Hawaii – Mark Twain’s Thoughts


IMG_2738In 1866, the influential daily newspaper, The Sacramento Union, sent Mark Twain on assignment to live in the Hawaiian Islands for four months. He wrote a letter for publication each week and was paid $20 for each submission. Letters detailing adventures and mis-adventures made him famous. Surfing, swimming naked with Native Hawaiian women, and riding horseback to the summit of Kilauea watching it erupt, generated great interest in the beautiful islands.

Twain spent part of his time in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island where I am staying for nearly four weeks. Based on the below excerpt from one of his letters, I think he enjoyed his time here as much as I am.

Part of my time was with my ten-year-old granddaughter,  Jenna. She spent a week  swimming in the surf, watching tropical fish, exploring with me, her parents and maternal aunt, –and writing.

Jenna is a writer, a very good writer. Since returning home, she has sent me additional chapters to edit. She is a good typist, very quick with Word skills and uses dramatic action verbs. I am biased, but, she is terrific and today, turns ELEVEN!


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A Room with a View – In Paradise


For the first time in my life, I am on vacation with nothing to do, alone, in Kailua-Kona paradise on Hawaii. I can do anything I want to do, and what I am doing? I’m sipping Hazelnut-Vanilla coffee with cream, and writing like I do from my desk in Montana. Instead of looking out my window in at sunrise over the Rocky Mountains, I sit with my feet in warm surf and watch the sun come up over palm trees.

A king-tide brought super-high surf. Spectacular crashing waves splashed 30-feet above the seawall in my backyard. Birds I have never seen before, come to visit. A flock of noisy colorful Macaws often roost in a large nearby tree.

The waves and birdsong provide a continuous background of cacophony. I have probably taken a thousand photos. The waves are like watching fire, always changing. Surfers visit on their way to spend hours in bathtub-warm turquoise water. Large green sea turtles swim in the surf and eat seaweed from the lava rocks.

Papayas, mangos, star-fruit, dragon fruit, pineapple and fresh coconut fill my refrigerator. It’s easy to eat healthy here. I’m not inclined to eat much or go anywhere except to the beach. I bought two sundresses and wear them most of the time when I’m not in a swimsuit.

I look out at the surf in day while I write. At night, I listen to its crashing music and catch up on chaotic news from the Mainland on YouTube.


Thanks for stopping by.

More later.


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May 25th – National Missing Children’s Day

May 25th is designated National Missing Children’s Day, as a reminder to keep children safer. When a child is missing, the fear, anguish and tears are endless. The photograph shows convicted pedophiles. They are everywhere, in every profession, in all social settings. Most victims are assaulted by people they know, not strangers.

In the past year, two perpetrators of high profile child abduction and murder finally came to justice. Their convictions took decades.

Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared on May 25th, 1979, on his way to the school bus stop near his home in Manhattan. National Missing Children’s Day designates the anniversary of his abduction. Pedro Hernandez, a store clerk in the area, was a suspect at the time. But, it took decades and two trials before the Patz family saw him sentenced to life in prison.

In 1989, Jacob Wetterling was eleven-years-old when a man kidnapped him at gunpoint. Jacob was bicycling along a dirt road near his home in rural Minnesota with his brother and a friend. Danny Heinrich, who lived 30-minutes from Jacob’s home, was a person of interest at the time. Later that year Heinrich was arrested on an assault charge involving a juvenile male. He was released.

Authorities re-investigated the Wetterling case in 2015. They  noted similarities to the 1989 Heinrich case. DNA from the 1989 case matched Heinrich, prompting a search of his home. Binders filled with graphic images. He was charged with child pornography and ultimately confessed to Jacob Wetterling’s murder. Additional victims came forward. Heinrich was sentenced to 20-years in prison on a plea bargain and will likely never be released under Minnesota’s sex offender laws.

From the tragedies of these and other high profile cases of child abduction, many improvements in safety, education, prosecution and ways to rapidly locate missing children have occurred. The Code Adam alert was devised after the 6-year-old son of John Walsh (host of America’s Most Wanted) was abducted from a department store in Florida and later found murdered.

Code Adam is rapid response designed to stop a child abduction in progress. If a child is reported missing, a Code Adam alert results in an immediate lock-down. It is broadly used in malls and public buildings.

The tireless work of parents of abducted children stimulated the U.S. Congress to pass a law mandating registration of sex offenders to alert neighbors about their residential locations.

Studies show finding an abducted child quickly is prime for a safe return. Hundreds of children have been recovered since the development of the AMBER ALERT system.

