Thesaurus

Those of us who write sometime find a thesaurus to be useful for suggesting synonyms, euphemisms or similar alternatives to words that we are trying to avoid the use of. Synonyms might be useful to avert the redundancy of using a particular prominent word a few times in a single paragraph. Euphemisms might be less objectionable synonymous options to unpleasant words.

A thesaurus does not directly define words like a dictionary does, but by providing words of similar meanings, a thesaurus indirectly demonstrates how words are perceived by society. Such perceptions may be significantly different from actual definitions. Some may be completely inaccurate. Some synonyms, whether accurate or not, are potentially objectionable dysphemisms.

A comment in one of the newspapers I work for in Southern California described those who lived in homes destroyed by the Getty Fire as ‘outside the gates’. It took me a while to determine that this is a polite way of saying that they are homeless. To me, it seems to be more exclusionary than polite, but I have never tried the phrase. It prompted me to inquire with a thesaurus.

‘Homeless’ was the basic word I inquired the thesaurus about. Some alternatives are actually phrases that are too cumbersome to substitute for a single word.

“houseless, unhoused, displaced, unplaced, unestablished, unsettled” are simple euphemisms. Some of us are familiar with the first few.

“wandering, itinerant, vagabond, vagrant” are words that describe those who are transient, so do not apply to any of us who live here.

“destitute, estranged, desolate” could be accurate for some of us, although not contingent of homelessness. The last one seems . . . odd.

“derelict” seems to be more relevant to a carcass of an old Pontiac.

“disinherited, dispossessed” are more relevant to relationships with family and friends than a domestic situation.

“exiled, banished, outcast”?! We are not political refugees! (Okay, one of us is.)

“unwelcome, forsaken, friendless, uncared-for”?! How are these words even relevant to our respective domestic situations? Furthermore, how can any homeless (or houseless or unhoused or displaced or . . . ) person experience any of this here in our remarkably welcoming and caring Community of friends in Felton?!

Audience

Why is someone in Ecuador reading about us? What about France? Did they just come here expecting to find information about Tom Felton who acted as Draco Malfoy of those creepy Harry Potter movies? There is certainly no problem with anyone reading what they want to on the internet. It just seems odd that there are others outside our Community who take interest in us.

Do any of us know much, or anything at all, about others like us in the Philippines? What about those in Nigeria? Do we read about others like us in other regions of California? How are they like us? How are they different? There are many variables, such as culture, climate, resources and government. Some may be in better situations than we are in. It is likely worse for most.

Ironically, we become less interesting as our situations improve. Those coming here for insight into our unique lifestyles will find less to read about as our individual lifestyles become less . . . unique. So many of us have regained domestic lifestyles and gainful employment during the past few years that there are only a few of us who still need to do so. That is not very interesting.

What is almost as good as a lack of interesting issues within our own group, is a lack of drama from outside. Hate groups are being recognized for what they are, and are alienating associates.

In this regard, boring is good. We know that things change, and that there will always be new issues developing. For now, we should just appreciate the slow but steady improvement, while new issues develop slightly slower than old issues get resolved. Perhaps our episodic improvements and good news are rare commodities that some of our audience come here to read about.

Coastal Cleanup Day – Saturday, September 21, 2019

Coastal Cleanup Day is an ‘international day of volunteer action’; but we notice it most locally, as volunteers are out collecting trash and debris throughout the watershed of the San Lorenzo River. So much gets cleaned up and taken away in just three hours from 9:00 a.m. to noon!

Because there are fewer of us in our small Group than there had been before, there are fewer of us to attend. Two who so dutifully participated annually, as well as with most other cleanup events, now reside in Copperopolis, so will not participate locally. Another is temporarily in Morgan Hill, and works on Saturday.

This year, only one, or perhaps two from our Group will be participating, but will likely be going to Capitola to do so with friends. Of course, there are often those who do not plan to attend, but end up directing participants to areas of significant debris accumulation, and helping with the collection of such debris.

