Wilderness — A Meditation

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Prejudice — May travel make it fatal

Twain's a know-it-all.  And so are most of us who travel frequently. So, I'm heading home on Monday! Looking forward to my own bed, my shower-head (the best in the land), my coffee machine, and my partner without whom life is often just a tad dreary.

Nonetheless, I'm thrilled to have spent time once again in the southern hemisphere where life is relaxed, the people are polite, and the politics are chaotic - but not as chaotic as Europe's.

When the great travel occurs, I'll be missing in action for a few days.  I hope each of you take a moment to travel this summer/winter and find a new moment in an unexpected social whirlwind that gives you pause and joy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tiny Acts of Love

Oh, you'll want to read this blog post from the Scots author, Lucy Lawrie.  She has that magical ability to draw together dis similar topics in a most alluring manner.  I love Lucy's latest novel, Tiny Acts of Love.
I enjoy all of Lucy's blog posts.  I think you will, too.  Those of us who are parenting small children right now will find humor in her posts; those of us who have completed that stage in our lives will look back and recall how 'right on' Lucy's scenes seem to be. The web addy for her blog is above.  Take a moment and check her out.  I'm sure you will find yourself returning on a regular basis.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Triple tee hee, tee heee, teeee heeeee

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Below is the most important photograph taken in this autumn's British Royalty tour of Australia.  

It pleases me that the young royals have chosen to come to this very important monument - not because it is so well known as a symbol of the red centre of Australia, but because the icon is still owned by the aboriginal owners of the land. I realize this is true only in the most metaphorical manner and that Tony Abbott, the current Prime Minister of Australia, intends to turn it into a massive tourist destination - as if it could be more true than it already is!..

But in this photo the titular head of the British Commonwealth is on equal level with Vincent Nipper and Daisy Walkabout,  who represent the care takers of this 'blessed' spot. As life should be.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

RoundUP....In Mom's Breast Milk..


  • Pilot study shows build-up of glyphosate herbicide in Mothers’ bodies
  • Urine testing shows glyphosate levels over 10 times higher than in Europe
  • Initial testing shows Monsanto and Global regulatory bodies are wrong regarding bio-accumulation of glyphosate, leading to serious public health concerns
  • Testing commissioners urge USDA and EPA to place temporary ban on all use of Glyphosate-based herbicides to protect public health, until further more comprehensive testing of glyphosate in breast milk is completed.
 In the first ever testing on glyphosate herbicide in the breast milk of American women, Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse have found ‘high’ levels in 3 out of the 10 samples tested. The shocking results point to glyphosate levels building up in women’s bodies over a period of time, which has until now been refuted by both global regulatory authorities and the biotech industry.
The levels found in the breast milk testing of 76 ug/l to 166 ug/l are 760 to 1600 times higher than the European Drinking Water Directive allows for individual pesticides. They are however less than the 700 ug/l maximum contaminant level (MCL) for glyphosate in the U.S., which was decided upon by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) based on the now seemingly false premise that glyphosate was not bio-accumulative.

Glyphosate-containing herbicides are the top-selling herbicides in the world and are sold under trademarks such as Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’. Monsanto’s sales of Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million in 2013 because of its increasing use on genetically engineered crops (GE Crops).
The glyphosate testing (1) commissioned by Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse also analyzed 35 urine samples and 21 drinking water samples from across the US and found levels in urine that were over 10 times higher than those found in a similar survey done in the EU by Friends of the Earth Europe in 2013.

The initial testing that has been completed at Microbe Inotech Labs, St. Louis, Missouri, is not meant to be a full scientific study. Instead it was set up to inspire and initiate full peer-reviewed scientific studies on glyphosate, by regulatory bodies and independent scientists worldwide.

The initial testing was done using ELISA tests and due to a high minimum detection level in breast milk and urine, it is possible that even those samples which tested negative contained ‘worrying’ levels of glyphosate.

