Thursday, August 29, 2013

















Back to School: Why property values rise when schools are excellent

    I live in Berkeley.  My granddaughter Mena is about to start kindergarten here -- at an excellent school.  But a lot of people who live in Oakland are now really really jealous because they want their kids to go to an excellent school in Berkeley too.  So why live in Oakland and risk going to a crappy school?  Why not just move to Berkeley?  Because the property values in Berkeley are some of the highest in America and, get over it, sometimes people just can't afford to live here unless they gots big bucks.

     Berkeley is no longer the sweet little hippie town out to save the world that it used to be http://berkeley.patch.com/groups/local-connections/p/berkeley-not-in-top-7-us-hippie-towns.  Now Berkeley appears to be a yuppie's dream come true.

     How ironic -- that those children of hippies who were raised here, and then rebelled, became yuppies and moved to the suburbs to get away from Berzerkeley?  They would never be able to afford to buy a house here now.  Heck, I couldn't even afford to live here myself if I hadn't lived in the same place for 33 years.

     But back to my hypothesis:  That people move to cities and towns where the schools are good -- simply because the schools ARE good.

    So which comes first?  The chicken or the egg?  Do property values go up because the schools are good in any particular city -- or do the schools become good because property values have already gone up?

     I'd like to suggest a good way to find out for sure.  Let's pull all of our myriad troops out of Europe and Asia and Africa and North and South America (and most likely Australia and Antarctica too) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35977.htm and spend all those wasted trillions of dollars that we'll then save on giving just one low-rent city in America the best schools in the entire world instead!

     Let's take Detroit for example.

    If Detroit was guaranteed beyond any doubt to have the very best school system in all of the world, would YOU move there?  I bet that you would.  Would Mena and our family move there too?  I bet you anything that we would be sorely tempted (except for the snow of course -- I hate snow)  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/18133-when-schools-become-dead-zones-of-the-imagination-a-critical-pedagogy-manifesto

PS:  And for all you sparkling new kindergarteners throughout the world this September:  Happy first day of school!  And I hope that you also have the best schools and teachers in the world as well -- and that they teach you love and kindness and how to think for yourselves.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/23/the-banality-of-racism-in-israel-s-most-liberal-city.html.

PPS:  Berkeley Camp Tuolumne, one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, just burned to the ground in the Yosemite Rim fire.  Let's take the money we save by not invading Syria and use it to bring Camp Tuolumne back to life again.  Who cares about Syria besides oil barons?  I care deeply and profoundly about my lost Camp Tuolumne paradise.

PPS:  Berkeley Camp Tuolumne, one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, just burned to the ground in the Yosemite Rim fire.  Let's take the money we saved by not invading Syria and use it to bring Camp Tuolumne back to life again.  Who cares about Syria besides oil barons? I care deeply and profoundly about my lost Camp Tuolumne paradise.

     And h
ere's yet another example of how far from reality America's corporate-owned government is now:  Fukushima, apparently, is about to release enough radioactive waste to contaminate the entire planet -- yet what is our "government" doing about this insane catastrophe?  Getting ready to bomb Syria of course.  A nuclear nightmare world-wide is brewing and corporate-owned America is claiming to worry about some fake-propaganda "chemical weapons" scam in Syria instead?  That's insane. 
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/08/130821-fukushima-latest-leak-how-is-it-different/

      A deadly radiation tsunami is heading straight toward Berkeley -- yet our corporate-owned government is only busy "fixing the information" and "wagging the dog" in the Middle East?  It's March 2003 deja vu all over again, only even more stupid.  




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Advertizements for myself: In these hard times of brutal (and illegal) corporatist ball-busting socialism-for-the-rich-only, I am doing whatever I can to make a spare dollar. Here are some of my current alternate-economy schemes that never seem to work -- but I keep hoping!
******

If anyone ever wants to hire me on as a travel writer (or war correspondent), "Have laptop, will travel!"