Amber Hagerman was a nine-year-old Texas girl who was abducted and murdered. This alert named for her results in rapid dissemination of information about missing children. Call 9-1-1 to report a child abduction and trigger an Amber Alert. Describe the child, perpetrator, incident, location, vehicle and license number. If the missing child is thought to be in imminent danger, law enforcement issues the Amber Alert, interrupting radio and television broadcasts with details. Electronic billboards along highways, the Internet and smart phones flash the information.

The FBI Crimes Against Children program merged with the Innocence Lost National Initiative to form the Violent Crimes Against Children program in the FBI Criminal Investigative Division. The programs provide coordination on a local, state, national and international scope. They provide resources to combat child prostitution, child abduction and child sex tourism.

Comprehensive FBI site: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/cac

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) (Includes Amber Alerts, Cyber tip line, Search Missing: http://www.missingkids.com/behereforkids http://www.take25.org

Talk to your children about safety but especially on May 25th . Try using discussion scenarios like “What if…What would you do?”  Walk through the neighborhood with your kids and show them safe homes to seek refuge in an emergency. Teach crowd safety. Point out situations of potential danger. Tell your kids to avoid traveling alone and if grabbed, scream, kick and try to escape.

May 25th is a reminder day for what caregivers should do all year long to keep children safer. Check online at www.sexoffenders.com to learn addresses of convicted sex offenders near you -particularly the more violent Level 3 offenders. One may be living next door.

Dr. Kuffel is author of Eyes of a Pedophile: Detecting Child Predators, available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007BI6SW8

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Activism for me began on a freezing day in January, the day following Donald J. Trump’s inauguration. My friend Gina and I drove two hundred miles to march for human rights. We joined 10,000 women, men, and children of all ages, color, gender, and faiths in solidarity against abuses we feared would come with the new president.

It was called the Women’s March, but turned out to be so much more. Started by a woman and spread throughout the world by social media, it energized people to stand up against abuse of power and abuse of human rights.

Before that day, I felt powerless and depressed by the Trump’s campaign rhetoric and win. How could he be our president? He’s not my president.

What happened to America?

Trump’s followers cheered when he led chants to “Build the wall” and when Lt. Gen. Flynn led chants to “Lock her Up.” Trump promised to place someone in the Supreme Court who would be “his judge” to overturn Roe v. Wade after Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama’s nomination for the vacant seat. What happened to separation of church and state? What happened to the Separation of Powers?

What happened to America?

Trump’s cabinet choices appear poised to destroy the agencies they head. Obama regulations to protect people, schools, science, humanities, the poor, the old, the disabled, public lands, our water, our air and the list goes on, are all at risk. Almost every day since his inauguration Trump has failed to fulfill his promises, such as to “drain the swamp.” Instead, he surrounded himself with alligators and top staff with close ties to Russia.

Now, with Flynn fired and Russian connections made public, Flynn may be the one who is locked up. Smoke-screens and stonewalling by the White House and Republican congressional members related to investigation into Russian connections to the Trump campaign may be history is repeating itself. I still have a newspaper with Nixon’s impeachment on the front page. Hopefully, I will be able to add a Trump’s impeachment report to the collection.

Marches of millions in solidarity around the world have energized people to fight back. I hope the people of France choose a centrist leader and do not find them in the same turmoil generated by the right that the United States is experiencing. President Donald Trump has destabilized our country and the world.

Today, very brave Russian citizens plan nationwide anti-Putin protests. The organization, Open Russia, has been banned and blacklisted as an undesirable organization. The Russian Attorney General said the organization threatens Russia’s “constitutional foundations” and “the security of the state.” I looked for information this morning online at RT, the Russian news organization arm of the Russian government. I found little information on the demonstrations. Is this media suppression like Donald Trump advocates?

As you may recall, RT paid Lt. Gen Flynn thousands of dollars to attend an event in Russia with Putin in December 2015, another of Flynn’s Russian contacts he failed to disclose. Flynn worked with the Trump campaign and was named top security advisor by Trump despite known Russian connections – maybe because of Russian connections.

Putin uses his power to destroy, imprison and kill those who oppose him. Open Russia is a threat to his power. Russians risk their lives to rally.

In the U.S., we still have the constitutional right to rally in peace. However, multiple Republican-controlled states are pushing legislation to discourage and criminalize nonviolent public demonstrations. In Minnesota, such a bill passed a Republican-controlled committee to sue protesters to collect money to pay for police forces required at a demonstration. Additional lawmakers in Minnesota and Michigan pushed legislation for fines and possible imprisonment against unions and protesters for picketing. What happened to America?

Many of us returned from the Women’s March with a plan and empowerment to make change. One way to make change is to have your voice heard. Run for office, write letters, contact your congressmen, defend your views, rally, march. Stand up for America.

