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January 18, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Blame Hawaii for rainbows

 Don Ho on album cover. Hawaii's Greatest Hits. (Kevin Dooley/Flickr/

Those sneaky rainbows hiding in plain sight.(Don Ho’s album cover for Hawaii’s Greatest Hits.Kevin Dooley/Flickr/

Surf’s not the only thing up in Hawaii.

About 20 years ago, the papaya family took a dive. Couldn’t stand another day. They thought an isolated island existence was a safe paradise, then it was spotted. Hitchhiked in on an aphid. The ringspot virus felled the majority of papaya trees on the big island within 3 years.

Evolution (here meaning “change” or a species adaptation) sped up as Dennis Gonsalves, a pathologist born on Hawaii, tried something that worked in humans – using the disease to defeat itself – like a vaccine to gain disease immunity.

Only Gonsalves and his team isolated DNA from the papaya ringspot virus and inserted it into a papaya seed’s DNA.

Yep, a little bit of genetic engineering for a GMO called Rainbow papaya which saved the farm, jobs, and cuisine.

A real seedy topic, GMO’s.  

1960 Robert Conrad with a gun and frightened Connie Stevens staring at the distance. TV show ofHawaiian Eye. 1960. Warner Bro.(, no cr/

Stop. Don’t take another step towards that papaya you ugly aphid! (1960″Hawaiian Eye” Warner Bro./USPD/

Who knew over 90% of all soy crops are GMO crops? Soy. That healthy stuff.

Eating healthy is getting complicated.

Marcia Ishii-Eitman of the Pesticide Action Network is concerned about big corporations having so much control over food production.

On the other hand it is true that humans have altered food sources for a long time by saving seeds from only the best plants for the next season or by methods like grafting. 

Dr Pam Ronald, whose husband is a certified organic farmer, likes to compare modern sweet corn-on-the-cob to its’ ancient ancestor which looks an awful lot like some wild stuff growing next to the cattails in the ditch. Ancient corn only has about 6-8 kernels of corn on a stalk.

With that, it would take a whole lot of hunting and gathering to make tortillas for weekend fajitas.

CBS’s video report “Food fight over GMO” chews up the debate.

Look for that ancient corn-stalk as well as that “I-can’t-go-on” papaya forest of 20 years ago.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Or you can read the transcript: “Digging for seeds of truth in GMO debate” 

Both sides are presented. And I kinda winced at statements from each.

While, Ronald is right, we do need efficient plants and that droughts/disease are a pretty big threat, I’m wondering about the modified corn/plants being GMO-ed to be “immune” to weed killers, so the farms can spray and not damage the crop. (Tractor spraying shown in video)

A real timesaver. Who really wants to get out with a hoe and chop up and down dirt rows anymore? Not me. UGH. (Even gloves don’t help. Don’t fall for that.)

surfer.Duke Paoa Kahanamoku with Waikiki board. 1910-15/ Malama Pono Ltd./USPD., reprod of PD art/

Real Hawaiian with a punch. Duke Paoa Kahanamoku with Waikiki board(USPD/

If you know anything about Round-up, you know once that stuff is spilled/sprayed on the ground, NOTHING grows – for some time. Dead soil. Sort-of limits your options.

A sprayed crop gets the stuff on the leaves and stalk, but it supposedly doesn’t “inhale”, right? And the roots just don’t get earthy and suck it up from the soil like nutrients?

Maybe a botanist can shed some light on absorption and roots blocking out the bad stuff.

Have to wonder if it’s as effective as telling Fire Ants they can’t come across the Southern border.

1959. Troy Donahue playing uke in TV show Hawaiian Eye.(ABC/, no cr/

“Hawaiian Eye”had them before Tiny Tim.(Troy Donahue.1959 ABC/USPD/

Whichever side you’re on, it’s never corny to gather any information that pops up.

Besides, who doesn’t like a video of Hawaii?

(And over 90% of soy? Who knew?)

Cultivating opinions

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

More to help to ground up grains of thought:

1968. Jack Lord wearing a lei in TV series Hawaii Five-O. (CBS/USPD/ cr marks/

Remember. No matter what they say, flowers are not a substitute for bathing even on a tropical island. (Jack Lord.1968 “Hawaii Five-O”. CBS/USPD/



  1. easyweimaraner / Jan 18 2016 2:02 pm

    that makes me wonder too… the cans have warnings allover and the we spray it on things we will eat… maybe it wasn’t the best idea my momma had as she decided to eat only plants ….


