Batgirl, Birds and Samoans

So what’s the latest buzz in cyberspace? Alicia. Alicia who? Alicia Silverstone aka Ms. Batgirl.

Alicia has done the unthinkable and the heretical. She’s a recusant and a rebel. She has done something that is “very uncommon in the US and other Western nations....”  What is it? She feeds her pre-chewed food to her baby, a method called premastication.

The news has revived the debate on the advantages and disadvantages of the method. It has also prompted one writer to ask: “Is Alicia Silverstone getting her parenting tips from birds?”
Now, whether the question is prompted by sarcasm or disdain, this writer should have consulted some members of the more primitive societies, as in Africa and other parts of the globe like ....yes, Suhmawah! (se o Samoa)  Premastication is “mama” in Samoan. If you’re a Samoan and can immediately acknowledge this feeding method, then chances are that you were fed pre-chewed food as an infant. Aea? Often, it’s masticated cooked bananas, taro, breadfruit, etc. and usually water-dipped. Magakua? ...a?..aea? Se lega fo’i la le fia Sachick kakou. ..LOL!

Anyhow, these modern writers should have considered prehistoric times, long before Gerber products and pre-mashed infant foods, to understand that other than milk and water, baby food needed to be pre-softened/mashed before it can be eaten and digested.

I am however amazed by the human and bird association - and similarity - in the feeding habits for their young ones, specifically referencing the Samoans. Here’s a citation on the association from a renowned authority on Samoan history and scholarship:
The way the gogo (tern) masticated and regurgitated food for their young also reminded our ancestors of how they would make little dumplings out of the food they chewed (i.e. mama) to feed their own children. These images of feeding mama to young children offered another visual metaphor that underlined the Samoan saying: “ai a le tagata i le mama o lona matua?” [literally meaning, the young feeds on the masticated dumplings of his parents?]
~“Sufiga o le Tua’oi” by Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Head of State of Samoa.

The mama metaphor and bird comparison also suggest another favorite Samoan saying “O tama a manu e fafaga i fuga o la’au, ae o tama a tagata e fafaga i upu.” (Chicks are fed with tree blossoms but children are fed with discourse.)

And as for Alicia getting her parenting tips from birds, I would say, why not? She’s one of the bird species.  She’s Batgirl.  LOL!  A le o lega, ai se Samoa le keige lea.

[Cue Penina O le Tiafau]:

“...leai ni mea’ai tu’u ‘apa e susu i le tina si ana tama, tolu masina, fafaga loa i le mama ....”
([In Samoa] there were no canned foods, so a mother breast-fed her baby and when three months old, the child is fed masticated food.)


I did not know that ...

I was having a quiet laugh when I was reading this traffic change in New Zealand, which has been the lone country in the world - until this Sunday - "...to yield to traffic making a wider arc across the intersection. New Zealanders drive on the left, but in the U.S. it would be like making right-turning traffic yield to left-turning traffic coming from the opposite direction...." (Re: diagrams)

On Sunday, NZ will finally comply with rest of the world. Way to go Kiwis!

What's funnier, looking back, is that I did not know that. A few years ago, when our family went to NZ, I had my first experience of driving on the left side. I must admit that I scared my nieces and others in the car at the very first intersection where my right-side driving orientation was still in effect. The whole experience was a haunting one. It's like everything about you (esp from the US) has been flipped and switched - from getting in through the right front door, to sitting on the right side, to shifting gears with the left hand, not to mention reorienting your whole sense of visual perception.
The experience was also a memorable one in that it defies and negates the adage "old habits die hard." In other words, the "old" driving habits have to die really fast, or you - and others - will, literally. That's how urgent and instantaneous the whole change and switch had to be.

In hindsight, I believe that I and my passengers were just lucky. Either I must have not made a lot of illegal turns, or the NZers were able to tell that I was from the US and politely yielded, or I was not aware of all the sudden screeching stops around me at the intersections. LOL!


Romney: A [Good] Samaritan?

A Case for Mitt Romney's Singularity in the GOP Primary

The Republican Party, generally speaking, is and has been a party of those who worship conservative views - social, financial, political, and especially religious. Though some diversity has been woven into its fabric in recent years, its traditional and conservative base remains largely intact and delimited. Mainstream Christians are more Republican than Democrat. Hence Evangelicals, Baptists, Protestants, Methodists, Catholics, etc. gravitate politically to the Grand Old Party (GOP). It is this religious composition of the Republican Party that, ironically, has contributed to the stumbling block Romney is facing in the Primary elections.

Romney's religion (Mormonism) is still his Achilles heel in the 2012 race, even though it has become more hushed, glazed and suppressed than several months ago. Or has it? In Michigan, a week ago, a pastor who introduced frontrunner and rival Rick Santorum in one of his campaign events, hashed over the familiar epithet that "Romney is not a Christian." Another pastor/minister supporter of the said candidate in Florida recently said similar biased and bigoted comments.

