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Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Arrogance of Ignorance

The arrogant tentacles of ignorance are horrible.  Like a giant octopus, ignorance raps its arrogance around an issue and chokes the life out of it (apologies to the octopus).  And ignorance does not have any social, educational, or financial barriers.  A person who holds a Ph.d and the local plumber can be just as arrogant because of ignorance.  The fact is, we all are - the difference is in degrees.  This arrogance from ignorance is fed by fear, stoked by today's media and various religious creeds.

Once upon a time, newspapers were a real and true source of righteous news.  But in our world today, newspapers are struggling for circulation/readership against the internet onslaught (obviously, what you are reading at the moment is not in a newspaper).  Now, many news publications offer sensationalist headlines with the hope and intention of retaining circulation.  Television news broadcasts are not any better.

To curry favor (a.k.a. ratings), to win hearts and minds, and to convince people to adopt a certain point of view, this news source not only offers up carefully crafted sound bites but have stooped to the deviously low point of altering fact.  And for what?  To keep people ignorant, in fear, and to promote a sense of arrogance.  Also, let's not leave out religion; it has played a major role in shaping people's opinions about damned near everything.  And that too, is and was all about the cycle of ignorance/arrogance (here, think about the old saying - treat them like mushrooms - keep them in the dark and cover them with bullshit).

In most cases (if not all), religion is an exclusive thing and never inclusive; you are a member of the club or you are not.  Club membership gives those members the right to dump heartache onto nonmembers.  The fires of ignorance, arrogance, and fear were and still are fanned into wildfires by these religious sources.  Our god is the true god, we are superior to you, etc., oh please.  This crap is what is responsible for the Crusades, the Inquisition (with its' witch trial sub-set), and the goofiness that happened during the Reformation.  All three legs of the Judeo-Christian Tradition are guilty of using the Mushroom Principal, as noted above.  The above mentioned examples are what most westerners are familiar with; real history is full of atrocities committed in the name of religion.  An intelligent person would think that these sources of ignorance/arrogance would have evolved but sadly, it appears that they have not.  Ask any person who has been abused by a priest how they feel about the cover-ups.  In the late 80's and 90's, the faithful packed their churches during orchestrated rallies in support of their priests.  That is a great example of blind faith created by the ignorance/arrogance syndrome.

If a person is from a distant country, that does not make said person to be evil or bad in any manner.  What makes a person true resides in his head and heart, not his place of origin.  If a person thinks and believes differently than you that does not make that person evil or a menace, just different.  But, we cannot ignore those people and their religion who use the media as a springboard for the Mushroom Principal.  Because, they want you to be ignorant and arrogant in favor of their way of thinking; control the mind, the heart follows.  

There are those that believe that blood and ethnicity are determining factors (think Hitler and Aryan supremacy).  But, if a person needs a blood infusion or transfusion, does it matter where that blood comes from?  Some people think so, and that is just plain ignorant.

We need to rid ourselves of that kind of ignorant, arrogant thinking.  This does not mean that we should not be on guard to those that want to harm us.  But, it still shocks me that educated people in the various sciences rabidly adhere to the Creationist view - because their religion tells them that Creationism is the truth and real science is a lie.  That freaks me out.  And, believing that a person's culture, language, and blood is inferior is ridiculous.  When you search for fact in its' many forms you will absorb knowledge.  Ignorant dogma must be pushed aside and relegated to dark history.

                                              Copyright @2012 Terry Unger

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our Love Affair With Beer

That hot dog at the ball park always tastes better with a beer.  Having a backyard BBQ without beer is considered by many to border on mortal sin.  On Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day here in the States we do drink a lot of beer.  I cannot imagine my German cousins enjoying Bratwurst and Kraut, or my British friends eating Bangers and Mash without washing it all down with a pint or two of that golden liquid that we call beer.  And, when Christmas/winter solstice/and the Yule season rolls around, we really go crazy!  (What diet....forget it!  We immerse our palates in food and drink that is the custom of the season).  We do love our beer; over 36 billion gallons plus a year worldwide of love.

Historical data tells us that the folks in Egypt, Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq and Iran), and China were brewing and quaffing beer well over 7000 years ago.  And, the Egyptians schooled the Greeks in the arts of making a good brew.  Even the best known ruler of Babylon, King Hammurabi, seemed to enjoy beer.  Within his famous code of laws, (the Code of Hammurabi) he dedicated a section governing pub owners.  Maybe this king understood that a thieving bar-keep could make more money by watering down the beer that he was serving (ancient Lite Beer?).