Join a People’s Climate Mobilization March today near you. https://350.org or Join us today at the Climate Action Rally in Glacier National Park at Lake Mc Donald Lodge at 11:30 am.

RISE UP! We are the resistance.

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March Sunrise

It’s been a long winter. I’m just sure there are daffodils beneath the two feet of snow we have remaining. The Prius has been buried for months and is finally melting out from beneath the white layer. We have been driving the Highlander for many months. All wheel drive is helpful in this part of the country. I guess I shouldn’t complain, at least we don’t have a nor-easter threatening us. No significant snow is forecast, just warmer weather and a little rain.

I’ve been busy packing away heavy winter coats, but 40 degrees and melting isn’t warm enough for shorts and flip-flops.  I am looking forward to a terrific Hawaiian vacation in a few months. I am happy to say my neighborhood deer have survived the long winter days. A neighbor who boards horses shares their food, but at times I wanted to invite the deer inside to warm up. They often seek shelter beneath a backyard pine. I fell in love with “Baby Black Ears” and some of the others I came to recognize.

Here is a winter image of downtown Whitefish. The ski area has had a tremendous year with a total snowfall of 378 inches. The current settled base at the top is 124 inches, so there will be great spring skiing.

Below is a early morning photo of the ski area taken with my cell phone from my deck near downtown Whitefish and a telephoto of a view near the summit in the evening. The winters are beautiful but difficult for the wildlife. I’m ready for springtime sun and flowers.

Thanks for stopping by.


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 This morning I decided to republish this blog. I hear “gaslighting” more each day on the media. I think we all need to realize we are being gaslighted. We are being manipulated by repeated lies and persistent denial.

Gaslighting? Have you heard this term recently and wondered about the meaning? For self-preservation, beware. If you are a writer and wanting to develop a sinister character, consider giving your antagonist skills in gaslighting his/her victim.

 Definition from Wikipedia: Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, hoping to make the target question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.

 gaslightIn Gas Light, a 1938 play and later a movie, the husband manipulates his wife by attempting to make her believe she is insane. He lies, tells her she is delusional, manipulates the environment (he dims the gaslights) and when she points out changes, he says she is mistaken. The efforts are aimed at manipulation of a person’s sense of reality. This technique is commonly used by charming sociopathic individuals, narcissists, abusive partners and bullies.

We see this in the media almost daily as Trump announces something and then later declares he did not make the statement. Now, Trump is calling the media liars when they point out facts.

We may all become victims of Donald Trump’s manipulation of the truth.

Knowledge is power. Stick to the facts.

CNN article detailing Gaslighting by Donald Trump: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/10/opinions/donald-trump-is-gaslighting-america-ghitis/index.html


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Winter 6-week Writing Workshop

Here is your opportunity to get a jump-start on your writing this year.    Join Keith and Sue in Whitefish. Begins next week! img_5568Betty

Led by Keith Liggett (bio below)

The workshop format is similar to the standard MFA writing workshop.  Individuals bring a piece, or part of a piece, to read and critique (1000-1500 wds).  Before the individual reads, copies are handed out and the group members make notes as they follow the reading.  After the reading each member makes comments—This works. This doesn’t, maybe try this. This is great–and so on. At the end of the group critique, the reader asks questions and seeks clarification from the group about particular points.  At the end, the members return their marked copies to the reader to be collated in a following edit.

If for some reason an individual misses a session, we’ll work on their piece first the next week.  If someone is working on a longer piece and wants an overall critique, that individual can distribute coies to group members to read ahead of time and we’ll spend a substantial portion of one of the last sessions on the longer work.

Each week, I’ll have a writing prompt to be read without critique at the start of each session, Then, we’ll dive into the work of the week.  If I run into an interesting piece of writing, I’ll forward the url or the complete piece to be read and discussed briefly.

The critique is all about craft, not about content. The format works for writers at any proficiency and is best if we have a variety of genres—poetry,  song writing, non-fiction and fiction. Perhaps the greatest benefit is learning to critique other’s work and thus to accurately self-critique.

I also have an extensive library and will suggest (or lend) books to participants that might help in their work.

Two books everyone should read:

Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing and Steven King’s On Writing.

Max of eight in the session.  If we don’t have six, the session will not go forward. We’ll start at 7 and I’ll provide the wine (creative juices) and cheese (a primary essential food group).

Dates (Wednesdays)

Jan 18, Jan 25, Feb 1 Feb 8, BREAK, Mar 1, Mar 8.

