February 21, 2012

Nirvana, by Tanja

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 6:33 am

The following was written by a very dear friend in Malta and it is very fitting to todays world.



Tanja Cilia

Welcome to Nirvana

I cannot tell the difference between American politicians in red soccer gear and those in blue baseball gear.  Besides, I am apolitical, so I take whatever they say at face value, not because they belong to this persuasion or the other party.

All I can say is that since America is a little larger than Malta, they have ample opportunities to learn from us, and then, perhaps inevitably since they are politicians, expound upon ‘our’ mistakes and pepper them with Americanisms.

We all know what happens when you pass something through non-human translators, and then render it back to its original language.  The chances are that it’s the same when Maltese politicians look at the result of their original actions, and try to shrink them back to Maltese dimensions.

Let us therefore, just in time for the Local Council Elections campaign, examine the wonderful opportunities that are simply waiting to be set into motion locally.

Random Example # 1: Anthony Federico showed off his knowledge of idiom and used the expression “Chink in the armor”.  The only snag is that he used it in connection with New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, who is, in fact, Chinese.

Federico said he did not make the connection; and yet the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) fired him because the connection was deemed racist and derogatory.

Since  foreigners playing for Maltese teams locally tend to be African or European, rather than Chinese, our witty politicos will have to  think, instead,  of all the place-names in Malta which can be used in both English and Maltese puns. At a pinch, there are also idioms that mention specific towns and villages that could be used to great effect.

Random Example #2: Newt Gingrich took his foot out of his mouth long enough to state “…If the NAACP [ National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] invites me, I’ll go to their convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” Here, it is being assumed that only black people rely on food stamps.

Black people in Malta tend to be refugees and we are fully aware of their plans to take over the nation and get voted into Parliament and then… what? But be can also have another take on this story and focus the spotlight on single parents – or rather, single mothers, instead.  Are they not the only people who play the welfare system locally? After all, we all know, don’t we, that in this fair land, there are no single mothers who work diligently to provide their offspring with money that comes out of a pay check from a white-collar job, do we not?

Random Example #3: A “Food Police Officer” decides that a child’s brown paper bag lunch is “a fail”.  She is told (yes, told) that she must eat chicken nuggets to bring the meal up to scratch. Now when an adult says that your mother did something wrong, it is already something terrible. But this incident is also about how a brown bread turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, and a few crisps, and a carton apple juice did not qualify as a healthy lunch.

Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the Division of Child Development, say that in fact, the lunch would have covered the protein, grain and dairy obtaining in the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; it is stipulated that a meal must include a vegetable or a fruit, and not necessarily both.  Did I mention that parents would have to pay for anything the child is given? So, let’s all give out schoolchildren ‘healthy breakfasts. Cereal, milkshake, and prepared fruit salad ought to do it. Wait. This has already happened once or twice; but it’s not polite to look a gift horse in the mouth, is it?

Random Example #4: Women are sometimes careless about their (sexual) health, and forgo visits to the clinic. Not because it’s a question of time, or money, but because they just cannot be bothered to check out every single pain or discharge. And besides, random partners make for more UTIs and STDs and unwanted pregnancies. The solution is simple: just mandate that everyone is covered for everything – mammograms, gestational diabetes,  birth control, breast-feeding support, smear tests, and even, if needs must – because “accidents happen” – all FDA approved birth control methods, which include “the morning-after pill”.

Oh, joy. As a corollary, this would, by some marvellous reckoning of logic, (eventually) do away with the other type of spongers and scroungers; deadbeat dads who never give their partner enough money to get by, let alone have something extra for health checks. So what if some types of birth control methods are known to trigger certain conditions?  So what if certain strata of the population do not use contraception because their lifestyle makes it unnecessary. Like the aforementioned sugar- and fat- and additive-laden breakfasts, it’s “free”.

Or is there no such thing as a free lunch?

September 5, 2010

Tribute to Washington High School Reunion

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 1:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

The Time that was

It was forty five years ago. To some it was yesterday, to others an eternity.  The bells would ring (did we have bells then, I really can’t remember. It WAS forty five years). Each would seek their own little space amongst the crowd. The bells would ring, our little personal space would move somewhere else. Like drops of water on hot concrete, some would gather to make a bigger drop; others would find a space of their own. This was school of yesteryear.