Here is a quick note:  cereal grains, then as is now, contain sugar.  When the grains are added to water, wild yeasts that are in the air ( then and now) combine and the result is something called spontaneous fermentation.  This is a natural process and is similar to how bread was made in those ancient times.  Sorry guys.  For most of these 7000 years of making beer, the ladies did the deed.  In some ancient cultures where beer was a part of a sacrificial offering to that culture's various deities, priestesses were the brew masters.

Everybody drank beer during the middle ages with every meal, probably because it was safer to drink than the water.  Christian monks brewed beer in their monasteries for profit.  And some of that profit was used to provide food, drink, ans shelter for travelers (think Chaucer's Canterbury Tales).

The use of hops in brewing beer started sometime in the 9th century, CE as a preservative; this was a slow process of adaptation.  Before our ancestors added hops, they added various herbs (for Yule, these herbs were 'special') for flavor.  Gradually, brewers caught on to hops not just as a preservative but as a product that added considerable flavor.  It took a few centuries, but the Germans perfected the use of hops in brewing.  By the 15th century CE., the planting and harvesting of hops and cereal grains for the purpose of brewing beer had become big business.

Now, hold on to your pants.  Here are two tidbits that should make you think.  First, beer has similar health benefits as red wine, plus it comes with a healthy dose of vitamin B6.  Secondly, there are many in academia that credit the discovery/invention of beer as a major impetus that pushed forward civilization and technical advancement.  Hey!  Shame on you people in Congress many years ago who pushed through the Volstead Act - Prohibition.  Without that blight, maybe today mankind would have been to Mars, drinking a cold beer.

As Ben Franklin said, "In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria." 

Author's Note:  Drink Responsibly, Act Responsibly, Always.  Don't Be Stupid.

                                                 Copyright @ 2012 Terry Unger

                                                     

    

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Gods of Pork and Beans



The title for this post was not done in jest.  Rather, it is meant to be a smashing follow-up for my post, Why We Need To Eat Meat.  So many people today will look at you with eyes that say, "shame on you" for enjoying the wonderful taste of a mouth watering steak.  Oh well, that's too bad for them.  Let me introduce you to a lovely greco-roman goddess known as Carna/Carea/Carneis, whose name variation was dependent on geographic location.  For simplicity, I will refer to her as Carna.

Carna was a goddess of protection and was called upon to protect a person's heart, liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines against various illnesses.  And, to heal if stricken.  Those ancient greco-romans held her feast day on June 1st and celebrated by preparing large amounts of lard, beans, bacon, and other pork in her honor.  Then, they would sacrifice (offer) to Carna her fair portion and ate the rest; all of it.  Somehow I do not think Carna was concerned about farts.  In all cultures on the feast days of their various gods, the sacrificial meal always was consumed by the human adherents.   And, in the ancient world, the meat that was consumed on those feast days (pig, goat, or cow) was dependent on the god/goddess for which the supplication was being offered.  Now is the time for a literary pregnant pause:  other than on those feast days, the greco-roman diet contained little or no meat.  Let's take a trip north.

The Celts offered in sacrifice, depending on deity, cattle, sheep, and goats and to their Artemis, a variety of wild game.  In keeping with ancient custom, the human supplicants ate the rest.  And, the ancient Celts' regular diet consisted of milk, cheese, and meat, a lot of meat.

The cousins of the Celts, the Germanic/Norse, were a bit similar to the Celts in how they paired off the various animals to sacrifice for their deities; pork (boar) and goats were two favorites.  Today, pork and goats still are used by Germanic/Norse descendants during the celebration of Jul/Yule (Christmas).  The basic diet of the Germanic/Norse peoples consisted mainly of milk, cheese, and meat.

There are a few reasons why the northern diet was meat/protein rich while the southern was not; those reasons are detailed and will not be mentioned here.  What should be understood is that that protein rich northern diet held a few surprises for the ancient Greeks and Romans as it should for us today.

