ILLEGAL ALIENS

My husband came into the kitchen yesterday morning bearing fruit and organic tea for the breakfast he often makes for just the two of us. It’s one of my favorites; homemade gluten-free oatmeal with brown maple sugar, raisins and pecans. Sometimes it varies, add blueberries, strawberries, coconut sugar instead of brown maple, no matter, it is a labor of love by my Sweetie who thoroughly enjoys the making of this gift he often gives.

As he was doing so, he’s finishing up a phone con with someone who is currently enamored with the likes of Trump. ‘Trump is going to handle all those ‘illegal aliens’ and those’ Islamic terrorists”. Words fly back and forth as my Sweetie mentions the $3 per half-gallon orange juice and illegal aliens working for $2 per hour so that the price of brick homes in Texas remains sinfully low as compared to their equivalent counterparts in the north and north-east.  All of the unfairness in our society  that we accept in employing illegal Latino aliens (here in the Southwest – the reference often refers to those from Mexico) at unlivable wages so we can purchase cheaper and better. So here’s the thing; if everyone realizes this – then why are they screaming about jobs taken by illegal aliens? Virtually no citizen takes these jobs, they would go lacking – no one works for less than minimum wage which is Texas is set currently at 7.25 per hour.

Trump and others say the illegal Mexican alien population is composed mostly of criminals and rapists and that our borders are currently overrunning with people trying to sneak in, rape and  murder us and steal our way of life. According the November 2015 article, More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S. from the online Pew Research Center, more Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. as opposed to those who have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession. So why the fear when the numbers are dropping and the price of orange juice and housing in the southern and southwestern states remain relatively low? I often think the ‘obvious’ may be the answer; false perceptions by the more vocal ‘low brows’ among us? Yet that may not be all there is.

I certainly don’t believe that most illegal aliens are of the class of criminals that Trump and the rest of the low brows believe. I also believe most reasonable people would agree with me. No one risks their life or the lives of their loved ones to go through dangerous landscapes, just to live in sub standard housing and risk arrest and deportation. The struggle to survive and hope is what leads most here to the US, even in the face of our hopelessly screwed up immigration policies. No low brow considers this.

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Bullying in the workplace; part 3 and conclusion.

I had never thought of the ramifications of just how PTSD can affect a person. Somehow, I always connected it with war, environmental disasters, mass trauma (plane crashes, etc.). Much of what was said in part 2 of this series, happened to me as well, uncanny as it seemed to me at the time. In short, there is much I felt, said and experienced that I can now summarize;