Moms Across America Founder and Director, Zen Honeycutt, stated Monday, “When I was told by several doctors and labs that I could not test my own or my children’s urine for the most widely used herbicide in the world over a year ago, I became determined to find a way. Parents and citizens deserve the ability to be able to take care of themselves and their families by finding out if herbicides could be impacting their health. The purpose of this glyphosate testing project is to shed light upon the presence of glyphosate in our water, children’s bodies and mother’s breast milk, hopefully inspiring further scientific studies to support the world in being a healthy, safe place to live.
“The mothers tested are mostly familiar with GMOs and glyphosate. Most of them have been trying to avoid GMOs and glyphosate for several months to two years, so the levels of mothers who are not aware of GMOs and glyphosate may be much higher,” Honeycutt concluded.

Please pass this information on.  Monsanto must be stopped from producing  RoundUP

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dan Fagin's Pulitizer Prize for Non-Fiction 2014

"Although Boornazian had never been to Toms River, she knew the name well. By 1995, everyone who worked on the oncology ward at Children’s Hospital knew about Toms River. Many years later, she explained why. “We began to notice that we were getting a lot of kids from the Toms River area” in 1993 and 1994, Boornazian recalled. “It wasn’t just me. All of the nurses noticed it.” CHOP drew its young cancer patients from a vast geographic area of more than ten million people, and some families would travel even farther—from as far away as South America and the Middle East, if they could afford it."
Dan Fagin

* * *
Way too important for any of us to miss.  This story is not only well told; this story is a statement about what happens when oligarchy overtakes democracy, when profits are more important than community, when citizens are pawns to the bottom line of major corporations, when science comes to the rescue. A must read!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Snotty Nose

Today, even though the sun shining through my window gives my body reason to celebrate, the flu, phlegm, and snotty nose are anything but playful. However, since I do feel a tad better, I may as well begin this dissertation.

 Kings Canyon - where I wish I were (correct but sounds strange)
Hold on, the phone just rang.  So far this morning I have won four games of solitaire (Australian Patience), 4 of 8 games of snood, and lost one attempt at extreme sodoku.  Stalling is one of my strengths.

I am thinking seriously about going to Woollies in search of a new box of tissues.  I've finished three boxes in the past two days. To curtail the spread of vermin to other users in the house, I also need anti-bacterial wipes for the handset after I say 'hello' with a cheery croak.

Whew, I just had another opportunity to avoid this topic altogether.  Sy is driving his daugher to the Royal Brisbane.  I was invited to join them – a lovely thought – 'Let's get Demi out of the house – the sunshine might do her some good!' 

I declined.  After all, I am a dedicated author – besides they both would have hated me by the time we reached the hospital drop-off as I sneezed virus into the car after repeatedly smothering my lungs' plea for relief. I am beginning to take official responsibility for these nasty little invaders coursing through my bronchiales. 

I never get sick.  I mean, never!  Either my immune system is growing old and feeble – unlikely – or there are invaders here in Oz that are very different form the same fellows in the USA Urgh!  Death to virus in my sinus!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Turning Sea Water into Fuel

This article was originally posted on
Surf’s up! The Navy appears to have achieved the Holy Grail of energy independence – turning seawater into fuel:
After decades of experiments, U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel.

The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft on it.
Curiously, this doesn’t seem to be making much of a splash (no pun intended) on the evening news. Let’s repeat this: The United States Navy has figured out how to turn seawater into fuel and it will cost about the same as gasoline.
This technology is in its infancy and it’s already this cheap? What happens when it’s refined and perfected? Oil is only getting more expensive as the easy-to-reach deposits are tapped so this truly is, as it’s being called, a “game changer.”
I expect the GOP to go ballistic over this and try to legislate it out of existence. It’s a threat to their fossil fuel masters because it will cost them trillions in profits. It’s also “green” technology and Republicans will despise it on those grounds alone. They already have a track record of trying to do this. Unfortunately, once this kind of genie is out of the bottle, it’s very hard to put back in.
There are two other aspects to this story that have not been brought up yet:
1. The process pulls carbon dioxide (the greenhouse gas driving Climate Change) out of the ocean. One of the less well-publicized aspects of Climate Change is that the ocean acts like a sponge for CO2 and it’s just about reached its safe limit. The ocean is steadily becoming more acidic from all of the increased carbon dioxide. This in turn poisons delicate ecosystems like coral reefs that keep the ocean healthy.
If we pull out massive amounts of CO2, even if we burn it again, not all of it will make it back into the water. Hell, we could even pull some of it and not use it in order to return the ocean to a sustainable level. That, in turn will help pull more of the excess CO2 out of the air even as we put it back. It would be the ultimate in recycling.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Reunion — A Modern Myth

--> Barefooted, I padded down the long main hallway to our bedroom. Floor to ceiling doors opened onto the front veranda.  Wrapping arms around the tall Australian, I lay my head on his chest and murmured, "Guess I am a tad lagged.  It's good to be here.  I could never have imagined how lovely your home has turned out to be, no matter how many pictures you sent."