According to the Christian conglomerate, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka LDS Church) is not a Christian church. What's ironic, at least in this case, is that some member churches in this Christian alliance have - and still to some degree - considered Santorum's Catholic Church an anomaly and an outsider too (re: Protestantism). The Catholic Church, however, has gradually initiated and assimilated itself into the alliance in recent decades.

Within this cloistered alignment, the LDS Church is marginalized, if not completely shunned and excluded. These mainstream Christians regard themselves as members of a select group of churches. The privileged and favored notion endorses and promotes the if-you're-not-with-us-you're-against-us mindset. Hence in their minds, Mitt Romney, though a highly qualified and moral candidate, is still a heretic and an infidel. He enters the race for president already handicapped and stigmatized by religious zealots. Though Romney's other flaws and negatives are attacked and scrutinized, his religion is still at the root of all the antagonism and opposition.

These prejudiced and often bigoted attitudes toward Romney - and the LDS Church - are reminiscent of the attitudes of the Jews towards the Samaritans in Biblical times.

Samaritans were outcasts and were treated as inferiors; they did not belong to the elect and aristocratic levels of society. Samaritans were outsiders and were ostracized accordingly.

AND YET, in some of Jesus' most prominent parables, the Savior casts the typical Samaritan in favorable depictions and in the mold of the more ideal Christian as well as a role model of a worthier and saintlike disciple.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Levite and the priest - representing the official members of the privileged group - ignore the injured traveler on the roadside. It is the Samaritan who stops and helps. He even takes the traveler to an inn and offers to pay his bill and for any accrued expenses. Also in the parable of the Ten Lepers, the only one of the ten who returns to thank Jesus, though somewhat abstruse, is a Samaritan. (Luke 17:16)

In both these, the virtues of good charitable deeds and compassionate actions are hailed and extolled over club membership - so to speak. It was the same falsehood for which Jesus rebuked the Jews when they touted their Abrahamic blood lineage as means to being an exempt and privileged group (re: Matthew 3:9; John 8:53-58). Another prominent Samaritan was the woman at the well - with Jesus - where the living water discourse was given.

The point is that the Christians, pastors and others employ intolerant, holier-than-thou, clannish and even hypocritical attitudes to ostracize and disparage Romney. And while the privileged, elite and chosen candidates enjoy, boast and flaunt their de facto status as de jure Christians even making claims that their campaigns and decisions to run are divinely sanctioned, Romney - "the Samaritan" - remains reserved, modest, unaffected and unassuming.

Mitt Romney
Moreover, in a somewhat different and near risible light, yet still relevant to the crux and context of this post, the Samaritan who helps the wounded traveler is obviously a rich person ( like Romney?). He pays for the accommodation, food and all the accruing expenses of the victim. Similarly, as Romney's financial disclosures reveal, he has given generously to his church (which, incidently, has one of the most remarkable humanitarian and charitable records of any organization) and to other charities. On the other hand, Rick Santorum admits that he gives little or nothing to charity; Gingrich does likewise. The breakdown of the trio's charitable donations is as follows: Santorum 1.76%, Gingrich 2.6% and Romney 14%.

Of course Romney - as one may argue - is a lot wealthier than Santorum and Gingrich, however, it can also be argued that Romney, too, can choose to give a lot less or nothing. Yet he still seems to be guided by the Christian principle: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required ...." (Luke 12:48, also Luke 12:57 JST)

I have no doubt that Romney's life is governed by the principle of service, like the Good Samaritan. There are several examples of this in Romney's life, but a couple is sufficient for support.

First was when he worked for three years as the CEO and head of the 2002 Winter Olympics, which were $380 million in the red when Romney was called to the rescue. The games became the most successful Olympics in modern times clearing a $100 million profit. How much was Romney paid for his help? $1.00 - yes, that's One Dollar.

Second, after the Olympics, he went on to win the gubernatorial seat in Massachusetts; he was the governor for one term (4 years). How much was he paid? Again, $1.00. Romney has also made a similar commitment if he becomes president that he will donate all his salary to charity. Romney views his errand as President of the United States (if he wins) as service to the American people - and others.

At this time when America is like the wounded traveler on the roadside needing help to recover from her economic wounds and woes, Romney stands to be America's Good Samaritan. He has the skills, experience, competence, qualifications and character to take on the challenge.

Romney is exemplary in living and performing the deeds of the Christian tenets, credo and faith - not just "professing and confessing." And though Romney may be a Samaritan outcast to most of mainstream Christians, he is the Good Samaritan who, to the Savior, was virtuous, noble, conforming and compassionate.

Just recently, an attendant at one of Romney’s campaign events asked him about his religion. Romney responded by recalling a time when he served as a local leader in the church and had
“...the occasion to work with people on a very personal basis that were dealing with unemployment, with marital difficulties, with health difficulties of their own and with their kids,"
the candidate explained. "Most Americans, by the way, are carrying a burden of some kind. We don't see it. We see someone on the street, they smile and say hello, but behind them they are carrying kind of a bag of rocks. It may be their own health difficulties. It may be concern about a job. It may be inability to pay for the home or the college they were hoping to pay for a child."

