Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 177

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #177

…Gadsden County Sheriff, Cyril Odz, a Polish immigrant whose surname has been shortened from Odezicinski, walks up to 12 men carrying a railroad tie to ram Herbert Love’s front door…

Here-Comes-the-Sheriff

Here Comes the Sheriff by Shirley James

James Ferrell has the good sense to roust the Gadsden County Sheriff out of bed for support. He will precede James arrival, some 60 minutes hence, hoping to keep the situation from accelerating into inter-county war; with the knowledge that no matter who occupies the office of sheriff in Calhoun County, it is what Hank Blount says that goes. What is on the mind of Liberty County, God only knows. Perhaps Bristol’s close proximity to the Kingdom of Blount intimidates them.

  Gadsden Sheriff, Cyril Odz, a Polish immigrant whose surname has been shortened from Odezicinski, walks up to 12 men carrying, of all things, a railroad tie, prepared to ram Love’s front door in the quest for their man.

“Put that down, gentlemen, this is my territory.”

“We think there is a fugitive hiding in this house,” the one of the human mob who is tethering the animal hoard claims.

Cyril saunters up to the threshold saying, “Let me in, Herb.” He gives the 12 angry men a sideward glance, smacking of one-upmanship, as he enters.

12 Angry MenAfter a five minute cursory “search”, he tells those outside that there is no fugitive inside. He really isn’t lying, having heard Clete tell him that they just let him go back in Blountstown.

“What about that stolen truck down the road?” quizzes the Liberty lawman. “It was involved in a fatal accident three days ago.”

Calhoun County Florida2    “Mr. Love is pleased to get it back.” Cyril Odz is infuriating them.

James Ferrell will thwart them. “Do you have a man named Willy Campbell in custody?”

“No, he is in the Calhoun County Jail.”

“Where did the alleged accident take place?” James asks pointedly.

“Outside Rock Bluff,” Hansen replies.

“Accident in Liberty County charged and incarcerated in Blountstown, hummm. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the victim, would it? I suggest you tell Mr. Blount to transfer the accused to Bristol. And we look like to speak to the deceased’s girl friend. She is a witness to the accident.”

“You can expect us to be right behind you.” Herb Love nods his approval Ferrell’s way, confident that he will see justice done.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Gadsden County Sheriff-001

Episode #177


page 164

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #176

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #176

…what may have happened to his most valued employee, his new truck and the man now pounding on his front door…

The Seminoles by James F. Hutchinson

The sound of barking blue-tick hounds spurs well-meaning fugitive Clete Wilsup on. They have trailed him all the way from the central time zone, though not entirely onEscape2-001 foot, showing no signs of giving up, regardless of jurisdiction.

Seminole Ridge is an interesting topographical feature. The ridge is a part of a 30 mile formation extending well into Georgia and is reminiscent of escarpments carved into the earth by the glaciers. Florida and glaciers are far from synonymous, but so are freedom and Blountstown.

Clete is not a spiritual man, yet he feels like he being led to the Love homestead by some unseen force, The ancient sounds of Seminole Indian drums getting louder the closer he gets. At the peak of the crescendo, the two warrior ponies greet him; he will sprint the final mile up the drive, sapping what is left of his dwindling strength.

   “Herb, do you hear a knock?” wonders Phoebe Love, making sure it is not part of a lifelike dream. Before he can answer, they hear it for sure, with an accompanying, “Mr. Love, let me in! The police is after me!”

“That sounds like, Clete. Where are my pants?” A thousand scenarios have been playing in his brain, in an impossible attempt to guess what may have happened to his most valued employee, his new truck and the man now pounding on his front door.

A chorus of whooping barks spill in with Clete. The door is latched and questions follow.

“Willy’s in the Blountstown jail. A fancy car drove into us, while I was driving, killed a Blount and they be blaming Willy. They wouldn’t listen to me, I tried tellin’ them, but this guy Blount owns the town and the law.”

Love does not hesitate in picking up the receiver on his telephone.

Leah-001“Who is the party you wish to call?” begs the graveyard shift operator.

“James Ferrell in Tallahassee.”

After a dozen or so rings, lawyer Ferrell picks up his end, completing the circuit. “I…uh…. can I call you in the morning?”

“Meet me at the homestead.”

“Herbert, is that you?”

“It is and we have a serious situation to deal with. I made a huge mistake and we have to correct it. Willy is in jail and his apprentice his being chased by dogs.”

