Author Archives: theglowery

About theglowery

This picture was taken in Salt Lake City in June, 2014, with my good friend, Ernie Horstmanshoff. I am a lawyer, a writer, and a quilter. I am aging in place in Los Angeles, California, my adopted home.

Genocide in the 18th Century

Los Angeles has adopted “Indigenous Tribes Day” to replace the former observance of Christopher Columbus and his arrival in the Americas.

Genocide resulted from the quest of Europeans for gold and land. My own ancestors, the Wallicks, moved to York, Pennsylvania in the 1730s, grabbing land for themselves and their many children. Michael Wallack (born in 1740) became a feared Indian hunter and killer. He assisted Thomas Coleman in carrying out an attack on several tribesmen who were accused of murdering the Dunkard family. Coleman and Wallack misrepresented the number of tribesmen to the head of Fetter’s Fort, knowing he would be unlikely to go after them. As the result of this deception and attack, Coleman became the fortmaster.

An apology can never make up for the wrongs of the past. It will not set aside genocide, displacement, and murder. I apologize on behalf of my family, and express my sincere regrets that the Europeans did not arrive to make peace, but war, and did not learn the ways of the indigenous tribespeople, who gave back to the earth and did not destroy it. We are well on our way to destroying humanity, and possibly all mammals, with our current practices.

The Duchy and County Palatine of Lancaster

 

My people, the Muncasters, have been documented back to the 12th century, in Lancashire County, England, established in 1182. They lived in the Furness Exclave, which was geographically separated from southern Lancashire County, and frequently intermarried with residents of Cumberland County, to the north.

It looks like a beautiful place, although far North and probably quite cold in the winter, with a late spring. There must have been something good about it, because generations of Muncasters were born, married and died there. My great-great-grandfather, John Muncaster, emigrated to the U.S. in 1873. He was a farmer in Illinois and later moved to Montana to be a cattle rancher. His brother, George, came over in 1883, and he was a sheep rancher in Montana.

Unfortunately, Montana turned out to be a death state for the Muncasters. Conditions were harsh. Pulmonary disease took quite a few family members, along with polio and meningitis. My great-grandmother, Beulah Belle Muncaster, left Montana with her husband, and settled in the Seattle area. She is buried in the Pioneer Square cemetery.

I am grateful that all of my ancestors left England and Europe, by 1896. Despite all of the problems, including the devastation in Houston and the current lack of intelligence in the Federal Administration, I would still rather be here, than there.

 

Rip Your Life Away

The current advice on rip currents must be modified to address a series of pocket beaches along the coast of a round island.

Hawaii has a terrible problem with drownings. Some might be tourist suicide, no doubt. Others are caused by rip currents. There is often no “parallel beach” to swim along until you are out of the current. Many people go out snorkeling with only a mask and fins, which can be torn off by waves. They go out to deeper water, which is easy because the current carries them. But they can’t get back. Their bodies are frequently found 200 yards off the beach, lifeless and beyond resuscitation.

Some beaches in Hawaii, especially Kauai, have flotation devices (sticks) available, which will help someone swim out to you and drag you back. The authorities should be more proactive in warning people about swimming and snorkeling at beaches without lifeguards. If you make a mistake in the ocean, you might not live long enough to learn from it.

The Infamous Noun: Bad Karma

The Infamous Noun entered the English language through the slave trade. Oxford English Dictionary gives a 1587 reference to a cargo of 400 male slaves from Africa, “nee*ars.” While there are various English spellings, none of them seem to feature the double “g”. The low Dutch spelling in colonial times was “ne**ar.” The Dutch took Africa slaves to Western Massachusetts in 1617. They had the first slave codes here, even offering “half-freedom” arrangements by 1644.

Changing the “e” to “i” seems to be an American modification, perhaps to make a harsher, more insulting sound. In any event, it comes from the African slave trade,  and brings a lot of bad karma with it.

Some people can’t seem to resist using it, perhaps seeking some form of emotional release. It’s remarkably easy to avoid, if you want to. Even rappers and hip-hoppers are criticized for using it. Some people want to bury it. The all-time best advice may be, leave it alone.

 

 

 

The Sadness of War: A Small Corner of Hell

“A Small Corner of Hell” (2003), written by Anna Politkovskaya, is another catalog of genocidal behavior, authorized by the government. Chechnya is a small area between Georgia and Russia, populated largely by Muslims, mostly poor. Politkovskaya theorized that it was oil which gave Putin (or the Russian military) incentive to take control, with no intent to treat the residents as anything but garbage.

Politkovskaya was assassinated in 2006, probably because she was writing about important people, and exposing their misconduct. The abuse of power is a frightening thing. Let’s hope Putin’s methods do not become the latest Russian import into the U.S.

The Sad Tale of Iceberg Slim

I just finished listening to the CD version of “The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim.” Robert was a complicated person, raised in poverty, estranged from his mother due to some problem with a step-father, lacking in education, yet gifted.

After many years of being a pimp, he finally had enough of the prison life which came with it, and went straight. He said he was glad when he was able to stop exploiting and brutalizing black women.

Then Robert was exploited himself, by the publishing industry. Despite writing several books with sales above two million, he died penniless in 1992, at the age of 73. I haven’t seen his contracts, but he must have given up most of his rights, including the co-publishing royalties.

Publishers took his money, but they could not take his lasting fame. His writing is riveting. “Naked Soul” includes some political rants, but his street stories continue to be his best writing.

R.I.P, Iceberg Slim.