  1. Isolation and Aloneness. Some of my work colleagues, who were formerly  friendly and supportive, seemed to melt away as the situation continued.
  2.  Why Me? What had I done other than have a high degree of sociability. Bringing, at my own expense, snacks, bagels, breakfast breads, making sure someone at work got a group gift, helping with other projects even when overworked myself. When my customer at times, gave me upfront drawings and information I knew would be of use to my group – I made sure it made it to everyone  (though with no thanks and not without some resentment). Often times providing an engineering solution, so that the engineer himself often claimed the solution as his own. I made my share of mistakes – owning up to all of them, even the ones, in which I  lost control while feeling backed into a corner. My going away luncheon at my previous job was a large semi rowdy affair in which I felt guilty about leaving my compadres and my boss, of whom I am still good friends with. I was accustomed to getting along with others in every job I had.
  3. DENIED INFORMATION/KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY FOR UNDERTAKING AND COMPLETING WORK AND ACHIEVING OBJECTIVES. Every organization employs multiple talents; professionals to accomplish the goals of the organization. There is always an agreement or set of agreements that a new employee signs to commit him/herself to the goals of the group working towards a goal/set of goals. The fact that I was excluded, prevented and denied much of the information that I sorely needed to complete my analyses, meant that I often had to spend a larger amount of time questioning engineers from other sites working on a similar product or dig through archival and finally conduct significant internet searches and obtain memberships in external databases – all of this was about the worst of my concerns as I struggled for the last 2  years of my tenure to obtain the information that was rightfully due to be shared with every member of the engineering group. My boss had no idea just how much was being deliberately being withheld by several of the design engineers not only from me but from others who then choose to leave very shortly after coming on board. I did ask him to support me several times early on in obtaining drawings, let me in on discussions and spending time with the designers so my questions could be answered. He may have tried but nothing came of it. I became adept at locating the sites of the design files, and for about a year, enjoyed some good lead time on getting the information I needed. However, there was one engineer, the self-serving T Rex, who kept his files on his own hard drive. This was the guy who made my boss look like the fool he raged about behind his back.
  4. Denied resources and managerial support.
  5. I was often overloaded with work, eventually having responsibility increased and  my authority removed and given “the silent treatment”. My manager often failed to communicate and at times avoided eye contact (I’ve heard this to be an indicator of an abusive relationship). Eventually, much of the time, instructions were received only via email, or with a succession of visits during the day from the chief toady, program manager.
  6. Work goals changed without notice or reason.
  7. I was often subjected to unwarranted, destructive criticism.
    Attempts were often made at encouraging me to feel guilty,to believe I was always the one at fault, especially when facts were hidden and kept from the director (my boss). I was often told to not bother defending myself. Previous accomplishments done  before the bullying set in were ridiculed, dismissed and forgotten.
  8. When isolation went full swing, I was  frequently subjected to nit-picking and trivial fault-finding. The triviality of it all totally missed my boss who likely believed it and blew it up in his own head. Trivial grammar errors on my own reports, which could have been edited out in mutual reviews (I did this all the time) were thrown under my nose (on red marked paper copies) and reported to my boss. A Qual Test report, I was asked to undertake (despite my own burgeoning workload) in order to help out a design engineer, complaining of overwork and on which I had made just one error, was ridiculed and reported to my boss as inferior work. The MINOR error was corrected and the Qual test was appropriated under this engineer’s name who then received credit for it.
  9.  All of the (above) excessive nit-picking, stealing of credit, and name calling (yes there was that too – in a couple of meetings where I was not in attendance) reveals an absence of any serious concern about the true quality of my work of which the customers were always pleased.
  10. In short, for the last 2 years of my employment, I was subjected to excessive monitoring, supervision, micro-management, recording, snooping etc; by the self-appointed group sociopath program manager with his two team toadies. I was undermined, especially in front of others and behind my back. Concerns were often raised,  doubts about my performance and standard of work. When the boss – investigated, which happened once, the concerns and doubts were found to lack substance. Ridicule, patronization, disparaging remarks in front of the customer;
    personal remarks and the worst of all; contributing work and suggestions were plagiarised and presented as someone else’s work.
    I felt imprisoned and untalented and I with the PhD in physics, fluent in 2 languages, a former researcher and violinist came to believe what my own boss said to me in front of others, that I could not apply myself – I lacked the skills. After I left and began treatment, my counselor pointed out why such people do what they do, the motivation being very different from that of the school play ground bully. I had been the threat to them, imagined or not and the list of links below sums it right up:

I had been exposed to the deepest end of what a human can sink to, e.g; those individuals with utterly callous disregard for the safety and wellbeing of the people around you and their futures, the selfish and self-serving, and so hopelessly to those individuals who are believed to constitute almost 20% of any population; the Psychopath. It changed my life, I recovered and went on, turning down those offers to do the engineering work I had done before, despite those few years being the only time in an otherwise successful career of 15 years of engineering work. I went back into research, cloud physics – publishing a fine paper in a prestigious journal, supplementing my income with consulting sales, and we (Jim and myself) traveled. I re-tuned by going back to the kindly and spiritual Jewish community of which I had loved being part of and whom welcomed me back with open arms and heart! Jim and I went into the hot field of dog rescue and transport – and I have reached back to Discover Nova to initiate the Dallas Fort Worth area Science Cafe’s starting late Fall 2016! ( after I become the new bionic woman with titanium joint replacements!).

Time is a true healer but only if one can learn to walk away in grace.

A little post script here; I ended up with a nice layoff package. Approximately two weeks later, I was contacted via LinkedIn by a human resources manager at AB*, the prime contractor of the customer (MB*) mentioned above, with an invitation to interview for a position within their engineering services group. According to a witness, who happened to be a friend of mine, my boss had told both companies that I was assigned to another project and would be working in the background on the current contract. One of the engineers from MB, with whom I had worked closely with and who had become more of a friendly colleague due to our mutual interest in Reliablity systems engineering, called me at home, asking why was I taken ‘off project’ as Scoot had said. I said I was no longer with the company but laid off. He was furious.