As we gather on an anniversary, the drops would gather as before. Some would not be quite as large as before. The solitary ones would sometimes merge. The drops changed shape. As some would grow, others would shrink. All would be different at each of these gatherings. This was school of a later year.

We sit and we look. Is that someone we knew? Does she or he remember me for who I was, or what is perceived I may have been? As my eyes grow weary, do I see the you that was, or the you that is? Time does strange things to a persons mind. I look in the mirror, I see the me that always was. But what do you see of me? This is life, after the school of yesteryear.

We made it to this many years after leaving high school. Are we what we expected we would be? Did our lives treat us as well as we dreamed they would? We are here to tell the others what we have become. But as the years pass, there are less of us to gather, less stories to be shared. Mark these moments as they pass; for we may not pass this way again. Cherish the memories for they be fleeting. Meet those of the past for there may not be a future for either to meet again.

This was a reunion, may there be more.

April 21, 2010

A tribute and a request

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 6:35 pm
Tags: , ,

She was 43.

Her name was Lisa.

Both breasts were removed. The contagion was gone, or was it? No, it had planted a seed somewhere else. More trips between Texas and Iowa. Every known cure was tried. Stem cell therapy was used even though it’s experimental. All the cancer was gone.

A routine trip to the doctor. Mr. C. had pulled another stunt. This time it was in the vital organs. All hope was lost. A wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend is beyond all that medical personnel could do.

She was 43.

Her name was Lisa.

She was a friend.

She died Sunday and was laid to rest today. Cancer claimed another.

There is a link below where you can help. Money is needed for research. Others need to be aware of places to help and that is all we ask.

Thank you

Help me kick cancer’s butt! Click here to donate to Relay for Life.

December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 9:52 pm
Tags: , , ,

Corn Country Merry Christmas

I do apologize for being absent for long. Life got in the way.

First and most important:


Ok, that is not politically correct. It is supposed to be Happy Holidays or some such nonsense as that. Like it or not, we are celebrating the fact that Jesus was born. I will NOT take our Lord out of the holiday! Ok, ‘nuff said.

What is this holiday all about? To answer that, let’s look at what it is not. We’ll start with insurance companies. It must have something to do with the new cars for next year. This is quite obvious to anyone that has been on the road this season. A driver pulls alongside another to assess the possibilities. Once a good candidate is found then a rear end accident is arranged, thus a new car is in the offing.

For those not interested in testing their insurance policies, there is the great mall invasion. These are the folks that believe they show true friendship and love by proving they really can over-max a credit card.

Our last group is the thrifty, yet dangerous bargain hunter. These folks jam the parking lots of K ame A part, otherwise known as Kmart and also the concrete bumper car zone of Wal-Mart. Once their SUV’s are crammed into a motorcycle sized parking place, they march like a company of Army ants. Their goal is to get, at any cost, a five-dollar watch that should last at least two weeks into the New Year. As soon as they have all their junk, er, merchandise, stuffed into their vehicle, they join the mad frenzy and road rage maniacs in the dizzying rush home. After their arrival, they throw cheap paper around each item and throw it under the fake tree. Oh, they also take off the price tags to pretend the items were purchased at a more expensive store. Right!

That is not Christmas!!!

Christmas is love of self and everyone. It is the desire for peace and harmony. It is, simply, what Jesus taught. With that in mind…

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and to all, love from us to you.

December 13, 2009

Two Special Tributes

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 7:57 am
Tags: , , , ,

The first is a poem dedicated to those that may have lost someone very special. This was written after a three-month old-young lady was called home. Please, take this when you need comfort.

The second is for a special friend that has undergone a lifetime of hardship. Despite the setbacks she has received, you will never catch her without a smile (or something cooking).  Please enjoy.

The Child

There was a small child who brightened everyone’s day

While here on earth gave so much joy, then she went away

A life so short, yet filled with love, she gave freely to all

A heart as big as the sky in a body so tiny and small

Those loved ones she left behind with eyes full of tears

Will forever remember her sweet smile throughout the years

Thank you Lord for the precious gift from heaven you gave

A lovely angel on earth to teach us all how to be brave

Dear Lord as you hold this little angel in your arms

We know she will brighten your day with her charms

The stars in the heavens will seem brighter at night

Another angel’s smile illuminates the sky with her light

To those who knew this tiny bundle of joy, I pray

Remember she’ll always be in your heart to stay

A life so short, yet gave such happiness to everyone

We thank you God through Jesus your only son

Written by: Angie Hartson

Angels in Iowa

“Who dealt this mess?”

