Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How We Spend Our Time


Meanwhile, as politicians continue damning themselves, the money men similarly continue squeezing the people and wracking Planet Earth for more profit.
And amidst the cacophony and confusion at the end of a day's work, the head of a family looks at his/her brood and then at his/her pay check and asks with a yet-imperceptible voice:
"What are we doing? Where are we going?"

- Ariel Murphy

Monday, May 27, 2013

What Does a Man Do? (a Guest Blog by Paul Porter in Honor of Memorial Day)

"Your Daddy's flag only has 49 stars, son," the man mumbled apologetically. "Flags with 50 stars won't be available till next summer."

I stood straight and tall next to my mother - or as straight and tall as a 9-year old can. I held out my arms to take the flag from the man, but the man laid the flag in my mother's arms instead.

I flinched from the report of gunfire as the battery of gunners executed the twenty-one gun salute. The man who played "Taps" was out of practice, or maybe he was crying - I don't know which. At any rate, "Taps" sounded as sorrowful and mournful as something played at a burial should sound.

The man who had brought the flag over to us was wearing a uniform, I don't know which branch of the service he was from. Mom said Daddy had been in the army during WW II, so that may have been the uniform he was wearing. I just knew it was the dullest green color I had ever seen, and that it looked like it was made from wool and probably itched a lot. I was too embarrassed to look the man in the eye, so I looked at his shoes instead. I missed the look of kindly compassion the man bestowed on me, but I was impressed with how shiny his shoes were. 

After the man cast a glance of silent condolence at my Mom, he stepped back into the line of other men wearing their uniforms.

I reached up to touch the flag that moments before had been draped over my Daddy's coffin. It was made of some kind of stiff, scratchy cloth, but I didn't care. Mom handed me the flag and I folded my arms up and held the flag tightly against my chest. It smelled faintly of roses and formaldehyde, and the dry, sterile smell of the church sanctuary.

Under the leaden gray sky of that chilly November Saturday, my body suddenly shook with an involuntary shiver. And then it began to shudder as I began to sob. A tear dropped off my cheek onto the flag. It landed on a red stripe, and the color bled onto a white stripe, causing a little pink stain. I looked up quickly to see if Mom had noticed what I had done, but her eyes were closed, and she was shaking too.

I'd never seen a flag up close before. Always before when I'd seen the flag it was at the top of the flag pole in front of our school building, or the principal, Mr. Miller, was putting it on the rope to run it to the top of the pole.

 Friends of mine who were in Boy Scouts always helped fold the flag at the end of the school day, and I had watched the ritual they went through to do it. The soldiers had just gone through the same ritual a moment ago before handing the flag to Mom. Since I was a farmboy instead of a townboy, I couldn't belong to Boy Scouts. I was afraid maybe there was some special way I should hold the flag, but didn't know what it was, so I quickly handed it to my brother before someone noticed I didn't know what I was doing.

As we were leaving the cemetery, a man came up, gave my hand a well-meaning shake and said, "Well, Paul, you're the man of the family now." I knew I should look brave and solemn, so I put that look on my face as I gave a determined nod. My heart, though, was turning to jelly as I wondered to myself "What does a man do?"

Who would chop the wood for our stove? Who would milk the cows, and fill the silo, and shuck the corn, and grind the feed, and sharpen the sickle on the mower, and how did you hitch the mower to the tractor, and how did you drive the tractor? Who would drive the truck to the elevator with the freshly harvested wheat? And...and...and...and.......

I'm 62 now. And faced down dangers, both real and imagined, many times over. And loved. And lost. And raised a child. And became a grandfather. And worked. And earned.

And still - every day - I wonder...what does a man do?!?

Ariel's Note: Paul Porter is "a peripatetic pilgrim...eclectic, didactic, but not pedantic...a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction. He began his journey on a dairy farm in Kansas, and now rests his head in Pele's fiery bosom on the Big Island of Hawaii. He's always looking forward to tomorrow and the new things tomorrow will bring. " 

- Ariel Murphy

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Remembering MIchael

I will always remember the day I "played God."  Michael and I had flown to Honolulu from the Big Island of Hawaii.  After we landed we boarded a bus that will take us to our destination close to the end of the bus' route. We were the first passengers.

