St. Patrick's Day is a day for getting drunk
on Green beer, for many people. But it doesn't have to be. It is also a time to
reflect on the struggles of
Sunday, March 14, 2021
Monday, March 08, 2021
Woman Power - Yoko Ono
This Year's Girl- Elvis Costello
By Steven Otto
Today is International Women's Day and for a theme, this year, I have decided to write about our nations lack of women and other minorities on our currency. To date there have been a few women on our coins. But there have been no women on our paper money.
A $1 coin.
Early in our history the
They were images of women, but not specific women. That is not much different from all the so called "Indian Head" (supposedly Native American Indian) coins that were minted. Most of those, such as the Indian head 1¢ and the ten dollar gold piece, were not even real Indians. They were liberty headed coins with women wearing Indian bonnets.
When they finally did mint a real Indian on the coin, the nickle five ¢ piece, it was a generic Indian with no real name and no real history.
As for our paper money, women have been lacking and they still are.
So finally after all these years, the mint came out with the Susan B. Anthony Dollar, 1979. It was a nice coin with a nice design, however, it was just a little larger than a quarter dollar coin. They were easy to get mixed up. So that coin faded away with its unpopularity. That is not to say there are none of them around. There are millions still stock piled at the mint. That makes the coin valueless to a collector.
That brings us to the Sacagawea dollar, minted first minted in 2000. It was as different color than the old dollar coin—brass or gold color. While it was popular with some people, as myself, it was not popular enough to become regularly used money. It seems many people just won't handle a dollar coin if they can avoid it. The coin is a nice shape and it has many advantages over the dollar bill, such as lasting a lot longer. But people still won't spend it. This coin had a specific woman and that woman was a Native American Indian. So it was not only a step forward for women, but for minorities as well. As late as 2019 a few of these coins were still being minted for collectors.
That brings us to the Harriet Tubman $20. A few years ago there was a plan to mint $20 bills with Tubman, both a woman and a minority (black), on it. After Andrew Jackson, who is now on the $20 was a racist towards Indians. A black woman is long overdue to be put on our money. It is bad enough we haven't been able to get a woman elected president. We just now have a vice-president, Kamala Harris, who is both a minority and a woman.
Just recently President Joe Biden restarted the effort to put Tubman on the $20. According to Govexec:
"The White House will resume the Obama-era push to put Harriet Tubman’s image on the $20 bill, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
“The Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes,” Psaki said in response to a reporter’s question during the daily briefing. “It’s important that our … money reflects the history and diversity of our country and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that.”
Naturally there are those fools and non-progressives who still want to drag their feet and stop this effort. According to Time:
"The Biden Administration announced its plan to return to an Obama-era initiative to put Harriet Tubman’s face on the U.S. $20 bill. Her image would replace Andrew Jackson, the notoriously racist President, known both for owning hundreds of slaves and for his brutal and genocidal policy of Indian removal. Based on current designs, a statue of Jackson would remain on the back of the bill, while Harriet Tubman would grace the front. Many Americans, across the racial spectrum, are excited about this tribute to Tubman. They view it as progress, as a necessary and long overdue disruption of the American Founding Fathers narrative. I do not.
Our country to the South, Mexico, has had us beat for years on both women and Native American Indians. On their five centavo they have María Josefa Crescencia Ortíz Téllez–Girón, popularly known as Doña Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez or La Corregidora was an insurgent and supporter of the Mexican War of Independence, which fought for independence against Spain, in the early 19th century. And on the Mexican five peso coin they have had Cuauhtemoc, the Aztec warrior—a specific Native American Indian.
So let's support the effort, once again, to put a woman on our money.
And in the mean time, here are some nice quotes from important women.
(The author, Steve Otto, has been a coin collector for nearly his entire adult life and then some.)
Here are a few relevant quotes:
Break the Chains
Unleash the fury of women
As a mighty force for revolution -Jiang Qing/江青
Women are the real architects of society. - Cher
Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. -Judy Garland
I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.- Maya Angelou
I have plowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me. And aren't I a woman?...
.....That little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
And a Song:
Friday, January 29, 2021
This is the hardest obit for me
to write to date. That is because I am writing about my wife. I have written
obits for my other friends, such as Tim Pouncey.
But I was married to Camillia (AKA
Cam and I met at Kirby’s, a popular bar in
She seemed OK with my politics
even though I'm a Marxist. She liked my collection of Marxist posters as long
as they had women on them. I had several she liked that including a poster of
Chiang Ching/江青 with a quote from her on International Women's Day
and a poster of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) of
She was a collector who liked Noritake dinner wear and she liked to go to auctions and bid on antiques. She also bought furniture, pitchers and glasses, including copper wear.
She was preceded in death by both her
parents, Merle Gentry and JoAnne Gentry (Baumgardner). She was also preceded in
death by her brother Mark Gentry.
