long gone…the wild, wild west…

Repeated several times on CNN news this morning were the compelling stories of American hostages being held by the government in North Korea, as well as by ISIS terrorists in Syria. Anyone listening to their pleas for release must feel compassion for them and for their loved ones back home. No one would want to trade places with either the captives or their families.

I must confess that while my immediate reaction is one of sympathy, there’s also a niggling feeling that Americans tend to take risks without sufficient thought as to the consequences. Yes, I’m sure they reflect upon the matter, but not enough to dissuade them from their course it seems. 

For better or worse, we Americans tend to think we can go anywhere, do anything. We rationalize our thinking by either following our God-given right to do so, or our sense of morality. Meanwhile, we don’t take into account that other cultures might feel the same way about their rights and moral obligations.

That I can understand the other side’s viewpoint is perhaps owing to the fact that the Hawaiian Islands, my birthplace, were annexed by the United States against the will of the reigning Monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, and the majority of natives. 

Of course the transaction was not a simple one. It never is. There was enough finger-pointing to go around. However, the Western businessmen who prodded the U.S. Congress and President Cleveland into making Hawaii a Republic had railed against the natives as being ignorant heathens unable to rule themselves. 

Of the 150,000 Hawaiian residents, fewer than 800 were allowed to vote for the ratification of the Republic of Hawaii.

“Why is that?” you ask.

King Kalakaua, the queen’s predecessor, was unable to secure the intervention of other foreign powers to help thwart the efforts of his opponents. He was forced to sign into law a constitution which required voters to own property. It became known as the Bayonet Constitution. According to the well-written book Princess Kaiulani, Hope of a Nation, Heart of a People by Sharon Linnea…

This effectively took the vote away from most native Hawaiians and gave it to virtually every Western businessman, even those who weren’t citizens. Why did so few Hawaiians own land? For centuries, Hawaiian land had been overseen by the alii and his people–the concept of owning land was completely foreign to Hawaiians. When Western businessmen had begun to want to own Hawaiian property (and reap Hawaiian sugar profits), land formerly governed by alii had been parceled out to the Hawaiian people. Native Hawaiians, often unable to read English, had had no understanding of how a piece of paper could mean that they “owned” mountains or lakes or coastland, and they had been happy to sell the deeds to Westerners for cash in hand. In this way, many Hawaiians had ended up homeless in their own country. Now, according to the new constitution, the Westerners had bought up votes along with the land. The running of the country would now be in their hands.

Yes. I have empathy for fellow Americans who find themselves in life or death situations. However my eyes are also open to those who might feel we are trespassing upon their territory, their religion, their culture. So the fact that our government must tread lightly when our citizens find themselves on hostile turf is not altogether unexpected. 

…the days of the wild, wild west…are no more.

………hugmamma.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

 

computer “catfish”

English: Photo of Notre Dame linebacker Manti ...

English: Photo of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o taken in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Media coverage of the Manti Te’o brouhaha continues to dominate the news. It’s up there with President Obama’s cabinet appointments, the resurgence of the Egyptian uprising against the government, and Apple’s tumble from atop Wall Street’s pyramid.

I cringe whenever the pundits recycle the Notre Dame star football player’s romance with a fictitious, Internet girlfriend.

Being from another time, another generation, it’s difficult to comprehend a serious, romantic relationship where the parties have never met in person, let alone embrace one another.

Call me old-fashioned.

The Dating Game

The Dating Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just as I’d prefer to try something on for size before buying it, I’d like to spend some time with a guy before taking him home to meet the folks.

My husband and I dated for 3 years before we got engaged. Early on in our relationship, I broke off with him. For a week I vacillated between committing or quitting. I’m sure I drove him crazy, calling every day to explain my dilemma. Even as my best friend, he couldn’t counsel me as to what I should do.

Obviously, I stayed. Four decades later we’re still in love…and still best friends.

Computer dating can work. My daughter’s friend is a prime example. She struck gold on the first try. Her eharmony match is now her husband.

On the flip side, there’s catfishing. 

A malicious by product of the Internet, catfishing draws an unwary user into an intricately created web of deception. A mountain of lies ensures the victim’s entrapment. But like a house built of cards, the inevitable happens…it all comes tumbling down.

English: Native Hawaiian schoolchildren around...

English: Native Hawaiian schoolchildren around 1900. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being a native Hawaiian, I can’t help but wonder if native folks are more susceptible to being bushwhacked? Are we so gullible as to let others usurp our land…our hearts?

…manti te’o…in love with a computerized woman…daft? or dumb?

………hugmamma.

not for everyone…

Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul is where I share opinions, thoughts, feelings, helpful hints, recipes, life experiences…all meant to uplift, to give hope, to empathize, and above all, to entertain.