******

Need someone to help you throw out stuff? I'm really good at deciding what needs to be thrown out (starting with all those corporate-owned bums in Washington!)

****

Need an actor to play an older woman in your movie?
Then I'm your man! I can portray all kinds of older women -- from judges, business execs and other insane zombies to bag ladies, cancer patients, kindly grandmothers and dying patients in rest homes. I've played them all. So send me a script and let's do this. Hollywood, here we come! Here's my reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C91uEYjLUXA

****
Are you a plaintiffs' attorney who is tired of writing those pesky personal injury settlement briefs all the time? No problem! I can write them for you. Years of experience. And pay me only if you win the case.
****


I recently got my Notary Public commission!

Need a Notary Public? Have seal, will travel. E-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll stamp your document, make it official and only charge $10. Of course if you live outside of Berkeley, I may have to charge travel expenses -- but am well worth it!

****
Want something good to read? Buy my book! "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East," available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Your-Own-Flak-Jacket/dp/0978615719/ref=cm_pdp_rev_itm_title_1. It's like if Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain and/or Janet Evanovich went to war.

I also wrote a book about going on Hajj (also included as a chapter in "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket," but this book is cheaper -- but it's worth buying them both!) My book on the Hajj is so outstanding that I bet even Christian fundamentalists will love it! Please buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mecca-Hajj-Lessons-Islamic-School/dp/0978615700/ref=cm_rdp_product

****

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World peace in one generation!"
You can now buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for parents and teachers. To purchase, just click here:http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uqSuzOjM4vU/TafAFKcYz0I/AAAAAAAAFJc/Duv2LYJyUTs/s1600/IMG_0045.JPGhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dlHRO-CPqf0/Tae6tLspmQI/AAAAAAAAFI0/iUKwYDK1f3A/s1600/IMG_0041.JPG
"Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds."
You can also buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for those of us who are still idealists in these troubled times. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

Saturday, August 24, 2013





Elder cleansing: Why is the GOP killing off its own base?

     The GOP has developed such a callous and cold attitude toward slashing American senior citizens' healthcare and Social Security benefits that it almost seems like a "put granny on an ice floe" mentality -- or even elder cleansing.  However, these cold-hearted right-wingers, even though they seem to be totally in love with throwing the Greatest Generation under the bus, need to be very careful what they wish for.  Why?  Because the aging white population of America is currently the GOP's most loyal group of supporters -- and the GOP appears to be killing off its own base.
      The GOP's recent massive efforts to eliminate HUD housing subsidies for seniors and to support banksters' heartless foreclosure efforts on America's old folks can only mean that even more homeless seniors will soon be found dead in cardboard-box coffins under even more freeways across the land.  Oops, there goes another voting block that used to be in the GOP's pocket -- unless dead souls can vote.
     And how about the GOP's death grip on raising student-loan interest rates?  I recently went to a symposium on the subject and learned that, under current GOP-sponsored regulations, a whole bunch over-60 voters will actually still be paying off their student loans from out of their Social Security checks!  http://imgur.com/5GvWV  And just how many of those desperately cash-strapped former students will be staunch and faithful Republicans?  Party loyalty doesn't pay off at all these days.

     And major funders of the GOP such as the Koch brothers, Goldman-Sachs, Citizens United, Chevron, the American Bankers Association and the Chamber of Commerce don't seem to have a moral bone in their body when it comes to straight-out greed.  More GOP voters actually die because of greedy corporate behavior than the number of Americans who were killed in the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the Twin Towers combined.  Too bad.  But then most of these voters were old anyway.  http://evergreenedigest.org/corporation-psychopath


    And what about this new Super-NAFTA secret treaty called the Trans-Pacific Partnership that the Grand Old Party is pushing so hard through Congress right now?  How is that going to effect seniors after even more of America's wealth is pumped out of our pockets and into the rich-dude Wall Street neo-con corporatist pipeline?  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/606/198/076/