She is survived by her husband Steven Otto (Married in 1984) her brothers Fredric Gentry, Lawrence, KS; Brian Gentry w- Amy, Lawrence, KS; Clinton Gentry w- Vanessa, Kansas City, KS; Sisters Marsha Hesany; Denise Gentry, both of Gainseville FL. She is also survived by eight nieces and nephews. They have eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Services have been postponed until spring or summer due to the coronavirus. At this time no service are currently planned.
Here are some more
Here we are at Kirby's.
Here is my favorite death quote:
"Living is transformed into dying, lifeless matter is transformed into living beings. I propose that when people over the age of 50 die, a party should be held to celebrate, for it is in inevitable that men should die- this is natural law." -Mao Zedong/ 毛泽东
Clint Gentry also contributed to this article.
Sunday, December 20, 2020
By SJ Otto
Year after year I celebrate the Christmas Holidays. Since I am not a Christian, I prefer to celebrate the Winter Solstice. That event falls on December 23, two days before the official holiday of Christmas. Since most of the traditions—mistletoe, a Santa figure, gifts, an indoor tree and the whole bit, the Solstice was a day of celebration for many cultures and pre-Christian religions. I could celebrate Saturnalia, but that is a religious holiday and I don’t belong to that religion.
I also like to put out a sprig of an evergreen tree of some type to decorate my food or snack.
Let’s not forget the out door decorations.
And nothing makes a holiday like a good holiday song. Here is one of my favorites of this time of year:
“Ring Out, Solstice Bells”- Jethro Tull
Saturday, December 12, 2020
- I Believe In Father Christmas Greg Lake Action Man: Battlefield Casualties
Sunday, December 06, 2020
By SJ Otto
I found this article which is called, “How to Be a Modern Hippie,” by Colleen. I found it interesting because I was somewhat of a Hippie starting in my high school days and in my early 20s. In some ways, I still am today. I found this article in with another Hippie story, “What Are Hippies Called Today?” Hippies were a big thing in the 1960s. By the 1970s we were calling ourselves Freaks. We were a little different from the Hippies, but we were really pretty similar. By the 1970s we had to have out own identity that differentiated us from the Hippies. We couldn’t just imitate people from ten years past.
Today, there is no “Freak scene.” The Hippies today are not the same as those that were visible in
He has long hair. Both of us probably considered ourselves to be Hippies in our high school days and fallowing. Originally much of that was a cultural thing. We were counter-culture people along with many of our friends were. We all had long hair, smoked pot, took LSD at times and we listened to rock and roll of that time period. Colleen’s article mentioned Led Zeppelin and Jefferson Airplane. Tom always liked Led Zeppelin and I always liked Jefferson Airplane. Today, Tom listens mostly to Led Zeppelin. I still like Jefferson Airplane but I also like punk rock, such as Die Toten Hosen.
Much of what I have written about, so far, has been cultural things such as music, hair styles and drug use.
Drug use was an important part of our experiences in the beginning. Colleen writes a lot about the clothes Hippies wore then and now. But for me there were some other things. Probably one of the most important things I took away from the Hippie experience was my views on politics. There is little doubt that these cultural movements influenced my political views today.
For example, Colleen wrote:
“Hippies are known for their compassion toward people, but also animals in particular. Some would even say that you care too much.
You simply love all creatures because they are not able to defend themselves, and hippies have always thought that they should be a voice for the voiceless. That’s why one of the biggest signs that you are a hippie is actually your compassion toward animals.
You refuse to wear leather and wool simply because you don’t want the dead skin of an animal on you. Every time you and your family go out to buy groceries, you always reach for the organic options and that’s what makes you so healthy. You might even operate an organic garden
Where you grow your own vegetables and fruits because you believe that it’s the healthiest way to live.
You know that the political situation isn’t great and you always discuss with your friends the politicians now in power and what they’re doing.
You are very educated in conspiracy theories and you always talk about the things that you would do better if you were president.
Whether it’s dancing, running, or practicing yoga, you simply love to move your body to the rhythm of the universe”.
My politics have evolved since I was in high school. As with the Freaks, I was an anarchist, in those days. Today I am a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. The ideals of communism are not that much different from anarchism. Under the final stage of human development, in accordance with Marxist communist theory, the state withers away. So my beliefs aren’t really all that different from my high school days. They are different in that I now believe we need a state, at least for today. But the part about compassion toward people and supporting the voiceless is a definite part of my personality and my out look on politics. My Marxist ideals are simply an extension of my ideas on compassion. I have compassion for people and I envision a world were there is peace, equality and people are all taken care of each other—no hunger and no lack of medicines for those who need it. Politics should lead to happiness.
The one big difference is that Colleen writes about Hippies caring about animals. I’ve always liked animals. I studied Hinduism in high school. I never became a Hindu. But I did adopt some of those beliefs. One of them is that animal life has value. I won’t kill an animal, not even an insect, unless it is necessary. I avoid any practice that causes pain to animals. I try to respect them. I am not a vegetarian, but I believe in respecting those animals that we eat. I avoid anything the causes such animals any pain, such as boiling lobsters or eating veal which is a tortured animal. I only kill insects that are a nuisance, such as roaches and mosquitoes. I don’t kill spiders in my house or insects that cause no harm.