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Dulce de leche filled cookies

Dulce de leche bought from the shops is good, but the stuff you make yourself is even better. This silky South American treat is made by cooking sweetened condensed milk at a very low temperature f…

Source: Dulce de leche filled cookies

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In the Workplace; part 2

As I mentioned in the previous post, I left  a’toxic’ work situation  in 2011. To be fair to those who had also had experienced the same violations of rights, the same loss of security and the absolute loss of hope while being exposed to such behavior, I  felt it was time that I opened a venue for them to come forward and speak. I wanted them to know that they were not alone and that much of the business atmosphere in which this occurs is not worth reflecting back upon, other than to know what to avoid in a future job search.

I also mentioned that names of people and organizations are changed to preserve anonymity. It should be enough for my blog readers to know that what they read is true to the best of my knowledge as I have no reason to believe that someone telling their story to me (via email and conversation) would lie (on one interview, a box of kleenex came in  handy). Oh and by the way – when you see this, ‘*’  *Names changed to prevent identification.

Lynnette*speaks:

Much had happened in the 4 years I was employed as a systems engineer working  for an aerospace engineering hydraulic  parts company in Southern California. At first, I loved my job and as long as I could haul my violin with me, kept daily contact with my hubby and famiy and was sufficiently respected on the job, I felt I was on the top of the world.

The first two years went well, I received a good review and had an excellent relationship with the man (I’ll call him Scofield* – name changed) who hired me, of whom I admired very much. I worked for one of his supervisors, Terry* who was a talented engineer and mentor.

I first noticed that things were amiss or not quite right in Scofield’s organization when one of the program managers, Ed*, began a campaign of slander and harassment against Terry. This campaign started with  accusations of ‘incompetence’ and ‘stupidity’ (these words were actually used) and attempts to elicit co-conspirators to undermine and report Terry to Scofield for minor offenses, one example being one or two typos in a well written report (reviewed by Ed and when using a spellchecker, should have just corrected without comment).  I stood up for Terry and asked Ed numerous times to stop the name calling and leave me alone. Terry was after all, my supervisor, a good engineer and helpful when I needed assistance. In the end, Terry resigned, brokenhearted and frustrated that his friend, ‘Scofield’ had held him for responsible for something that had been the fault of Ed’s and based on yet another on another of Ed’s lies.

Ed was relentless and what startled me was that despite a rather repugnant reputation with a number of other internal groups, customers, and inside the factory; for some reason, he had the ear and respect of upper management, the President, the VPs (except for one), the General Manager and of course, the Engineering director, Scofield. These men – these fools, were genuinely hoodwinked by Ed, and as the years passed, what added to the incredulity of the whole situation, was that his two primary subjects of ridicule weren’t necessarily his ‘marks’ or targets upon whom he and his toadies waged a daily war of lies, ridicule, insults and degrading remarks, but the engineering director himself -Scofield and the CEO,  Christof*. I’m not sure if Ed was ever invited to Scofield’s home  but it seems he had been to Christof’s home and he would describe it with relish, the furnishings, the daughters, what he ate. Ed could be downright trashy in what came to look like a wishful white-trashy approach to  his daily interactions, yet he was adept at clamming it shut just at the right moments.

Ed also knew and mentioned the poor corporate executive compensations, how Scofield was the doormat to the higher up execs and didn’t fight for his people. Ed and his cronies including another ‘incompetent’ (Ed’s words) program manager, Stu*, were fond of miring themselves in not only day to day gossip, but throwing others ‘under the bus’ for minor infractions, slamming the customer, advertising the mistakes of others, insulting a fellow employee around a customer and scenario setup

Harassment and bullying were a way of life for Ed. One of my least fondest memories and at the time, what would come to be one of my most feared weekly encounters (occurred mostly on Wednesday mornings) was when he would approach me, usually in the morning between 9 and 10 am, informing me that he had:

  1. told the engineering group to not answer my questions. They didn’t have the time to do so.
  2. told Fhuc*, the engineering lead to not release that latest drawings on certain hydraulic parts, as he did not want me to have a completed report ahead of the group.
  3. held back my reports to the customer to check for ‘typos’. When I rechecked and found no errors (typos), he replied that it was not fair that my reports go ahead of the rest of the group reports which were late.
  4. more of number 1
  5. chastised me for learning ‘end use’ Catia and Solidworks so that I could edit engineering drawings within my reports, said it was “..not right to steal engineering responsibilities from the engineers”. I was to leave it to the engineers who, when asked later to make the edits, refused to do it, reporting me to Scofield and Ed (LOL – the gall of it!), saying that I was trying to get them to do my work.
  6. …the list goes on

Ed was also fond of reminding me that Scofield had a poor memory for those who backed him up and supported him in the most trying of situations. In other words, nothing I had done in past to work hard and do my job well, to be helpful to others, to support Scofield, the rest of the department and the company, meant anything, in the face of what he had to say and dictated.