According to Julius Caesar and Tacitus, the Celts and the Germanic/Norse were Big and Beautiful.  The northern Europeans just towered over their southern contemporaries, because of that meat/protein enriched diet; it made them bigger in stature and physically stronger.  When the Second World War was over the United States occupied Japan and introduced meat and other major proteins into the Japanese diet.  And when those babies grew into adults, they were taller and stronger than their parents.  Meat is king and also what's for dinner.

                                                  Copyright @ Terry Unger 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why We Need To Eat Meat

I make no apologies for enjoying meat.  Roasted, grilled, or BBQ'ed, I love meat.  Don't get me wrong, I do eat more than my fair share of fruits and veggies, always.  But, I just find meat really yummy.  And, my over-all health is great.

Eating meat is what our ancestors did, for tens of thousands of years.  Meat is rich in various vitamins, protein, zinc, and selenium.  Eating meat, veggies, and fruits is better than taking vitamins (because vitamins are supposed to be supplements, remember?).  So sorry, (not really) nothing beats meat.

Meat gives us the necessary and needed protein that improves health and well being - like, building new body tissue and boosting our immune system.  Meat is rich in vitamins; vitamins A, D, and the B complex, plus it aids our vision, bones, and teeth.  And, those same vitamins give a major boost to our mental health and nervous system.  Meat is a major source of zinc.  Zinc aids in tissue formation and general well being.  Meat is also our greatest source of iron and, we need iron.  It is the biggest factor in the formation of hemoglobin, the substance that moves oxygen throughout the body.  And let's not forget selenium.  This natural element breaks down harmful fats and chemicals and removes them from the body.  Personally, I cannot think of a life without meat.  If I had to, I would go back to hunting, and that is not a bad thing, but just a step in keeping pace with my ancestors.

It appears that when a  person lives a life without eating meat, whether it be voluntary or involuntary, that person has certain deficiencies.  Over a short period of time, fatigue, shortness of breath, and muscle weakness pops up, along with pale skin.  Also, vision falls victim along with a weakened immune system and, mental health can suffer.  A vegan diet is not the answer; it is a possible impingement to good human health.  

The vegan diet, the total elimination of meat and meat products (like dairy products and eggs) rids the person of essential nutrients that can only be made up from the massive ingestion of certain carbohydrates that could, over time, result in diabetes and heart disease.  From history and nature, this revolt against eating meat is not normal or good for humans.  Most self proclaimed vegans today became so because they feel and felt that the killing of animals for food is grossly cruel.  Well, so does PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

What exactly, is PETA?  Is it some kind of terrorist organization?  That question is almost laughable, until you look deeper into PETA (something for meat lovers to do).  PETA is fanatical in its efforts to protect animals.  And animals do need protection from ass-hole humans who abuse them.  This abuse ranges from the guy next door who takes pleasure in beating his dog, the kid down the street who sets cats on fire, puppy mills, and to the trophy hunter, who takes the head and leaves the carcass (the meat) to rot.   But, is PETA pro-human?  In my opinion, no.

PETA promotes a vegan-style diet that ignores tens of thousands or years of human evolution.  This disregard appears to be done at the expense of the human animal.  This is not acceptable.  So, go out and have a great steak, with a wonderful salad on the side.  Your body and taste buds will love you for it.

Author's Note:  People, especially those who can trace their roots to northern Europe, may want to look into and give serious consideration to the "Paleo Diet."  I will not give out details (no secrets here folks) but I do urge my readers to discover for themselves what helped our ancestors and what can possibly help help them.  On a lighter note, I was told that the word "vegan" comes from a Native American root word that means "bad hunter."

                                            Copyright @2012 & 2014 Terry Unger












  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why We Need To Laugh

Along with so much of the world, we have become a nation of tight asses; we really need to lighten up.  What was humorous yesterday is not funny today (because of political correctness).  But that's another story.  We have become so straight-laced today that something funny is, in many cases, labeled as some kind of attack on a person or group.  It is almost as if humor in any form is about to be outlawed.  We need to relax and laugh - because it's good for us.

When we frequently laugh, our bodies and brains relax and we become less uptight.  Hearty laughter reduces stress and, reduced stress leads to decreased depression and anxiety (not to mention stomach ulcers).  And, laughter can boost our immune systems, giving our bodies the upper hand to stand up and defeat disease.  Do you want to do some "feel good" drugs and not get busted?  Then you should laugh.  Laughter releases endorphin's, your body's home-made, naturally produced feel good drug. And the release of those endorphin's will improve your over-all mood.  Let's take laughter one step further.