Company Town-001 “In Quincy?”

“No, Willy is in Blountstown. Cletus is here.” Herb is beside himself. “I cannot believe I thought we could do business with that man. It sounded like he had changed.”

“Oh my. I’ll be right over.” In the short time he has been e back home, James is very aware of Blountstown justice. And the day he turns down a client who literally supports his entire practice (on permanent retainer by the Pearson-Eastman Journal) is the day he commits professional suicide.

“That was Herb, Abbey. Where are my pants?”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Pants-001

Episode #176


page 163

World Leaders Meet – Presidential Retreat

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Camp David’s

Unique Role in

American History

It was American involvement in the Second World War which led to the selection of the site known to the world as Camp David as a presidential retreat. President Hoover had established a rustic camp in Virginia during his administration, purchasing it with his own money and donating it to the government, but the camp was too rustic for FDR. Accommodating his wheelchair was impossible. FDR preferred to relax on the presidential yacht during his first two terms, but when German U-boats cozied-up to the American coastline the Navy was horrified of the threat to the president they presented. Another site near Washington for the president to relax away from the White House was needed.

The site, selected by Roosevelt personally after considering several options, was one of a series of camps in the Catoctin Ridge, the northernmost extension of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Called Hi-Catoctin by the Works Progress Administration that built it, FDR renamed the camp Shangri La. It was initially staffed by officers and crew of the USS Potomac, the presidential yacht, and has been operated by the Navy ever since as Naval Support Facility Thurmont, from the name of the Maryland town near the base of the mountain upon which it sits. Since then it has been updated, modified, and changed to reflect the personalities and needs of the president’s who have resorted to it, and has appeared on the world stage as the site where major decisions affecting world history have been made. Here are just a few of the roles it has assumed in its over 75-year history.

8. Winston Churchill loved the place for the seclusion it afforded

During World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made several trips to the United States – the first only weeks after Pearl Harbor – and stayed as a guest at FDR’s White House. In May 1943 the war had progressed to the point that another conference between FDR, Churchill, and their delegations was conducted in Washington. During the meetings at the Washington Conference – code named Trident – FDR invited Churchill to spend a weekend at Shangri La. By accepting, Churchill became the first foreign leader to visit the presidential retreat, where the two leaders went fishing, worked on FDR’s stamp collection, and continued their discussions of the situation in Europe, including plans for the invasions of Sicily, Italy, and across the English Channel. An aide commented they were protected from mosquitoes by cigar and cigarette smoke.

Between planning for the liberation of Europe, and discussing the situation in the Pacific, FDR and Churchill relaxed over the brief visit. A longstanding story in the nearby town of Thurmont is that Churchill visited a local establishment and became intrigued with what Americans call a jukebox, feeding it coins on at least one occasion. Whether true or not (some dispute it, though it would not have been out of character) his visit to Shangri La in the spring of 1943 marked the first time the presidential retreat was the site of discussions between world leaders which led to decisions that altered world history. It was during the Trident Conference the decision to invade France in the spring of 1944 was made.

7. Harry Truman hated it because his wife did

Harry Truman was not fond of Camp David. The views from the mountaintop were not pleasing to the Missouri farmer in him, but the real reason he infrequently used the camp was that his wife, Bess, did not like it. She found it boring and dull. It was Truman, however, who designated the site as an official presidential retreat, on land owned by the National Park Service. He also had the camp winterized by installing steam heat in the cabins, and enlarged its grounds. US Navy Construction Battalions – Seabees – did the bulk of the work. Yet he visited only 10 times during his presidency. He preferred the Little White House at Key West.

Despite his lack of enthusiasm for the camp, it was Truman who made it available for the president’s use year-round, and the improvements led to it playing a much larger role in subsequent presidencies. When he did visit, he used the paths throughout the camp and on the mountains to indulge himself in his favorite form of exercise. He took long walks, enjoying the seclusion. Truman, who supposedly once recommended people get a dog if they wanted a friend, had a dog named Feller which he received as a gift and had kept at the camp. He seldom, if ever, asked to see it during his visits, and when he left the presidency to return to Independence, Missouri, the dog remained behind.