I only learned years later, that this pattern of behavior, is set into motion by management and management alone. It is often the case that there is a clear reason why the management of an organization promotes or allows workplace harassment to occur. Within our group, it looked like this; Scofield like many other beleaguered junior level executives,  lacked the effective communication skills necessary to compel executive management to lend him the proper resources and monies needed to effectively  run his organization. If he had been able to obtain these resources and help, we could have met engineering development deadlines with all design and safety/reliability requirements completed.

He often carried himself as if his personal life mean’t nothing and as Ed put it- his daughters were his biggest problems, with an ‘illegitimate’ grandchild that shamed him to no end and the inability of either of his girls to hold decent jobs and finish school confounding him to no end. He had been a smart man – much to be proud of with an engineering degree and a state Professional liscence as well. However, Scofield like the rest of his counterparts was nothing exceptional – he had not attended a rigourous engineering school or nor did he come from an exceptionally talented family – he was an engineer among other engineers. His ideas of success were at one time bragging about bringing in a million in sales during his tenure at a small company in Yakima , Wa.  What he didn’t seem to know was how pathetic he looked bragging about this rather lean accomplishment to  a physicist from a talented and accomplished background and family who’s husband, a rising excutive in a fortune 500 company , happened to bring in 7 figure sales on a regular basis, while positively affecting global markets in the Americas. But then, he likely knew there was much more going on as his two most talented  and most devoted engineers pulled away from him while the engineering group came under the control of two very experienced sociopaths;  Ed and Stu. 

I imagine the frustration of it made him feel ineffective and helpless as a manager. He, himself was often bullied by the customer and the executives and as a result he was perfectly willing to assuage his own feelings of inferiority and helplessness by aligning himself with the well-known sociopath, Ed, one who had for years operated unchecked within the company and was virtually unemployable elsewhere.

Having to relay this is tiring – I have moved on, but I do want to say that the whole situation was the most horrific I had experienced. Continued ‘subtle’, if you could call them that,  harassments included appropriation of my desktop materials such as 3 monitors, mouse pointers, pens and the small engineering books from the library I was accumulating for Scofield that stayed resident at my desk by his request. I would always come back from my resident state into my part of a cubicle, and find that my office chair had been replaced and set askew, with a broken handled office chair. If I tried to appropriate much needed equipment via proper channels after an engineer resigned, I was given hateful looks. 

One can’t conclude without a proper warning of a millennial ‘entitled’ little sleaze bag that apparently now permeates the Apple offices up in Cupertino , California. T-Rex was his nickname,, his pretentious parents having given him the formal name of Rex Tyford’ or maybe it was Tyford Rex. When I say ‘little’ I actually speak more of his absolutely vomitus and stupid character, he was quite tall – well over 6 feet and not even close to average looking, downright homely looking in a weird sort of way. T-Rex  was much like scofield, in that he was fond of making stupid comments based on something he had incomplete knowledge of  often, and often in front of the customer.  He had been receiving much help from me as well as others on a single assignment, a valve manifold , that he was given during his entire time there. Most of the time he spent playing music and wandering around the factory, so when it came time to doing deliverables, Scofield, who had not figured it out, even with this jerk, would impel some of us to assist.

I recalled receiving only one ‘thank you’ from him. He was a favorite toadie of Ed’s after Fhuc. Ed mistakenly believed T Rex to be from a wealthy family who owned a computing services company. T Rex had attended private  secondary schools, impressing Ed and Scofield to no end. But there was “a lot to hide from decent folks with that family”*, who had left Wyoming in the previous decade after going bankrupt over criminal actions in business and product dealings. Rex Sr retooled his dealings near LA, as a ‘woman owned’ disadvantaged business under his wife’s name, and proceeded to raise a couple of young sociopaths, namely T Rex whom along with one of his siblings, had an underage ajudication list of juvenile defenses from driving drunk to animal torture. Now how did I know all this?  Believe me – it was literally ‘dropped’ in my lap by the daughter of a retired police officer who lived near these dysfunctionals, warning me to stand clear of  ‘T Rex the El Cajon repeat offender.

