free will made them feel–fear, shame, and guilt.

The Way to Eden (S3, E20): The Enterprise finds a bunch of miscreants who stole a space shuttle and has to transport them to a suitable location. The miscreants are futuristic impressions of hippies–how they dress and act. They are looking for a planet called Eden so they can start over without technology. Interwoven is the leader’s status as carrier of a unique bacteria that would decimate any new environment. The group takes over the Enterprise to find their Eden, only to learn the hard way that Eden isn’t an Eden due to high acidity in the soil and vegetation. Again, there is the tension between technology and primitive living. Also, there is the question of whether any utopia with human beings would ever be a utopia.

Turnabout Intruder (S3, E24): And in this episode, we have the one ex of Kirk’s that should have been killed off… Sorry. Janice Lester a former lover of Kirk’s is on a planet where it appears that an accident involving radiation has killed her team. Unbeknownst to Enterprise personnel, she activates an unusual technology that allows her to send her essence into Kirk’s body and bring his essence into her body. The rest of the story is Freaky Friday Star Trek style. Janice tries to kill Kirk and his career until the crew decides to mutiny and the stress causes her essence to return to Kirk’s body. This is a hard episode, and most fans think it is one of the worst. However, it must be considered an exploration of feminist ideals of the time: can a woman hold power? would a woman be stable holding power? are women truly denied positions of power based on gender? could they only hold power during certain times of the month or seasons of life? (sorry, went a little too far with that last one) What undoes this episode’sĀ strengthĀ is that they portrayedĀ Janice’s character as unstable to begin with.

We Are…

Author’s Note: This poem, although no crude language is used, should be considered Ma for mature audiences. It’s going to be a laundry list review of injustice throughout history.

We are…

Descendants of homosexuals your sultans didn’t stone
Granddaughters of witches escaping your inquisitors’ pyres and Puritan ponds
Generations of indigenous surviving your diseases and addictions
Children of matriarchs you raped as spoils of war
Orphans of women dying in labor after years of annual pregnancy
Daughters of women your parents warned you not to become

We have come from those…

Who were different from your people
Who didn’t meet your standards
Who had no voice in your affairs
Who had no value in your eyes

We are human.
We are male and female.
We have value and a voice.
We matter as God’s children.

Forsaking It All

Author’s Note: I’ve seen a few too many historical dramas lately, in addition to living the drama of a blended family. Chalk this one up to too many romanticized notions to live with. šŸ™‚

A leader tried and true
Sets out to a distant land
To find a bride and settle down
And make his fortune there.

The bride price paid, the journey made,
The celebration unfolds.
A kiss and a seal complete the deal,
And his new life begins there.

She’s exotic and she’s wild.
Though to the land she’s hard and cold,
To him she’s warm and she’s real,
And his young wife grows beautiful there.

They go to the tavern, they go to the kirk,
But there’s no common ground on which to stand.
With only back sides and shoulders in sight they cannot kneel,
And they find no shared peace there.

He gave it all, and she loves him well,
So a journey they will take,
Back to back in the cold, hazy dawn
To find their place somewhere.

Somewhere…

Life Lessons from the Smithie’s Shoppe

Author’s Note: Sometimes life offers great writing fodder in unusual places. I want to thank the blacksmiths at Fort Klock for their time in demonstrations that generated this piece. Hope you all can appreciate my quirky creativity!

  1. Any tool but the right tool does too much damage.
    — If you put the wrong person in a bad situation, things will not improve. 
  2. A big hammer splatters everything.
    — If you send a person with a large personality into a situation, it might get worse. 
  3. Thirsty metal bends too much.
    — People who have unmet needs might give away too much of themselves. 
  4. Having a hot chimney channel makes breathing easier.
    — A person with the right temperament can manage a critical situation to eliminate some of the negative consequences. 
  5. Metal being bent at the wrong temperature breaks.
    — If you try to change a person before they’re ready, you might make the situation worse. 
  6. Too much bellows air blows high heat too far.
    — Talk might make tempers flare. 
  7. The more complex the bend, the more difficult it can be for ends to meet in the middle.
    — In a difficult situation with no clear winners, compromise will be a greater challenge. 
  8. Beautiful, strong pieces require time for creation and completion.
    — Sometimes, people with the most potential seem to have the greatest struggles and deepest setbacks; that doesn’t mean they’re lost or hopeless.

  9. A four-footed, faithful friend is sometimes better than a cold metal tool for releasing stress.
    — As helpful as hobbies are, sometimes dogs are still the best friends around.

Kudos to the POTUS–Republican Death Knell?

I’ve promised my blog would be a potpourri of a little of everything. Tonight we step through the looking glass into political commentary.

Since Scalia’s death, there’s been a ton of controversy surrounding the Supreme Court. Liberals are drooling at the opportunity to shift power in their direction; conservatives are wringing their hands at the possibility of the Court leaning left.

The media, even local yokel ho-hum news shows, are dredging up scenes of Biden and some argument about sitting duck nominations (or maybe the politically correct term was pre-election nominee).

I’d thought I’d seen an announcement about a nomination being made–Sandoval. I don’t know much about him, other than he’s from Nevada, he’s done some judicial work, and he’s the current Nevada governor.

Surprisingly, he is a Republican. Yet he supports abortion, same-sex marriage, green energy. It’s also rumored that he has strongly criticized Obama in some key initiatives, especially Obamacare.

I have to give Obama kudos. This would truly be a strategic, ballsy, and out-of-the-box nomination if he follows through. You pick one of your toughest critics who will also be distrusted by some of your other toughest critics, and then you promote him to a position of power and authority.

Well played, well played!

Unfortunately, Obama can’t take all the credit. This is very similar to something that happened already… in the book of Esther. Even if you believe the Bible is a fairy tale, Esther’s story has power.

Haman was a trusted advisor to King Xerxes of Persia. Haman was so trusted he was a prince among men to the King and had the authority to rule different sections of the country. But Haman had one problem–he despised the Jews (AKA the Chosen Race) because their religion would not let them participate in a simple act of acknowledging his authority, bowing down to him.

Enter Mordecai and Esther. Esther, formerly known as Hadassah, won the Miss Persia Beauty Pageant and became queen of all Persia. Mordecai, because of his responsibility toward Esther, was in the right place at the right time to overhear and report a plot to kill the king (the first whistleblower).

Haman is always trying to get rid of Mordecai and Esther. He hates them so much that he’d like to rid Persia of every last one. So he tricks King Xerxes into issuing a genocide edict.

Yet every plot of Haman gets twisted, and both Esther and Mordecai continue to grow in favor. Even when Haman plans to kill Mordecai, the king decides to kill Haman for plotting against the Jews since Esther is a Jew and for molesting the queen (even if you want to beg for mercy, it’s best to not even touch the queen’s hand).

King Xerxes promoted Mordecai the enemy of Haman twice, once with a parade and robe to honor revealing the plot and then at Haman’s death with promotion to becoming a Prince of Persia.

The King promoted Esther once to win the queen contest, once to enter his presence without bidding, and once more when she helped devise the order to allow the Jews to protect themselves. Haman had tricked the King into a planned act of genocide, and the King could not reverse even his own order stamped with his ring; however, with the help of Esther, he gave a new order empowering the Jews to resist destruction.

If a house is divided is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. — Yeshua ben YosefĀ