 Mine is not a political blog. Although I am oft-times moved by current affairs to write what I feel about something of particular concern to me. I don’t propose that others should subscribe to my way of thinking. We are, after all, a society of free thinkers with free will, are we not?

I respect that others can voice their own opinions. And I invite them to establish their own means of doing so.

 Hugmamma’s Mind, Body, and Soul is not the appropriate platform for others’ rants and raves, political or otherwise. So this is to advise that any such comments will not be read or published.

I appreciate your readership, but do not welcome conversations of a harsh nature. I will not engage in them for they only serve to stress and demoralize.

Argument for the sake of argument is definitely not my “cup of tea.” Life is too short…and too full of hope to dwell on negativity.

The internet overflows with sites that thrive upon doing verbal battle, until someone cries “uncle.” I heartily encourage those desirous of locking horns to search out others of the same ilk.

…in fact…i insist…

………hugmamma.

“fudging” the truth to sell a book?

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

It’s heady stuff to be published, but downright phenomenal when a writer’s book lays the proverbial “golden egg.” Greg Mortenson seems to be the goose whose Three Cups of Tea was the egg that got laid. And as it turns out, it might have been really worth a “goose egg,” pun intended.

On Sunday evening, I watched CBS60 Minutes where journalist Jon Krakauer was featured as the man who brought down Mortenson’s “house of cards.” An early believer in the author’s tale, Krakauer eventually learned from a former boardmember of Mortenson’s charity, that all was not right with how it was being run. Furthermore the book itself is suspect because not all the details are based upon fact, or if they are, they did not occur as he described.

Greg Mortenson in Afghanistan 3500ppx

Image via Wikipedia

Three Cups of Tea tells how Mortenson lost his way in a mountain-climbing trip in Pakistan in 1993. He was with a companion who disputes the events as told in the book. According to the author, he was revived by the village people of Korphe. As a result of their compassionate efforts on his behalf, Mortenson decided to undertake the construction of schools for children in the area. He also tells of being kidnapped by the Taliban on a return trip. Photographs in the book show him in garb like the men who surround him. One picture even shows the author holding up a rifle. “Sixty Minutes” spoke with some of these supposed kidnappers, one being an Islamic intellectual who has himself penned many books. These men insist they are not Taliban, nor did they kidnap Mortenson. Rather they were enlisted to show him the surrounding countryside. It was his desire to build other schools for the children of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

While Krakauer does not detract from Mortenson’s initial humanitarian motives, the journalist takes issue with the author’s inability to justify the inaccuracies that have since surfaced. It seems Mortenson has used in excess of a million dollars of funds donated for his charity, the Central Asia Institute, to promote his book. Less than that amount has gone towards the Institute’s work. His accounting of the monies used is found lacking in specifics. Traveling from city to city for book-signings has sometimes occured via private jet. Meanwhile, the schools that were suppose to be built, have either not been constructed, or stand empty of any occupants. Others that are operating, have not received a penny from the charity in years.

Since the late-70s, 60 Minutes' opening featur...

Image via Wikipedia

Sixty Minutes’ Steve Croft was unsuccessful in getting Mortenson to speak on camera. He refused. He continued to maintain his silence when Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal sent an email asking for a comment for his article “Publisher Plans to Vet Memoir With Author.” On his charity’s website, Mortenson states that he is due to have “heart surgery later this week and when he recovers he will ‘come out fighting for what is right and just, and be able to talk to the media.’ ”

Meanwhile Mortenson’s publisher, Viking, maintains their praise of the author’s philantrophic efforts, but have registered their concerns saying that ” ’60 Minutes’ is a serious news organization.” So there could be a recall of the work, or the addition of an author’s note to later editions of the book. Krakauer who had donated $75,000 to the Central Asia Institute in its initial heyday, has now written his own lengthy account of Mortenson’s book, entitled Three Cups of Deceipt: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way.

On Forbes.com, writer Michael Humphrey covers the ongoing debate as to the facts of Mortenson’s book. After reviewing Mortenson’s mumbo-jumbo about the discrepancies put forth in the “60 Minutes” documentary, Humphrey sides with Krakauer’s rational dilineation of what really took place.

Mortenson abandoned his attempt on K2. He trekked down from the mountain in the company of three companions: his American friend and climbing partner Scott Darsney; his Balti porter, Mouzafer; and Darsney’s porter, Yakub. According to each of  these companions, the four men walked together into Askole, whereupon they immediately hired a jeep to take them to the city of Skardu, the district capital. When they drove out of the mountains, Darsney assured me, Mortenson “didn’t know Korphe existed.”

