Dan Reading a Poem at the Onion Fall Poetry Festival


Majestic Summit

Fujiyama’s noble essence

soaring in sky

reflected on rippling lake

Not merely

earth heaped


Drizzle dimmed sunrise

the twilight shroud

gathering darkness beyond

Drifting from all bearings

traveling its slope

foliage to untamed snowcap


Kamakura Beach with Fujisan in background

  In the early summer of 1956, Chip and I joined the Yokosuka Naval Base teenage club to climb the highest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji. On any clear day we could see Fujiyama ascending into the sky with snow-capped cone from my home in Kamakura and my high school at Yokohama. We wore baseball caps, warm clothing, and basketball shoes with sweat socks and brought a flashlight and canteen. The hike would last all night, in freezing weather until we reached the summit at 12,388 feet.   Our youth director warned us of altitude sickness, which caused headaches, nausea, and dizziness for some climbers. We used a six feet long, hexagonal Fuji stick for assistance during the climb. For a price in yen at each station, you could have a station-stamp branded onto your stick as a sign of your achievement. Each of the ten along the way had resting huts that allowed climbers to pay to sleep, rest, or eat meals. Five or more of these huts existed at the fifth station. A few served complimentary hot green tea from large kettles.

Enoshima with Fujiyama behind

Some people took a bus to the fifth, but Chip and I wanted to climb from the bottom to have our Fuji stick to prove we had completed the hike from the base. We slept briefly in blankets near a hibachi heated with burning coals at one of the last stations, but awoke before three in the morning on a mission to reach the top first. With sunrise only an hour and a half away, we gathered our gear and moved on as rapidly.

Japanese climbers said gambatte to each other meaning, “Hang in there,” to encourage their group during the climb. The trail steepened after the eighth station, making the hike far more difficult as altitude increased. Before sunrise we reached the red Shinto Torii marking the apex of Fujisan. We gathered with other climbers to look into the huge crater with a depth of six hundred feet and circumference of 2.2 miles. Rugged rocks and debris covered the bottom of the depression created by years of erosion from wind, rain, snow, and time, and dotted the dips and crags around the slope. Coldness pierced our faces, and froze us, as the Japanese countryside spread out to the Pacific Ocean. The wind howled and blew torrents at us.

Eddie Mount Fuji

"Goraiko," sunrise, slowly began. The sky brightened about a half hour before the sun emerged from a gray cloudbank surrounding Fuji. Gradually an intense, yellowish-orange radiance spread around the rising sun. The sky displayed a yellowish-orange hue slightly above. Further up the orange melted into a pinkish-orange. A brilliant scarlet pushed upwards to a scarlet purple beyond. Immediately overhead a deep dark blue tone gave way to a lighter shade. The puffy clouds resembled ducks, dragons, and sheep with their under bellies spray-painted raspberry, and their bodies scarlet-grey. Their wispy legs trailed down disappearing into the dense blue. The sun majestically emerged sending a streak of light throughout the panorama like splashing clear water on a painting. No wonder my grandmother Ruthie found sunrises the most magnificent of nature’s gifts. Often I took my wife and children to view the splendor of dawn’s early light because of her influence.

Fuji refletion and cherry trees

Chip and I walked the perimeter to find the best spot for our descent. Beginning at the seventh station running on the flexible lava, known as scree, reminded me of playing on a trampoline. A few other football players joined us as we scrambled, tumbled, and ran down the mountain in record time. We shouted for joy as we bounced up and down on the give and take of the surface, astounded by its elasticity. I tucked my head into my chest, rolled for twenty feet, and tumbled repeatedly until my body rested on the strange surface. Each piece of lava could hurt if you fell awkwardly on it and made me imagine I was on the moon.   We had traversed the volcanic sand slope in two hours! The climb up Fuji had taken us ten hours, which explains why exhaustion struck us so often during the punishing ascent. My eyes gazed back up the immense volcano. I hadn’t conquered that steep magnificent volcano, but had just become acquainted with Fujisan.



Buddha Smiles in Kamakura

Bronze folded hands and Buddha’s smiling face,

White circular blossoms from cherry trees,

Smoothing the wrinkles of the human race.

Blossoms tumbling down and spreading in space,

Beckoning all to seek a world of peace.

Bronze folded hands and Buddha’s smiling face.

Nature’s splendor slowing man’s frenzied pace.

Flying buzzing pollen gathering bees,

Petals like a dancer’s dress of white lace.

Bronze folded hands and Buddha’s smiling face.

Gentle wind blowing waves upon blue seas,

Swallows flying drifting gliding in grace.

Archer’s arrows whistling shatter the base.

At warrior's thunder, animals freeze.

Bronze folded hands and Buddha’s smiling face.

White flowers placed at Buddha’s feet in vase.

Peaceful worshipers fall down on their knees,

Seeking enlightenment and state of grace.

Bronze folded hands and Buddha’s smiling face.

Kamakura Buddha with tres and sky

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Tim Brunson,PhD. Interviews Dan November 29, 2013

Tim BrunsonIt's Your Life is all about real people living real lives. Join Dr. Tim Brunson, Clinical Hypnotherapist, as he hosts guests who talk about your health, your happiness, and your self-fulfillment.

How to Contact Dr. Tim

Phone: (Local) 256-237-8049, (Long Distance) 1-256-237-8049 E-mail the Show

When I do a HARO query, normally I normally interview two or three people a week for a one-a-week release on WDNG AM 14.50 radio. Your interview aired last week at 8 am. CST on the station and over their website. However, as this was probably before you got out of bed in the morning. However, your interview will play all day on Friday, November 29, 2013, on http://www.wdng.net/ItsYourLife.cfm. And, hopefully, during the Thanksgiving holiday I will have the opportunity to convert the last 15 interviews into a format that I can post to YouTube.com. When that happens I will let all the affected guests know. This will allow you to post the interview to your website for as long as you like.