6. Eisenhower gave it the name of Camp David

Initially Eisenhower was not enamored of the expense of maintaining a presidential retreat for infrequent use, especially one so near his Gettysburg farm, only about thirty miles away. He planned to get rid of Shangri La, as well as other presidential “luxuries.” His Attorney General, Herbert Brownell, persuaded him otherwise. It wasn’t long before Eisenhower was using the facility frequently, for both business and relaxation. He expanded the camp, held cabinet meetings and conferences there, and installed a three-hole golf course. He renamed it Camp David (in honor of both his father and grandson), stating that the name bestowed by FDR was a bit “fancy.” Numerous world leaders were brought there as the Cold War grew chillier, including France’s Charles de Gaulle, and Britain’s Harold MacMillan.

He also decided to invite the leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Kruschev, to visit the facility in 1959. The word camp carried different connotations in the Soviet Union, and Kruschev was at first reluctant. During his visit, which was the first of any Russian leader to the Western Hemisphere, Kruschev toured the country for nearly two weeks, the last two days being spent in private meetings with Eisenhower at Camp David. In Eisenhower’s view the meeting accomplished little in concrete terms, but the press coined the phrase “the spirit of Camp David” as a result of the outwardly friendly nature of the relationship between the Soviet and American leaders. Eisenhower disliked the phrase.

5. Jackie Kennedy loved it because she could ride horses without photographers stalking her

Eisenhower found himself returning to Camp David early in the administration of his successor, John F. Kennedy. Ike made the brief trip down from his farm to meet with JFK in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs invasion. By the time of JFK’s abbreviated presidency many of the facilities were somewhat run down, and the rustic nature of the site did not seem to mesh with the glamorous nature of the Kennedy’s, especially Jackie. But she quickly came to love the facility. Unlike in Washington, or at some of the various Kennedy compounds, she could do as she wished on the grounds without the constant presence of photographers hounding her.

Jackie rode about the estate with other members of the extended Kennedy family, including the president, and the First Couple enjoyed using the skeet range during their visits. Kennedy also allowed family members and officials serving in his administration to use the facility when he was not staying there. President Kennedy once personally went by car, accompanied by a Secret Service agent, to retrieve a wayward guest who had gotten lost on a hike – Supreme Court Justice William Douglas. Kennedy also enjoyed the opportunity to drive his own golf cart, a mode of transportation offered to all at the camp. The president’s cart is referred to as Golf Cart One.

4. Nixon decided to resign after considering his situation there

It was Richard Nixon who had installed the seemingly above ground swimming pool outside the presidential cabin, Aspen. The pool was built above the underground shelter and command post at Camp David, and thus was erected above ground, with landscaping completed to make it appear to be in-ground. As president, Nixon visited Camp David frequently, sometimes on extended stays, and conducted business while relaxing at the facility. He found the setting more conducive to his work than the Oval Office. In 1973 he hosted Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev at the camp, giving him a welcoming gift of a 1973 Lincoln Continental.

According to Nixon’s memoirs, the Soviet was thrilled with the car, and the two leaders took off with Brezhnev driving at high speed on the narrow roads, narrowly avoiding an accident. While at Camp David the two leaders made progress on the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) and agreed that “an objective of their policies is to remove the danger of nuclear war.” But in the back of Nixon’s mind was undoubtedly the unraveling scandal of Watergate. He used the site as the scene for firing John Erlichman and H.R. Haldeman in hopes of containing the scandal. In August 1974, Nixon informed his family that he was resigning the presidency after pondering his fate over a weekend at Camp David.

3. Carter kept Israeli and Egyptian leaders secluded there until they reached a peace agreement

On September 5, 1978, Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel, and Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt, joined American President Jimmy Carter at Camp David for peace talks which led to the Camp David Accords. Begin and Sadat did not like one another, and often refused to speak to each other. Carter and his aides had to conduct a shuttle diplomacy between Camp David’s cabins, with Carter prodding the incalcitrant leaders closer to a mutually acceptable position. The talks ground on for nearly two weeks. There were several instances of Begin and Sadat calling off the talks, only to be enticed to continue by Carter.

Carter refused to allow statements to be issued by the delegations from either side, with all information to the press given by his own spokesman, Jody Powell. Neither the Egyptians nor the Israelis were comfortable at the camp; several wrote of its foreboding appearance. The press was kept in nearby Thurmont, but leaks of the tensions between the parties appeared nonetheless. Carter persevered. Though the Camp David Accords have been criticized by many as a failure, there have been no wars between Egypt and Israel since they were signed in 1977.