Laughter does change our point of view.  We loosen up and are more accepting of the other side of the situation (whether we agree or not is not the issue here - being more open minded is the point - the word tolerance comes to mind).  When we see the other side in a more relaxed light, conflicts can ease between people.  If laughter can ease tensions between people, imagine what it can to for opposing nations.  And, when folks who have reached the 100 year mark are asked the secrets of their longevity, they will tell you that laughter has played and continues to play an important part in their lives.

We need to laugh more often.  Laughter helps us to see how silly some of our worries and concerns really are.  We can start with ourselves.

When you get up in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror and say, "Look at the fucking head on that guy," or anything that will make you laugh at yourself.  Laughing at yourself helps helps you to see how silly we all have become; politically correct silliness is the worst.  Go on, laugh at yourself, I dare you.

                                                Copyright @ 2012/2014 Terry Unger  


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Benefits Of Alcohol

Oh yes, that holiday toast is just awesome when the eggnog is heavily laced with the appropriate spirits. Alcohol is great for drowning your troubles.  If you are a wallflower, alcohol can make you the life of the party.  And. your timidity can be eliminated by the large consumption of alcohol that results in huge "beer muscles" - no trips to the gym!  Alcohol can make you feel like you are king of the world.  Really?

No, not really.  Alcohol is a depressant and when consumed in excess, dulls your conception of reality.  Constant excess will lead to dependency.

Alcohol is processed in two basic ways:  fermentation and distillation.  Beer, wine, and malt beverages are the offspring of fermentation while whiskey and other hard spirits are the prodigy of distillation.  These two processes are worlds apart:  fermentation follows a pattern copied from nature while distillation is a man-made process (in the quest for a quicker and bigger buzz?).  And maybe, just maybe, fermented products are gentler on the human system then distillates.  But now let's take a step back and know that excessive use of alcohol that comes from any process will bring dependency in its' wake.  The beer,wine, and liquor purveyors tell us to "drink responsibly."  Yes, that's all fine, good, right, and proper but the amount consumed is still up to the individual.  And those purveyors spend big bucks so that we will "drink up."

Think about it.  Our entire year is littered with opportunities for the above mentioned purveyors (too many to mention by name) to ply their products and trade.  Oh, come on, admit it - their advertisements are "tasty."  And, let's not forget that alcohol is a legal drug.  Not to burst your bubble or rain on your parade, but when alcohol was illegal, marijuana was not.  That said, I'm gonna have another beer.  


                                                   Copyright @ 2012 Terry Unger

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why Birthdays Are Important

I just had another one - a birthday.  Sometimes I would like to ignore that day all together; to many candles past twenty-one.  When I was younger, I could not wait for my 16th and 21st birthday.  Those days are cultural points of passage in our society for many reasons.  Now older, I have adopted the former feeling about my natal day.  But birthdays can have a positive element that should not be ignored.

Birthdays are a great time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future; make some life corrections, chuck a plan, or create a new one.  They are without a doubt, a time for assessment and celebration.  While we drown our sorrows of the past in alcohol and gaze upon our advancing mortality, we hope and plan for a better day and silently seek forgiveness for past transgressions, both real or imagined (sarcasm intended).  And by the way, if we want to make the gods laugh, all we need to do is tell them about our plans (more sarcasm).  But, we have the option of looking at our birthdays in a better light.

Our birthdays are an awesome time to be thankful for all that we have.  We have life, talents, and opportunities in front of us; yes we do, but we must open our eyes to see them.  So, why not take advantage of them?  Birthdays can literally be the first days of the rest of our lives.


                                                  Copyright @ 2012 Terry Unger

Thursday, July 5, 2012

American Pie #2


Many people in America what something for nothing.  For that matter, so do people everywhere else on the planet.  But, people will blow ten bucks to save a dime.  When I was asked out for a “free lunch,” I had to pay the bar tab.  Cereal grains are more expensive than burgers. 

In America, what was once poison is today’s miracle cure.  When alcohol was illegal, marijuana, as a medicinal product proscribed by doctors was legal.  Now, alcohol is legal and marijuana is not.  Stop, I have a headache; gonna grab a can of Sterno. 