Cost : $300

Contact Info:

Keith Liggett                                                   Sue Purvis

250-423-8657                                                  970-596-2999

t.keith.liggett@gmail.com                              suep@cboutdoors.com

A Short Writing Bio

Keith Liggett

My first published piece was a poem in the Northwestern University literary journal when I was 16. My first journalism appeared on the front page of the Breckenridge Journal, above the fold. Jim Bowden, a World Cup ski tech, popped through a speed trap on Buffalo Road in Summit County. Clocked at 57 mph in a 25 mph zone, the officer was more concerned Jim was on a skateboard. Beyond the obvious speeding, they tossed in reckless driving, operating a toy on a public road and a host of other charges. The Journal asked me to cover the trial.

These two incidents foreshadowed a writing career with one foot in the literary and the other seeking a different angle within traditional journalism.

While living in Breckenridge, a start-up paper, the Quandry Times, offered me a slot as a weekly ski columnist with the proviso “it has to be interesting and to all levels”.  The column continued for some 15 years, moving to the Summit County Journal when the two papers merged and then becoming a self-syndicated column after I left Breckenridge in the early 90’s. At its peak, the column reached over 650,000 readers weekly primarily in Northwestern dailies (WA, OR, ID, MT and CO). For two seasons I used the column as the basis for the first ski show on NWCableNews.

During this time I also provided coverage of western North American FIS events (World Cup, NorAm and national ski championships) to papers in the syndicate, as a stringer for Reuters and occasionally AP. My work was featured in the major ski magazines and I provided regular pieces to Skinet.com (not yet devolved to the industry PR vehicle it is today).

I remain very involved with the arts having served on the steering committee forming the Columbia Gorge Arts and Culture Council and then sitting on the Board for two terms (four years). I was one of the original board members of the Columbia Gorge Racing Association (cgra.org) and served six years on the board. Recently, I sat for nine years as a board member of the Fernie Arts Council. I started, and for three years led, the Fernie Writers Conference bringing award winning writers to Fernie to lead intensive workshops. The conference hosted over 80 participants each of the last three years.

In late summer 2009, Whitecap Books published Island Lake Lodge: the cookbook.  Gourmand awarded us the “Best Cookbook Photography: Canada, 2009. After only six months the book went into a second printing.  A collection of poetry, like socks in the dryer, was published in the fall of 2013. The Fernie Originals as published in 2014. A novel, One Hand Clapping, will be published weekly as a serial by http://www.fernie.com in the fall of 2016.

In July of 2006, I moved to Fernie, BC and now spend most of my time in Canada. I try to ski 100 plus days a year. In 1989 I passed my Level 3 —PSIA, Rocky Mountain– and continue to teach skiing. In the summer I spend part of each day on a mountain bike, try to fly fish at least every other day and hike or climb several times a week. In the course of a year, there are a handful of days I do not spend some substantial portion of the day outside in a mountain activity.


  1. Grinnell College Grinnell, IA. Major–Philosophy.  Minor–American Intellectual History

Graduate work in Creative Writing at Univ. Colorado—Boulder and Denver Univ.

Workshops with William Kittredge (fiction), Ed Dorn (poetry), Mary Oliver (poetry)

Literary Representation:  Bob Mecoy, 460 West 24th, NY, NY 10011.


Keith Liggett

1410 Colclough Ave

Fernie BC V0B 1M01




blog at www.keithliggett.ca



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A Short History of Birth Control in the US

An Excerpt from

Birth Control 2016

A Short History of Birth Control in the United States

Then and NowBirth Control Front Cover - J-Peghttp://tinyurl.com/BirthControl-2016


In 1848, a conference attracted three-hundred women and men who met to gain women the right to vote. It took seventy-two bitter years of activism, hunger strikes, arrests and fighting obstruction for women to prevail. Congress finally passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote in 1920.

While early activists fought for a woman’s right to vote, another group of feminists spent their lives helping women obtain sex education and access to birth control. One of those women, Margaret Sanger, grew up in a household of poverty with ten siblings. Her mother had eighteen pregnancies.

In 1902, Margaret began working as a nurse, and later a midwife. She cared for chronically pregnant poor women living in the tenements of New York who begged her for information to help stop unwanted pregnancies.

Sanger’s book, Motherhood in Bondage, contains hundreds of letters from hopeless women across the country imploring her to help them limit the number of children they bore. Most of the them wrote of being married as a teenagers and bearing a child each year. One 43-year-old woman with nineteen children had begged her doctor for contraceptive information, only to be told to be careful. Stories included child-mothers escaping poverty to marry and having a child before their thirteenth birthday. One, married at age fourteen, had fourteen living children, many miscarriages and failing health due to multiple pregnancies and poverty.