Typical in all of Honolulu's public buses is a mechanized slot near the driver's seat. One either hands a pre-paid pass to the driver or inserts  dollar bills into the slot.

Somehow,  I managed to jam the slot's mechanism when I inserted my bills. The driver, Michael and I did our best to make the mechanism work as the bus moved on and picked up passengers. The bus driver had a lot of hope.

Alas, the mechanism just would not cooperate. Frustrated passengers tried to hand their money to the driver who refused to accept them.  He said he would be  violating office policy if he took money.

From the airport to where Michael and I got off the bus near the end of the bus' destination, every passenger who got on the bus rode for free.

Michael kept smiling throughout the ride even as the bus driver kept throwing looks my way that clearly showed the consternation on his face. 

As soon as we got off the bus, Michael finally burst out laughing. With a twinkle in his eye, he said: "You blessed a lot of people, today."

He chose to look at things that way.

Michael M. Murphy III
(June 28, 1944 - May 26, 2006)

- Ariel Murphy

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What If: A Guest Blog by Peter Haberly

I watched that red sphere sink into the sea,
And pondered the source of God's Energy
I thought,
What if our sun could be HIM?
And Heaven's that star; Hell's the fire within.
Would not when we die, our souls free of ashes,
Be pulled to that sun whose body's so massive?
But no pain from this fire; it's the whitest of light!
And then look at the sky just after midnight.
Why, there's millions of heavens, and ours is just one.
What if we call it God's only Son.
Sunspot Loops from

Ariel's Note: Peter Haberly, DVM is a retired veterinarian who lives in Hilo, Hawaii.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Tapestry of Illusions and Reality

Last  night as my head touched my pillow
grateful for my day
and what had come to me
i thought of You
You,  who are all that is
the only reality
not this  dream
and its fears, wants, desires
 that separate me from You.
You are in me
as i am in You
You are in all
as all are in You.
In forgiveness
i magnify You
my essence
i magnify Us.
We are everyone and everything
a Magnificent One
boundless, timeless
gracious, sweet
the All and only that is.
Last night I was
Today i am
another tapestry
of illusions and reality.


- Ariel Murphy


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Just Being There

We deal with our pain  in many different ways. Some attempt escape literally and figuratively.  Alcohol is a well-known refuge. Stores are the favorite destination for whom "retail therapy" works best.  Food is mistakenly thought of as satisfying for a different kind of hunger. Others lose themselves in crowds.  partying as if the gaiety would last longer than only momentarily.

I tend to deal with a storm's onslaught alone.  When I am in the dumps, I  hunker down at home and go for days not seeing or talking to anyone. I simply embrace my pain.

My good friend "F," on the other hand,  likes to vent. She was visibly distressed when she visited me at my office yesterday.  Feeling my friend's pain as I listened to her story, I was  moved to give her a hug and stroke her hair.  I told her non-verbally that I love her even if it seemed that others did not.

I was anxious to go home so I can write my blog but "F" wanted distraction and asked me to see a movie with her. I thought that her need for company was more important than getting my writing done and went with her even if the film was not what I preferred to watch.

The movie ended close to midnight. As "F" and I went to our respective vehicles, I said something about  compassion, forgiveness and acceptance. I told her to try to have peace and get some sleep.

"Tomorrow will be a better day," I assured her knowing from experience that even if it might take more than one "tomorrow," it always turns out a better day.

I drove home a bit anxious about what to post for my blog. But I was glad to have been there  for my friend.

- Ariel Murphy

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fracking Fracks Us!

"Did you know that the word fracking doesn't exist?" I asked Fred, my cat.

"Well when I first heard it, I thought it was another term for those 4-letter words that have numerous names," Fred said.

I explained that fracking is really short for hydraulic fracturing which involves the injection of fluid into earth. The fluid acts as a pressure to cause a crack or to further open up already existing cracks with the goal of extracting gas, oil or release heat.

"Oh my," Fred said excitedly, "fracking may not be a word but it still has salacious connotations."
Confused, I asked Fred what he was talking about.

Fred said, "well look at the words you used to describe fracking: injection, crack, pressure,  heat and to that I'll add earthquake, which is associated with fracking. Look at all those words and then tell me why fracking is not something that I can say really fracks us."
I turned my head first from left to right and then vice versa.  I bobbed it up and down. I decided that it was not twisted, after all.

