Monday, June 28, 2010

A Great Book and A Story

I buy a lot of books from and from  I usually buy used, especially if the book is an old one and the hardcover is available.  I'd rather have the ancient, battered copy from the past than a brand spanking new reprint, often in paperback. 

Anyway, Amazon often recommends books for me based on what I have purchased.  "Outwitting History:  The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books" was one of their recommendations for me.  When I saw that the story was about someone searching for and collecting old, rare, out of print books, I knew I would LOVE the story - and I did.

I've also always been fascinated by history.  This book contained both rare book adventures and history, a history that was disappearing when the author began his quest.  The history of the Jews in diaspora in Europe is rich and interesting, although, as can be expected if one knows anything about Jewish history, there is tragedy and violence as well from the beginning. 

But most tragic is the potential loss of an entire people, together with their language, their villages and towns and their literary heritage.  Hitler almost accomplished this destruction, and, to a great extent, in Europe today, the destruction is indeed complete. 

What has saved the Yiddish culture is the massive influx of Jewish immigrants into the United States from Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  They brought their books, their poetry, their plays, their culture, their food and their language.  Many of them became Vaudeville entertainers and then movie stars, singers, comics and movie directors. 

The immigrant's children were usually not taught Yiddish.  These new citizens wanted their children to assimilate in America and leave the painful past behind, symbolized by the Yiddish language and culture.  In Europe Jews were not allowed to live amongst other peoples, they were segregated into, in Russia, the "Pale of Settlement", and, in other European countries, into their own villages or ghettoes. They could not take up just any vocation they chose - they were forbidden.  They lived within the small confines of what they were allowed and Yiddish became a part German, part Hebrew, part smidgeons of other tongues way of communicating that outsiders could not understand.  What is interesting to me is that, instead of the European alphabet, with which all the other European languages except Russian (that uses the Cyrillic alphabet) are written, the Yiddish used the  Hebrew alphabet.  The reason is that Jewish males studied the holy books - the Torah and the Talmud - they did not receive a secular education.  These books were in Hebrew and the men learned Hebrew.  They also SPOKE Yiddish and when Jews began to write down the Yiddish language - they used the alphabet they had learned from childhood - Hebrew.  Women were not educated, so in order for them to read and understand, they needed their spoken language (Jewish women generally did not learn the Hebrew language) written down for them.  The men knew Hebrew and that is the alphabet they used to write down the actual Yiddish words.  Yiddish, therefore, reads from right to left and is written in Hebrew, but the words are not Hebrew.  Fascinating, as Spock would say - it is indeed, fascinating. 

I should have taken linguistics in college, along with archeology and history.  I love all three subjects - how language evolves is especially (what's another word for fascinating??   Quick check with the online thesaurus)intriguing. 

Part of my interest in Jewish history is because of my neighbors when I was a child in upstate New York.  Our street was 100% Gentile (although I, at 5 years of age, knew nothing about different kinds of people - people were people) until I was about 5 years old.  Then, in the space of a year, three Jewish families moved in - two directly across the street, and one next door.

There were the Schwartz, the Berstein and the Lieberman families (names changed).  The Schwartzes stayed to themselves and I never got to know the children there, although their father had a small snow plow and he would plow everyone's street after it snowed in the winter.  We sure appreciated that!!  The Bersteins had a daughter, Mara, that I played with who was maybe 2 years younger than I, and next door were 2 girls - one my age and one older.  They were Miriam and Rebecca.  From the beginning there was friction between us.  They were from the city and I was absolutely a country tomboy, climbing trees, getting dirty, etc.  Miriam and Rebecca rarely came outside to play.  They had their own color coordinated room with twin beds and they each had their own cobalt blue bottle of "Evening in Paris" on their individual bureaus.  Each bureau had it's own mirror and on top was a tray holding their comb and brush sets, carefully placed along with the perfume.  They had Barbie dolls and they had a piano and took piano lessons.  From that time on I wanted a piano and piano lessons, which my parents eventually got for me.  I hated Barbie dolls and I hated baby dolls even more.  I couldn't think of anything more boring and I was always full of energy.  If I went over there to play, it invariably ended with their grandmother calling me "meshuggenah" and me going home in shame.  Their grandmother was a very small, skinny, almost shrivelled woman with stockings that invariably sagged terribly.  She wore baggy housedresses and sensible black old lady's shoes.  She was always cooking and her husband, much quieter, often was sitting and reading a Yiddish newspaper, which looked unbelievably foreign to me. 

