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Archive for August, 2013

Glad I moved to Belize. What more can I say?

Then again, you know that the Rev. Dr. Jitterbug has always got something to say, that must be said, shared, cussed, discussed and bedazzled by.

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

My best bud in Belize, and former village neighbor, Ed Jenkins, who’s my shaman, father figure and by the way, a larger-than-life legend in Belize, where he moved from the “L.A. jungle to this jungle” in 1977. He’s a master of “healing arts” which he learned from a Japanese master in L.A. pre-Belize. More to come on him sometime. At 76 he’s still a force of nature. BTW, he was born in Bryan, Texas, 20 miles from my hometown although his folks moved him to Detroit when he was 3. Small world and all that.

Down there it's San Ignacio.

Down there it’s San Ignacio, a boom town waiting for the baby boomers for more boom for the buck.

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“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”

― Jack Kerouac

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"Pssst! Hey, Gringo. You're not from around here, are you?"

“Pssst! Hey, Gringo. You’re not from around here, are you?”

Chill out, children, the bus will be here sooner or later.

Chill out, children, the bus will be here sooner or later.

Up at Mountain Pine Ridge, frontier country.

Up at Mountain Pine Ridge, frontier country.

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A typical kitchen in a home in the bush.

A typical kitchen in a home in the bush.

A blast from the past: Me and my friend "Pops" the sugar cane grower up at the lagoon in Luis Village near the Mexico border in Corozal District in far north Belize; sugar country. This was back on Christmas Day.

A blast from the past: Me and my friend “Pops” the sugar cane grower up at the lagoon in Luis Village near the Mexico border in Corozal District in far north Belize; sugar country. This was back on Christmas Day.

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”
― Jack Kerouac

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“I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”

― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Textbooks for the school kids now on sale on the sidewalks. Nothing about these schools is free, including the required uniforms, transportation, school supplies and high fees. So it goes in so many countries, creating hardships especially in third world. Countries like Belize rely heavily on expats with their charitable donations for school kids and expats give a lot. But they can't cover all the costs for all the kids in countries where people have a lot of kids. And start really, really, sadly young at having kids.

Textbooks for the school kids now on sale on the sidewalks. Nothing about these schools is free, including the required uniforms, transportation, school supplies and high fees. So it goes in so many countries, creating hardships especially in third world. Countries like Belize rely heavily on expats with their charitable donations for school kids and expats give a lot. But they can’t cover all the costs for all the kids in countries where people have a lot of kids. And start really, really, sadly young at having kids.

And speaking of making babies. . .  A huge and terrible problem.

And speaking of making babies. . . A huge and terrible problem.

Loading up with water from the river to spray the roadside weeds back in a village with poison. So much for the country's fragile eco-system. Environmental awareness among the home folks is helping but there's still a lot of poisoning goes on--and ever-smoking landfills that look like Hades Jesus spoke of in which the fire is always burning. But, a couple of waste management and recycling facilities are just now opening in western Belize, and none too soon.

Loading up with water from the river to spray the roadside weeds back in a village with poison. So much for the country’s fragile eco-system. Environmental awareness among the home folks is helping but there’s still a lot of poisoning goes on–and ever-smoking landfills that look like Hades Jesus spoke of in which the fire is always burning. But, a couple of waste management and recycling facilities are just now opening in western Belize, and none too soon.

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    Getting downhill to the nearest neighborhood store before supper.

    Getting downhill to the nearest neighborhood store before supper.

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    In a trash pile outside a Catholic school in Belmopan on the last day of school.

    In a trash pile outside a Catholic school in Belmopan on the last day of school.

    Near the citrus plant in orange country, southern Belize.

    Near the citrus plant in orange country, southern Belize.

    “Down on the lake rosy reflections of celestial vapor appeared, and I said, “God, I love you” and looked to the sky and really meant it. “I have fallen in love with you, God. Take care of us all, one way or the other.” To the children and the innocent it’s all the same.”
    ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

    —-

    “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”

    — Edward Abbey

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Belize rocks; it’s just how they roll.

This is the poster my Canadian friend keeps above his Mac in his office. His wife allows it. Probably because she has a poster of Brad Pitt above her Mac.

When you are a married couple with His and Her Macs in the office you know you did well in life before early retirement in Belize.

The poster is actually Indira, a well-known social activist, feminist and TV personality in Belize.

Read on.

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So the other evening I had dinner with a couple of my Canadian expat friends at their fabulous Belizean Bed & Breakfast where they had no guests and we cranked up the rock and roll at about 500 decibels and they played this from Sir Paul, a cool little ditty even if the video is a little MTV nerdy in the fashion of some of the nerdy MTV videos back in the day. Seems they were either raunchy in the extreme or too poppy sometimes.

Anyway, it’s just an exhilarating song that had us singing along to it, several times.

And it’s imperative that we old hippies and free spirits keep on rocking in the free world.

Stay thirsty, and enjoy the music therapy, my friends..

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Almagordo 1945

“It’s become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

— Albert Einstein,

scientist and committed pacifist and peacemaker

My main man the mystic, Catholic peace monk and great American thinker Thomas Merton wrote a powerful but historically fact-based “anti-poem” about the ultimate bombing of civilian targets in Japan that so drastically ended World War II.