Currently in America, the push is on to teach abstinence in schools.  But, the birth rate among minors still is up there.  Do you think the quest for the hokie pokie has been answered?  Some municipalities have passed laws that make holding hands illegal.  According to these “statutes,” holding hands is precursor to sexual intercourse.  This is absurd; not every young girl who holds hands with a boy wants to have sex.  In America, Aids and other venereal diseases are looked at by the god fearing as a person’s base and vile behavior.  The person who picked up that stuff did not ask for it; so shame on you for not using your head.  Here we go:  an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Old yes, but still relevant in our time.  When you blow up the bridge, swimming against the stream to get to the other side is tough.  And there are no life boats in the water and the life preserver given is useless.  Education becomes knowledge and knowledge is power – always.  But what do I know?  All I know is what I read on the Internet. 

In America, the class system is well in place.  In one class, if you vomit because you ate and drank too much it’s considered bad form.  In the other class it’s an excuse to eat and drink more.  They can afford it and they can get away with it.  In America, a guy who steals bread, milk, and eggs for his kids goes to jail.  Politicians and investment bankers retire in style.  In America, we arrest and prosecute drug dealers; that is the right thing to do.  Doctors proscribe drugs that kill people; the root cause of the “why” often is discarded.  Those guys are concerned with “effect.”  Or, is it the pharmaceutical companies? 

In America, a person can do everything right and still become the goat, ready for sacrifice.  Every step you took was for others but one misstep, you becoming the bad guy is automatic.  And that mistake had nothing to do with those others who depended on your every step.  Too bad goat, now you are an asshole. 

Only in America will your kids disown you for not buying them the latest I-Pod, video games, and computer.  Forget about all the food, clothing, shelter and the big one…..love.  Not everyone can be related to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. 

In America, true talent and effort are kicked to the curb by money.  What ever is hot and delights simple minds at the moment and will for the foreseeable, future is king – because it sells.  Even if it is king shit.  The spin doctors will make sure that you will like it. 

In America, the media spinners have made hunters out to be gun crazed zealots who walk the forests just looking for an excuse to shoot at something.  That is nonsense.  Real hunters are true conservationists.  Many hunters work hard to preserve what’s left of our natural environmental beauty.  These folks are following in the foot steps of Teddy Roosevelt.  He talked softly, carried a big stick, and had the balls to use that stick.  Teddy was one hell of a hunter and created our national park system.  Where fore art thou Teddy? 

In America, people spend too much time using social media.  If you need a therapist, find a real professional.  Are you looking for “friends and family?”  What’s wrong with your flesh and blood family and real friends?  Do they have B.O. or something else that your virtual friends say they do not have?  Like reality?  A recent survey in America was shocking.  The majority of women between the ages of 18 through 40 preferred to be “on-line” than having sex.  Well, maybe those women never had really great sex or they are using dildos in their on-line chats.  You do not have to kiss a dildo good night or make it breakfast in the morning.  But all I know is what I read on the Internet. 


                                            Copyright @2012 Terry Unger  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

American Pie


                                                              

In many areas of the north-eastern United States and Pennsylvania in particular, white-tailed deer and black bears are everywhere – and I do mean everywhere.  These two woodland residents can be found stopping traffic in populated areas and picking through the neighborhood’s garbage (and gardens).  Of course people complain but those that bitch the loudest are not willing to support large efforts to cull the deer and bear population.  The cleanest, simplest, and most humane way of accomplishing this is to implement massive professional hunts.  But that method is rabidly opposed because it involves the use of firearms.   The deer and bear are rapidly multiplying; they have been for years.  It’s not the fault of the animals – it’s what all species do.  The fault lies with us. 

As the natural predators of any species have been eliminated, those species will rapidly proliferate.  Man replaced the above mentioned species natural predators with himself.  And as a predator, man took what he needed to live and left the rest alone.  But man no longer wanders the woods, fields, and mountains for substance.  Now we do that in the supermarket.  As man became more civilized and industrialized, species like the white-tailed deer and black bear were largely left alone to multiply; man removed himself as their natural predator.  There is at least one more reason for the proliferation of wild animals. 