2. Clinton tried to do the same with leaders including Yasser Arafat

In 2000, President Bill Clinton brought Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leader Ehud Barak to Camp David to negotiate a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The Palestinians had not been represented in the earlier Camp David talks under Carter, and Clinton hoped to build upon the earlier Accords to arrive at a solution leading to further progress in the overall Middle East peace process. During the talks Barak made concessions, delivered to the Palestinians by Clinton, and later withdrew them. Barak arrived at the summit having failed to observe the conditions of earlier agreements. Arafat believed a meeting of senior leadership was doomed to fail.

The Israelis offered no written proposals, instead delivering them verbally as possibilities contingent upon Palestinian concessions. The 2000 Camp David Summit did not lead to an agreement between the contending parties, and in the aftermath Israeli settlements expanded in the disputed territory, and another Palestinian “intifada” began in October. The implication that the talks failed due to Palestinian intransigence led to the Israeli claim there was no Palestinian desire for a peaceful resolution of the issues dividing the two, and violence continued, worsening by the end of 2000. Two decades later the same issues divide the parties.

1. It was where Dick Cheney took refuge on 9/11

On September 11, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney spent the majority of the day following the terrorist attacks in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) beneath the White House. After President Bush returned to Washington that evening, a meeting was held in the PEOC chaired by the president. From that evening on, for several days, the American public was told that the Vice President had been moved to a “secure location,” though he returned to the White House for meetings several times. That secure location turned out to be Camp David. He arrived by helicopter (Marine 2) that evening, having taken off from the south lawn of the White House, a violation of normal protocol, but one of many that day and night.

When he arrived at Camp David, the VP and his family took up residence in Aspen Cabin, the residence of the president at the camp — another violation of protocol. The president arrived at Camp David on September 15, expressed displeasure that someone had been using his cabin (without his knowledge), and over the weekend brought his closest advisers and their aides to the facility to conduct meetings to discuss the American response. September 11 and its aftermath proved that since it opened as a presidential resort camp in 1942, Camp David, operated by the Navy, secured by United States Marines and the Secret Service, has become an integral part of the apparatus of the United States government. It has become vital to the maintenance of the president’s physical and mental health, and the execution of his office.


World Leaders Meet –

Presidential Retreat

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #107

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #107

…John Ferrell is most relieved, having thought he would be on his own in his search for the newlyweds, alone in a strange city renowned for its crime and disease…

Aftermath-001

“The animals knew what was comin’,” suggests Willy Campbell, with affirming nods throughout the swaying railroad car he was seated (the 1st-not the last). They too had noticed the strange lack of wildlife as far back as the Ferrell wedding, one week ago. Not to mention domestic creature behavior in the final days.

 “Perhaps that is the answer, yes I declare it is; local weather observers, reporting directly to the Weather Bureau on a daily basis. From Maine to Montana, the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico; temperatures, cloud cover, rainfall… by God even “Bossie’s” milk production or the sudden disappearance of songbirds.

 “Willy Campbell, this is the very reason that you are my right-hand man. You inspire some great ideas.” Love then goes over to Alfrey Campbell, picks him up from his seat next to Doc Ziggy, telling him, “Your daddy is quite a guy, isn’t he?”

The pre-teen merely nods his head. Love can see that the boy’s interest is not in the affairs Related imageof his father. It is the elderly doctor who has captured his imagination. Ziggy plugs the gap in respect by stating, “Let’s hear it for, Willy Campbell, za finest a man can be!”

Applause accompanies the exhortation, embarrassing the former neo-slave. John Ferrell rescues him by asking of Love, “What will be our route?” eager for a stop near the Mississippi Delta.

     Herb Love had anticipated the needs of the Florida group, suggesting, “I think it would be a good idea for your entire contingent to get off at New Orleans. The rest of the train is stocked with aid for Galveston: doctors, food, tents and the like. So if it is all right, I would like to drop you off at New Orleans Union Station and pick you up on the way back through.”

“New Orleans is my town, Herb,” states Jacques Fransoise, as a point of information.

“You have been in Quincy so long; I forgot you hail from Louisiana. Well that is perfect, you all have an experienced guide and with a bag full of medicine thrown in.”

  John Ferrell is most relieved. He had thought he would be on his own in his search for James and Abbey, alone in a strange city renowned for its crime and disease.