Oh how I wish I could talk to them now, those two.  I never found out if either of them were Holocaust survivors - I don't remember seeing a tattoo on the grandmother's arm (and she wore short sleeves), but I could just have forgotten, it was so long ago.  They lived in their own apartment on the other side of town, but each day they came and spent the entire day with their daughter, Lily.  It seemed to me when I was there that the grandparents did the cleaning and cooking.  Lily was so quiet and reclusive - I never remember her speaking very much.  The two girls, Miriam and Rebecca, were - to me - pushy, bossy, nasty and condescending.  After a year or so, I didn't go over there anymore.  One time Rebecca pulled me aside and told me in a theatrical whisper that I should never mention the name, "Jesus Christ" in that house.  I never had mentioned it - my family were not religious Catholics and I could not figure out what was up with these people - they were so strange. 

Of course, hindsight is 20-20.  They were living in the shadow of the Holocaust - at that time a mere 20 years in the past.  Jews were still not allowed to join certain country clubs or live in certain areas in the South.  They made fun of me mercilessly and Miriam regularly threatened to beat me up, but I know now a lot more than I knew then.  Miriam had a kidney disease that made her swell up.  I was not allowed to go in the upstairs bathroom in their house because there was some contraption in there that she had to use.  She was whiny and ornery and very spoiled - and very unhappy.  Many days from my back yard I could hear a scream fest going on next door with Miriam screaming and others screaming back - it would go on for hours and I would hear the rise and fall of angry, frustrated and high pitched voices.  I also heard the word, "oy" a lot - a GREAT Yiddish word that I use to this day - so many Yiddish words are just so apropos for some situations.  After a year or two it was as if we had never known each other.  Actually, they used to give me a ride to my elementary school every morning, since my parents worked.  In third grade I began attending the local Catholic school and that was the last of the Lieberman family in my life.  Since they rarely came outside, we almost never saw them at all.  One thing I can thank them for is my love of figs.  Every morning they would pass out figs to both Miriam, Rebecca and myself - I loved them and still do.  It was not always bad times in their house for me.  It just usually always ended that way because I was too "crazy" for them.  They got a huge Hungarian Vischla dog - why they chose that breed I'll never know.  They kept it on a 10 foot leash at all times and it used to bark and bark and bark and run around like crazy - I think it did go crazy from being confined as it was.  It was not a friendly dog and I'd try to play with it and it would begin to run around in excitement, it's large size knocking things over.  That's when the grandmother would kick me out while yelling, "meshuggenah" at me.  One time the dog ran right through the sliding glass back doors (not while I was there, thank God) - he had bandages on for a while and was a bit more subdued after that.  Poor thing - both my parents and I felt so sorry for that dog who was unloved and lived on a 10 foot chain forever.  Morris, the father, would once in a while take the dog out in the big field behind our house and the dog would run in large circles at what seemed like 160 miles per hour for a long time, just getting out all his energy. 

Morris was nice to me, gentle and soft spoken.  He was an accountant and the only one who worked in the family, which at that time was quite normal. 

Mara's grandmother, across the street, also spent days at her daughter's house.  She cooked all the time and was much nicer than the Lieberman grandmother.  She made gefilte fish, which I loved, and yummy chopped liver.  There was always something ethnic and delicious there to eat.  She looked entirely different from Miriam and Rebecca's grandmother.  She was round and short and her legs from the ankle up were the same thickness.  Later, her ankles swelled quite a bit and would bulge over the edges of her shoes, making those tight old lady shoes look very uncomfortable. 

One year when I was in 4th grade, there was a fire at the Lieberman house that started in the kitchen.  They all moved into the grandparent's apartment for the time it took to renovate the house.  It was late fall and when Hanukah came, they placed a Menorah in the window and lit the proper candles each night.  It looked so ghostly in the blackened picture window of the house.  I remember how it gave me the creeps to see the house empty and injured.  Once I visited Miriam and Rebecca at their grandmother's apartment.  It was comfortable and cozy and I do remember old photographs of ancestors in big, embellished frames on the walls there. 

