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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM KOTCH MAGAZINE

Though the Bible makes no mention of the birth of Christ, Christians eventually came to settle with December 25th. Other dates such as March 28th were drummed up by an unknown writer of North African origin and later, there were speculations of November 18th and September 11th. But prior to establishing this date, Rome’s pagan population celebrated a holiday which they called Saturnalia from December 17-25, a period during which, courts were closed and lawlessness reigned as no one could be punished during this period of celebration. Brutal murder, rape, injury to human and damage of property were marked features of its observance. Christian leaders, who were well aware that these festivities were far removed from the basic tenets of Christianity, were hard put to convert the pagan masses, consequently in the 4th century CE they dedicated December 25th as the date of Jesus’ birth with hopes of metamorphosing the pagan celebration with the sanctity and religious symbolism that is implicit with the birth of Christ. There are claims that the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Paul II revived the Saturnalia observance for the amusement of Roman citizens and forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city.  An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators.  They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a

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RASTAFARI REFLECTIONS

RASTAFARI REFLECTIONS – Marlene Daley

My earliest recollection of the Rastafarians of Jamaica comes with memories of a subculture filled with idioms of mystique, if not mystical connotations and double entendre proclamations such as “I and I.” But this was not just of self, they had unique ways of greeting, expressing blessings, exaltation of religious ideology and “wicked” critique of those lesser beings like myself, whose “livity” (way of life), had seemingly, if not surreptitiously, become far removed from their own, through an acculturation that was now perceptually foreign; a despicable paradigm through a stereotypical vision which could easily identify those not yet awakened. Their pronouncements of “fire bun!” which could have meant subjugation to the pit of hell to pay penance for our sins or restitution; “weak heart tremble!” which could have meant, shuddering in your shoes to look upon their face or stand firm in the face of danger, are forever etched in the recesses of my mind. Those statements were made with the kind of guttural crescendo that could have frozen a weak heart individual to the spot, as fright seem to cause the rushing of blood and muscle contraction that converged in the feet and rendered them heavy and difficult to lift. They were “public announcements” meant to instill fear, not only to the target but everyone else in earshot. It was intimidation at its best. As those hitherto frightful thoughts matured in later years and I played with their implications, it struck me that as disturbing as they were, they

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THE AMAZING COCONUT OIL CAN WHITEN YOUR TEETH! – Marlene Daley

India has embraced the coconut as nature’s gift to that country. Their claim that the coconut originated there, is substantiated by fossils dating back over 15 million years, but after all is said and done, it seems the verdict is still out on its genesis. There is no question however, on the versatility of the coconut and the fact that India has moved in leaps and bounds in the use of product and byproducts and is predominant in their use of the coconut in rituals as well. It is symbolic of blessings, fertility and purity in India but so too in other societies around the world where it has great cultural and religious significance. The coconut tree has long ago established itself in other countries where it thrives in tropical climate but on the face of it, India seems to be the forerunners for its myriad of uses. Here are some of the ways in which the coconut is used, though all are not attributed to India: Coconut Water Cooking Oil Coconut Shell Powder Coconut Milk Coir Coconut squash Coconut sweets Coconut vinegar Coconut jam Neera or palm nectar Coconut Syrup Coconut Palm Jaggery (unrefined, non-distilled sugar) Coconut Palm Sugar Coconut Flour Coconut Wine Coconut oil used as cuticle moisturizer Coconut oil used as Deodorant Face Scrub (mixed with baking soda) Gin (from the sap) Detergent Soap Shampoo Laxative Makeup remover Moisturizer Shaving Cream Toothpaste (coconut oil added to baking soda to make a paste) “Oil Pulling” Add to coffee

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BLACK LIVES MATTER – by Marlene Daley

Link to “Race Baiting 101” “Black Lives Matter” was formed in response to what I am now forced to label, “the alleged murder” of the innocent unarmed 17-year-old Black teenager Trayvon Martin, who was gunned down by the armed civilian George Zimmerman. As an individual who voluntarily scouted his neighborhood to keep it safe from suspected criminals, Zimmerman’s stereotypical suspect is black skinned, young and wearing hoodie. Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges while Martin, to quote one writer, was “post-humously” (hyphenated, I imagine, to underscore a new definition that technically means, the deceased representation of self), placed on trial for his own murder. The film producer/director Matthew Cooke has added his voice to the cause of these bizarre, unconscionable, senseless killings and the continuing deliberate incarceration of Blacks and underprivileged citizens of America. His conscience and passion brought him to produce the riveting short video titled Race Baiting 101 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLgIIjnpZyU), which some may find a soothing salve, despite knowing that the ignorance that comes with prejudice is slowly but surely being eroded. He may be one of relatively few White men who could embrace Black women with their “burry-burry” head and treat them like queens as opposed to others (even among Blacks), who speak but not act accordingly. There are Blacks who in fact will try to use lighter skin in a way that could be self-demeaning or projected as such that could be interpreted to mean, having a psychological edge – that does not realistically exist. I hold

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MEMORIES OF NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES – Marlene Daley

By now enough evidence abounds to support the true experiences of those who have gone close to, or beyond death’s door, and returned. Queen Noor’s book “Leap of Faith” comes to mind immediately, in which, she relates candidly, her late husband King Hussien of Jordon’s experience of seeing the light, prior to his final departure many months later. The video above should help to dispel doubts, if there are any, regarding the fact that life ends upon the exit of the spirit that propels it. But closer to home brings me to my own mother who had to be hospitalized due to an intestinal infection along with other subsequent complications that took her to death’s door. In her state of partial consciousness she spoke about an urgent 6 o’clock appointment at a prayer tower. She had to get dressed hurriedly because she could not be late. “Hurry up, hurry up,” she told my sister Marcia, speaking softly from pain and grogginess from medication.  Marcia, her loving loyal attendant, knew that she was “travelling” and watched and listened to her keenly.  Most of her 19 grandchildren and a few great grandchildren had gathered around her bed in a mournful demeanor, no doubt sending up prayers for her keeping. Those of us who lived overseas were on high alert. With our cell phone clutched closely, we worked almost mindlessly waiting on the final call. My sister Avis made hurried arrangements and got on the earliest flight to see her before the end;

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STIMULATING THE EMBRYO – by Marlene Daley

Few innovations and creative gifts have slipped between the cracks. By far, education ranks highest in the furtherance of man’s ultimate achievement and intellectual expression of creative thought. There are schools of thought that believe that stimulating the embryo can contribute to or promote near genius education in children. The broadest frame of reference comes from doing so through music and reading, as this may promote mental expansion. Jill Binoche’s article “Make Baby Smarter in the Womb” states: “Research indicates that a variety of stimulation while babies are in the womb is the start to building and promoting cognitive development. From playing music to reading to physical interaction in utero, stimulated babies are able to begin life with an advantage, being born with what some researchers consider more confidence in themselves and the ability to learn more easily. In addition to stimulating and purposefully interacting with the baby, staying relaxed and keeping stress levels at a minimum for the mother are also necessary for promoting fetal brain development.” It is also widely accepted that preschools that facilitate supervised play allows infants to play out their thoughts or fears, this being their only avenue of expression, as opposed to adults being able to talk it through. Research continues to unravel and validate that ongoing intrinsic contribution that music brings to learning math, language and reasoning through auditory learning. Psychological proponents argue that during the most critical and accelerated years of learning in a child’s life – birth to six years old

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