All posts for the month November, 2021

Reblog of Annie — to remind us

Published November 29, 2021 by Nan Mykel

Presenting the First Thanksgiving as Seen by Native Americans

With the belief that our nation becomes stronger as we examine the times that we’ve failed, sometimes grievously, to live up to our ideals, I’m providing this story assembled by The Washington Post.

“The Myth of Thanksgiving” explores the storied first Thanksgiving dinner between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts on the anniversary of its 400-year occurrence. The article places the events in context and brings us up to date on the fate of the tribe–and of Indigenous people in the US generally.

The Post‘s effort to correct the record came to life when Dana Hedgpeth, a reporter who is Native American, recalled being asked by a colleague what her Thanksgiving plans were.

She replied that Thanksgiving is “not the most favorite holiday for my people. There’s, you know, genocide, taking of our land, disease, war.” The holiday, she said dryly, hadn’t worked out well for her people.

The Indigenous people, the first Americans, had been cultivating the land for 10,000 years. Before the settlers arrived, the Mashpee Wampanoag reportedly numbered between 30,000 and 100,000, in land stretching from Massachusetts through Rhode Island. Now, there are 2800 of them–and they are still fighting legal battles for a sliver of their historical land.

The tribe had both traded with European explorers and fought with them for nearly a century. When the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower, the Indians watched them for months. The fact that the English brought women and children made the tribal leaders hopeful.

Hedgpeth conjectures that their leader, Ousamequin, may have thought: “‘Maybe they will cause me no harm. Maybe they would be better allies. They clearly have better weapons than I. They have guns. I have bows and arrows.’

“He was a great leader. He was no fool. He strategically reached out to them. Months after they had arrived — they arrived in 1620 — they lost half the Pilgrims in the winter.

“In the spring, he reaches out to them, sort of trying to figure out what is their purpose, not knowing that this is going to be what Frank James, a well-known Wampanoag activist, called the beginning of the end. But he reaches out to them strategically, thinking, ‘Better to be allies than to be enemies.’”

The Wampanoag taught the pilgrims how to plant beans, corns, and squash and to use fish as fertilizer. However, when the Pilgrims had their first feast, they did not invite the Wampanoags.

But when the tribal leaders heard the Pilgrims fire muskets, they approached, ready for war. Informed it was a celebration, they brought deer they’d killed and joined in. From that encounter, the myth of Thanksgiving has been embellished.

In reality, notes Darius Coombs, a Wampanoag Mashpee member who does cultural outreach, Thanksgiving “kicked off colonization. Our lives changed dramatically. It brought disease, servitude, and so many things that weren’t good for Wampanoags and other Indigenous cultures.”

Ironically, The Post article notes, without the help of the Wampanoag, the Pilgrims–severely weakened by disease during their first year as settlers–may not have survived the second year. But the Wampanoags’ efforts may have led to their own near destruction.

In the 1700s, The English passed a law that made teaching a Mashpee Wampanoag Indian to read or write “punishable by death.” They forced them off their land and insisted that many convert to Christianity.

“If you didn’t become a Christian, you had to run away or be killed,” said Anita Peters, whose tribal name is Mother Bear.

At 71, she is a repository of the tribe’s history and spends much of her time in the Wampanoag museum in Mashpee, which she helps run.

The Mashpee Wampanoags sued the government to regain their lands in 1970. Their suit was denied by a federal judge who said they weren’t a recognized tribe. They did receive recognition in 2007.

Eight years later, under President Obama, about 300 acres were put into a federal trust for them. However, the land is scattered throughout Cape Cod and amounts to one-half of one percent of their original land.

The Trump administration tried to remove that land from the trust. Today, tribal officials have been awaiting word from the Interior Department, now headed by Deb Haaland, the first Native American in charge, about their land’s status.

Despite the dreadful history and harsh present circumstances, the people The Post cites in this story show considerable generosity of spirit.

Said Mother Bear: “It’s hard to say that we shouldn’t have helped them because we’re human beings, and that’s what we do. We would naturally try to help people.