    And speaking of pipelines, how many more seniors are going to croak because of the fracking water they drink?  http://www.upworthy.com/imagine-if-there-was-a-town-in-the-usa-where-you-couldnt-get-any-water-its-not-imaginary-anymore-10

    And when I went camping in the high Sierras with my granddaughter Mena's pre-school class last weekend, it was very curative and relaxing http://jpstillwater.blogspot.com/2013_08_01_archive.html.  Someone else did all the cooking.  However, I still wouldn't want to be camping up there 24/7 -- still not willing to join the Donner Party just yet, even despite all the GOP's good intentions toward us seniors in that direction. 

    The GOP's current policies toward its senior-citizen base are clearly so non-beneficial to our health that they remind me of that old Twilight Zone episode, "How to Serve Man". 

     I may be old but I'm not dead quite yet -- and, GOP, I would really like to keep it that way.

PS:  Who else gets benefits from government largess?  Global corporations, the ultimate welfare queens.  So why doesn't the GOP slash and burn corporate "entitlements" too?

     And what part of the country receives the most food stamps, welfare payments, medicaid, educational aid, unemployment benefits, hurricane relief, etc?  Why it's the Red-State south of course -- another firm base for the GOP that it is also busy trying to kill off.  If you are a redneck, supporting the GOP is likely to get you killed too!


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*************************************

 
Advertizements for myself: In these hard times of brutal (and illegal) corporatist ball-busting socialism-for-the-rich-only, I am doing whatever I can to make a spare dollar. Here are some of my current alternate-economy schemes that never seem to work -- but I keep hoping!
******

If anyone ever wants to hire me on as a travel writer (or war correspondent), "Have laptop, will travel!"



******

Need someone to help you throw out stuff? I'm really good at deciding what needs to be thrown out (starting with all those corporate-owned bums in Washington!)

****

Need an actor to play an older woman in your movie?
Then I'm your man! I can portray all kinds of older women -- from judges, business execs and other insane zombies to bag ladies, cancer patients, kindly grandmothers and dying patients in rest homes. I've played them all. So send me a script and let's do this. Hollywood, here we come! Here's my reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C91uEYjLUXA

****
Are you a plaintiffs' attorney who is tired of writing those pesky personal injury settlement briefs all the time? No problem! I can write them for you. Years of experience. And pay me only if you win the case.
****


I recently got my Notary Public commission!

Need a Notary Public? Have seal, will travel. E-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll stamp your document, make it official and only charge $10. Of course if you live outside of Berkeley, I may have to charge travel expenses -- but am well worth it!

****
Want something good to read? Buy my book! "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East," available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Your-Own-Flak-Jacket/dp/0978615719/ref=cm_pdp_rev_itm_title_1. It's like if Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain and/or Janet Evanovich went to war.

I also wrote a book about going on Hajj (also included as a chapter in "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket," but this book is cheaper -- but it's worth buying them both!) My book on the Hajj is so outstanding that I bet even Christian fundamentalists will love it! Please buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mecca-Hajj-Lessons-Islamic-School/dp/0978615700/ref=cm_rdp_product

****

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World peace in one generation!"
You can now buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for parents and teachers. To purchase, just click here:http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uqSuzOjM4vU/TafAFKcYz0I/AAAAAAAAFJc/Duv2LYJyUTs/s1600/IMG_0045.JPGhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dlHRO-CPqf0/Tae6tLspmQI/AAAAAAAAFI0/iUKwYDK1f3A/s1600/IMG_0041.JPG
"Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds."
You can also buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for those of us who are still idealists in these troubled times. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
















Ms. Brown's First Grade Class and the Great Outdoors

I just went camping up in the High Sierras at Echo Lake -- so thought I'd re-post my favorite book on the subject:

Ms. Brown's First Grade Class and the Great Outdoors

Let's explore some of the facts we might know and the feelings we might have about city life. Let's then compare them with the facts we might know and the feelings we might have about the Great Outdoors.