“You did.”

It’s game night.

“Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, RC?”

She has cases of each.

“Still hungry?”

This I’m told after eating enough food to feed a family of twelve. Linda sees an empty plate and assumes the person is still hungry. For a game night with four players there will be at least four different desserts, more appetizers than at a cocktail party for all the employees at Disneyland, and enough drinks to float an aircraft carrier. Hungry is not an option at her place. Ok, it’s not an option if she is anywhere nearby.

“Good game, even though we went set, again. Let’s take a food break. I haven’t had anything to eat after those last two hands.”

Heaven forbid someone goes without food for over a half hour. But, don’t hold this against her. She has good reason for feeling this way. Money was tight as she and her brothers grew up. Christmas dinner was an un-spiced, unsalted, boiled chicken. Going without was too much the way of life for her. That would change when she reached adulthood. She became the salt of the earth and very spicy. She is also the food bank for the family.

I have known Linda but a short time. But it takes little time to see just what kind of person she is.

The green house the kids built.

No, they didn’t build it, but it was turned from a house to a home with hours of work. Bare walls became murals. Killer whales floated everywhere. Da Vinci would have been proud of the scenes. As they toiled, a young lady across the street wanted to help but could not lift nor paint. But she could cook, and she fed this army. No one went hungry and the house became a showplace. Tis unfortunate that water is relentless.

The great flood of 2008.

Loss was the word of the year. Water went to thirteen feet. Salvage was all that was left. Not undaunted, Linda kept everyone fed, she could do no more. But yet, that simple act of kindness was felt deeper than any river could go. It was the beginning of change for many. What is the value of material things? This was the time for family to come together. It was time to regroup. It was here that I rejoined the family.

There is a history behind some of this, but it need not be delved into. What happened though, does. The house, the home the kids built, was gone. The home Linda had, was gone. Everyone lost physical things, but the spirit was strong. Without saying a word, it was Linda that kept the highest spirits. It was time to rebuild.

Linda Beltz should have been the weakest link in the chain. As a four-time cancer survivor, it was her strong spirit that pulled everyone else up. A new house in a flood free area gave Linda a new base of operation. With a bigger kitchen and basement to match, it did not take long for her to buy out the stores when the sales were in progress. Every event, from birthday parties to moving in parties, was well attended by gifts from this angel of mercy.

The day of the big move.

Everyone had to be out of the FEMA trailer today! The house was finished the day before and the next day would be Thanksgiving. It was crunch time. By the truckload, the trailer was emptied and the house filled. Working from the time they got up until late at night, it was finished. They were so busy that they forgot to eat. Not a problem. Linda sensed this and brought her truck filled with soups and the fixings. She followed this feat with an equally large contribution the following day, Thanksgiving.

This is a lady that cannot give enough. This is the Angel of Iowa, let us give thanks for the mercy she possesses.

November 15, 2009

Grampa’s Tribute

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 10:40 am
Tags: , , ,

snow white kadenceA single bed holds two curious souls. Ten precious fingers exploring her world, ten little toes curled up just so and a smile the size of Texas occupies one side. A grandfather lies beside her, holding open the doors of her future. One of God’s greatest creations, Kadence Callista Berry is a bundle of questions wrapped in a beautiful package. At ten months old, Grampa hears the wonder and questions in her voice and sees the glint in her eye as she learns what life is all about. Her world is fun, food, and family.

She’s up, She’s off! Ok, where did that little bullet train, er, rugrat, disappear too?


Ah, front bedroom. Cat gave her away.

“Let me outta here! What did I ever do to you? (Grampa’s understand the words behind the fussing)

“You didn’t do anything. Grampa just wanted to save the house from the crawling wrecking ball while in the little reading room.”

It was a day in January not to be forgotten. We arrived a few hours after she was born. Mom handed her to me as I sat in the rocker. I’ve been rocking her to sleep ever since. It’s amazing how her naptime always coincides with mine. Her head, resting on my arm, we both rock our way into dreamland. If she awakens before me, she will just sit and play.

“Grampa, it no play.”

The look on her face tells me it’s time to turn the switch on for her talking picture book.