"Okay Fred," I said.  "You have the floor. Please explain yourself."

"I'm just a cat. How would I know anything about fracking.  But there's one thing I know. Scientific studies have proven that a huge reservoir of water caused  the magnitude 8 earthquake that literally and figuratively rocked China killing about 80,000 people in 2008."

"What's that got to do with fracking?" I was exasperated and just about ready to bang my head against the wall.

"Simple, the weight of the dam caused pressure on a fault line running under the reservoir and triggered the earthquake. Similarly, the pressure fracking injects on the ground can disturb the earth's strata and cause earthquakes, whether or not an area is within the so-called Ring of Fire, which by the way is where we in Hawaii are. Scientists have observed that there have been a lot of earthquakes recently in areas that have not been earthquake-prone like Texas, Ohio, Colorado and Arkansas, until fracking was introduced to mine for oil or gas."

I looked at my cat with new eyes.

"You see," Fred explained as if to a child, "we delude ourselves into believing we can improve life by making basic necessities like fuel available when what we are really doing is endangering  life. We are so fracked up we frack ourselves!"

But what's the alternative?



(The 2008 earthquake in China)

(Fracking can cause earthquakes)

(Fracking in Hawaii)

 - Ariel Murphy

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Man Who Stare at Goats

Years ago I watched a movie called "Men Who Stare at Goats."   The movie was a loose adaptation of a book of the same title about efforts of the US military to use psychic abilities as a weapon. A focus of the book was Jim Channon (Bill Django in the movie ). 
A retired Lt. Colonel in the US Army who served in Vietnam, Jim Channon first made waves by creating the First Earth Battalion Operations Manual.  He believed that the military can be organized along "New Age" lines and with allegiance foremost to "Planet Earth."

Members of the First Earth Battalion practice yoga and meditation. They are spiritual and have paranormal abilities.

At a private party last Friday, I met Jim Channon, who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. I didn't know until I was about to leave the party that the character of hippiyish Bill Django in the movie was patterned after Jim Channon.

The last thing that Jim said to me as we said goodbye was that The First Earth Battalion is alive and well.

He said that recently the Battalion used airplanes to drop plant seeds (instead of bombs) in an undisclosed place.  

The following gives an idea of Jim Channon's philosophy. It is an excerpt from Jim Channon's post on the website of the First Earth Battalion (

Everyone can decide to grow something to eat
People can decide to network with new world web friends
College grads can gather friends and head to the country and
now help older farmers upgrade farms and build their own style of new oasis
Everyone seems to be getting more telepathic and accepting children who already are
The armies can take to the higher ground and replant smart forests and repair the water sheds
Navies can enforce fishing limits and handle the gyre plastic pollution and new hatcheries
The Marines can patrol and create protection for the corral reefs and inland waterways
Air forces will monitor biospheric pollution and air lift villages to global disasters
Retired union people refit shopping centers for new fresh food markets
Veterans camp in the cities and create green zones inside them
Churches facilitate moving used items to needy countries


- Ariel Murphy

Friday, May 17, 2013

A family that Dares Together

There is a saying popularized in the 1940s as a slogan of the Roman Catholic Church that a family that prays together stays together.  I say that a family that "dares" together stays together.

Here's what Hunter Bishop of the Hawaii Tribune Herald reported about a unique family that came to visit Hilo, Hawaii last weekend:

A record-shattering family of world-class adventurers has stopped in Hilo to make their way up to summit of Mauna Kea on Saturday.  

The Swiss couple and their four young children have  navigated more than 60,000 nautical miles and climbed the highest peaks on five continents, and now they have only peaks on two more continents to conquer.

The seven-continent, seven-seas family expedition, powered only by human and naturally sustainable energy, is the first of its kind ever undertaken, said Dario Schwoerer, who shares the vessel with his wife, Sabine, and their four children.

After scaling Mauna Kea, they’ll sail for Alaska where they’ll climb Denali, spend the winter, then tackle the Northwest Passage to the Atlantic Ocean.

That will be the only the first half of their quest to “figure-eight” the continents of North and South America. They’ll take the Panama Canal back to the Pacific, then south around Cape Horn to the Atlantic again, back through the canal and up the western coast of the North American continent.