Statistically, for our small Group, that is still rather good attendance. If we estimate that there are about fifteen of us now, and one of fifteen participates in Coastal Cleanup Day, that is 7% of our total. 7% of the approximately 4,000 people of Felton would be 267 volunteers! There would not be enough trash and debris for that many to share.

In the past, when there were approximately twenty of us, at least two of us participated annually. There were more typically three or four of us. That is a minimum of %10.

Perhaps one of the few disadvantages to the many advantages of several of us procuring employment and housing, and some of us relocating to do so, is that there are not quite so many of us to participate in events such as the Coastal Cleanup Day.

Felton Fire District Captain Calls for Vigilante Justice Against Homeless People

It would be negligent to not share this update to a slightly earlier article about exactly what the title above describes. The topic is unpleasant, which is why it was not mentioned here sooner. Only these links are shared here, without associated text. The update links back to the original article.

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/09/05/18826005.php (update)

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/08/27/18825766.php (original article)

Trendsetters

Fashion trendsetters we are not. Some of us wear clothing that was donated by others partly because it was no longer in style. We take what we can get.

Nor do we start trends of electronics technology. Most of us are satisfied with the basics, or none at all.

Most of us are not at all interested in keeping up with the trends that others indulge in.

Yet, somehow, we inadvertently started a culinary trend that we probably should have kept as our secret.

Black elderberry had already become a culinary and medicinal fad. It started with medicinal black elderberry products, such as herbal extracts and tinctures, to stimulate the immune system. From there, black elderberry tea, syrup, candy and (cooked) juice were popularized as more culinarily appealing options for exploiting the health benefits of this rediscovered fruit. Even old fashioned products made from the flowers became trendy.

All the while, the black elderberries that these products were made from came almost exclusively from eastern North America and Europe, within or somewhere close to regions that they are naturally native to. Black elderberry plants that are grown for fruit production are quarantined from import into California.

No one seemed to notice the native blue elderberries that grow wild here. Well, no one noticed until our blue elderberry jelly started wining ribbons annually at the Jelly & Jam Competition of the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival several years ago. Winning ribbons was no big deal when there were only a few entries, but it did bring attention to the formerly ignored native blue elderberries.

Suddenly, blue elderberries are getting harvested so thoroughly that it is not so easy to get enough to make jelly for the Jelly & Jam Competition this autumn. Besides jelly, people are making syrup, wine and even a distilled brandy like concoction from them. We can only hope that fermentation of the wine denatures the toxins of the raw juice like cooking does. (Raw elderberries are toxic.)

Those who had invited some of us to collect berries from their properties in the past are finding that the berries are getting collected by neighbors before we can get to them. After seeing the berries ignored for as long as anyone can remember, the neighbors are not likely aware that blue elderberries are now in demand. Fortunately, we have multiple sources, and we do not need many.

Trona

Trona is the sort of place than not many of us have ever heard of, even though it is only about 275 miles away in the Mojave Desert, right here in California. It does not look like much from satellite. It must look like so much more to the nearly 2,000 people who live there. It is their home, just like Felton is ours.

Trona is suddenly in the news, after the moderate but significant earthquake that occurred there on the Fourth of July, and the even more significant earthquake that occurred there yesterday morning. The second of these two earthquakes was stronger than the Loma Prieta Earthquake that destroyed so many home here in 1989. Aftershocks will continue for a long time, and there is a potential for even more significant earthquakes.

There is not as much damage in the Trona region as there was here after the Loma Prieta Earthquake, but only because there is less to damage. We all know that limited collective damage does not make our own individual losses any easier. Some will be without their homes, at least for a while. Many will be without electricity for a while. A lack of air conditioning can be dangerous in the severe heat of the Mojave Desert in summertime.

People will help each other out. They always do. It may not be easy. It may be downright difficult for many. Nonetheless, the best of humanity comes out at the worst of times.

After the Loma Prieta Earthquake, many people throughout the region were homeless, even if only temporarily until their homes were made safe. Many camped out in their yards, parks or parking lots. What was not discussed much afterward was how some who found it necessary to do so were helped through their difficulties by those more experienced with camping out; namely, the local homeless people.