I wish I could go back in time and be kinder and more understanding of these women - all of them, but especially the grandmothers and grandfathers.  I wish I could have learned their histories.  Even without the Holocaust, life was very dangerous in Europe for Jews, so no doubt they had stories to tell.  I was far too young to be able to do any of these things.  I didn't find out about the Holocaust until I was about 12 years old and my parents were watching "World At War".  There were the live scenes from the liberation of the concentration camps, bulldozers pushing stick thin, bald bodies;  arms, legs, staring eyes, heads in mountainous piles, rolling over and over, the parts sticking up at crazy angles.  I was absolutely stunned, frightened and shocked.  I remember asking my parents about what we were watching and they explained a bit, but no one could ever explain how this could happen in a supposedly civilized world, committed by a very civilized country.   I knew from that point on that the world in which I lived was not what I had grown up to believe and I've never been the same.  I have no illusions about human beings and what they are capable of. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

God Is Not A Talisman

God is not a respecter of persons.   Christians do not have a special "get out of jail" free card for suffering.  All human beings want to avoid suffering, as do all animals.  No living creature naturally wants to cause himself pain or wishes pain to happen to him. 

Just read the New Testament.  All the Apostles, with the possible exception of John, were murdered, killed - crucifixion, beheading - all horrific ways to die.  There also may have been torture first, since the Romans were great at that.

We are talking about the Apostles here.  The friends of Jesus.  The carriers of the Word to the world.  The first impetus of what became Christianity.  And they were NOT immune to the world they lived in.  Far from it.  Because of their faith they brought a great deal of extra suffering down on themselves.

In the first century, people who minded their own business could die in many ways without the assistance of the law of the land.  They could get - God forbid - leprosy - a living death.  They could get intestinal worms, any number of diseases.  The flu could kill, become pneumonia, as it still can today despite all our medical advances. 

In the first century, under Roman rule, if you rocked the boat, made whole groups of important people angry, such as the Jewish authorities, you then added to how you could die.  You could be beaten up, stoned - as Paul was and had the first recorded near-death experience.  You could be a bad word under everyone's breath, while not physically painful, was certainly wearying after a while.  And last, of course, you could be taken prisoner by the Roman authorities for spreading insurrection - and put to death. 

In Acts, the Lord does indeed save Paul and Peter a few times in a miraculous way - they still had work to do for the Word.  But eventually all men die.

All men die.  They die based on when and where they live, what their DNA is, and what they do to their own bodies to either slow or speed things along.

Christians are no exception.  I have to remind myself of this continuously.  Somewhere in my Christian walk, I imbibed the idea that I had a "wall of fire" around me that would protect me.  Possibly, this is true - for whatever period of time the Lord needs me to accomplish something and "fire" would hinder that. 

But this is what I have learned to be true:

All men are doomed to die, unless the Rapture occurs.  Believers and unbelievers alike will be affected by the times in which they live.  During the first century through the third century, there was persecution of Christians, so they were MORE likely than the ordinary man to suffer and die prematurely at the hands of others.  Today, in other countries, primarily Muslim countries, it is open season on Christians, both foreign missionaries and indigenous peoples who accept the Christian message and believe in Jesus Christ.

If you were alive from 1933 through 1945 and you lived in Europe - well, you were included in whatever befell the rest of the people around you, believer and unbeliever. 

Yes, God has a plan for your life as a believer.  He knew in eternity past which sperm and which egg would come together to make you - and He foreordained that, put His seal of approval on that occurrence. 

Included in this foreknowledge is everything that makes up you - not just personality and physical appearance, but what your DNA will produce.  You may have a gene that gives you cancer at age 35.  This is certainly not what a Christian wants to happen - just like every other person, he wants to live a full life and does not wish for an early death.  Cancer is just about as feared as leprosy was in ancient times.  Cancer eats you alive, and, at the end, often if takes you into the afterlife screaming in pain.  No one wants this and sometimes part of the reason for belief in God in the first place is as a kind of Talisman to ward off all the evil of this life. 

There were Christians in concentration camps in WWII.  Some died, full of disease and starvation and some survived.  It was God's will that those that died, died and those that lived, lived. 

Today, I live in the 21st century.  I am a 54 year old woman.  If catastrophe happens now, I am a lot less likely to survive because of my age.  My body is not resilient as it was at age 20.  Just as in the Holocaust, most of those over 25 died, while children and young people's bodies were more likely to be able to bounce back, to fight off the horrific conditions.