Here's a fact: All the first graders in Ms. Brown's class know pretty much everything they need to know regarding the rules of city life. You all know how to flush a toilet, buckle a seat belt, brush your teeth, turn on a television, get dressed, get on and off a school bus, bicycle to the corner and turn on and off the kitchen light.

You know how to make a bowl of cereal. You know how to answer the telephone, how to open the door and how to eat your vegetables. You know when bedtime is. You know when to get up. You know where to put your boots away. You know where to find the ice cream section when you go to the grocery store.

You know who to tell when you see a bad guy. You know who to ask for help with your homework. You know what to do when you are at school. You know what to do when you are at home.

You know a lot about city life.

But what about feelings? Most of you feel at home in the city. Most of you feel pretty familiar and comfortable with the rules and ways of city life. Right? Right.

Here's a fact: There are no televisions, cars, lights, telephones, toilets, refrigerators, houses, bicycles, schools, streets or video games in the Great Outdoors. They don't even have Barney!

Life in the Great Outdoors is very different from life in the city.

There are a lot of fun things to do in the Great Outdoors, but they are fun in a different way than the fun things you find in a city. There is dirt in the Great Outdoors. Lots and lots of dirt. There are trees. There are creeks and rivers. There are bushes, plants and grass. There is lots and lots of fresh air.

There are almost no people. There is lots of room to run around in. There is a lot of silence and a lot of interesting sounds. There are animals and birds in the Great Outdoors. And the Great Outdoors has a whole new set of rules that are completely different from the rules of city life.

But what about feelings? You might not feel familiar with this new set of rules. You might wonder how you are going to learn all the new rules of the Great Outdoors. You might feel doubtful. You might feel scared. You might feel curious. You might even feel EXCITED by the chance to learn about a new way to survive successfully in a whole new place, to go to and beat a whole new level in the game of life!

Here's a fact: If you spend time learning about the Great Outdoors, you can learn a lot.

But what about feelings? Even if you only spend an hour or two a week learning about the Great Outdoors, sooner than you think you can learn enough to feel comfortable there -- to feel as much at home in the Great Outdoors as you do in the city.

(This book is dedicated to the memory of Ms. Denise Brown, teacher extraordinaire, the best teacher ev-ah)









Thursday, August 15, 2013
















Madam Jane predicts: Don't buy any more cars
     By Jane Stillwater

      What ever happened to America's old economic self-reliance?  And when, exactly, did my country stop being a democracy?  And exactly what can just one single solitary American like me do to save America from corporate plunder?
http://www.upworthy.com/9-out-of-10-americans-are-completely-wrong-about-this-mind-blowing-fact-2?c=bl3  I know!  I'll ask Madam Jane! 

     So I contacted my favorite fortune teller via her hot new Facebook page. 

     "I keep hearing all this nasty stuff about what is going on in America today -- and it scares me," I told her.  "At this point in time, America is practically a NSA police state, our military has millions of uber-weapons trained on every country in the world including our own, corporate greed rules the day, and government-subsidized oil companies and coal companies and nuclear waste companies will have totally shut down the planet within 50 years."
 

""That sounds about right," replied hash-tag-M-J.  "This planet's 50-year warranty is just about up.  You've pretty much nailed it." 

"But despite all this," I continued to whine, "you never, never hear anyone in a real position of power even hint or suggest that a disaster like this might be happening -- or that any intelligent solutions to our problems could possibly be found.  All these jokers seem to come up with during these last crucial days are plans to eliminate abortions, stand their ground, buy more guns, kill more people, pollute more air and hand over even more perqs to large corporations.  That's just stupid.  So what can we do that is smart?" 

"Don't buy any more cars."  Huh?  That's it?  That's all you got? 

"If people stopped buying cars, then I wouldn't have to sit through all those TV car commercials.  Just sayin'." 