At least he will not be alone.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Dog predictor-001

Episode #107


page 98

Utopian Follies – WIF Idealistic Travel

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Experimental Towns

and Communes

The notion of a utopia—a perfect, egalitarian, and harmonious paradise on Earth—has been a recurring theme in literature and storytelling for hundreds of years. It all started with the philosopher Plato’s book Republic, and it’s since been expressed in other books including Thomas More’s Utopia and Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, as well as in films like Lost Horizon and Things to Come. All this discussion of an ideal and peaceful society has encouraged many people to try and bring these ideas into reality through spiritual communes and new forms of community organization. Whether or not any of the following ten examples actually succeeded is definitely up for debate, but there’s no denying that they work as some interesting experiments in formulating new ways of living.

10. Arcosanti

View of Arcosanti from the southeast, showing buildings from Crafts III on the far left to the guestrooms in the right foreground

View of Arcosanti from the southeast, showing buildings from Crafts III on the far left to the guestrooms in the right foreground

In the desert 70 miles north of Phoenix lies Arcosanti, an experimental town built in 1970 that claims to be an attempt to discover the perfect fusion of architecture and ecology. As imagined by architectural mastermind Paolo Soleri, all the buildings within the city are designed so that they and the people who live in them can work in harmony with their environment. With this in mind, many buildings at the site are multi-use, and all make use of solar power for heating, cooling, and electricity. Arcosanti itself is less of a community than it is a school. Workshops are held throughout the year in order to teach people how to build in Soleri’s unique style, and it is these students—along with the 50 or so teachers who make up the town’s permanent population—who have constructed most of the buildings on the 25-acre site. image: http://www.chromasomatic.com

Community Philosophy:

At the heart of Arcosanti’s philosophy is a strong belief in teaching people to live smarter. The community is meant to serve as an example of how urban centers could run more cheaply and efficiently with just a few design adjustments. For example, many of the buildings at the site are made to reflect the changing seasons, so that a maximum amount of sunlight is allowed in during the winter and a minimum amount during the summer. Meanwhile, the planning of the city itself avoided a typical grid layout in favor of a more courtyard-oriented style, which the residents say encourages community interaction.

9. Auroville

Image result for Auroville

One of the hallmarks of these experimental communities is an emphasis on love and peace, usually as filtered through a heavy dose of new age philosophy. Auroville, a multicultural city in southern India, is a perfect example. Since its inception, the town has worked to realize what its website calls “human unity” and the “transformation of consciousness.” The colony was started in the late sixties by Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Richard, and its central philosophy is a belief that society will learn to progress forward only after people of many nations and cultures have learned to live together in harmony. The community works to act as a miniature experiment in world peace. Its over 2,000 residents hail from more than 40 different nations, and they all live and work together with a mind toward finding new and unique ways to achieve balance and harmony among people of different races, religions, and political backgrounds.

Community Philosophy:

Residents of Auroville are expected to build their own house and make donations to the community fund, but beyond this all necessities—including public school, utilities, and health care—are covered by the community, which is itself partially financed by the Indian government. There is no form of hard currency within the commune; rather, all residents use an account system that connects to a central bank. The city is designed in the shape of a circle, around which are areas containing gardens, farmland, an educational and cultural center, and a so-called “peace area” where silence is enforced at all times.

8. Findhorn Ecovillage

Scotland’s Findhorn Ecovillage is perhaps the most notable example of a community founded on principles of environmental sustainability and renewable energy. The commune was started in the 1960s, but it didn’t take on its current form until 1982, when residents made a concerted effort to show that an environmentally unobtrusive community could flourish both socially and economically. The village still exists today, and has been noted as having the smallest environmental footprint of any town in the modern world. This is thanks to an ecologically friendly building code that encourages the use of found materials—several houses are built from recycled whiskey barrels— along with wind turbines and a water treatment apparatus called the “Living Machine,” which makes use of algae, snails, and plant life to purify the community’s water supply.

Community Philosophy:

Part of Findhorn’s intended commitment to sustainability is an emphasis on autonomy. The village’s 350 residents have their own school, arts center, and businesses, which include everything from printmaking to pottery. There is even an independent currency, called the Eko, which is accepted at all community businesses. Beyond its ecological goals, the village has also gained a reputation—to some controversy—for espousing a new age philosophy of spiritualism and holistic health. Findhorn offers retreats that claim to assist in achieving sound mental health, and the organization has even put out a therapeutic board game that it claims can be “a substantial way of understanding and transforming key issues in your life.”

7. Pullman, Illinois

Greenstone Church and the Arcade park in Pullman, Chicago.