The women’s plight incited Margaret’s actions, but for talking about birth control she risked imprisonment under the Comstock Act of 1873. That draconian law made it illegal to discuss, produce, print or use the US Postal Service to mail any literature or product pertaining to the body related to birth control and venereal disease. Venereal disease was rampant before the age of antibiotics. Anatomy textbooks being sent to medical students were prohibited and confiscated. Doctors failed to educate women about ovulation and contraception because they could be jailed for even discussing contraception.

Anthony Comstock the influential politician and religious zealot who became a U. S. Postal Inspector, considered Sanger’s pamphlets on sex education and clinics providing contraception advice to be pornographic and obscene. His imposed personal views set U.S. public health and medical education back decades.

After her arrest for publishing and distributing contraceptive information, Margaret fled to Europe under an assumed name to avoid prosecution that could have carried up to a 45-year sentence. She studied methods of contraception in the Netherlands and returned to open the first birth control clinic in the U.S. in 1916. She and her sister Ethel Byre, also a nurse, provided contraceptive information and treated 486 patients in ten days, before the NYPD Comstock Vice Squad swept in to arrest the nurses and patients.

Ethel nearly died in jail during a hunger strike to raise awareness for their cause. Margaret was sentenced to the penitentiary for thirty days and upon release, reopened her clinic in protest. She founded the American Birth Control League in 1922 that eventually became Planned Parenthood of America.

Margaret Sanger’s desire to help women fueled her lifelong activism to teach contraceptive methods and advance sex education. The Catholic Church considered Margaret an enemy and opposed her work, but she had seen what continual pregnancies had done to her devout mother and others in poverty, producing huge families.

Support and fortunes of philanthropic people like International Harvester heir Katherine McCormick, John D. Rockefeller, and Margaret’s second husband, oil magnate James Noah Slee, fueled her campaigns for birth control and research for an oral contraceptive. Sanger and McCormick both lived to see the success of their efforts when the FDA approved the first oral contraceptive, Enovid, in 1960.

In 1972, the Supreme Court finally struck down the last of the oppressive Comstock law that restricted doctors from prescribing oral contraceptives to unmarried women ending nearly one hundred years of Comstock tyranny.


Ultraconservative legislators in Texas and other states have defunded Planned Parenthood. More than fifty years after the epic moment in 1960 making birth control pills available, women are fighting the same old battle, the right to self-determination and contraception.

Some legislators at the national level have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood clinics across the United States. Those who fight to defund the clinics and legislate reduced contraceptive availability are antiabortionists. They vehemently attack clinics that provide abortions, leading to violence and terroristic murder of healthcare personnel. Planned Parenthood provides healthcare to both men and women, education, contraceptives, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and they offer fertility consultation.

Comprehensive sex education and free contraceptives reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions. Why would those against abortion defund Planned Parenthood clinics limiting access to education and birth control, thus increasing the need for abortions?

Abortions have been a legal right under U.S. law since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. That decision deemed abortion a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. Roe, a single pregnant woman brought a class action suit against the constitutionality of the Texas abortion laws that made abortion a crime except to save the life of the mother. District Attorney Wade was the defendant. The historic decision overturned the Texas law and held a woman and her doctor could choose abortion in earlier months of pregnancy without legal restriction, and with restrictions in later months based on right to privacy.

Any adult has the right to make personal decisions based on their religious views. However, our founding principle of separation of church and state in the U.S. means no one as the right to impose their religious views on others.

Broad availability of birth control education and contraception has been shown to reduce unplanned pregnancies and reduce the need for abortions.

Betty Kuffel, MD FACP

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Update on Birth Control and STDs

Essential Information for Men and Women

Birth Control 2016

A quick-read reference that could save your life

During years of providing healthcare as an emergency physician I found both men and women lacked important information related to sexual health and contraception. These topics are often not discussed with knowledgeable people and misinformation is believed. Internet sources may not be accurate. Health information provided in schools is incomplete.

Medical information in this booklet is the science-based biology of reproduction and the latest contraceptive options for men and women. Details include a factual basis for discussing sexuality with partners and maturing children.

Responsible sexual practices must include a solid comprehension of contraception to prevent unplanned pregnancies and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. Some STDs are curable, some are not. Some of them could kill you. Learn about STDs, their treatment and prevention.

Rape is common and often unreported. Learn safety actions to avoid assault, but if you are assaulted, learn what to do to increase the likelihood of prosecution.

Betty Kuffel, MD FACP

Birth Control Front Cover - J-Peg

Amazon link:


Kindle: $2.99

Paperback: $5.99


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