The Tape – Chapter 6

by Bob Sparrow

I hadn’t realized that it has been almost four years that I’ve left you hanging since the last episode of ‘The Tape’. For those new to the blog or those who may need a little refresher, here is where, in our ‘Archives’ (the column to the right) you can find the first five chapters.

Chapter 1 – Jan 6, 2014; Chap. 2 – Jan 20, 2014; Chap. 3 – May 5, 2014; Chap. 4 – July 14, 2014; Chap. 5 – March 30, 2015.

OR you can just email me or ask in the comment section below for the Word document with the first 5 chapters on it.

Chapter 6

Francisco Pizarro

As daylight slipped away, the Chief slowly got to his feet and started making his way back to the Jeep. I followed. We rode in silence back down the mountain as the lights from the Jeep bounced and searched the darkness for the unmarked road home. When we reached the café where we had begun our journey this morning, the Chief stopped in front, but before he motioned me to get out, he said, “By the time Meeka’s work was done there, she was sought after by the authorities as well as several vigilante groups. After narrowly escaping with her life on several occasions, she decided to leave the desert and headed toward the coast. The story goes that she found a ship out of San Diego headed for South American and signed on as a cook. She wanted to get to Peru as she had read many stories about the Spanish Conquistadors and their oppression of the Incas; it reminded her of what had happened here.” The Chief open the glove box, “There is an author and historian who can probably fill in a lot of blanks about Meeca’s experiences in South America.” He fumbled around a bit and finally pulled out a small business card and handed it to me. I could barely read the name in the dark; ‘Dr. Bud Easton’ and it had a telephone number with a Los Angeles area code underneath the name that was all that was on the card.

“Who is he?”, I asked. The Chief looked into the night sky for a moment and slowly shook his head and said, “I don’t know the whole story, in fact, I don’t know much of it at all, but I know that Meeka was an amazing woman, she was a crusader who was driven to try and right the wrongs of the world, even if she was hundreds, if not thousands, of years too late.” Doctor Easton is a fountain of knowledge on Meeka’s exploits in South America.”

“I’ll definitely look him up, thank you Chief for an amazing day.”  He nodded solemnly, I shut the car door and he drove off. I got into my car and started my ninety-minute drive home.

Don: Ninety minutes home and you’ve got my 90 minute tape in your pocket . . . coincidence?”

“I don’t believe in coincidences,” I said as I pulled ‘The Tape’ out of my jacket pocket and clicked it into the cassette player anxious to listen more carefully than I ever had before in hopes that, for whatever reason, it might make more sense to me now. I thought about meeting Dr. Easton, who miraculously was supposedly a fountain of knowledge about someone I’d never heard of until today.

The next day I drove to Dr. Easton’s house in a nice area of L.A.

Don: Is there a nice area of L.A.?

Yes, we’re in one. A long tree-lined driveway lead back to a beautiful home surrounded by a good deal of vegetation – very nice, and expensive I’m sure. I guess he’s sold a lot of books.

I parked and nervously rang the doorbell. Dr. Bud Easton opened the door almost immediately. He was a short stocky man with close eyes, a balding head and an easy smile. I had called him the night before and asked for a meeting, which he immediately agreed to and gave me directions to his home.

“You must be Bob, come on in” he said in a welcoming tone.

“I am, thank you so much for meeting with me.” I entered his beautiful home and he directed me to his library off the entry. It was like the ones you see in the movies, high ceilings, filled with dark oak paneled book shelves all the way to the top and filled with more books than I could imagine one person owning.

He went to a file drawer and pulled out a large folder filled with manuscripts and photos and I don’t know what else, and said, “So you told me you had an interest in learning more about Meeka and her exploits in South America.”

I said “Yes, but it astounds me that there is even any material about her at all. Wasn’t she just a poor Indian woman who had this crazy idea of avenging the deaths of some of her forefathers? How were her exploits even known about?”

Dr. Easton open the binder and said, “Before we had scribes and history books, events were preserved through oral history, passed down from generation to generation. I’ve made a life’s work out of collecting oral history and getting it down on paper; that’s how I came across Meeka’s story. It had a lot of different version, as you might suspect, accounts of oral history can change depending on who’s telling it.

Don: Isn’t that just like written history which is written by the winners?

“You mentioned that you have a tape of some rather obscure language that you’re trying to translate is that correct.”