It is amazing what one lives and works with in society these days. Finding out about these 2 psychopaths was creepy enough to make me sick. It was bad enough to loose absolute trust and confidence in Scofield whom I had once trusted and admired, however it was impossible to accept working with a T Rex sociopath of that gruesome a character, so I ramped up my job search. A few weeks later, Scofield moved me into a layoff, which was a pleasant thing to have happen, even though I was  not to receive another job until 3 weeks later. The HR people were well informed of what was going on within the engineering department with the high voluntary turnover, and I was given a very nice layoff package. I also realize that my final treatment is not normally in line with what is usually given to the victims of a work place bully who often end up struck, run out of the building, or denied any layoff assistance whatsoever.

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BULLYING IN THE WORKPLACE; your two cents

I have tried to start this topic multiple times, yet never seemed to get around to finishing up, as most of my blog posts tend to run along the lines of discovery, positivism and coming up; complaints and political rantings of my own that I feel may better serve others.

I left a toxic work situation in 2011 via a very nice layoff package from a small aerospace subsidiary of a larger (though not so prominant) US corporation. In retrospect, I credit the highly principled HR Rep who handled the layoff, with saving my sanity during that time and many times before. In most scenerios or cases where I have read about involving HR, it was often not recommended to do so. Obviously, my experience with this Rep was different.

But I stop here, before I add my experience later, to put out a general invitation to those who have something to say on this topic. Why am I doing this? This experience, more than any other in my life gave me the largest insight into not only the behavior but the scale of just how far a member of society at large, can express themselves in the workplace arena. The other reason; my health became compromised from overwork and job stress during the last year and a half of employment resulting in PTSD, something I thought one only received from time spent on a battlefield. It is here I stop and extend my invitation;

If you have a workplace harrassment/bullying story to tell, feel free to email me at the email address mentioned in line 3 below. This article will span several posts and anyone who chooses, can relay their own story for posting as well. The posts ground rules are:

  1. Author (that’s you) & anonymous location – general mention such as city or metropolitan area
  2. Company identity and involved persons – anonymous names
  3. Write me your story at dlinworld@gmail.com. Subject line: wordpress bully post contribution.

We’ll take it in one or more posts. Mine is likely to take two!

Thank you!

Deborah

 

Some Resources:

Workplace Bullying and American Employment Law: A Ten-Year Progress Report and Assessment

WorkPlace Bullying .org

How To Deal With A Workplace Bully: Advice For Victims, Bosses And Coworkers

 

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A Rather Thoughtful Blog

I came across an article from the blog; There’s an Elephant in the Room blog in my WordPress reader yesterday; Vegan and vegetarian – why they are not similar. For those of you unfamiliar with the reader – it is a daily internal newsreel for wordpressers.

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Two cows awaiting slaughter, comforting each other. This is a well publicized photo by Ed Wray which appears on a number of blogs, social media and news.

I am, these days, a woefully failed vegetarian. I may choose vegetarian options most of the time, but lately, it’s been a bigger setback for me. The consequences,  arthritis flare-ups are now a daily occurrence, yucky changes in ‘number two’ outputs, weight is back up after going down. Yet this isn’t the worst, a new kind of numbness has set in which I believe has exacerbated my depression over the recent death of our son. Numbness and depression do go hand in hand, believe it or not, whether numbness sets in ahead of or after a depressive episode.

