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Victor Skaggs

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since Dec 15, 2013
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bike medical herbs wood heat
Small organic farmer for decades, farmworker advocate, anthropology, speak Castilian & French
Central Virginia
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Recent posts by Victor Skaggs

Mick Fisch wrote:
This is a real problem with multi-culteralism.  Each society has manners, norms, customs and laws that allow people to live together with a minimum of violence.  Many of these are common, some might be universal.  The ones that aren't can cause real conflicts.  The idea,"Let's all just be cool" works until some one, or worse, some group isn't.  Eventually the groups will come to a common agreement, but until then it can be messy.

No, you do not understand multiculturalism, which is simply the acknowledgement of cultural/ethnic differences, and abandonment of the notion that the mainstream majority white culture is that of the country, or is imposed in some way.

We have a long history of negative sanctioning cultural and ethnic difference in the USA, but fortunately have made great progress in overcoming this tendency and its institutionalization.

To reject multiculturalism we then have to support the re-imposition of a "white" norm, which is by its nature oppressive against other groups, and even against whites who deviate from the norm (ask me how I know about this).

To re-tool an old French phrase: "Viva la difference!"
Most discussions on this topic, here and elsewhere, perpetually ignore how we arrived at our current situation of gross socioeconomic inequality! Then when some measure is taken to help the "unfortunate", the notion is that something is being given for nothing, that any such action represents a great act of charity and largesse on the part of society and those who are presumably paying the taxes which fund the remedy.

All of this ignores that society has been structured, engineered, by those in power and with most of the wealth, to keep them in their privileged position, and to ensure that the masses never escape from their necessity to provide underpaid labor which continues the flow of wealth to the few people in power.

And so the billionaire asserts that to use taxes from him to feed a hungry poor child is somehow theft...

Anyone with an awareness of the history of Western civilization knows that any "theft" which is pertinent to this conversation has been occurring for many centuries. The poor didn't make themselves, after all...
5 days ago
Malcolm X famously said, "We didn't land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on us!"

The real story of both the Plymouth and Jamestown colonies is that the settlers did not take the proper measures to ensure that they had enough food, and in both cases were aggressive toward the Native peoples.

The USA's "Thanksgiving", however, has indeed become a harvest festival. It's about a big feast, getting family or friends together. I doubt anyone is chanting, "Kill the Indians!" during the feast.

Thought and teaching should be given, however, to the real story of what happened in Massachusetts and elsewhere. None of this requires that anyone abandon their turkey stuffing, or their self-stuffing with turkey.

In Mexico they call Columbus Day, "Día de la Raza", which is something to think about for the USA in grappling with the issues of Thanksgiving and Columbus Day.
5 days ago
Passive aggressive:

In California when someone says "Have a nice day," but the real meaning is, "I'm tired of talking to you now, so get out of my face."
5 days ago

Mick Fisch wrote:This discussion is not about religion or spirituality.  It is about good manners.  People who want to dictate what others say or do in their own businesses are displaying bad manners.  They are acting as bullies.  

I may not agree with all of Paul's rules on this website, but it isn't my website.  I am free to leave or start my own website.  I am not free to declare what rules Paul can or can't make.

Some folks get wound up because the owners of Chick-Filet close on Sundays, in keeping with their religious beliefs.  Are they imposing their beliefs on others?  Not that I can see.  Their employees come in knowing the deal.  Starbucks can do what the want.  It's their business.  If I disagree, I am free take my business elsewhere.  If lots of people feel that way, Starbucks will probably change their behavior.  (I don't think I've ever even been in a Starbucks, so they probably aren't too concerned about my opinion.)  If some business donates money to some cause, I am free to express my displeasure/ pleasure with where I spend my money.

Since when is it wrong to act in accordance with your religious beliefs (with the proviso that you don't get to control or hurt others).  The attempts at controlling, from what I can see, are entirely from a group that insists others not be allowed to speak freely.  There does seem to be an effort by a determined minority to suppress any "Christian" expression.  I don't see the same righteous indignation from the same groups over what amount to harmless expressions of good will by practitioners of other religions.

When did our society get so thin skinned that everyone has to tip toe around trying to avoid offending .0001% of the population.  We need to stop being scared and get our big kid pants on and be real with each other.  Just because you don't agree with someone, doesn't mean they have to change their behavior.

I refuse to allow the PC police to control my mouth. It is not my job to make sure you are not offended.  The fact that I am alive and breathing is going to offend someone.  My responsibility is to exercise what used to be called 'good manners'.  I try to make sure that I make reasonable accomodations for others, but I am not required to let them run my life.  They have a responsibility to exercise good manners also.  There are way too many people running around, looking for a reason to be offended.  

I generally wish people 'Merry Christmas' because that is what I am celebrating.  I realize that not everyone in my area is celebrating Christmas.  I would guess though that about 95% of them are celebrating Christmas in some form, some very devoutly, some in a perfunctory Santa Claus way.  We certainly don't all celebrate it the same, nor do I demand we do.  If you want to celebrate the pagan Yule, fine, wish me a merry Yule.  I'll wish you one back and we might even have an interesting discussion about how you celebrate it and what you are celebrating.  I will probably learn something.  If someone wishes me "Happy Hanukkah" it doesn't bother me in any way, and I'm a little confused why it should.  I can sincerely wish them "Happy Hannukah" and we can both go cheerfully on our way.  If you get upset that someone wishes you "Good Day", it's not the other guys problem.

First, there are no "PC Police".