Krakauer’s book then deftly explains how Mortenson came to learn of Korphe a year later, rescinded a promise to build a school in Askole, invented the story of his Taliban abduction, and went on to found an organization that one former board treasurer says Mortenson considers “a personal ATM.”

And so Humphrey states:

In yesterday’s post, I was generous with Mortenson, a well-intentioned man who I thought might have lost his way as a storyteller and organizer. I thought with a good rebuttal, there was a ray of hope for his organization. Krakauer’s book dispels that notion.

power of the written word…opium for some…hugmamma.

Greg Mortenson signing books at the American L...

Image via Wikipedia

egyptians, no different

I haven’t as yet delved into what the media is printing about the current Egyptian uprising. I only know what I see and hear on TV. At the moment, until things resolve themselves one way or the other, it’s a lot of information to digest. Trying to decipher what I think of everything isn’t something I can wrap my brain around right now. The outcome of their fate ultimately rests in the hands of the Egyptians themselves, from the top politico to the peon in the street.

The one thought that runs through my mind is that because of technology, a combination of television, computers, mobile devices, the internet and its myriad of tools, people around the world, living in hovels or palaces, can witness what occurs in other countries. And like snapshots retained in our memories, what we see can fester in our subconsciences for a long time, until we decide to act upon them.

It’s my personal feeling that both President Obama and the Tea Party Movement have been catalysts in what we are now witnessing in Egypt and Tunisia. While there are those who disagree, I think the President has shown himself to be a champion of the middle and lower classes. From health care reform embracing 13,000,000 Americans without insurance to speaking up for better education for the less fortunate, he has shown himself to be the son of a woman who died of cancer while fighting for health insurance coverage.

The Tea-Partiers have successfully shown millions at home and abroad, that the masses can unite via the internet to unseat politicians, replace them with candidates of their choosing, and ultimately, influence government decisions. Heady stuff for a movement started by 2 Atlanta housewives, Amy Kremer and Jenny Beth Martin, strangers to one another, who were stewing over the economic downturn and its negative impact upon their lives. (My post of 11/3/10, “two housewives,”founders of tea party movement”.) Power to the people has never been more overwhelmingly proven than in what these 2 ordinary citizens initiated, to have it become the Tea Party Movement as we know it today, a force with which to be reckoned.

History has proven time and again, that people will rise up to challenge whom they perceive as their oppressors. We who enjoy the benefits of an American democracy can do so far more rationally than countries ruled by dictators. We can protest without provoking full-out civil war. I think we learned our lesson a long time ago under another president I admire, Abraham Lincoln. He too was not a favorite of all Americans, but he did the best he could, according to the principles in which he believed, one being that all people, including slaves, should live freely.

The Egyptians, and Tunisians, want to choose how to live their own lives. Like us they want to earn a living, provide for their families, take pleasure in small things, and give their children hope for a better future. Not so much to ask for really. In fact, they just want what we Americans already enjoy.

I may have oversimplified the unrest that rages in the Middle East. But sometimes the experts complicate matters by interjecting too much hyperbole. I’m not an expert, just an ordinary housewife who understands that people like me just want to make a decent life for our families. Not a big deal really, but, in fact, it is a really big deal when we’ve only got one chance to live our best lives.

people the world over want the same things…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…hugmamma.

good samaritan #3

No story is too small for me to share about someone doing good.

On the local news, there was a report that flames from a wildfire demolished an apartment complex. No deaths were reported, fortunately, but the tenants’ belongings were all lost in the fire.

Hearing of the devastation, Chloe, a young girl of 9 or 10, took it upon herself to gather necessities for the victims. Tomorrow she will be accepting donations for “Fire Victim Relief,”  in her front yard.

another upstanding citizen in the making…hugmamma.

good samaritan #2

I’ve been encouraged by a friend to share uplifting stories about “good samaritans,” since they’re not reported as widely as news detailing human frailty and immorality. 

On the local news tonight there was a story about a dog that had been badly mistreated by strangers. It seems they had wound rip cords around a front leg and a hind leg. When discovered, the one on the front leg was able to be removed; unfortunately the other had been wound so tightly, that the hind leg was irreparable and had to be amputated. Not having the funds, the dog’s owners tried raising the money by selling off items that were personal treasures. The mother sold her wedding ring, saying it was worth less than the canine companion who greeted her when she walked through the door, and who accompanied her when she went swimming. The son, 9 or 10 years old, peddled his most popular video games door to door in his neighborhood.

Hearing the plight of the dog and its owners on the news, callers from around the country rang the vet performing the surgery, offering donations to cover the $3,000 price tag.

small story, big reward…hugmamma.