“But I think we let them get away with too much stuff. I mean, there were plenty of times we could have wiped them all out, you know, but we’re human beings. I think we can hold our heads up and say that we did not take that route. You know, we kept our humanness.”

And here’s what reporter Dana Hedgpeth says:

“I feel passionate about the word ‘regret.’ I regret history was unkind to my people. So I think it’s okay to regret. I think it’s okay to acknowledge there’s nothing harmful in stopping and pausing at remembering our history.

“Nobody has to feel bad. Eat your turkey, have a second helping of mashed potatoes. I’m not saying people should have white guilt. I’m saying pause, remember, and reflect. Reflect. Just pause, remember, reflect, respect those Wampanoags for the people, who they are. Listen to their story. That’s all. Just think about it.”

If you click on The Post link, you can listen to a reading of the transcript that includes The Post reporters and Wampanoag officials who participated in the article’s compilation. You can also read the complete transcript or view the article with photographs.



Published November 27, 2021 by Nan Mykel

I am thankful for the ability to learn, but to what end?

IS the March of the Penguins a metaphor for mankind?

ARE WE fated by our genes and early experiences to unroll our lives to the very end?  And why do we hate that notion so?  Because we would not matter, then?  Do the penguins matter?  Perhaps it is all in the service of Emergence.  Survival is the drive, emergence mans the tiller.  But what of war and pestilence?  What of chaos, or chance…or pandemics?

Eisley writes, in the Invisible Pyramid, “Beginning on some winter night the snow will fall steadily for a thousand years and hush in its falling the spore cities whose seed has flown.  The delicate traceries  of the frost will slowly dim the glass in observatories and all will be as it had been before the virus wakened.  The long trail of Halley’s comet, once more returning will pass like a ghostly matchflame over the unwatched grave of the cities. This has always been their end, whether in the snow or in the sand.”

There I go, running my readers away for a fun read.  Some of my motivation I think is due to the beauty of the words.  I’ve also been reading more on mycelium (in fungi) and have more questions than answers, as usual.  I don’t much care for some of the answers I’ve been getting recently.

Feeling Empty

Published November 27, 2021 by Nan Mykel

Can resonate to…

This, That, and the Other

There’s nothing worse than feeling empty inside
There’s no medicine I can take to ease the pain

While the pity of love lost is impossible to hide
I thought my avarice gave me something to gain

I had hoped that my greed you would take in stride
I evasively tried to cover up evidence of the stain

But I failed miserably and we both cried and cried
And now I am hollow, like a furnace with no flame

Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (medicine), Your Daily Word Prompt (pity), Word of the Day Challenge (avarice), My Vivid Blog (evasively), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (hollow), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (furnace). Image credit: Ladders Inc at

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Couldn’t resist….

Published November 27, 2021 by Nan Mykel

From  Google Groups “X1-Friends” group:

AT&T fired President John Walter after nine months, saying he lacked intellectual leadership. He received a $26 million severance package. Perhaps it’s not Walter who’s lacking the intelligence?

Police in Oakland, CA spent two hours attempting to subdue a gunman who had barricaded himself inside his home. After firing ten tear gas canisters, officers discovered that the man was standing beside them in the police line, shouting, ‘Please come out and give yourself up.’
 Police in Los Angeles had good luck with a robbery suspect who just couldn’t control himself during a lineup. When detectives asked each man in the lineup to repeat the words: ‘Give me all your money or I’ll shoot’, the man shouted, ‘that’s not what I said!’
 A man spoke frantically into the phone: ‘My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart’. ‘Is this her first child?’ the doctor asked. ‘No!’ the man shouted, ‘This is her husband!’

You Probably Won’t Believe This…

Published November 25, 2021 by Nan Mykel

Hard to believe…

On the farm we had a worker name of Given. I don’t know who he was born as, but of course everyone called him Thanks.

Old Thanks was poorly even as a young field hand.  I think we hired him because no one else would work as cheap.

Ma’am fed all the field hands mid day, and once when nobody was looking Thanks slipped a dead frog into a canning jar of pickles, undiscovered for a year.

Customers and other visitors to the farm used to talk about how polite our family was.