The timbers of the house creaked that evening. For more years than anyone ever counted, this expansion and contraction echoed through the open doors.  After sunset, breezes cooled our heated reunion.

The croaking of summer frogs, the constant cicada, the screeching of fruit bats whose shadows could be seen in the glow of not so distant city lights, existed for generations no matter who made love in the bedrooms at the front of the house.



Monday, April 07, 2014

Blog Pageviews

Above is bloggers accounting of American in Oz pageviews for the past week.  This Russian readers have been arriving for quite some time. It confuses me that this blog seems to garner more interest in Europe/Asia than it does in America, but that is the general tendency each week for the past few months.  I thought you all might find that fact entertaining.  Any explanation you might wish to offer would be greatly appreciated.  You can leave a comment below should you choose to.

In the meantime, happy Monday to some of us..and joyful Sunday sleep for the rest of you. I'm headed for the garden...where weeds have taken over!! ...

Sunday, April 06, 2014


Jennie Kee, Australian fabric artist

Friday, April 04, 2014

Vonnegut - Eight Tips for Writing

1.     Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2.     Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3.     Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4.     Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
5.     Start as close to the end as possible.
6.     Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7.     Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8.     Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

* * *
Great ideas...and here's another from D. H. Lawrence.  These guys know the routine. 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Happy Note

Time to switch - to the positive! Rumi rules.  According to my state of mind this moment, celebration is what matters; I hope you find this day only peeps, moments, and unexpected delights that make your day.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

If You Love to Wallow in Nature —

 The Sixth Extinction:
Elizabeth Kolbert  The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Henry Holt and Company, New York, New York, 2014

"To find carbon dioxide levels (and therefore, ultimately, global temperatures) higher than today’s requires going back a long way, perhaps as far as the mid-Miocene, fifteen million years  ago. It’s quite possible that by the end of this century, Co2 levels could reach a level not seen since the Antarctic palms of the Eocene some fifty million years ago.  Whether species still possess the features that allowed their ancestors to thrive in that ancient warmer world is, at this point, impossible to say.

“For plants to tolerate warmer temperatures there’s all sorts of things that they could do,” Silman told me. “They could manufacture special proteins.  They could change their metabolism, things like that.  But thermal tolerance can be costly.  And we haven’t seen temperatures like those that are predicted in millions of years. So the question is: have plants and animals retained over this huge amount of time—whole radiations of mammals have come and gone in this period—have they retained these potentially costly characteristics?  If they have, then we may get a pleasant surprise.” But what if they haven’t?  What if they’ve lost these costly characteristics because for so many millions of years, they provided no advantage?

“If evolution works the way it usually does, “ Silman said, “then the extinction scenario— we don’t call it extinction we talk about it as ‘biotic attrition,’ a nice euphemism— well, it starts to look apocalyptic.”

# # #
If you love to trek, hike, paddle, or climb in nature, you may wish to head for your favorite natural attraction and enjoy.  There is no telling how long the beauty will continue to exist.  The bark beetles of the central Sierra Nevada of California are on the move - could it be due to the change in climate?
The Oceans are acidifying as they are forced to accept massively higher amounts of carbon dioxide.
Amphibians across the planet are plagued to death by virus.  Whole species have died off in the past few years.  Is there a relationship between Carbon dioxide emissions from man made sources?  Probably.

I am reminded that it is time to head for the hills, to paddle over the seas, to take what may be this last opportunity to bask in nature as those of us over 40 have enjoyed it.  Creationists aren't worried about the outcomes.  Scientists are.  Fill your backpack, grab your trekking poles and your canoe, your kayak before the devastation is so extreme as to destroy what we love.  Take pleasure in what we have known because it may not be here for long.