This argument over Christmas mostly regards government, which is enjoined by the First Amendment NOT to express support for any particular religion over any other. That is why govt entities should not be saying "Merry Christmas" or displaying Nativity scenes, any more than they should be sanctioning (positively or negatively) Channukah, Eid, Holi or any other religious observation.

Who has been forcing themselves on others would be Christians. Pretending that if we do not accept their hegemony we are declaring "War on Christmas" is just part of their overall push to have their religion as the national one, to have it in the schools, to have it in all of our faces.

If some individual who is Christian says "Merry Christmas" to me I am not offended and will respond in kind. I sometimes say "Assalaam Aleikoum" to Muslims, and for the same reason, that I find no reason not to show respect for everyone's faith and culture. I don't have to convert to Christianity or Islam to be polite to their adherents.

I'm pagan with Hindu trimmings, but I do not insist that Starbucks put "Namaste" or "Isis Isis Ra Ra Ra" on their cups. I like the approach of some Hindus who, when passing a church, will say, "Jai Sri Jesus", as they would say to a Hindu deity.

As Benito Juárez said, "El respeto al ajeno es la paz." (Peace is respect for the outsider, the "other".)

So Merry Christmas everyone! Happy Hannukkah! Hare Krishna! Salaam! Enjoy the solstice time! And everyone needs to LIGHTEN UP in this country (USA)!

Dale Hodgins wrote:My understanding of the Greek X, is that early Christians had a need to hide their identity from Roman authorities, so they used the X. Kind of like the fish symbol which has become popular on bumper stickers and other places.

I'm pretty sure I heard that there were X and fish symbols found in the Sinai desert and at Masada as petroglyphs. People didn't always have spray paint. Sometimes graffiti was also in the form of a petroglyph.

So, there was no intention of eliminating Christ from Christmas. It was simply a way for people to self identify without running afoul of the authorities. I think that the beginning of using it as Xmas was in homage to those people, because it was a declaration of religious freedom.

Yes, the X is the Greek letter chi, first letter in "Christ". You'll see in churches the combined chi-rho, which looks like an X and a P superimposed, and obviously those are the first 2 letters of "Christ". The word "Christ", after all, is Greek, not Hebrew or Aramaic. The name Jesus is Aramaic, Yeshua.

Linguistically, the Greek "Christos" is cognate with the Sanskrit "Krishna", but never mind that for now...
I moved from place to place, homesteading it could be called, but nothing permanent until this place, the first I've been able to plant perennials. Previously I'd been on sites with existing orchards which required restoration.

Anyway, I'd name each one partly to have a name for the farm in the farmers market and on labels. The name has changed with location... Wyld Garden, Mountain Grown, Jardín Silvestre, and now Jardin Sauvage... I know, it sounds like a perfume, but it means "Wild Garden", since my polyculture sometimes looks like a wild area, and I gather wild food and herbs. Unfortunately most people can't pronounce it... sigh...
1 week ago
I presume many already know about the book, "How to Grow More Vegetables in Less Space than You Ever Thought Possible" by John Jeavons. There is an extensive discussion of polyculture therein.

I found that my "jungle" style of gardening created the problems others have mentioned: confusion, difficulty in finding things being harvested, etc. There is a happy medium, where a few compatible types are grown together, not randomly assorted but in rows or clumps.

Allowed to self-seed, many plants will create their own jumble of polyculture on their own "initiative".

I like to reserve a plot not urgently needed on which to throw all the old seeds, and see what comes up. I did this in a field once and had a LOT of summer squash, the only ones to germinate. No paths, just a jungle of squash... all different types.
2 weeks ago
I bought a 18.5 hp Satoh Buck compact tractor in WV in 2007. It has a front loader and 3-speed PTO.

I paid $2200 for it, but it needed work and I've spent $4000 having the electrical rebuilt, the 4-wh-drive lever fixed, clutch replaced, and so on.

It does a lot of work, runs a mower, tiller and other implements, but it is small and not infrequently overheats.

Previously I had a Kubota of similar type which was also good.

You can only use the smallest implements with this, Type 0 or 1 hitch size, and using the tiller I nearly always overheat after a bit.

Still, such tractors, apparently created in Japan for use in rice paddies and as part of foreign aid packages, are relatively cheap, relatively durable, and simple (though also more dangerous, lacking what are now standard safety features on JD, etc.).

I like this Satoh, though right now I have to take it to the shop to replace the head gasket which is leaking... this tractor was made in the 1970's.
2 weeks ago
I'd like to put in a word for the .30/.30 rifle... or "bush gun".

They're short, easy to carry through brush, not great for distance shooting but powerful enough to save you from a charging feral pig or a bear (usually).

It is fine for hunting deer or pigs, the ammo expensive relative to a .22  but you don't need to fire it as much as you would the .22, which is used for all the common vermin.

I'm in favor of always carrying a firearm in the woods, after being attacked by a bear in New Mexico, fortunately when I had a .22 rifle with me, the firing of which caused the bear to turn and run before reaching me. This was during the drought in 2013, when the bears were very hungry. She was headed for the apple orchard, but seeing me decided on a meal of meat instead, apparently.

I also have a 9mm pistol which is louder than the .22 rifle, so I now carry it for bear protection. Once you've seen a bear coming at you, it is something you always think about when outdoors. I'm quite sure my "make a big bang" tactic would be less effective on grizzlies; I'm always in black bear country in CA, NM or here in VA & WV.

I'm not a fan of shotguns since they leave pellets in the meat, if you're shooting something edible.

2 weeks ago