Oh, now the article. I amazed, just gleaning through the blog, about how detailed and thorough these pieces are. She/He, though I suspect a she is writing; relates some aspects, in particular this article’s sections; ‘The light bulb moment’, ‘Vegetarian/vegan’, ‘Walking on the wild side’, etc. What struck me was the section; ‘Who isn’t protected by vegetarianism’. She relates a ‘not an exhaustive list’ of what vegetarianism does not protect in the animal world and all of it is common sense and makes sense. I am struck at how far I am stuck in the first consideration; the industrial farm animal.  As to sound vegan choices when purchasing hair and makeup products, I can give myself credit, but with shoes and clothes, I don’t push it enough. With my funky feet and their required orthotics, I have occasionally done a serious search, but still have far to go. So foot and knee pain and social pressure have dictated my menu choices recently. Eating chicken, fish, cow, or bison, I have forgotten those hells on earth – the slaughterhouses, where trembling, sick and wild with terror; screaming and sobbing innocents are driven by merciless, soulless human killers with blows, kicks and electric prods through the stench of blood and the hanging gutted bodies of their fellow beings to that final horrific dismemberment and death to become neat, generically packed shelves of breast and thigh meats, london broils and ribbeyes; leather sofas, purses and of course, orthotic shoes.

On our march from the first anatomically human to rise up on the savannahs, we think we have become the crowning species of the planet, claiming ourselves to be the only sentient worthy of a right to life, all the while enslaving and murdering on a scale unimaginable in nature, those creatures other than us and many times, our own. We tout nature as “red in tooth and claw”, yet nature has yet to remotely approach the human ability for refined, industrialized and horrific animal torture, enslavement and murder for the purposes of non-essential food, entertainment and unnecessary adornment. Our need for bloodletting cannot be understated. We regularly ignore what nature is trying to say about our bodies – our species, with the growing prevalence of lactose intolerance individuals, our disrupted intestinal health and the concurrent rise in auto-immune diseases. The list goes on …

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Dead Stuff

Since viewing a Discovery channel’s documentary on the latest findings with King Tut, I’ve had a serious fascination with dead stuff. It is telling that much can be gleaned from the tissues and bones of dead people. In addition, it seems that young Tut wasn’t the media hyped athletic, handsome young pharaoh who expired from broken leg complications resulting from a fall in a chariot race. Genetic analysis says his short life, the result of 2 generations of incestuous brother-sister marriage, was plagued with defects; a club foot, facial deformities, poor health, a limp, and two daughters born prematurely, unable to survive the 3 rd generation of inbreeding. Analysis of his bones demonstrate that he likely expired from an infection which set in after a leg fracture. So much can be told from surroundings and placement of bones, bodies, mineral content, etc..

It’s all really fascinating, BBC’s Walking with Cavemen, Nova’s Becoming Human.. to name two. Go to YouTube and you’ll really find it all! And then there’s the BBC’s documentaries on the examination of Richard the Third’s skeleton, the bones of ancient battles, and the bones of middle age people. Much of what we believe is true that in the past, life was short and brutish, but it was not always the case that people did not care for their seriously ill companions. For example, the examination of a skeleton belong to a 40+ year woman revealed she suffered from leprosy, likely from an early age, but was cared for until she died.  She could not have possibly survived on her own in the elements due to the ravages of the disease. She lived in a community, where she cared for throughout her life despite the abhorrence and fear of leprosy.

So true to form, I have come across a gem of a blog; Bones Don’t Lie, by Katy Meyers Emery, a PhD grad student specializing in mortuary anthropology at Michigan State University. The entire site is a compendium, a treasury of everything related to death in the past and present. Now this is a broad statement; virtually everything is related to death as all life reaches that state eventually. Inanimate objects such as rocks, buildings and bicycles filling that bill as well through weathering – natural entropy. From Big Foot to the Leprosarium of Saint-Thomas D’Aizier, medical history, the social, demographic, and ethical implications of  disease, giant creäture myths, population movements, wars, etc., can be derived from the study of the bones of people and the animals they lived with and ate. The blog seems to start as a boilerplate, yet goes on and on via ‘links to’. It should be a book, a great book – it be her dissertation. My favorites from her site and linking to: WHO DIED IN THE LEPROSARIUM OF SAINT-THOMAS D’AIZIER?,  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: IS THERE ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF BIGFOOT? (PART I), and THE EARLIEST EXAMPLE OF DECAPITATION AND WHY ARCHAEOLOGISTS SHOULD LEARN TO DRAW.

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The Fig Tree; that is the one that resides in Flower Mound , Tx..

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photograph by S. A. Fifer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.Based on a work at http://www.a-single-serving.com.