Mankind took away the natural habitat of these wildlife species.  We call it the suburbs.  As our population grew, we became a more suburban than urban species.  For that to have happened, vast acres of forest, field, and woodland were raped of their natural beauty and that reduced the natural home and range of those wild creatures; for the sake of planting and raising up stick houses.  We call them “sub-divisions,” but sub-divisions of what?  The forest?  Many of these sub-divisions have grown so large that they have become self-governing entities, like townships.  And this practice, even in our poor economy (July 2012), continues.  And, many former family farms, generations old, were sucked up by developers and now host a plethora of stick houses.   It does not matter if that generational family farm fell victim to the agri-business monolith, lack of funds to pay the mortgage loans, lack of interest by the modern generation, or unscrupulous land developers.  Sadly, that happened.  What matters now is that those family farms, fields, woodlands, and mountains are covered with houses and strip malls.  Let me tell you something:  my wife and I live in “suburbia.”  But when we see a skunk, raccoon, or coyote rummaging through the neighborhood garbage, my wife and I know why.  The damage done in dollars by these wild ones looking for some food in what once was their ancestral homeland is staggering.  And, something the insurance companies would like to go away.  But what the hell, it’s progress, right? 

Everywhere, just like the deer and black bear, coyotes are flourishing.  These critters are smart and the moniker, “Wily Coyote,” is very appropriate.  Coyotes quickly adapt to almost any environmental situation.  They do prefer meat, like rabbit, but will eat anything; road-kill and your garbage to survive.  So the next time you see one of those “cute little puppies” dragging around the neighborhood garbage, riding a subway train, or using a major home improvement chain (you know the ones – you need a GPS to find what you want) as its home, you will know the answer. 

Wild Hogs is not just the title of a funny movie.  Wild Hogs are running rampant in at least 38 states but no state bores more of the hog mania brunt than Texas.  Within the state of Texas, hundreds of thousands of feral pork has caused billions of dollars of damage – and these beasties rapidly multiply; think “having a litter of piglets” versus a single birth of a white tailed deer. 
You could say that the hog population in Texas is way past epidemic.  The current governor, Rick Perry, has recently passed a law that permits hunting this pork to go from a helicopter (no joke).  So OK, what are we to do? 

There are many different drum beats about different environmental concerns; do not drill here, do not put that pipeline there and you can’t put those windmills here because it spoils the view.  And by the way, we must damn up this river (eliminating a city’s water supply) because there are only a few of a certain kind of endangered fish in said river.  Oh, and lest we forget, we need to cut down on bovine flatulence:  its messing up the atmosphere.  But when a person discusses the need to curb the population of wild animals, that person can stand alone.  Those bovine flatulence folks, and others, do not want you shooting Bambi or Porky – that is just plain ignorance.  Those same folks talk about controlling human population growth (there are some valid points) but its hands off of Rudolf.  We really need to get serious about this and put aside the silliness. 

Wild game, venison, is terrific to eat.  Oh please, stop the self-invoked stomach churning!  As early as three or four generations ago, this was the main meat/protein source that your family eagerly consumed (and, there are many restaurants that now feature wild game on their menus).  The United States has too many hungry people and a financially burdened prison system.  Wild game can help alleviate these sad situations.  In my opinion, only regular, regulated hunts, to harvest these creatures, will bring about the necessary environmental balance.  If a district has a problem with firearms, many bow hunters will rise to the occasion.  Remember, we created it, now we must take care of it; mankind is the root cause.  It’s high time to be realistic about what we must do.  In other words, it’s time to grow up.  If you truly want to be an environmental activist, then embrace it all (I am not referring to whale or seal hunts in this post).  Currently, we have environmental concerns with impotent solutions.  If we as a species are serious about our environment, we cannot be impotent any longer. 

                                               Copyright @2012 Terry Unger    

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dragon and Man




All creatures of lesser degrees knew the story about Eagle and Snake.  That tale of how they had joined in mortal combat and created Dragon was told to their young.  Even the tiny mice on the ground and the smallest sparrows of the sky spoke with fear when they told the story.  Creatures winged and legged feared Dragon; they had just cause. 

Dragon was a haughty creature, and cared nothing about the others; the others were the smaller creatures and his food.  And Dragon was a glutton.  Everyday Dragon ate so many of the others that he could not fly.  When thirsty, Dragon drank his fill from the many lakes and streams, causing many plants and trees to die.  But Dragon cared nothing about that too.  Dragon was the master of the sky and the mistress of the ground; the All of the sky and the All of the ground belonged to Dragon.  And Dragon believed that he was invincible; no other creature could defeat him.  Not only was Dragon a glutton; his greed equaled his gorging. 