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 18 2016 4:08 pm

      There seems to be a big disconnect in consumers’ minds between food demands (bigger, better, and without blemishes – and always avaialble no matter the season) and production of crops. No longer communities who actually see dirt and farms. ALl you can do is cross paws and sniff around. Thanks for running by, Easy!


  2. Eagle-Eyed Editor / Jan 18 2016 2:05 pm

    Ahhh, Hawaii. Dreaming of nice warm temperatures right now as it grows polar cold in my area. *sighs* About the closest I come is watching episodes of “Hawaii 5-0”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 18 2016 4:09 pm

      A good time of year for watching scenic beach shows – even if the plot/script isn’t the best, there’s the views! Thanks for dreaming along.


  3. Kate Crimmins / Jan 18 2016 2:40 pm

    Love the humor you inserted here but somehow knowing that plants “don’t inhale” isn’t as comforting as when a politician says it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 18 2016 4:11 pm

      The plants are staying pretty silent on that. But then again, they may have been paid off…or threatened. Chop-chop! Thanks for the cutting edge remark

      Liked by 1 person

  4. sportsattitudes / Jan 18 2016 2:58 pm

    I believe the original name the marketing folks came up with for “Round-Up” was “Death To Everything It Touches” but they decided that wouldn’t move quite as much product so they went with “Round-Up” instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 18 2016 4:33 pm

      And it was too long to put on the tiny label or for people to bother to read. Catchy. NEeded something catchy.Yep, saddle up and corral those weeds, pardner. Thank for digging up the actual facts!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. RKLikesReeses / Jan 18 2016 3:29 pm

    Such a complex and important topic! I’ll admit to not knowing much about it. Thank you for the links!

    And WOW! “Hawaiian Eye!” I remember that show…now my heart’s going pitty-pat for Robert Conrad up there. 😉


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 18 2016 4:38 pm

      Still hunting and gathering info on all this. No clear cut answers. We do have “better living through chemistry” as the old marketing phrase boaster. Not really wise to step away from sciences too much – sad the education system has (“too hard to teach”). Moderation, exercise, sunshine and water usually keeps people healthy, too. Paw waves to the realm!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Carrie Rubin / Jan 18 2016 5:58 pm

    I haven’t really entered this debate until I know more about it. Thanks for raising the issue.

    On a different note, I sent the letter to my Congress people about those women pilots. Let’s hope lots of people do the same!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 18 2016 6:19 pm

      I’m still in neutral, too. It’s complex (and papaya? 20 years ago? Who knew?) The world is not an agricultural society any more – more mouths to feed, less understanding how food happens. (Noticed a news article about insects in the kitchen for diner today)
      I found the Hawaiian viewpoints brought up some new points to consider. Science is completely intriguing – so much beauty.
      My letters are off, too. You would think this would be a good year for these bills to get passed.
      Thanks for adding to the food for thought

      Liked by 1 person

  7. colonialist / Jan 18 2016 7:56 pm

    GM and seedy characters like Monsanto remind me of the British and their idiocy with potatoes in Ireland, giving rise to the blight and the famine.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 18 2016 9:17 pm

      This virus also attacks watermelons and squash – and there’s some connection with this particular virus and that potato famine disease (but I can’t find the link right now). In any case, it’s no wonder my dad was so vigilant about aphids in the garden – and not putting anything on or around plants that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. Farming really shouldn’t be rocket science, but it does require a lot of hard work and commonsense…not a lot of that in excess these days. Thanks for cultivating a captivating comment.


  8. Littlesundog / Jan 18 2016 8:07 pm

    I just ordered my Non-GMO organic seeds today. Don’t get me started on Monsanto and the hold they have on everything in this country. Every time I visit family in Nebraska I get sick of how the farmers pay homage to the evil god that pads their pockets. There is a huge Monsanto operation just a few miles from my home town. Gads! On a better note, you brought me back to fond memories of Hawaii Five-O. You know I was just a little girl back then, and I was so hopeful to marry Danno one day. I guess other fellas distracted me along the way somehow! 😀


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 18 2016 9:28 pm

      We’d better keep a stock of those heritage seeds in the bank, too..just in case it all crashes – Those were survivors even if not beauty queens. Monsanto complex not too far from here, too. It, like McGraw-Hill, is such a huge corporation with fingers in all sorts of pies…people would be shocked/stunned how tangled up in businesses/economy these giant firms are. The Monsanto executive on the video was quite likable – as was the group on the other side. But each strayed into some illogical statements. Corn I knew about, but soy? All I can say at this point is thank goodness for the small local farms determined to just grow basic food as simply as possible.(and do I miss dad’s giant garden)
      Also miss some of those old TV shows – a whole different type of entertainment and stars. Thanks for surfing this spot


