Beyond Good and Evil

Dr. Ronnie J. Hastings

Archive for the month “April, 2011”

Just Wondering about This and That

Among the things I am pondering now… Did you notice that when NATO decided to take over the bombing of Gaddafi, NATO combatants from Germany were taken out of the scenario? I think it is because of a little bit of history having to do with North Africa, Rommel, the Afrika Korps, etc… Ladies, you should take heart that Germany now has a woman chancellor, following the history making path of Margaret Thatcher, and looks as if she is doing a great job (wouldn’t expect anything else!)…

Speaking of WWII militarism, I saw where Austria is putting up a monument to Austrians who DESERTED the Wehrmacht during the war — that has to be some kind of first; the article took the position that Austria is moving from denial to dealing with their part as an ally of Nazi Germany; some concentration camps were in Austria, a hotbed of Anti-Semitism in Europe for centuries (Recall Adolf himself was from there.)

Before we get too self righteous and break our arms patting ourselves on the back for not being like Nazis, don’t forget the camps in which we put Japanese-Americans during the war; I think if we could have ethnically distinguised them from the rest of us, like we could the ethnic Japanese, we would have put German-Americans and Italian-Americans in camps. Sure, we would not have murdered them wholesale, but we are not immune from racially induced inhumanity: when it comes to the American-Indians, we of European stock here in America practiced ethnic cleansing to horrible ends. But what goes around comes around; we have made possible monuments of apology to the “red man” — we call them casinos. I think white man’s pockets emptied by gambling and every fatal case of lung cancer caused by tobacco smoke are two examples of American-Indian revenge…

That last thought probably means the implications of a considerable amount of family history are true — my great-grandmother was a full-blood Eastern Cherokee… Last summer I started up a conversation with a nationalized Asian-Indian, a “true” Indian, as he saw it; he was not happy (in a nice way) we still called our natives “Indians,” and, of course, he has a point — what a stupid misnomer to name the people Columbus first saw in the New World “Indians.” We now know the Vikings came to North America first; we need to find out what they called the native inhabitants and use that from now on — it has got to be better than “Indians,” and it would make my “true” Indian acquaintance feel better… What we need is a native American in the White House; wonder what the “birthers” would demand of such a person? Have you ever seen more racial horses**t than what comes from the “birthers?” Back in 2008 the question whether McCain was eligible because he was born in the Canal Zone came up; it was cleared up right away with a big OK; can you say “white guy?” But Obama won and clearly there is something wrong with being born in Hawaii! Now, they want to see his transcripts! What’s next, his shot records? Can you say “black guy?” The “birthers” are using an ugly double standard; they don’t deserve to sleep well at night…

Speaking of the birthers, Trump proves there is no correlation between brains and money… If you haven’t done so and have cable/satellite TV, check out “The Borgias” on Showtime and “Game of Thrones” on HBO. The former, about a bad-boy Pope, is not very encouraging for supporters of the Vatican, and the latter is pure adult fantasy I think purposely parallels the history of the ancient British Isles — a group of small kingdoms (circa Dark Ages) [England, Wales, Ireland] under one king [British throne], threatened in the northern wastes by walled-out wild peoples [Scotland] and by other wild kingdoms across a small oceanic channel [Normans, Vikings, Angles, Saxons]… Then again, you can always watch Larry the Cable Guy’s “Only in America,” which I also think is great.

Love the new anthropological/genetics research that demonstrates we are all one species all over the globe and that we all originated in Africa; turns out both sexes separately show the same results: you can only inherit the DNA in your mitochondria (controls cellular metabolism) from your mother, and the only people that individually have all the mitochondrial DNA markers shared only in part by all other peoples are today’s Africans in the sub-Sahara. The male Y chromosome can only be passed from fathers through their sons. Again, the only males in the world that have all the Y chromosome markers that are shared only in part by the rest of the male population of the globe are sub-Saharan African males. Right now it looks like sometime just under 100,000 years ago, there was a “mitochondrial Eve or sisterhood” and a Y chromosome “Adam or brotherhood” somewhere in the heart of Africa…

Got to go and continue reading the autobiography of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards — deep stuff!


On the Texas fires

As one who has lost property to fires in Eastland County in the past, I can empathize with those dealing with the present fires in that part of the State. My losses cannot begin to compare with those who unfortunately have lost their homes.

No amount of stoicism can give spiritual or psychological comfort in cases of uncontrolled danger such as this, but I am reminded of a thought I had when I was trying to make sense of the fires. It gave me a bit of perspective, but did not ease the pain.

The “natural” state of almost all the land in Texas west of the I-35 corridor before the white man came was open grassland, kept that way by prairie fires. Trees cannot recover from fire as quickly as grass; in fact a lot of the properties of grass evolved to insure a quick recovery from fires. Some of the best pasture for buffalo and cattle is fresh grass that shoots up out of the ashes within days of the fire. I saw this happen on my pasture land that burned. As with other ecocultures, fire is the “great gardener” of grasslands.

Indians such as the Comanches used to purposely burn vast areas of grassland to promote new, fresh growth for enticing buffalo into their local hunting grounds. This, along with natural fires caused by lightning, assured that most of central and west Texas was relatively treeless except for those places where the sweeping prairie fires could not reach — outcrops of rock, creek and riverbanks, and various forms of broken country. The canyons between the town of Cisco and Lake Cisco, where I used to play with Bill Lee and others when we were boys are examples of such places.

Imagine Eastland, Stephens, Erath, and Palo Pinto counties without the great expanses of cedar and mesquite and post oak; imagine the same for the entire hill country. That is the way the natural cycles worked to keep it; that is the way the Indians helped to keep it. It is the way broken by the white man with farms, ranches, and fences.


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