Yes

“Do you have the tape with you?”

“Yes, I said as I set it on the desk in front of him. It’s 90 minute in total, I don’t know if you want to listen to it all right now.”

“Well, let’s start it and see how far we get.

I clicked the tape in the cassette player he had on his desk and we sat and listened until we got a little past half way through the first side.

“OK, that’s good.” he said and I shut it off

He continued, “About half way through this first side the language changed a bit which coincided with her move from the deserts in Southern California to South America.

With eyes wide open I said, “You mean you know what is being said on this tape?”

Don: Does this mean we’re actually getting someplace?

Dr. Easton continued, “Yes, for the most part.  The first half of side one is spoken in Inviatim, a language thought to originate from the Aztecs, and it tells of the story that it sounds like the Chief took you to in the Santa Rosa mountains. Then half way through it switches to dialects more associated with the Inca, which would follow Meeka’s travels from the deserts in Southern California to the west coast of South American.”

What I heard in the second half of this first side is the story of how Meeka researched this history of the Spanish invasion of the new world, specifically Francisco Pizarro, who was a Spanish conquistador, who some revere as the person who brought Christianity to the people in the new world and reviled by others who saw him as lying, murdering, intruder who eradicated nearly 90% of the Inca people.

Wow, how did he do that? How could he do that?

Actually it wasn’t that hard.

To be continued . . . sooner than 4 years!

LIVE LONG… AND PROSPER!

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Julia Hawkins – running at 101

This Friday marks our mother’s 100th birthday.  She’s no longer with us – she died 6 years ago two weeks before her 94th birthday.  She was actually fairly healthy but fell in her apartment and broke five ribs.  Who knows whether she might have made it to 100?  Despite the fact she’s no longer here we’ll celebrate anyway.  We Sparrows never have to look far for a reason to hoist a toddy.  Mom’s century mark birthday got me to thinking about the people who actually reach that milestone.  What is their secret?  Turns out, there have been countless studies on the subject, many of which result in conflicting conclusions.  My After reading untold articles on the subject my opinion is that longevity is pretty much a giant roulette wheel.  Some argue that exercise and good, clean living are the secret, while there are ample stories about centenarians who swear by cigarettes and a shot of whiskey each day.  That said, ignoring the “eat spinach and turmeric” advice, there do seem to be some personal qualities that lead to a longer life.

Be Rich – Yep, you read that right.  One of the leading reasons for longevity is the access to health care.  People of means tend to go to the doctor when symptoms arise, thus resulting in earlier diagnosis of serious disease.  So if you want to know how to add some years go add some money to your bank account.

Here’s to your health!

Laugh – Turns out that laughing more – especially at oneself – can lead to increased longevity.  Almost every article I read about living to 100 had some variation of good humor: have a positive attitude, be friendly, socialize.  There are scientific reasons for this that are above my pay grade but basically laughing and being of good cheer releases hormones that reduce stress, which in turn, leads to a longer life. Maybe that’s why so many 100 year-old’s swear by their glass of whiskey!

Get a Pet –  Well, duh.  Any of us who have pets know that they are wonderful companions.  But it turns out that owning a pet can reduce your chance of a heart attack by one-third!  They are the ultimate stress-reducers and provide a sense of purpose by requiring food, walks and scooping up poop.

Cope with trauma – One of the most interesting studies found that male Holocaust survivors lived longer than men of the same age group who immigrated to Israel before Nazi rule. The theory is that living through trauma resulted in post-traumatic growth and a greater appreciation for life. This one hit home for me. My husband and his parents were interned in a Japanese prisoner of war camp for four years. His father had every tropical disease known to man during that time. That, coupled with the stress of caring for two small children in a dangerous environment, took a toll. Yet, my father-in-law lived to 90 and my mother-in-law lived to 96. You could not spend more that 20 minutes with them without a discussion of how lucky they were to survive – and thrive. Obviously, these are extreme examples, but there is something fortifying about coming through a bad experience that increases one’s appreciation for each day.

Family – In a world-wide study of people who lived to be 100 there were three regions that produced the most of these rare individuals: Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, and Loma Linda, California (Note to Bob – move 47 miles east and you have it made).  The studies showed many differences but also some things in common – not smoking, moderate exercise, and eating legumes.  Jeez – those legumes show up everywhere.  But the #1 thing they shared was a love of family. Oh sure, I’m sure somewhere in there was a drunk uncle but for the most part they felt loved, supported and cared for.  Quite a nice feeling even for those who don’t reach 100.