“Grampa, you expect me to walk around all day in this dirty diaper???”

That cry means only one thing. It’s time to get the paraphernalia out. I get the Ionic bulb lights, the carbon based silicon induced spray can to ensure sanitary conditions. I follow this with my surgical gloves, special fogless glasses and plastic gown. I lay her down on a thermally sanitized blanket and proceed with great precision.

Ok, I lay her on the bed, take the pants off, undo the onsie, and change the thing.

“Grampa, need a hug.”

She is immediately in my arms. I don’t care what happens during the day. She is cuddling close to me, nothing can be wrong with the world.

“Grampa, what’s a Halloween?”

It’s a day when pretty little girls get dressed up in a lovely costume and get their pictures taken. Older children go out asking for the candy.

“Grampa, what’s a thanksgiving?”

This year it’s the day I thank the Lord for delivering his most special angel to us, you.

“Grampa, what’s a Christmas?”

It’s a day of giving. It’s the day of love and the day we thank God for delivering you my princess.

There is no end to this,

September 21, 2009

A Wylde Night after the Game

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 2:38 pm

The Day

It was not a safe night (or day) to be out in Iowa City. There were Zombies, Pirates, and Zombie Pirates everywhere! They even followed us over to the Mill. We could not get away from them. As soon as the band started singing “The Gallows Tree”, it seemed to draw more of the undead in, like a tractor beam. You’d think an accordion player wearing a black and red kilt would scare them off, but it didn’t.

It was International Talk Like a Pirate day. It was also when many cities and towns held the fundraiser, Zombie Walk. Ours, held in Iowa City, Iowa started off at a park and ended, appropriately, at Deadwood. I found out later that Deadwood is the name of a bar. Everyone met at the park alive but walked out undead. Face painting artists at the park were responsible for the transformation. Kyle, my son, called and said he was ‘zombie-ized’.

The Night

Many Zombies of legal age (is that an oxymoron?), met at The Mill. My other half couldn’t make it as she had to work. Angie went to see this awesome group and keep me company. She was not disappointed. Let me now introduce the band.

Wylde Nept plays Celtic music. Sitting still was not an option. Many of us know their music and would sing along. Wylde Nept is not traditional by and stretch of the imagination. The best way to get a true feel for their music is to watch the following video’s.

Bewitching Brenda 

Ugly Mrs Fen

And with that, I’ll let you catch your breath. Til next post…

August 17, 2009

Spell it out

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 5:40 am
Tags: , , ,

Forty years ago it was decided we had a voice and it was time for that voice to be heard. Rock and Roll was just racket and the kids were, well, just kids. The parents were too busy making money to really pay us much attention. Excuse me! There is a war going on and our young are being killed and maimed and for what? We had no business being there. It was time to get the message to the adults who didn’t have a clue as to who or what their kids were. As adults it was easy to go to war and send the youngsters off. We did not approve of Viet Nam and we were about to let you know. We had access to a farm and we had the music lined up.

Can you hear us now?

Warning: the following clip is graphic in language.

Country Joe and The Fish – Vietnam Song (Woodstock)

June 22, 2009

A short Marvian post

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 5:32 am
Tags: ,

My friend and fellow blogger Marvin Wilson of Free Spirit fame has changed blogs. What used to be Free Spirit is now The Old Silly. For my fellow marviac’s, please stop by http://theoldsilly.com/ . While there, grab the url and get that posted into your blog rolls and also added to your daily favorites!

January 10, 2009

We lost a great one!

Filed under: tributes — unwriter1 @ 6:33 am

We are down one great spiritualist, although I believe the spirit of greatness has just enhanced the world. Barbara Williamson-Woods (Babs) passed away at 9:00 pm Montana time. She is a full-blooded Lakota. No, this was no mistake. She may be gone physically but she will be forever around us, so ‘is’ is correct!We had our own language on Instant Messenger. I told her often if I can understand her typing, I could understand anyone’s. We called it ‘Babese’. This young lady was my mentor, my friend. She joined two spirits in a way no one else could. I pray that connection lasts forever. I am very proud to say I knew her and her grandson, Noah.

Babs was a writer, an author. Her books, Inner Trappings, Sierra Skies and others can be reviewed here . She was a poetess, a writer, a friend and will be sorely missed.

Blog at WordPress.com.