  9. The Coastal Crone / Jan 19 2016 1:04 am

    90% for soy? And I thought it was so good for me! Oh, well, I have to trust some things. I don’t want to have to grow everything myself. The best I can do are herbs, jalapanos and tomatoes. Thanks for the information! I do know that I miss those old shows! Thanks for the recent visit to my blog! I always learn from yours!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 19 2016 5:25 pm

      Actually that one fact is the reason I watch the segment. So much information flying around that serious items get swamped and sink below sight.
      Glad you enjoyed the references to the oldies but goodies. Shows used to be designed to entertain and give a smile. Nothing wrong with that! Thanks for floating over a coment


  10. shoreacres / Jan 19 2016 2:00 am

    And then, of course, there’s the whole issue of “natural” and “organic” foods. I had no idea, until recently, how much so-called organic food is actually owned and promoted by huge conglomerates. There’s a chart somewhere that shows exactly which big company owns which supposedly little mom-and-pop natural foods. It was truly shocking. Gotta go dig….

    Oh. Papaya. When I lived in Liberia, I loved them. There were red ones and yellow ones and orange ones — and some where as big as watermelons. Gosh, they were good. I’m drooling right now. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 19 2016 5:29 pm

      I wonder if the papaya peeking over the fence is a rainbow variety. There’s still some fruit on it and the chills don’t seem to be bothering it. Those not as big as watermelons, though. How cool to have fresh from down the block produce….no worry about deciphering labels. (The conglomerates’ reach is really appalling. They have their fingers in so many areas you’d never suspect.)
      Island weather today. Ahhh. Wishing those clouds elsewhere for a bit. Thanks for cutting up a comment to leave


  11. marthaschaefer / Jan 19 2016 11:41 am

    An interesting debate that has merit on both sides, unfortunately, the results are in, we have fouled the nest. Lots of local garden activism here, grass-roots so to speak. Gardens at schools and the growth of local farmers markets all year. Educating the young, just as we were educated, is key to better food choices, leading to less health problems and on and on. Don’t get me started.

    Reliving my first crushes with those hot guys from the early TV shows. Oh my!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 19 2016 11:53 am

      Hawaii was paradise before aphids. Wonder if nature would have shrugged and wave bye-bye to papaya or if a more hardy species would have eventually appeared. We’ll never know. People are so impatient (and demanding). At least now many are trying to find a balance between wants and needs. As you say, education is key (and wish all those suburban lawn feed/spray companies would close up for good.)
      Yes, those old island tales certainly are a nice distraction! Thanks for surfing over with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  12. the dune mouse / Jan 19 2016 2:30 pm

    not sure about genetically modified anything but love your nostalgia!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 19 2016 2:34 pm

      Me either. But I do like labels on food items so you can see what’s in stuff and then decide. In any case, nothing like surfing the oldies. Thanks for digging up a comment to add

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The Hook / Jan 19 2016 6:42 pm

    This post is a wonderful respite from a cold winter day in Niagara Falls.
    Many thanks.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 19 2016 7:09 pm

      Was wondering, when you agreed to keep that little dog in the cage, did it have a sweater? (would that make it a hot dog?) And (Waiting for your comment about the owner being the hot one HA HA). We’ve been between fronts with spring like weather today -tomorrow rain, and cold arriving…then more rain. El nino winters are such a joy.
      Promise a nice warming pix (and a short story) later on this week. Thanks for surfing over this way.


  14. Jay E. / Jan 20 2016 2:55 pm

    Honest question:

    What’s the difference between GMOs and the selective breeding humans have been doing for millennia? The whole point of selective breeding – and breeding in general – is to modify certain genes over others.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jan 20 2016 3:08 pm

      Change is change: hybridization, grafting, natural/artificial/cross pollinating, selecting the best seeds of each crop. Some methods take longer than others. I think one of the scientists in the video/transcript talked about all that. It was a surprisingly balanced discussion. The local Hawaiian discussions were also pretty interesting – the view from the real root of things and those impacted. Didn’t know about 20 years ago and rainbow papaya – or all that soy. Suburban Chemlawn companies and Round-up to me are a bigger concern. Dad always said don’t put anything on or around a garden plant that you wouldn’t put in your own mouth and he hated aphids…like in Hawaii. Thanks for cultivating a comment. Hula on!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Margaret Lynette Sharp / Feb 5 2016 9:59 pm

    Fascinating 🙂


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