Greenstone Church and the Arcade park in Pullman, Chicago.

Though these communities are always started with the very best of intentions, sometimes the line between utopia and dystopia can get a little blurry. Such was the case with Pullman, Illinois, a company town that started as its own workers’ paradise and gradually degraded into an outright dictatorship. The town was conceived by George Pullman, a powerful industrialist who’d made his fortune building ornate and expensive sleeping cars for passenger trains. In 1880, Pullman purchased several thousand acres of land on the outskirts of Chicago with a mind toward building a new factory. Thinking that he could also satisfy his workers by giving them a nice, safe place to live, Pullman had his architect design a miniature town around the factory. The town featured elaborate Victorian architecture and included its own school, shopping centers, theatre, library, church, and even a man-made lake.

Community Philosophy:

For the first few years, the town of Pullman seemed to be a remarkable success. It was used as an exhibit at the Chicago World’s Fair, and it regularly won awards for being one of the best places to live in the country. But beneath its quaint exterior, Pullman was hiding a dark secret. Most troubling of all was that George Pullman ran the town like a despot. He banned certain business (like saloons) from opening nearby, forbade the town from starting an independent newspaper, and regularly had inspectors search through employees’ homes for signs of damage or lack of cleanliness. Employees often protested his baron-like behavior, but they had no recourse, since the town and all its 1400 structures were entirely owned by the company. When he lowered wages in 1894, things quickly turned violent, and a large-scale strike in Pullman had to broken up by the military. In the wake of this incident, the government looked into the legality of the town of Pullman and deemed it “un-American.” It was then broken up and later annexed by the city of Chicago.

6. The Harmony Society Communities

Religious Utopian communities were all the rage in the 1800s, and the communes started by the Harmony Society are some of the most famous examples. The society formed in Germany in the late 1700s, but their mystical take on Christianity soon drew the ire of the Lutheran Church.  A group led by Johann Georg Rapp immigrated to the Pennsylvania in 1803, and it was there that they decided to establish the first of what would eventually be three independent communes. Their Pennsylvania settlement, called Harmony, proved incredibly successful, and it eventually boasted a population of over 800 followers. The residents sold the land for a profit after ten years and started a new commune in Indiana, but they returned to Pennsylvania in 1824 and formed a third commune, which they called Economy.

Community Philosophy:

The Harmony Society’s theosophist religious convictions meant that they had very strict behavioral codes. Chief among them were strong beliefs in temperance, celibacy, and equality. Members rejected worldly possessions, eschewed sexual relationships—including marriage, to a certain extent—and practiced nonviolence. Rapp acted as the community’s resident prophet, and made several predictions about the imminent return of Jesus to the Earth. When his predictions didn’t come true, many members abandoned the community, but it managed to survive well until after Rapp’s death in 1847. Economy, PA finally dissolved in the early 1900s, both because of an ever mounting debt and because the residents’ celibacy guaranteed that there was no new generation left to take over.

5. The Federation of Damanhur

Named after an ancient Egyptian city, the Federation of Damanhur is a Utopian commune located outside of Turin, Italy. It was started in the ‘70s by Oberto Airaudi and a small group of followers, and today it counts as many as 800 citizens among its ranks. There are even offshoot centers for the group located as far away as the U.S. and Japan. The community refers to itself as a “collective dream” where “spiritual, artistic, and social research” takes place. The group prizes environmental sustainability, artistic expression, and optimism above all else, and meditation and self-knowledge are considered fundamental to personal growth.  But while this philosophy might not seem extraordinary, the way it is expressed certainly is. This was most apparent in 1992, when the group revealed a series of striking underground temples—supposedly a monument to peace and the power of human collaboration—that they had been constructing since the late ‘70s.

Community Philosophy:

Damanhur, though not sovereign from Italy, operates as though it were its own independent nation. There is a constitution, a currency called “credito,” and an independent infrastructure, and at this point there are even grown children who were born in the community and have lived there all their life. Perhaps most interesting is the community’s style of marriage, which works on a contract system. Prior to their wedding, couples decide on a period of time that the marriage will last. Once that period has elapsed, the two can either go their separate ways or agree to renew the marriage for a new span of time.