I could get cancer - only the Lord knows what my DNA holds - the "gene pool crapshoot", as one pastor I've listened to puts it.  I could be murdered by robbers or some other sick person.  I am not immune to the society and it's attendant ills because I am Christian.

I have to keep reminding myself of this because when I first accepted Christ, I had just gotten over a severe illness.  I was frightened I was dying and I was only 23.  I was left with panic attacks and depression for a while after I recovered, and one of the reasons I married my first husband was because I just didn't feel I could cope with the world alone.  It was at that time that, after hearing the Gospel and always having been interested in who God was from childhood in Catholic school, I accepted Christ as my Savior.  I had no idea what this meant, but I know deep down I thought perhaps because I had chosen the "right" side, I would be rewarded with protection. 

I wrote this down so that I would remember this fact and stop the inadvertent thoughts that say, "I hope I'm protected from THIS type of occurrance," after I read something particularly awful in the news that happened to someone.  Sometimes I find myself thinking - well, maybe they weren't faithful believers, or maybe they weren't believers at all.  I'm not sure where this thinking comes from, but it is false.

Our bodies are of this world and are subject to it.  It is our spirits and souls that have eternal life and will not suffer death.  Our bodies will suffer death and they will be affected by what happens around them in whatever society and time they happen to be in.  Yes, I know that our bodies will one day be resurrected and recreated to live in eternity, but first we have to be planted in the ground like a seed. 

May I not live in fear or seek God as a talisman against evil, but live the fullness He has promised, unafraid of what evil can do to this body.

Let me also hasten to say that, on the other hand, as children of the Lord, He has promised to be with us and to help us.  He will direct our paths.  He most likely will not rescue us out of whatever history holds, but He will be with His children throughout their experience.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Better Post

Here's a much lighter subject for Sunday afternoon.  I bought a book a while back that I just started reading...."Living More With Less" by Doris Janzen Longacre.  I've just begun it, so I can't say TOO much, but even the first few pages packs a solid punch.

This book was written in 1980.  That's 20 whole years ago and the issues it discusses have only become more pressing, rather than less.  

The premise of the book, which reflects Amish and Mennonite thriftiness, is that America and Canada are far too materialistic and wasteful.  "There are people starving in China" my mother used to say, "so finish what is on your plate."  I could never figure out how eating my food would help those who didn't have any in China, but this book explains very clearly that there is a connection.  Granted, China is in better shape, in general by Western standards, than it was when I was a child in the 60's, but as the Lord said, "The poor will be with us always" - I paraphrase.  I've heard pastors teach that since Jesus said the poor will be with us always, that somehow we don't have to make them an issue - they're going to be there anyway no matter what we do.   Yes, we should help them, but we don't have to get crazy about it.  Sloppy teaching, that - and I'm sure Jesus didn't mean it that way - "the poor will always be around, so why bother..."

The first chapter, which I am still in, talks about how American businesses use cheap, foreign labor to make goods that rich Americans buy.  The Chinese make all Apple products, including the new Ipad.  They live in dormitories and have to sign an agreement not to commit suicide while they are working there.  If I had to sign something like that before beginning a job, I'd have a lot of second thoughts, but in China, these jobs are primo, better than others - so they are grabbed at.  Meanwhile, we buy up the Apple products for quite a sum - I'm sure a great deal more than they cost to make, including the salaries of the workers.  This is a prime example given in this book as avoid, a problem to solve.

The book also says that American business buys up land in other, poor countries and those who live there grow food that those companies then package and sell to rich Americans.  This leaves less land for the native people in those countries to grow food for themselves.

American = waste, waste, waste.  We waste everything.  Something as minor as re-using plastic bags or not using plastic bags at all, can make a difference.  

Before WWII, there were very few plastics in everyday life.  I recently saw an old picture of a picnic from the late 1930's.  Everything laid out on the tablecloth (and it WAS cloth) was in glass containers or thermoses.  There were some things wrapped in waxed paper - that was it.  When I was growing up, one paper sack (there was no choice between "paper or plastic" back then) on the countertop was good to hold our kitchen garbage for at least a few days in a household of 5 people.   We didn't have to fill up the sack with empty plastic packages, which takes one meal in most households these days, if fast food or pre-packaged food is eaten.