I can remember thanking the Lord for him once a year…

P.S. That’s an Aye Aye — see Google


Published November 23, 2021 by Nan Mykel

So sad we need to hear this…but unsure how to “#”…

I’ve got to run to the market later today. Maybe I’ll also make a lightning stop at a hardware store, I don’t know. But in any event, I won’t be taking a gun with me. Because there’s absolutely no need to.

Also, okay, I don’t own a gun. So realistically I couldn’t take a gun with me even if I wanted to. Which I don’t. I don’t own a gun for the same reason I’m not taking one to the market. I don’t need a gun. I have zero use for a gun.

I’ve no need for a gun, but I rather like them. They’re incredibly efficient tech, they make a loud noise (sometimes I enjoy making a loud noise), they can make a hole suddenly appear in a target a distance away (which is actually sort of cool), and if you fire them at night, you see flame come…

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Don’t miss this Ravitch post today

Published November 23, 2021 by Nan Mykel

Steve Nelson, a retired educator, describes the calculated and underhanded effort to destroy public education, a ruse that proceeds by stealth and loaded language.e begins:

The same fine folks who brought us the Critical Race Theory (CRT) scare tactic to win the Virginia gubernatorial election are now poised to bring our public education system to its knees and then put it out of its misery.

In an alarming New York Times column, Michelle Goldberg recounts an exchange with Christopher Rufo, the manipulative wizard behind the weaponizing of CRT for broad political purposes.  Rufo gleefully admits that the CRT gambit, combined with widespread pandemic frustration, provides a perfect storm for completion of the decades-long conservative goal of weakening and effectively eliminating “government schools.”….









Published November 18, 2021 by Nan Mykel

This month’s Smithsonian corrects the reputation of a long-misundersood man: King George III.  “George was the epitome of  a constitutional monarch, deeply conscientious about the limits of his power.  He never vetoed a single Act of Parliament, nor did he have any hopes or plans to establish anything approaching tyranny over his American colonies,  which were among the freest societies in the world at the time of the Revolution: Newspapers were uncensored,  there were rarely troops in the streets and the subjects of the 13 colonies enjoyed greater rights and liberties under the law than any comparable European country of the day.

“…Even after George Washington defeated George’s armies in the War of Independence, the king referred to Washington in March 1797 as ‘The greatest character of the age,’  and when George  met John Adams in London in June 1785, he told him ‘I will be very frank with you.  I was the last to consent to the separation [between England and the colonies] but the separation having been made, and having become inevitable, I have always said and I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power.’

“…George never owned slaves himself, and he gave assent to the legislation that abolished the slave trade in England in 1807.”

The article is by Andrew Roberts, who wrote The Last King of America, just published by Viking.



Published November 14, 2021 by Nan Mykel

It’s been a long life…


In traditional outpatient psychotherapy                                                                                                                                                 the client comes into treatment for assistance,                                                                                                                                willing to pay for the privilege of obtaining
help from the therapist, based on the client’s                                                                                                                                    report of his problems.
“This model is absolutely useless when applied                                                                                                                                       to sex offenders.  Incestuous fathers are                                                                                                                                         generally not in distress so long as they have
sexual access to their daughters. They almost never seek treatment voluntarily, and they do                                                                                                                                      not reveal the full extent of their offenses”  (Herman 2000, 150–51). Many sex offenders in                                                                                                                             treatment give misleading information to their therapist, due in part to their continued                                                                                                                                        vulnerability to the legal system (i.e. Parole Board), in part due to their shame about their                                                                                                                                  offending, and in part as a result of their cognitive distortions, or “thinking errors.”