4. The Farm

Communal living experienced a renaissance with the rise of the hippie movement, when thousands of young people dropped out of society and attempted to form independent, utopian communities. The biggest and most notable of them all is certainly a town in Summerton, Tennessee known only as “The Farm.” The town was the brainchild of Stephen Gaskin, a creative writing teacher from San Francisco who led a caravan of cars and busses across the country to Tennessee, where they bought a 1,000-acre tract of land on a former cattle ranch. The Farm soon became legendary in underground culture, and as new members journeyed to Tennessee from around the country, the community soon grew into a miniature metropolis of tents and log cabins. By 1980, there were over 1,000 people living at the Farm.

Community Philosophy:

In the early days, residents of The Farm took a “vow of poverty” and swore off tobacco, alcohol, and all animal products. All possessions were communal, and residents regularly engaged in group marriages. These restrictions have since loosened, but the community still maintains a steadfast devotion to vegetarianism and environmentally friendly living, and today it works as an ecovillage where all power is generated through solar panels and biofuels. It also has an acclaimed school of midwifery, a book publishing company, and a grade school. Residents have even spearheaded a number of different charitable endeavors around the world. The community went through some tough time in the 80s, and many of the original members abandoned it, but it’s still around today, and as many as 175 people live and work there year round.

3. Israeli Kibbutzim

The term “kibbutz” doesn’t refer to one specific community, but rather to a form of experimental living that became popular in Israel in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The term itself can be translated as “gathering,” and it’s used to describe the numerous cooperative communes that were founded by Jewish immigrants in Palestine prior to the creation of Israel. Many came to the Middle East from Russia to be pioneer farmers, and they chose to live collectively because it allowed for greater safety and a more efficient way of growing crops. Most kibbutzim had about 200 members, and by 1950 there were as many as 60,000 people living in the communes all across Israel. The communities were originally started purely as Jewish farming ventures, but by the ‘30s many had taken on a socialist philosophy, and some of the kibbutzim with more Utopian goals began to allow people of all religions to join.

Community Philosophy:

A key philosophy of these kibbutzim was a devotion to equality. All major decisions were made communally in group meetings. Women were seen as equals to men, and were even required to serve as armed guards at times. There were no personal possessions—not even clothing—and even children were considered to belong to the community at large. Most grew up living with one another in their own communal house, and they spent little time with their parents outside of community activities. After the formation of Israel and the rise of capitalism, many of these values began to be replaced by more modern, individualistic tendencies. Today, most kibbutzim have become private enterprises, and farming has largely been abandoned. Despite this decline, there are still as many as 125,000 people—about 3% of the total population—currently living in kibbutz-style communes all over Israel.

2. Oneida Colony

Image result for Oneida Colony

New York’s Oneida Colony community was started in 1848 by John Humphrey Noyes, a practitioner of a sect of Christianity he called Perfectionism, which stated that Christ had already returned and it was the people who had to build paradise on Earth. The community started as a small group of about 80 people, but this number had doubled within a few years, and by 1880 there were as many as 350 people of all ages living at Oneida. The group had a small plot of land, but its primary base of operations was a 92,000 square foot mansion house, where all the members lived and worked communally.

Community Philosophy:

Oneida worked under a pseudo-socialist style wherein each member would work to the degree that they were able. Women were afforded more freedom than was common at the time, and all possessions were communal. Noyes instituted a strange program of character improvement where each member of the group was regularly brought before a committee and told their personal flaws, which they were expected to fix. As a rule, monogamy was forbidden within Oneida. Instead, the community engaged in a “complex marriage” system where each member was effectively “married” to everyone else. Strong attachments to a single person were discouraged, and members of the commune would regularly trade out sexual partners throughout the course of the week. This included young people, who were supposedly “initiated” into the program by an elder member of the opposite sex. These practices proved to be Oneida’s undoing, as Noyes was forced to flee the country in 1879 in order to escape charges of statutory rape. Without his more-than-questionable guidance, the community soon broke apart.

1. Brook Farm

Image result for Brook Farm George and Sophia Ripley

Massachusetts’s Brook Farm community only lasted for five years, and was a conclusive failure in nearly every way. But it remains one of the most notable experimental communities of the 1800s, if only because of the many famous people who were associated with it.  The town was started by George and Sophia Ripley in 1841. The couple subscribed to the transcendental philosophy espoused by poets and thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and they based their community on these ideals. The basic idea was that by pooling their labor efforts, a society could eliminate the drudgery of work and have time engage in intellectual pursuits and leisure activities. The Ripleys raised money through a joint stock company that counted Nathaniel Hawthorne among its investors, and after buying several acres of farmland outside of Boston, put their experiment into action.