Pray, as it says the New Testament, "without ceasing," for peace.

Pray, as it says the New Testament, “without ceasing,” for peace.

This serious work of Merton’s is worth a little serious reading time on this day of observance in Hiroshima. Click here for reflection on this think piece that he called “ORIGINAL CHILD BOMB: Points for meditation to be scratched on the walls of a cave.”

Merton’s poem underscores the kind of sweet and traditional religious language (Trinity, Papacy, Little Boy) the military used in what was, any way you cut, slice or dice the language, military genocide, albeit genocide against an enemy that was too fanatical to buy the warnings or save its own people.

Still, it was 80,000 civilians either obliterated, or, literally–too horribly for words–melted at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and fire-bombed in Tokyo.

St. Augustine’s “Just War Theory” and the entire Christian tradition of just war that followed his theology of war and peace–theology that initially guided us and the Brits in World War II–was ultimately tossed in our own blind hatred and lust for revenge.

The Hell of war always has that effect of overcoming evil with evil, not with anything like Christian mercy.

As is cried out in the bible, “How long, O Lord, How long?”

In remembering Hiroshima and all the outcomes of war and violence, pray, and remember this from Paul in Romans 12: "Let love be genuine, hold fast to what is good. . . bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. . . Do not repay any evil with evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all."

In remembering Hiroshima and all the outcomes of war and violence, pray, and remember this from Paul in Romans 12: “Let love be genuine, hold fast to what is good. . . bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. . . Do not repay any evil with evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.”

The Christian tradition and the bible itself teach that prayer is the greatest “spiritual weapon” there is for advancing the kingdom of heaven on earth, the kingdom that the non-violent man of justice Jesus ushered in with the intent of our advancing the pushing for more of the foretaste he gas us of the heavenly and peaceable kingdom.

* Pray for peace by peace, and for peace to be realized by means of civilian and military leaders alike using the same creativity, imagination and vision that is used in the making, promoting and using of weapons of mass destruction.

* Pray that somehow our enemies will come to see the futility of their own evil, and to see that, ultimately, good always prevails over evil.

* Pray that our leaders, and we ourselves, be mindful that peace can only come through the hope that the very act of praying represents.

* Pray for the transformation or renewal of all our hearts in peace on this day of observance in Hiroshima.

* Pray for wars and killings to cease and for peace on earth, and for good will to all, in the name of the Prince of Peace who blessed the peacemakers, who healed the ear of the one whom Peter wounded with a literal sword in hand, who refused to send down legions to kill his own persecutors, who told us to pray for our enemies, who taught us to inflate our hearts with forgiveness and peace and love.

* Pray for no more killing, and, until that day, on this day of Hiroshima remembrance, pray that whatever vengeance there is will be left for the loving, endlessly forgiving and merciful God and not us.

* Pray for a vision of greater peace in your own home and family and capture the vision of peace in your neighborhood, work place, community, state, nation and God’s entire world, for as the bible says, “Without the vision the people perish.”

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If you don’t like heat or hot music–don’t come to Belize.

The air is usually hot and heavy with music.

"The Garifanu Collective" finds big, sold-out audiences at clubs and music festivals in U.S. and Canada. Their latest vid was recorded just down the street from yours truly here in River City.

“The Garifanu Collective” finds big, sold-out audiences at clubs and music festivals in U.S. and Canada. Their latest vid was recorded just down the street from yours truly here in River City.

Name your taste in music and and performance arts and you will find it in Belize, whether at my Texas homeboy Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Camp Belize”–he lives on the seaside tourist attraction that is San Pedro--or Bob Marley’s Reggae (you will hear Marley every day and/or night of your life in Belize, Belize me) or rock, or blues or classical, or Latin- or Mayan-flavored.

Like I say . . .

whatever your taste you can get a taste of it here.

Just yesterday, NPR featured “The Garifanu Collective” and the group’s latest music video on “All Songs Considered.” (Link below.)

The video was filmed right down the street from me here in River City (San Ignacio) at the local “Soul Project”–a funky haven for all of Belize’s creative artists and visiting artists too.

Click here for the NPR feature.

And check this out while you’re at it.

This was featured on Belize’s biggest TV station out of Belize City not long after The Garifanu Collective started their summer tour.

Marley music, Marley posters, paintings, murals--his music and spirit are pervasive here.

Marley music, Marley posters, paintings, murals–his music and spirit are pervasive here.

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Yeah you’re going to get stressed out sometime today, if you’re not already, but just take a few minutes to sit on this riverside “mercy seat,” listen to some feel-good oldies and let it be.

If you remember the following radio-friendly oldies from my era you’ve probably had your AARP card for a good long time now.

These are the oldies, perfect for roller skating on wooden planks, that they played over and over in those endless summers when the roller rink with the wooden floor under a big tent came to Navasota, your homeboy’s Texas hometown:

Nothing will sustain you more potently than the power to recognize in your humdrum routine the true poetry of life.”

— Sir William Osler

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