I will have more to say about this book as I continue to read, but I agree with everything so far.  I have always had a disdain for rich people, many of whom become full of themselves because of what they have.  Some might call this Communist, but I say it is thrifty, it is Biblical.  In the Old Testament, one of the rules the Israelites were given was never to glean their harvests so thoroughly that there would be nothing left in the field for impoverished people to help themselves to.  My other favorite OT rule was that every 50 years all land was to go back to it's original owners, so no one would be a "loser" financially forever - or a "winner".  

I've started slowly to try to be more frugal.  Since I work full time AND I'm not much of a cook most days, I have wasted far too much on prepared foods.  I know I will most likely continue to do so to some extent, but I want to try to change, to learn more about healthier, cheaper alternatives, to grow my own vegetables.  I'm getting there one step at a time.  I'm learning and trusting the Lord to work in me to do His will, which is not to squander what He has given me.

Sunday - Father's Day

One of the things that is deep inside my thoughts all the time - not on the surface - is my father.  He is 91 and over the last 5 years he has had some mini strokes that occurred during other illnesses.  In addition to this, he has Type II diabetes, macular degeneration in one eye that makes it blind, and neuropathy.  He can barely shuffle along with his walker and my mother, 82 years old, still cares for him 100% every day.  He is incontinent and must wear a diaper.  My mother dresses him, bathes him, changes him, feeds him, takes him out for breakfast, takes him to the doctor, supervises all his medications - everything.  As long as my father can stand on his own, she can care for him - he has to be able to move around on his own.  She bullies him a bit when he gets lazy - she won't let him fail completely.  She is amazing.  One of the big drawbacks to this whole situation is that they live over 2 hours away from me and traveling up there in the summer means driving through dangerous thunderstorms anywhere along the way.  

So here it is Father's Day, and, to be honest, there is very little of my father left.  When I visit, he sleeps most of the time in his recliner.  If you ask him questions, he answers, but does not continue any conversation.  He still loves to go to breakfast and when we do drive up to visit, we often leave early enough in the morning to meet them at the local restaurant for breakfast.  He still laughs at jokes and silliness, but it is rare.  He just doesn't seem much to be "there".  It's as if he's crawled into himself and he won't let anyone else in.  I can't talk with him about my faith, I can't ask him anything that requires more than a "yes" or "no" answer because I won't get one in that case.  He seems drugged - and perhaps with his medications, he is.  Or perhaps his thinking is just clouded all the time.  He is coherent, though.  He knows he is disabled and he laments that fact.  

I remember him mowing our huge lawn in upstate, NY.  It had a nice hill on it, one that was good in winter for sliding down.  He used to whip over that lawn in no time - front and back - and come in and want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk. 

I'm a bit baffled as to how he got Type II diabetes.  This is a man that got up every morning all the years I was growing up - at 5am - and the first thing he did was exercises on the floor of our living room.  I could hear his grunts from my bedroom.  Then he would prepare breakfast for the family.  

This is a man that played golf and walked every day in addition to that - he biked, too.  All of this was AFTER he was retired and moved to Florida.  

My dad smoked before I was born (and quit before then, too) and he was a bit overweight until I was about 9 years old.  As a matter of fact, I remember him making FABULOUS deep dish apple pies. When I was 9, he discovered Weight Watchers and bought their cookbook.  For the next 10 years I enjoyed sharing his "pizzas" with cheddar cheese, homemade marinara sauce made to the Weight Watcher recipe and a sprinkle of oregano.  These were made on regular bread in a toaster over - I loved them.  You could have 2 of them for lunch - and sometimes he put salmon on top of the whole thing.  It really did taste good.  I also remember him making his own salad dressing.  We liked that, too.  My dad lost whatever weight he needed to and stayed in shape for the rest of his life.  He rarely indulged in sweets - but when he did, he went big.  He LOVED ice cream and could eat almost a whole 1/2 gallon at one sitting.  Even so, he exercised every day and ate lots of vegetables (although my mom says he really doesn't like them) and made sure he didn't gain weight.  So how did he still come down with Type II diabetes?  

Once he got the diabetes, he still lived the same way - perhaps that's why it got worse.  He still ate ice cream once in a while.  He was able to drive until about 5 years ago and he would go into town and get himself a treat, which my mom disapproved of.  