Community Philosophy:

In the beginning, Brook Farm worked around a policy of personal freedom and equality. Members were allowed to choose what kind of work they wanted to do, and special time was set aside for leisure and intellectual study. Women enjoyed much greater equality than was common at that time. Not only were they paid the same as the men, but they were considered autonomous from their husbands and were allowed to be shareholders in the community at large. The commune tried to self-sustain by farming, opening a school, and selling goods like clothing, but they were never able to fully get out of debt. These financial troubles, along with Ripley’s inability to get luminaries like Emerson or Thoreau (who visited many times) to become permanent members, eventually led to the adoption of a more rigid, socialistic philosophy. Against the wishes of many of the members, the community had soon adopted more rules and social guidelines. When a massive communal house caught fire and burned halfway through construction, Brook Farm fell into even more debt, and in 1846 it dissolved for good.


Utopian Follies

– WIF Idealistic Travel

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

…The USS Maine had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, wanting nothing less than independence…

“What the hell was that?” demands Captain Sigsbee from the smoking bridge of the Battleship USS Maine of the helmsman, who already realizes he has no control of this troubled ship. There is no time for him to speculate. The explosion that has rocked the huge boat now topped by another even more powerful blast. “Abandon ship! Man the lifeboats!”

“Where is Commander Gaskel?” asks Captain Sigsbee about his second in command (Martha Ferrell’s brother) amidst a mad scramble of sailors from deep within the bowels of the ship.

“He helped me and some other guys out of the boiler room, sir,” answers one of the lucky ones. “We thought he was right behind us.”

A captain knows his boat intimately. The only two areas that can produce such explosions, assuming it was not sabotage, are the boiler room and the munitions cache. They are too close together for comfort, but Sigsbee has a notion to retrieve survivors and for a moment it looks like the worst is over. Just then, a final blast rips the stern front the bow, just to the rear of amidship. The stern is more heavily weighted by the coal driven turbines and finds the bottom of Havana harbor first.

The fore of the ship lingers on the surface long enough for the remaining bridge crew and finally Captain Sigsbee to make the last seaworthy lifeboat. One minute more separates the reunion of the bow with its anchor, concluding the disaster in no more than twelve minutes total.

(Music: Sleeping Sun Artist: Nightwish Subject: USS Maine)

They had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, rioting against self- government, wanting nothing less than independence. What or who caused the stay of the Maine to come to a crashing end after only three weeks, will be debated and disputed for longer than the lives of those who survive.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #77


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #50

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #50

…”That was the stench of Fort Sumter burning to the ground, Herbert…”

Fort Sumter Burning

“The engineer of the midnight freight stopped at our station to report possible pedestrian contact on the trestle. We were sore afraid you all had been killed.”

“He was going so fast I am surprised he noticed us and he certainly did not stop to find out if he had hit anything,” the nearest thing to a victim, laments.

“Verily, verily,” Love relates. “He also reported seeing signs of fire up the line, smelled smoke. We did smell smoke as well, a very odd smell indeed.”

That was the stench of Fort Sumter burning to the ground, Herbert!”

“You must be joking, Jacob… you didn’t, did you?”

“No, ‘tis true I did not, but what a marvelously unexpected bonus.”

“Indeed! We could not have planned this any better. But I do not take pleasure in another man’s loss.” Herbert Love can only Christian thing to do-001imagine what condition the battered plantation might be in; anarchy, unleashed tensions or loss of life on either side of this clouded issue. “I think we, perhaps me should make a trip over to Midway to offer aid.” You can count on the Loves to do the Christian thing, in any situation, no matter how undeserving the beneficiary may be.

“That would make a great diversion, Herbert. I will send the Campbells back to Tallahassee the same time you pay Smythwick a visit. For now I am going over to Helen’s Diner to get us some food!” The grits and gravy of 36 hours ago did not stick to Jacob’s ribs–or anything else for that matter.

“Good. I will return in an hour, say 11:00. I am going back to the dairy for some evaporated milk and blankets.”

Related imagechristianThe beneficiary of such a massive effort cautions the architect.

“You just be as careful as you can be, Master Love. No tellin’ what kind of hornet’s nest you’ll find,” warns Willy, walking to join his family under a shade tree, to share in the promised feast of grilled chicken and biscuits.

“Should I give Jefferson your best regards, Willy?”

“He already gots the best of all my born days.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Love's-001

Episode #50


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