There you have it – 50 studies distilled down to five common themes.  Personally, even after all that reading I’m still skeptical.  Even though I read that only 10% of longevity is based on genetic history, almost all of the women in my family going back for generations lived very long lives.  And as far as I can tell, they all liked a bit of the hooch and, if mom was any indication, the only gym they knew was Jim Beam.  So on Friday I’ll lift a glass to mom and pray like heck I should live so long.

 

$uper Bowl $unday

by Bob Sparrow

     There is no sporting event in America that is more hyped than the hyperbole-named Super Bowl. ‘Super’ is an adjective that describes something extraordinary, but this year’s game, with a total of one touchdown, wasn’t  so super; and maybe all that surrounded it wasn’t either, but at least all that surrounds it is excessive.

Show Me the Ads

Those who may not know one end of the football from the other (don’t be fooled, they’re both the same) will pay most attention when the game stops and the advertisements begin. The ads are typically interesting and creative, and well they should be since they now cost over $5 million for a 30-second spot – a price that has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. So now viewers get up and go to the bathroom when it’s 3rd and 1 and stay put during the time outs when the commercials run. You might ask yourself, what are those companies that spend that kind of money thinking? Here’s what. Last year 111 million people watched the Super Bowl, as compared to the second most-watched event on television, the Oscars, which had a paltry 33 million. In advertising, sometimes it’s not just to get someone to buy your product, but to show the world that you are big and strong and can afford $5mm for a 30-second ad, so they trust your company.  But probably the most compelling reason is that those 111 million people are all watching the game ‘live’, not on a recording where they can zip through the commercials; additionally the reputation of the ads has grown such that people can’t wait to see what creative thing advertisers have come up with. But does it increase sales? In certain circumstances, but mostly companies do it because they can, and they want people to know that they are a strong enough company that they can piss away $5,000,000 in 30 seconds.

Show Me the Bets

Want to make that $5mm seem like chump change?  Take a guess at how much is wagered on the Super Bowl this year. The total won’t be finalized until after the game, but last year the American Gaming Association, a casino lobbying group, estimated that Americans bet a grand total of $4.76 billion. Yes, that’s billion with a ‘B’!  About 50% of that is bet on the outcome of the game and the other 50% on ‘prop bets’ or proposition bets. Here’s a small sampling of some ‘prop bets’ that YOU could have bet on.

– How long will it take Gladys Knight to sing the National Anthem

– Will any player kneel during the Anthem

– Will the opening coin toss be a head or a tail

– Will the referee get the first replay call correct

– Will Tom Brady be seen cursing during the live broadcast

– If there is a streaker, who will tackle him first – security, player, coach, other

– Color of liquid dumped on winning coach

– What will the S&P 500 close at on Monday if the Rams win? If the Patriots win?

Trust me, there’s a bet for every bettor.

Show Me the Money

But what about the poor players, you say, who can’t bet on the game? Well, they’ll be just fine thank you – every member of the Patriots, including backup quarterback, Brian Hoyer, who didn’t even step onto the field, gets $112,000 for their days work on Sunday. Each Rams player gets $56,000. Those numbers are the same for the coaches of each team as well. Oh yeah, the Patriots also gets a ring worth about $40,000.

It is not disclosed how much referees make for any one game, but they have an average annual salary, for working one day a week, of $205,000; although the ref that made the ‘no call’ in the Rams-Saints game will probably be getting unemployment insurance money instead next season.

Yes, I could have put in a photo of a ref or a waterboy, but they don’t do ‘special corporate appearances’

NFL waterboys make an average of $53,000 per year; they squirt water in the player’s mouths and hang on to their sweaty towels, but they do get a pretty good sideline view of every game. And what about the Cheerleaders? The Internet says, “Cheerleaders earn somewhere between $75 to $150 per game and might make as much as $50 an hour for special corporate appearances”. So that’s what they’re calling it now, ‘special corporate appearances’.

Guys, sorry to say that the season is over, it’s time to get your butts off the couch and get out and earn some of that money you blew on those stupid ‘squares’ at your Super Bowl party.