"Are you trying to tell me," I said, "that the world's future will be safe if only I can keep away from automobile showrooms?  And if I never buy a new car again, that will that save the planet?" 

"Pretty much." 

I just shook my head.  But then I thought, hey, why not?  Doesn't sound any more crazier than giving international corporations huge tax breaks that American small businesses can only dream of -- or privatizing prisons into slave-labor sweatshops or making it a whole lot harder for us average Americans to vote (or have our votes counted). http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/18112-why-do-protesters-against-egregious-environmental-and-financial-crimes-get-arrested-but-not-corporate-perpetrators 

Okay.  No more car-buying for me. 

"And when you -- and seven billion single solitary other ordinary folks just like you -- finally wake up and demand a stop to the Earth's destruction, then corporations will be forced to follow," said Madam Jane sagely. 

"But do you predict that they will?" 

"Of course they won't," might be one prediction that M.J. could give -- or else, "Damn straight they will!  People aren't stupid," might be the other.  But which will it be?  The lady or the tiger?

PS:  My daughter Ashley the baker just invented a buttermilk pancake/bacon cupcake with maple syrup frosting.  She calls it "The Breakfast Club".  Don't even need Madam Jane to predict that it will be a great success http://www.loveatfirstbitebakery.com/


*************************************
*************************************
Advertizements for myself: In these hard times of brutal (and illegal) corporatist ball-busting socialism-for-the-rich-only, I am doing whatever I can to make a spare dollar. Here are some of my current alternate-economy schemes that never seem to work -- but I keep hoping!
******

If anyone ever wants to hire me on as a travel writer (or war correspondent), "Have laptop, will travel!"






******

Need someone to help you throw out stuff? I'm really good at deciding what needs to be thrown out (starting with all those corporate-owned bums in Washington!)

****

Need an actor to play an older woman in your movie?
Then I'm your man! I can portray all kinds of older women -- from judges, business execs and other insane zombies to bag ladies, cancer patients, kindly grandmothers and dying patients in rest homes. I've played them all. So send me a script and let's do this. Hollywood, here we come! Here's my reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C91uEYjLUXA

****
Are you a plaintiffs' attorney who is tired of writing those pesky personal injury settlement briefs all the time? No problem! I can write them for you. Years of experience. And pay me only if you win the case.
****


I recently got my Notary Public commission!

Need a Notary Public? Have seal, will travel. E-mail me at jpstillwater@yahoo.com and I'll stamp your document, make it official and only charge $10. Of course if you live outside of Berkeley, I may have to charge travel expenses -- but am well worth it!

****
Want something good to read? Buy my book! "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket: Helpful Tips for Touring Today's Middle East," available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Your-Own-Flak-Jacket/dp/0978615719/ref=cm_pdp_rev_itm_title_1. It's like if Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain and/or Janet Evanovich went to war.

I also wrote a book about going on Hajj (also included as a chapter in "Bring Your Own Flak Jacket," but this book is cheaper -- but it's worth buying them both!) My book on the Hajj is so outstanding that I bet even Christian fundamentalists will love it! Please buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Mecca-Hajj-Lessons-Islamic-School/dp/0978615700/ref=cm_rdp_product

****

"Imagine a world where EVERY child is wanted, nurtured, protected and loved: World peace in one generation!"
You can now buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for parents and teachers. To purchase, just click here:http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uqSuzOjM4vU/TafAFKcYz0I/AAAAAAAAFJc/Duv2LYJyUTs/s1600/IMG_0045.JPGhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dlHRO-CPqf0/Tae6tLspmQI/AAAAAAAAFI0/iUKwYDK1f3A/s1600/IMG_0041.JPG
"Life is a competition. The winners are the ones who do the most good deeds."
You can also buy T-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, truckers' caps, baby gear and/or teddy bears with this logo printed on them. They make great gifts, especially for those of us who are still idealists in these troubled times. To purchase, just click here: http://www.cafepress.com/StillTWaters