After twelve years with offenders in treatment I increasingly realized that I was not given                                                                                                                                          the full story. In some cases I had no way of validating or confronting the men’s information,                                                                                                                                    but in most cases I think I was too trusting. Did a victim really bring his fiancée to meet
this molester in later years and reminisce about the good old days? Was an adult kidnapping                                                                                                                                  victim really physically turned on by her attacker (who records show was unable to get an                                                                                                                              erection)?  Did the victim of an exhibitionist really approach him and comment favorably on                                                                                                                                      his genitals, and then begin a relationship with him?
The second wife of a prisoner convicted of molesting his stepdaughter routinely drove long                                                                                                                            distances to visit him in prison. She still had faith in her husband’s innocence and did not                                                                                                                                    believe her daughter’s allegations. Later, at his parole board hearing, the man’s entire first                                                                                                                                    family testified that he had also molested them. As a result, he did not get paroled.                                                                                                                                        Confidentiality and safety concerns prevented the information being shared with the second                                                                                                                                  wife, or the perpetrator. The last I knew, she still believed him innocent.  Another case involved a                                                                                                                            man who had been in treatment over a year before it was discovered he had sexually assaulted a                                                                                                                          woman in another state. When confronted he said, “I didn’t know you were interested in what I                                                                                                                                did across the river.”
A number of child molesters have been fired from their jobs “without prejudice” or legal action.                                                                                                                              Even the employment records of teachers and counselors, for instance, cannot be relied upon                                                                                                                                  for accurate information. Yet another man who quit the program, convinced that he had
“completed treatment,” had only discussed his molestation of members of his Boy Scout troop.                                                                                                                                He denied having molested his daughter. It was not until after he terminated treatment that                                                                                                                                    the presence of a son in his household came to light. Still another man, convicted of molesting                                                                                                                                two of his daughters—one in a wheelchair—denied molesting the latter, saying he had never                                                                                                                                been that hard up for sex. Another man, who was an ex-police officer, denied ever handcuffing                                                                                                                                    his daughter when she was alone with him on his boat.
I observed that it is not at all unusual for men with both sons and daughters to be convicted of                                                                                                                          molesting a daughter, while denying any molestation of a son. I suppose sons are more reluctant                                                                                                                              to report than daughters, feeling that it casts aspersions on their masculinity. When one man’s                                                                                                                            family (excepting the admitted victim) visited him in prison, the father made fun of the length of                                                                                                                              his son’s hair, and asked him if he wanted a bobby pin. The young man in question had been                                                                                                                                reported to be depressed and self-mutilating.  Later, after I had queried the father, the son wrote                                                                                                                                a letter assuring me that his father had never molested him.

Dealing with deviant sexual fantasies is one of the most difficult treatment hurdles for the man who                                                                                                                        molests. During the day an offender may be working on his thinking errors, learning about the
harm victims experience, and reviewing his offense patterns, while at night in the privacy of his own                                                                                                                          bunk he may be undoing his treatment by mentally reviewing the offense and rewarding those                                                                                                                          fantasies with an orgasm.  Fantasizing about offending is practicing to reoffend, especially when                                                                                                                      masturbating. Even admitting to having continuing fantasies is a signal to the treatment team just                                                                                                                          how close the offender may be to reoffending, if released. At the same time, it should also be a
powerful warning to the offender himself just how vulnerable he is to repeating an offense, a very                                                                                                                    sobering thought that may help the most motivated men.
Letting go of the attempt to influence the program’s report to the Parole Board, and instead jumping                                                                                                                    into the painful but cleansing jaws of a real commitment to therapy means relinquishing control,
a scary proposition in prison, where one has so little control.

Sex offenders have little empathy for their victims. Although they have some ability to empathize with                                                                                                                others in general, they empathize less with victims of sexual abuse (McGrath, Cann, and Konopasky 1998),                                                                                                              and even less with their own victims (Marshall, Hamilton and Fernandez, 2001). Empathy can be thought                                                                                                                   of as the ability to accurately attribute mental states to other people. One incest offender demonstrated                                                                                                                     his inability to do so when asked how he thought his daughter felt after she delivered her stillborn                                                                                                                  incestuously-conceived baby in the bathroom while at high school and had to carry it home in a paper                                                                                                                  bag on the bus. Her father replied that he had no idea how she felt. The lack of empathy for his victim
follows in part from the perpetrator’s observation of her physical arousal, which she cannot control, from                                                                                                              projection, and possibly, as mentioned earlier, from faulty mindreading.The empathy deficit makes the goal                                                                                                              of this book even more challenging. In order to minimize the likelihood of the men in our program ever again                                                                                                        molesting a child they care about, they were encouraged to carry with them in the forefront of their minds the                                                                                                  information that child sexual abuse is damaging. Unanswered is the question whether an abundance of                                                                                                          cognitive information will have the ability to impact their future behavior. For many incest offenders, feelings                                                                                                           of affection are misread as sex, while subsequently, for the child, the two become polar opposites. (That is, sex                                                                                                        becomes the polar opposite of affection.)

