Friday, November 25, 2011

The End of the Consumerist Model

The End of the Consumerist Model

"I am writing these reflections in the midst of economic and political debates taking place throughout the world about the necessity of implementing stimulus plans to limit the destructive effects of the First planetary economic crisis of the capitalist world."

Thursday, November 24, 2011


(from Native Circle)

The Thanksgiving Myth
by John Two-Hawks

   Let me begin by stating that thousands of years before the 'official'
Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed by Governor Winthrop of the
Massachussetts Bay Colony in 1637, North American Indigenous
people across the continent had celebrated seasons of Thanksgiving.
'Thanksgiving' is a very ancient concept to American Indian nations.
The big problem with the American Thanksgiving holiday is its false
association with American Indian people.  The infamous 'Indians and
pilgrims' myth.  It is good to celebrate Thanksgiving, to be thankful
for your blessings.  It is not good to distort history, to falsely portray
the origin of this holiday and lie about the truth of its actual inception.
Here are some accurate historical facts about the true origin of this
American holiday that may interest you...

   'Thanksgiving' did not begin as a great loving relationship between the
pilgrims and the Wampanoag, Pequot and Narragansett people.  In fact,
in October of 1621 when the 'pilgrim' survivors of their first winter in
Turtle Island sat down to share the first unofficial 'Thanksgiving' meal,
the Indians who were there were not even invited!  There was no turkey,
squash, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie.  A few days before this alleged
feast took place, a company of 'pilgrims' led by Miles Standish actively
sought the head of a local Indian leader, and an 11 foot high wall was
erected around the entire Plymouth settlement for the very purpose of
keeping Indians out!  Officially, the holiday we know as 'Thanksgiving'
actually came into existence in the year 1637. Governor Winthrop of the
Massachussetts Bay Colony proclaimed this first official day of Thanksgiving
and feasting to celebrate the return of the colony's men who had arrived
safely from what is now Mystic, Connecticut.  They had gone there to
participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot men, women and children,
and Mr. Winthrop decided to dedicate an official day of thanksgiving
complete with a feast to 'give thanks' for their great 'victory'....

   As hard as it may be to conceive, this is the actual origin of our current
Thanksgiving Day holiday.  Many American Indian people these days do
not observe this holiday, for obvious reasons.  I see nothing wrong with
gathering with family to give thanks to our Creator for our blessings and
sharing a meal.  I do, however, hope that Americans as a whole will one
day acknowledge the true origin of this holiday, and remember the pain,
loss, and agony of the Indigenous people who suffered at the hands of
the so-called 'pilgrims'.  It is my hope that children's plays about 'the
first Thanksgiving', complete with Indians and pilgrims chumming at
the dinner table, will someday be a thing of the past.  Why perpetuate
a lie?  Let us face the truths of the past, and give thanks that we are
learning to love one another for the rich human diversity we share.

(Written by John Two-Hawks) 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Home-Made Tabasco!

   Back in June I posted about getting the food mill and making hot pepper sauce. Because we've been shopping at Costco quite a bit this year to cut expenses, the large bottle of Tabasco we had in the 'fridge lasted quite a while. I finally drained it the other night when we had burritos. I washed the bottle out and grabbed one of the pints from June and opened it, not knowing for sure if I would be filling the Tabasco bottle or pouring the jar down the drain.

   Great news! It turned out really good! It's almost identical to Tabasco except for the color which is more of a darker red as opposed to bright red (probably because I didn't use the chemicals). To be completely honest, my preference would have been something more like Frank's Red Hot (which is why I was generous with the garlic), but I am very happy with the results! One pint filled the Tabasco with a significant amount leftover. That bottle lasted several months, so the five pints I made in June should keep us covered for a good, long time.

   Now our pantry is stocked with home-made ketchup, mayonnaise, relish, salsa, and hot pepper sauce!

   Next I need to learn to make mustard!

Resolutions Revisited

   Sorry to my loyal readers (all four of you) that I have not posted anything in a while. I've been busy with work, family, and the whole Occupy movement that I hope is a step toward real change on the horizon (I'd even be happy to admit that it began with the Tea Party movement (which really had more in common with the Occupy movement at it's genesis than you may think, but that's another post altogether...)).

   I am posting today because today is a very special day. In January I posted my resolutions for the year, the primary of which was to pay down our debt. In a post titled 2011 Resolutions, I set some other general goals for the year, maintaining paying down our debt as the priority.

   I am only mildly disappointed to say that I did not really make a lot of progress on most things this year. The summer was short and the garden did not do well. The weather also kept me from getting out to hike, run, or go backpacking nearly as much as I intended. My writing/music projects had to be shelved as my job changed dramatically in April, consuming my creative energies (though it turned out to not be a bad thing as I had expected). I was able to go on one elk hunting excursion, but did not do any other hunting this year. I did not brew any beer, learn cheese making or baking. I don't think I can ever spend enough time with my son.

   I did get a little work done on our 1969 VW bus -- a late resolution that I do not believe I posted about -- but even that was modest progress at best. I also got a food mill after I learned that Coinstar will trade coins for certificates at no charge. The food mill has been great for processing food and canning!

   I am only mildly disappointed by all of this because of what we did today.

   Today we made the final payment on our last debt! The only thing we owe is our current rent, utilities, etc. We have severed all ties with every corporate bank and own our entire lives outright. For myself, personally, it is probably the first time since the mid-eighties that I can say that.

   In January, when I said we were going to focus on paying down our debt this year I thought, "How great would it be to be out of debt by the end of the year?" Of course, I did not think it was realistic. As we cut our household budget and committed every dime we could spare to our highest interest debt first, and then the next one, and then the next one, at one point my wife and I started saying -- extremely optimistically but consistently -- "If we keep this up, we'll have everything paid off before Thanksgiving!"

   Thanksgiving is three days away. We have paid off our debt. All of it.

   As I sit here now writing this I can not express the sense of amazement that I have. Remember that saying about what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it? As a tone-deaf kid who knowingly committed to "a life of poverty and obscurity" at age 15, wanting to one day "make a living as a musician" and having done exactly that for the past decade, I am beginning to think there might be something to it.

   From now on I'm dreaming BIG!