That is different from Marxist. Marxists emphasise the importance of humans and humans are much more important than animal life. Some Marxists I have come across are against (sometimes antagonistic to) animal rights and animal rights activists. I agree that humans are more important. But I disagree with those who see little or no importance to animal life.
But back to the Hippie article, Colleen discusses the rejection of traditional mainstream values:
“Their rejection of mainstream values was surprising because they were the very people who were in position to gain the most—in jobs,
political access, and money—from the existing system. That these young people chose to drop out from lives in which they had clear advantages was a sign to many that perhaps something really was wrong with the system.
The civil rights movement was attracting national attention by the mid-1950s, and the New Left became a factor in American politics in 1962
following the release of its “Port Huron Statement,” a stirring announcement of youthful political idealism.”
Again, here is something I have in common with the Hippies. I definitely feel outside the mainstream. I definitely have little interest in the pursuit of money and I don’t aspire to be wealthy as I am supposed to, according to the system and its supporters.
Colleen wrote about some of the theoreticians of the Hippies. Some such as Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg were not that political. Others, such as Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were very political. Rubin turned to the right after the Hippies and Yippies began to die out. Hippies were a strange movement that included some leftists and some cultural figures who had no interest in politics at all. Others such as Rubin, ended up as political conservatives.
I do have some ideas I got from being a Hippie that are not political, besides my views on animals. One example is haircuts. We all had long hair. My hair is not really that long. But I still feel that it is ridiculous that men today are expected to all have the same kind of hair cut. Women can wear their hair at any length. But men are expected to have real short hair. Most today have real short hair on the side of their heads and their ears all stick out. I call it the “white wall look.” The hair stops way above the ear and thins out to the point of looking like it is shaved. The other day I sat in front of my TV and looked at all the men with their “white wall look.” Some men have long hair on the top, but it is almost always short on the sides. It is like a uniform. I for one don’t like my ears showing. I don’t have long hair, but I avoid the “white wall look.” Tom still has long hair in a pony tail.
I suppose there are some young Hippies around today. For many Hippies, as my self, we are in our 60s, 70s and older. We are a dying bread. But we are still Hippies. Some young Marxists I have seen, commenting on line, have said they see Hippies as being conservative, right-wing, reactionary. I don’t know how they formed these opinions but I don’t agree at all. In the 60s and 70s we defied the status quo. We challenged the system on many levels. We challenged the culture and the politics. We were often met with opposition and it was not always pleasant or benevolent. Any one who wants to see examples of that opposition can see the move Easy Rider. The Hippies were often treated badly and it can be seen in that movie.Hippies had an impact on our lives since the 1960s. We have some movements, such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, that rose directly from the organizations of the 1960s. I’m glad to have been a part of that experience. The Hippies today are small in number compared to those of the 1960s and 1970s. Many of those early hippies cut their hair, put on a suit and got a high paying job. They lost all their early values. Some of us have retained at least some of those values. I’m proud to be one of those.
 Steve Otto, War on Drugs/ War on People, (Ide House, Los Colinas, 1995), “The Freaks,” p. 146.
 As this article says, many Hippies are writers, musicians or artists. Tom has been an artist since his high school days. Here are some examples of his work:
 Karl Marx wrote about states of human development, including primitivism to Feudalism, from Feudalism to capitalism, Capitalism to Socialism, from Socialism to Communism. Under the final stage; communism, the state withers away. Also in the Higher-stage of communism (according to Wikipedia):
To Marx, the higher-stage of communist society is a free association of producers which has successfully negated all remnants of capitalism, notably the concepts of states, nationality, sexism, families, alienation, social classes, money, property, commodities, the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, division of labor, cities and countryside, class struggle, religion, ideology, and markets. It is the negation of capitalism.
 See also Steve Otto, Memoirs Of A Drugged-up, Sex-crazed Yippie, (Authorhouse,
Thursday, November 26, 2020
It's finally time to post something on this blog. And
there is no better time than Thanksgiving for such an extravaganza. I
don’t plan to travel or cook. I am visiting
Sunday, June 28, 2020
A week ago I was out at the Walnut River when some guy gave me a small bluegill for my aquarium. I put him/her/it/etc. in my tank. He/she/it ate my two Zebra fish. But this fish is bigger, prettier and is more interesting. He/she/it eats out of my hand and is not shy. At first the fish hid for about two days. Then it came out but would not swim to the top of the tank to eat. Now it does come to the top, it is not afraid of me and it eats right out of my hand. It has turned out to be a really cool pet. This pix is kinda blurry. It seems to be the best I can do for now. I'll try some other pix later. I call him Mr. Orangy, because it has a lot of orange on its fins.
Thursday, June 11, 2020
By SJ Otto