The Schwoerers started their odyssey in Switzerland in 2000, climbing the highest peak in each department, or state, in their native country. All four of their children were born since then along the way — two in Patagonia, one in Darwin, Australia, and the fourth in Singapore. Their youngest will have 20,000 nautical miles under her belt by the time she turns 2 on Saturday.

On Tuesday, they sailed into Hilo’s Radio Bay from Panama after 50 straight days at sea with Salina, 7, Andri, 6, Noe, 3, and Alegra, still 1, and a pair of TOPtoTOP volunteers, Jacqui Hocking of Australia and Meret Tucker of Great Britain.

TOPtoTOP is the nonprofit organization they founded to focus on the global risks of climate change, and connect people to nature and sport based on sustainability. Dario’s blog entries from the expedition are posted at

Their expedition is supported primarily by Swiss Army knife makers Victorinox and SGS, an international inspection, testing and certification services company headquartered in Geneva. The Schwoerers also perform ocean research and test sailing equipment for other sponsors, including the International Pacific Research Center in Honolulu, which commissioned them to survey ocean debris.

Of course a trip like this can be filled with harrowing adventures. In 2005, they attempted to climb the highest peak in Antarctica, but couldn’t get there due to the volume of packed ice in the sea. After turning back, their vessel hit a floating container and was seriously damaged. They made it to Patagonia, but there were no boat repair facilities that could get them back under sail. They were stuck for 18 months before they could get the materials and equipment needed to make their craft seaworthy again.

When Salina was born in Patagonia, Dario said he cut the umbilical cord with a Swiss Army knife. When that story reached the Swiss ambassador, the ambassador told his friend, who owns Victorinox, maker of the iconic, multipurpose tool, and they got their first major sponsor. The vessel’s sails sport a giant image of a Swiss Army knife.

The single-masted, aluminum-hulled 50-foot sloop is “a fast-sailing vessel,” he said, powered almost entirely by sustainable energy — wind and solar. Named the “Pachamama,” the Inca word for Mother Earth — the sloop has 11 solar panels that provide 750 watts of electricity and two wind turbines that provide another 750 watts.

Dario, 44, said it’s the first time a vessel has circumvented the Americas this way.

“It’s only possible due to global warming,” he said. “Before, it wasn’t possible. It was ice.”

Now there’s a two-week window when Northwest Passage thaws just enough to make it through. But just in case, he’s equipped the vessel with large fuel containers that can keep the vessel’s passengers warm and lighted until the next spring thaw if it does get trapped in the ice.

So far they’ve conquered Mont Blanc in Europe, Aconcagua in South America, Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Mount Everest in Asia, and Kilimanjaro in Africa. They’re on their way to climb Alaska’s Denali Peak, and they plan to stop back in Antarctica for another crack at Mount Vinson, which would make their journey complete. They’ve also scaled Ecuador’s Chimborazzo, the highest peak measured from the center of the Earth, which along with Everest, and Friday’s trek to the summit of Mauna Kea, would give them a trifecta of Earth’s tallest peaks.

They diverted from their figure-eight course around the Americas to make the Hawaii Island stop specifically to tackle Mauna Kea. Early Saturday morning, they’ll bicycle to the summit.

“We’re really keen to climb Mauna Kea,” he said. “It’s been a long-time dream.

Hilo is the first U.S. port they’ve visited in their journeys. Dario said he knew they were in the right place when a rainbow greeted them in the Hilo harbor, a friendly George Valdez at Customs and Immigration greeted them with a smile and helpful advice. Valdez even called to alert the newspaper of their arrival.

Dario eagerly seeks school groups to speak to at each port along the way.

“Our goal is to inspire the children not to give up, and to get a good relationship with nature. Then it’s logical they will also protect the environment.” The Schwoerers promised one another at the outset that they they would not quit on any aspect of their odyssey until they tried 20 times to get over the hurdle. They haven’t reached the 20th try yet. “Our purpose is to do something good,” he said.

They expect that their journey will end in 2017 after 18 years of ocean adventures.