"When you get a chance to know people on a very personal basis, whether you're serving as a pastor or as a counselor or in other kinds of roles, you understand that every kind of person you see is facing some challenges," Romney continued. "And one of the reasons I'm running for president of the United States is I want to help people, I want to lighten those burdens."
To me, that sounds like something a good Samaritan would say, “I want to help people, I want to lighten those burdens.” So, again, all the more reason to view Romney as a Good Samaritan.


Unfortunate Cookies

I really love like Chinese. Food, that is. But I hate dislike the hard, dry, bland, mangled and bent-shaped complimentary treats. I hereby refer to these treats as Fortune Cookies! You know, the ones that come with predictions that either make you feel good about your prospects in life, or irritated and want to punch and cause much misfortune to the person who writes the sayings. Who writes them anyway? Fortune Cooks?

Ok, why the peeve with fortune cookies? Well, again, they’re bland, dry and hard. They’re tasteless - both the cookie and the fortune/saying, but especially the piece of paper. In case you haven’t noticed, the newer and more improved versions of the treat come with the tip of the piece of paper sticking out from one side of the cookie. Why? Apparently some people had been munching on the treat and suddenly find that there’s a piece of flimsy waxed paper in their mouths..hahaaa...  The mishap is often the result of assuming that everyone will crack open the cookie to read the fortune first. Truth is that there are still people who do not read, but eat their fortunes...inadvertently. It’s like chewing on a sticker while munching on an apple or other fruit from the store.
As for the fortune (saying) itself, though it’s usually inspirational and motivational, it can also become ambiguous at best and/or annoying or irritating at worst. If the “fortune cooks” want to be credible in their predictions, why don’t they write one that says “You will experience heartburn in the next two hours,” or this “You have just consumed more noodles in one hour than your deceased distant  uncle did in his lifetime.” (Unless of course your uncle was Italian and lived in Spaghettiville.)

And then there are those who collect the sayings/papers with compulsion, believing that their lives will be greatly enriched just by reading hundreds of them, and without any conscious effort and work on their part.

But sometimes the sayings are ambiguous or too general that they can be interpreted in a negative way. Instead of fortunes, they become misfortunes. Here’s one that I got in a more recent outing at an Asian restaurant: “Unveil your ideas, be ready to act on them.”  Wow. Do fortune cookie makers understand that maniacs, crooks, murderers, robbers, pshycos, etc. have access to these things? Do we really want a terrorist to “unveil and act on his ideas?”

Well, even for normal people (like me! ...hahaha) these fortunes can be depressing if not cryptic, annoying and contradictory. For example, there was this one: “A friend asks only for your time not your money,” True alright, and quite profound, unless you’re someone, like Bill Gates, who believes that time IS money. LOL!.

If there was a remote region of the universe where this fortune cookie business represents reality, one of the great possibilities then is the fact that a “misfortune” is likely better than a “fortune”. In other words, there can be more motivation in the negative than the positive. For example, when someone gets something like: “Next week you will be in jail,” I’m sure that person will try his best not to find himself in such a predicament. His actions will all be preemptively good and law-abiding. Right?  Welllll...hmmm...maybe ... until you get a saying like this -
then what? Don’t write any more, or keep writing? Well, let’s put it this way, if you have just read the above "misfortune," you’ve already proved it wrong.  LOL! ....

A trivia:  Name the things that you can both eat and deleat (delete).  Cookies!  Hahaa ...(This trivia is my own, not from a fortune cookie.)


Definitely A Red Flag

  ...and that’s red flag as in a warning or signal to stop.”

But this offensive, uncouth and perfidious act - of flying a replica of the US flag with Obama’s visage and next to the real one - is also a red flag within the seditious and traitorous political context of the color red, let alone for a flag, which is the standard symbol and representation of  Communism and Socialism.

 Yes, like this one.

Apparently unbeknownst to the imbecilic perpetrators - the Lake County Democratic Party headquarters in Tavares Florida - they are only enhancing and promoting Obama’s own Socialist views and ideas with their disgraceful act. What were they thinking?

Sorry but this has gone too far! This would make any average American, with a sound mind, want to throw up.

The act should certainly get flagged by the government and the courts.  This does fall outside the freedom of expression protection, which some Democrats and others will be quick to invoke.

Now, though the offensive flag has been taken down because of the protests of some war veterans, it still is an offensive act.

"In dictatorships, they have a picture of their dictator on some of the flags, but we haven't arrived at having a dictator, yet." ~ Don Van Beck, executive director of the Veterans Memorial

(Oh please don't give Stui any ideas about this.  Who knows, it may be the next change he will make, putting his picture on Samoa's flag ...LOL!)

God Bless America!