Our 17 foot tall (my conservative estimate) Brown Turkey Fig Tree is about 11 years old and a survivor in real terms of occasional past  screw-ups of my own and often times – sheer neglect. But since 2011, under our solicitous and loving care, it has been a loyal and generous tree; often allowing us to generously gift others with fig preserves, awesome tasting Fig Hamentaschen during Purim, and of course, prove to others the knowledge that a true fig is really not that tasteless unripe fruit one buys in the grocery stores. To see a person’s face after they’ve tasted a ripe fresh fig is a somewhat joyous event, akin to moving back in time over a hundred years when people ate real food, knew where it came from, and enjoyed it enough to not over eat. The picture above, by the way, is by S.A. Fifer showing you what a ripening turkey fig tree looks like.

My beautiful tree stands in testament to the fact that in the end, nature always wins, no matter how hard we misunderstand it, damage it, and plow it under, all the while screwing up the atmosphere and climate to our own demise. If the damage is not fundamentally out of scale such that a resetting takes place with new species, Nature often finds  ways to heal itself, whether it does so with each creature, or plants, or perhaps entire species. Oceans and air benefit

My tree is wisdom in and of itself, wiser than me and still teaching me. I mentioned past screwups – here’s one for you; about 3 years ago, I shared the fruits of my tree with many others, the local possum family, a couple of raccoon brothers, wasps, moths, and of course, birds, tons of birds. With all this sharing, we had enough to gather, to eat, to make jellies, and to give to friends. I just got irritated with the birds, thinking it better to  have a bit more for us and to not have to put up with all of the bird shit and the bi-weekly hard scrabble fights of my dogs barking ferociously trying to catch the birds. So after ‘much thought’ and some semi-serious research, I found a non-lethal solution; holographic scare tape. I hung what seemed to be over a hundred of these shiny ribbons in my tree and lo and behold – it worked. Birds really don’t like the stuff. I was in heaven, waiting for my figs to ripen, for more figs to call my own. I only had to share with the possums, the raccoon brothers, the squirrels and the wasps, I would have my big haul.

But it didn’t work out this way. the absence of the birds produced so many moths and infestations of the opened butt ends of the figs such that huge numbers became inedible. The faintly sweet wafting smell of the tree and it’s formerly tasty fruit gave way to  hundreds of figs rotting on the ground, our Pups in confusion or (whatever), ending up using the back patio for numbers one and two and the two ever reliable raccoon brothers, the possum and her kids and the squirrels disappeared, leaving me, the environmental halcyon and traitor, to face the consequences of my own short-sighted actions.

What can I say? I learned, but this past year, for some reason, all of my small plots of crops, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, muscadine grapes, and of course my fig tree did horribly; 2 muscadine grapes and about 30 figs (and late ripeners at that). Of course I was in the same boat as others who had backyard gardens and not so great harvests this year, likely due to  regional weather shifts (notable – really). We’ve all noted a higher prevalence of mosquitos with the wetter climate, yet a lower incidence of the typical insect populations we used to get in the spring and summer. The mosquitos in fact managed to chase many of us indoors as  they seem to be immune to the typical repellents.  Ah, but now going off track here….. even though it may be all related ?

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Snowball Moon – OK – I’m back ….on the heels of this amazing post.

enceladus-geyser-saturnshine

Source: Snowball Moon

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Grizzly involved in fatal attack on hunter will stay in K-Country with cub

On this issue, Canada got it right – and the family of the killed hunter agreed. Progressive thinking – trying that here in the US – the idiot BLM and Fish and Wildlife directors would poop in their own Neanderthal pants…

Exposing the Big Game

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Grizzly+involved+fatal+attack+hunter+will+stay+Country+with/10196069/story.html

By Colette Derworiz, Calgary HeraldSeptember 11, 2014

Grizzly involved in fatal attack on hunter will stay in K-Country with cub

Richard Cross was killed by a grizzly bear in Kananaskis Country on the weekend. Officials have decided against destroying the bear responsible for his death, ruling it a defensive attack.

Photograph by: Facebook photo , Calgary Herald

A grizzly bear that killed a sheep hunter in Kananaskis Country on the weekend will be left in the area with her cub, after it was ruled a defensive attack.

On the weekend, Calgarian Rick Cross was walking alone along the Picklejar Creek trail when he was attacked and killed by the bear.

“It was definitely a defensive attack, not a predatory one,” said Glenn Naylor, district conservation officer with Kananaskis Country. “That was the main decision-making factor, but we have to look at all of the evidence and all possible scenarios first.

“The evidence clearly points to the fact that he out of…

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