The Schwoerers (Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald)

 -- Ariel Murphy


Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Treasure

There was once a boy who started to collect rocks. It all began with his late grandmother's rock collection, which he always examined on his daily visits. He liked to hold them in his hand and feel their texture. The colors and shapes just fascinated him.
One day, when she could no longer get out of her bed,  his grandmother called him and, showing him  one rock, said: "Take my whole collection with you when you go; but first,  tell me what you see in this one."   The joy the boy had on his face quickly turned into a mute questioning gaze at the old lady with the soft eyes.
Even in his old age, the boy never forgot that moment when his grandmother gave him a treasure in more ways than one.
His grandmother smiled at him fondly and said: "Look at it closely; even a rock aspires to be a cathedral."



-- Ariel Murphy

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Soul Friend (Anam Cara)

Do you have a "soul friend"?  A friend shared a video with me about "Anam Cara," which is a Celtic philosophy of soul friendship.  In turn, I am sharing the video with you. Please click on the following link to see the video:

- Ariel Murphy

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Ukelele and Jake Shimabukuro

Hawaii is not just the land of Aloha, it is also the home of the ukelele, a music instrument with just four strings.  Almost everyone in Hawaii, both young and old, plays the ukelele. But never before has Hawaii seen a ukelele played like Jake Shimabukuro plays it -- with a lot of imagination and passion.

Born and raised in Hawaii and of Japanese descent, Jake has been romancing the ukelele since he was four years old. Watch the videos in the links below and you'll understand why he has been called  the "ukelele virtuoso of Hawaii."  My favorite piece is Jake's version of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." It is  in 24:30 of the first video.

Please enjoy the aloha that Jake Shimabukuro brings to the world through his music. 


- Ariel Murphy  

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Love Frequency?

I was telling Fred about a movie I had seen years ago on television. The movie was about the invasion of earth by powerful aliens from outer space. Nothing humans did stopped the aliens until somebody accidentally discovered that the aliens did not like music.  When music was played, the aliens turned into blobs that became increasingly small until they popped and simply disappeared. 

To cut the story short, men won over the aliens by playing music over loudspeakers.

Fred looked at me and said: "Did you know that there is a certain sound frequency that is believed to  have spiritual and physical healing properties?"

"I've heard about 528 hz." I said. "The proponent, Dr. Len Horowitz, actually lives right here in Hawaii.  He calls  528 hz as the universal love frequency  which scientists ridicule  because it can't be proven."

"But there's proof it works," Fred insisted.  "The 528 hz frequency was successfully  used in the Gulf of Mexico to clean up oil-polluted waters."

"Get off it, Fred," I said laughing. "If there's any truth to the so-called  Love Frequency,nobody would get sick and die. We'd all be living forever not to mention most likely in Pluto since Earth would be terribly overcrowded."

"Do you believe that you and I are having this conversation?" Fred asked as he started pacing the room typical of grandstanding lawyers in the movies.

"Duh," I was emphatic as I rolled my eyes.

"But does anyone know I'm your cat?" Fred had that smug look on his face that lawyers have after exploding a bomb on the opponent's case.

"Listen, babe, just because nobody has ever heard a cat talk  like a man doesn't mean there couldn't possibly be one."

For more information about the "Love Frequency" please click on the following links:

- Ariel Murphy

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Medicine for the People

We harness energy from the wind, the sun, the water.  What energy do we harness from a mass of people dancing to the music in this link:



- Ariel Murphy

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Play by Your Heart: A Guest Blog by Paul Porter

One of my fellow volunteers brought a container of Dove Bliss chocolate pieces to our gathering yesterday.

In less than 30 seconds, I was indulging my chocolate craving with craven disregard for social propriety.

Gloria, our pot belly pig, watched my behavior with dismay and disgust.

 In a vain attempt to make it appear that I had at least some semblance of control over my chocolate addiction, I would take a few seconds to ponder the pithy quote on the inside of the wrapper.  It's fair to say I had at least two dozen quotes to challenge and inspire me.

 I don't necessarily believe that life is all about the winners and the losers, but somehow I always end up picking one.  

 And for me, this quote is the winner :

"Forget about the rules, and play by your heart"

 - Paul Porter



"Ariel's Note:  Paul Porter is "a peripatetic pilgrim...eclectic, didactic, but not pedantic...a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction.  He began his journey on a dairy farm in Kansas, and now rests his head in Pele's fiery bosom on the Big Island of Hawaii.  He's always looking forward to tomorrow and the new things tomorrow will bring. "