Everyday before Dragon feasted on the other creatures, he scoured the ground for shiny objects.  Those shiny things pleased Dragon’s eyes and he hoarded away all he had found in his cave.  After he feasted and could not fly, Dragon put down his huge body along side his treasure and fondled as many pieces as he could before sleep overtook him.  Those things - greed, gluttony, and the terrorizing of the lesser creatures had not gone unnoticed by those lesser creatures.  After all, they had no choice but to be aware!  It was during Dragon’s deep sleep that the lesser creatures moved freely about.   One day when Dragon was fast asleep, Man entered their world. 

The lesser creatures saw Man and at first were frightened.  Warily they said to him……
“Who and what are you and from whence do you come?  You are fair indeed and walk upright on your hind legs, just like Dragon.  Have you come to eat us too, like Dragon?” 

Man was startled and replied, “My name is Man and mean you no harm at all.  I walk alone in this land in search of friends.  Small creatures, will you be my friend?” 

Sparrow and Mouse spoke for the All and said, “Yes Man, we can be your friends.  But, if you wish to live with us, you must be wary of Dragon.”  

Man was puzzled and asked, “That was the second time you spoke of this Dragon.  Please tell me about Dragon.” 

Mouse replied, “Dragon is very big and very evil.  Dragon does not live in peace with us.  Every morning Dragon stands at the entrance of his cave and lets out a mighty roar.  That is the signal for all of us to hide as best we can.  Then Dragon takes flight in search of his shiny treasures.” 

Sparrow cut in and added, “Dragon gathers his shiny treasures and takes them back to his cave where he hoards them away.  Then Dragon leaves his cave to feast on the All of us.  Dragon devours so many of us and then drinks so much from the lakes and streams that he cannot fly.  Thankfully, Dragon has not found the Sacred Well, from which flows the waters of ALL Life.  If Dragon finds the Sacred Well, we surely will be doomed.” 

Man said, “Dragon can fly and Dragon can walk.  But, Dragon cannot fly when he has eaten and drunk his fill.  Then what does Dragon do?” 

As was his nature, Mouse quickly replied, “Dragon retreats to his cave where he plays with his shiny treasures until he falls asleep beside them.  It is only after Dragon sleeps, like now, that we lesser creatures can move freely about.  When Dragon awakens in the morning, he does the same things, every day.  Man, you need to fear Dragon or he will eat you too!” 

Man’s chest filled with pride as he said, “I fear nothing, my little friends.  I am the master of my life and my mighty sword and trusty woodsman’s axe have served me well.  Tonight I will rest with you and in the morning, I will challenge Dragon with reason.  If I am successful, Dragon will see the errors of his ways.” 

Mouse and Sparrow pleaded with Man to let Dragon alone.  Man ignored their pleas, saying,
“Let us sleep now my new friends.  Tomorrow I will solve our Dragon problem.” 

With those last words, Man blissfully fell into a deep sleep, but dreamed of a creature he had never met.  But Mouse and Sparrow did not sleep that night.  They were very worried about their new friend, Man. 

The next morning began like all the others before it; Dragon bellowed from the opening of his cave.  As Dragon took flight in search of more shiny objects to add to his treasure, he saw a strange two legged creature that stood in the meadow, as if the creature was waiting for him.  That was a strange and provocative scene for Dragon, and he decided to investigate. 

Dragon landed a short distance from the stranger and demanded, “Who and what are you and how dare you interfere with my morning hunt for shiny treasure!” 

Man spoke calmly but with conviction and said, “My name is Man and I ask that you live in peace with me and the All of the lesser creatures.” 

Dragon haughtily replied, “Man, you are foolish!  I am Dragon and I am Master of the Sky and Mistress of the ground.  You shall make no demands on me.  I am Dragon, and I do want I want.  Nothing can stop me, certainly not some puny creature like you!” 

Man was frustrated and said, “Dragon, I too am master of my life and have no fear of you.  I ask these things in peace but I can now see that you are nasty and very selfish.  Dragon, you take but give nothing in return – because you think that you do not have to.  I am not as puny as you think.  I have a mighty sword and a trusty woodsman’s axe that have served me well.” 