My father decided about 6 or 7 years ago to get a second knee replacement.  He thought his golf game was suffering because of a bad knee, which pained him.  But the operation never worked the way he wanted.  The knee was never the same and it didn't help at all.  Then, he got an infection in the knee that went into his blood - and that is what almost killed him.  They had to re-open up the knee and clean it out.  So, perhaps it wasn't the diabetes that "got" him, it was the knee surgery he should have foregone.  It doesn't make any difference now.

So - the bottom line here is that I dream of the father I remember all the time.  Sometimes I dream about him in the state he's in now and I'm trying to take care of him in my dream.  Often, at some point in these dreams, I'm crying and crying and wake up exhausted.  I know the situation with my elderly mother (who is still in fantastic shape) taking care of my almost helpless father can't go on too much longer.  I've asked my mother to install one of those systems where you can press a button and call for help - you can even wear the apparatus as a necklace or bracelet so that it's on you all the time.  She hasn't done this yet, but I'm going to keep bugging her.  I can't do as much as I'd like to do for them since they are too far away for the kind of daily interaction I wish for.  In my heart I believe it's all over but the waiting.  Nothing much else to do but take one day at a time and pray for him to remain painless and my mother to keep her health.  

This situation is a huge mental burden.  I know that it could be far worse and he could be in pain and actively suffering.  Yet, I don't want him to get so debilitated that he has to be in a nursing home.  That - to me - is death while alive.  He's been in one a couple of times for rehab - and visiting him there was more depressing than I can relate.  I know anyone who has been to a nursing home knows what I'm talking about.  The natural thought process - for me, anyway - is to put myself in those people's "shoes" at some point in my future - and I would rather that not happen, of course. 

When my father's father was old, my dad put him in a nursing home.  My grandmother died relatively young - at age 64 from a heart attack - she had a heart damaged by Rheumatic fever as a child.  So there was no one to take care of my grandfather - and he and my father were not close.  My dad would let me take the day off school to travel the 2 1/2 hours north to see grandpa - so he would not have to be alone, so he would have company.  We would pick grandpa up and take him out to eat - he was still living alone in their old house in Saratoga Springs at that time - it was after I moved to Florida that he was put in a nursing home.  My dad felt the same way I do - and now he is in that situation to a certain degree - living after he really wants to, after his body has betrayed him.  It is so very sad.  Life seems so very sad to me these days - so I'm sharing my blues with any poor reader who happens by and stays long enough to read this dirge.

I know everyone loses their parents at some point - it is the nature of life in a fallen world.  My turn will come someday, barring the Rapture occurring.  I think my father would have been SO much better mentally if he had had the benefit of a strong faith.  I look forward to leaving this earth - I'm not eager to die - far from it.....but I know heaven - being with the Lord - will be wonderful....I just hope ALL my loved ones are there to share it with me.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Oil on the Gulf

I haven't written in a long time - I've been very lax - and discouraged.  Every time I think about the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico I want to scream, I want to do something to help clean up, I want to shake the people in charge and make them do what is right......and of course I cannot do any of those things.  I work full time, so I can't just travel to the Alabama and Louisiana coastal areas and help, although if I could, I would in a heartbeat.  At least I'd feel as if I was doing something.  

I came across this blog that has two very recent and very telling videos of the Gulf shorelines from the air - black, thick ooze on what used to be white sand beaches.  I know there have been many dead dolphins and untold numbers of - we'll never know how many - sea lfe that have been killed by the oil.  It is in deep water and shallow - it is filling the Gulf and it is a disaster that we just seem to be standing around with our hands in our pockets, jaws dropped - just watching like dumb asses.

When you watch the video you see whole deserted coastlines where nothing is being done - the oil is just swishing up onto the beach and killing whatever life was there.  And there isn't enough cleanup help or animal and bird help - and Obama is clueless and has refused help from other countries better prepared than we are to deal with this sort of thing.

Holland, which is at or below sea level, knows a lot about berms and keeping out the sea - protecting the shoreline.  Holland deals with the North Sea which is a lot more volatile and violent than the Gulf   They offered to help us - ON DAY 3 of the spill - and Obama said no.

Here is the web site with the videos - watch it and weep.  Weep for the people who have made their living on the coasts of Alabama, Florida and Louisiana, as well as Texas - for generations - and are ruined.