As explored at length in Chapter 9, the bond between the perpetrator and victim can be extremely resistant                                                                                                             to treatment.

Many child molesters deny the need for treatment: One man maintained that the best approach is just to put “it”                                                                                                   out of mind; another resisted doing a relapse prevention plan, saying that if he had to have it in writing,                                                                                                            then…; and another’s minister told him to quit the program because he shouldn’t be around a “bunch of sex                                                                                                offenders.” Some may not want to be “cured” of their deviance. Others may feel it’s hopeless—that they would                                                                                                     only be going through the motions.

Is psychopathy too large a hurdle for treatment? At one point it was thought that treatment made psychopaths                                                                                                      worse, but a further study by Barbaree, Langton, and Peacock (2006) laid those concerns to rest.
For some reason and with few exceptions, I had difficulty conversing with an offender while wondering if he was                                                                                                       a psychopath. One who may have been psychopathic had been reported by other inmates to have masturbated                                                                                                while sitting on the front row when a high school choir visited to sing Christmas carols to the men. He was the same                                                                                                man who had to be cautioned for being too physical across the table when his grown daughter came to visit.                                                                                                  Another was a man who raped his mother who later died, and he told me with disgust that she was a liar. She had                                                                                        reported being afraid of him. His excuse for raping her was that he could hear her in her room, masturbating.                                                                                                          Still another tried to arrange for boys to visit and be counseled by him while he was in prison. He was the same
man who ordered a book on the MMPI prior to evaluation for the parole board, and was the same man who drew a                                                                                          naked woman in his House-Tree-Person tree, and when queried said, “Doesn’t everyone?” Those are just several that                                                                                                come to mind as I reflect back on my twelve years with the prison system. Wondering if someone is a cold, calculating                                                                              psychopath while you’re talking to him, trying to understand him while imagining what it must be like to be him,
didn’t come easy for me. I had less trouble with the man who pointed to the scarf around my neck and told me that                                                                                               on the outside that scarf might be used to strangle me.  (That one wasn’t a sex offender, however.}  A recent article                                                                                     maintains that individuals scoring high on the test for psychopathy can profit from treatment designed specifically to
meet their needs and take their characteristics into consideration (Harkins, Beech, and Thornton 2013, 6). They are,                                                                                        however, a “hurdle” in treatment.

Sex before eight or else it’s too late…—Slogan of pedophile organization. What’s wrong with having sex with children                                                                                          anyway? Usually sexual abuse occurs between a child and someone the child trusts, and often by someone who cares                                                                                              for the child. Rarely do children bleed or show physical signs of trauma as a result of sexual abuse by adults.                                                                                                         Why not include sexuality in our teaching? On January 20, 1972, I was enrolled in a course in Human Sexuality and                                                                                            wrote in my journal: “[J] in class today made the startling suggestion that parents should initiate their own children to                                                                                           the sex act…. The professor said that it was grounds for a good argument, but her objection was that any time there                                                                                                is an inequality between partners (patient-therapist, father-daughter, teacher-student, etc.) the less equal of the two                                                                                              has essentially no real freedom of choice.”

Finkelhor (1984, 17-8) writes that incest is not wrong because it fails to honor a sacred, time-honored prohibition, but                                                                                    because “it violates the powerless—vulnerable wards who are not yet in a position to consent or refuse.” And what would                                                                                   they be consenting to or refusing? Children cannot give informed consent because they are not yet “informed” about sex                                                                                    and sexual relationships, what the likely consequences of incest will be for them in the future, or how other people are                                                                                        likely to react. “The child is not truly free to say no.”



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