Dragon was angry and said to Man, “You are very stupid, Man.  I have sharp talons and very sharp teeth.  I can fly and I can walk.  You Man, will never harm me.  Now I will teach you something.  It is a lesson in respect.” 

Dragon used his wings and raised himself up off of the ground, turned, and swatted Man with his long tail.  Man traveled very far in the air and was well out of sight of Dragon when he finally hit the ground.  Man’s body was broken in many places.  Dragon was pleased with his quick victory and went about his business, confident that he would never see Man again. 

Sparrow and Mouse saw the whole thing and were very afraid.  They saw their new friend vanquished with one swat of Dragon’s tail.  And now their fear of Dragon was so great that they refused to search for Man until Dragon slept.  To Sparrow and Mouse that day seemed even longer until Dragon was sound asleep.  Finally, Dragon’s snores signaled Sparrow and Mouse that they could begin their search for Man. 

To Sparrow and Mouse the distance covered before they had found Man seemed enormous, but they did it.  What they found made them very sad.  Their friend Man was broken in many places.  Mouse climbed up on Man and put his little ear against Man’s chest – Man’s heart still had a beat!  Sparrow hovered near Man’s nose and mouth – Sparrow felt Man’s breath!  Then Sparrow and Mouse knew what they had to do for their friend Man.  But, they also knew that they could not do it alone; they needed help. 

In ways that only the lesser creatures know, Sparrow and Mouse summoned the other lesser creatures to help them help Man.  The message traveled fast among the lesser creatures about how Man had stood up against Dragon.  When they heard the summons from Sparrow and Mouse, all of the lesser creatures went to help Man.  The plan was simple but needed much effort from all the lesser creatures:  Man needed to drink from the Sacred Well.  The task of Sparrow, Mouse, and all the lesser creatures was daunting and not an easy one. 

The lesser creatures had to carry the waters from the Sacred Well in their mouths.  In their haste, some of the creatures stumbled and the sacred waters spilled out on to the ground; they had to return to the Sacred Well for more.  But led by Sparrow and Mouse, the lesser creatures completed their task – all they could do was wait. 

Gradually, Sparrow and Mouse saw Man’s breathing and heart beat increase and his broken bones mend.  Man’s skin was no longer pale with the scent of death but robust and healthy.  When the light of the full moon bathed Man, he smiled, opened his eyes and sat up.  As he sat up Man saw that he was surrounded by many of his new friends.  As Sparrow and Mouse nestled happily in his lap, Man was humbled.  He said, “My friends, you have brought me back to life and I will always be grateful.  But, I have failed you.  Dragon does not listen to reason.  I will not make that mistake again.  Let’s go back to our home to sleep and we will take care of our Dragon problem tomorrow.” 

And they did just that, but not before Man told the lesser creatures about his plan.  Greed and gluttony fells many with false pride. 

That next morning began like all the others.  Dragon bellowed from his cave, took flight, found his shiny treasures, and gorged himself on all the lesser creatures that he could find.  Then Dragon drank his fill from a nearby stream and waddled back to his cave as Man, Sparrow, and Mouse watched from a safe distance.  When Dragon began to snore, Man sprang into action. 

Man entered Dragon’s cave but the stench, the smell, almost forced him to leave.  But, Man was determined.  Man took short breaths and by the time it took for his eyes to become adjusted to the dim light in the cave, Man became accustomed to the smell.  As was his way, Dragon had rolled from his side on to his belly; now Dragon’s huge body covered his shiny treasures.  Man had no problem climbing on top of the sleeping beast.  Man drew his mighty sword and plunged it deeply into Dragon’s brain.  Dragon writhed and bellowed in pain but quickly expired.  Then Man took out his trusty woodsman’s axe and chopped off Dragon’s head, arms, legs, wings, and tail.  To Man’s surprise, Dragon’s blood turned all of the shiny treasures into dirt.  With the help of the lesser creatures, Man sealed Dragon’s cave with rocks and boulders.  Man, as he walked back to the meadow for a nap, was surrounded by the All of the lesser creatures.  In the noon day sun, Man considered himself very fortunate.  His new friends, Man thought, were more precious to him than any amount of shiny treasure.      


                                           Copyright @2012 Terry Unger  

Our Visit to Sutton Hoo

When walking the grounds, you can feel the specialness of this place.  It is quiet, save the wind rustling through the trees.  The ages...