 I enjoyed editing your interview. The editing process gives me a great opportunity to integrate the guest’s comments and more effectively relate them to trends and the contributions of the other guests.
 I am enjoying your book. Currently I am at the part where you just got to Japan, which is around page 79.

Daniel C. Lavery

Friday, November 29, 2013 All Day on the Hour

Daniel C. Lavery, JD

Civil Rights Attorney, Author, Granada Hills, California

Dan’s memoir traces his life from failures at college, hardships at Annapolis, near death in naval aviation and Vietnam, to finding his purpose as a civil rights attorney for poor farm workers for Cesar Chavez’s UFW in California against all odds. more

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Open Mind vs. Closed Mind in Today’s Political Discussions

We should not see the world in black and white and try to keep an open mind so we do not allow prejudice to affect our perspective. Failure to correct misinformation when provided it shows a person has closed off the mind or maybe has a lack of curiosity about the truth. Frequently I have carefully dissected false and even slanderous emailed remarks (usually written by others who have said lies, misrepresentations, or defamation) that are simply forwarded to get my reaction. Friends with a closed conservative right wing mind continue to do this in their rants in our polarized world that seems that at least some have an alternative universe that is their special take on the “truth”.

Czars is a catch- word of the right they adopt when describing Obama’s appointments to suggest they are unapproachable-a  continuing lie. If the shoe fits so be it. Not all appointments have worked out for any president and when one is weak a leader should counsel that person in a session designed  to improve performance. If that fails the head should step in and remove and replace that person.The right wing proceeds with their agenda dished out from various sources we have all heard from. These closed-minded conservatives occasionally accuse me of seeing things in two colors:black and white. The same can be said with regard to scurrilous attacks on Obama’s record and history. They continue to repeat the falsehoods despite the truth available to all if they search. But the right wealthy propagandists are well-funded (Koch brothers and others) and despite the truth they rant lies continually to their base. The behavior of copying these false rants and sending them in emails places the sender deep in the dark with the narrow-minded Obama haters.

Obama is so far more informed and competent compared to their heroes in wit, knowledge, and experience, just where do they think he was born, what is his education, and experience? Hawaii, Harvard Law School, civil rights, community organizing, and Commander in Chief six years. Their friends who send each other such messages are so limited in knowledge compared to him it is laughable, yet they think they have an open mind. Can Obama’s race be the unspoken reason behind their hatred? Many think so.

 One wonders what five books each of these Obama-bashers has last read? I rate Obama a 65 out of 100 in presidential acumen and have openly criticized his drone war crimes that kill an enormous number of innocent civilians and fuels the recruiting of terrorists, anarchists, and politicos of every stripe. Furthermore, failure to have the Justice Department indict the bankers and others responsible for the 2008 crash, makes Obama appear afraid of how the business community would think about such treatment of their darling millionaires that supposedly fuel job creation when most economists say they don’t and the middle class is shrinking at an unacceptable rate.

Much else is unwise and considered a compromise, such as Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) that Romney essentially proposed first. Perhaps Obama might have thought this would receive bi-partisan support for his attempt to finally bring the American people a real health care plan to benefit the people. Yet the republicans offer no plan while leveling severe criticism about Obamacare. When scrutinized by experts they conclude it is far better than  the miserable insurance companies’ health plans with high deductibles, restrictions on pre-existing conditions, major limits on expensive procedures, and minimal office visits. Those plans do this because they rely on profit over meaningful and reasonably priced health care. Some wiser than me suggest a gradual extension of Medicare, a program most Americans realize is working well, but first attacked as communistic and a deathnell to business, would have been better than the huge AHCA that will take awhile to get the number of applicants to a reasonable level from the growing number now interested.

I used to belittle right wing closed-minded columnists, and left wing ones that are unrealistic, nonobjective, doctrinaire, and oblivious to the truth. Instead I try to point out a rational approach that isn't hostile or offensive. Glorifying the Vietnam debacle as many on the right do bothers me, despite heroism that I might applaud if it occurred in WWII because in one war our troops were fighting for our civilization and the other was a bully war fought against a small country that posed no danger to us(we trade with them after killing two million). I also do have sympathy for those drafted into the Vietnam disaster who did as they were ordered. Sadly many were wounded, died, or survived that conflict with nightmares, post traumatic stress syndrome, or damaged by Agent Orange in a military adventure that never should have been started as Kennedy was repeatedly advised. As for conscientious objectors, and draft dodgers, they have my moral support when they were imprisoned or fled to Canada or elsewhere acting on their conscience.

On my new website I have added pictures that expand when you click on “Pictures” at the top of the dashboard. A drop-down menu gives you options(Memoir, Garden).  Many friends appear and too many of me and my family, but it fills out my story I spent six years writing. It contributes to my change when others helped me open my mind after the Naval Academy had closed it firmly(to almost an automaton who followed all orders as the military required and kept my opinions to myself). But not so much that some brilliant minds in their third year of the University of California Berkeley’s graduate programs(Law, History, Comparative Literature, and English) could not influence me when I spouted the domino theory Eisenhower, Rusk, LBJ and others unwisely advocated. That process forced me to read some objective criticism of the conflict, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings regarding the facts leading up to open hostilities that caused so much loss of life. I was fortunate to have the ability to hear and consider other opinions than those I had been taught were the authorities. I had learned that lesson before when my advanced religion courses at Duke challenged my fundamental beliefs that tumbled brick by brick to historical reality.That is evidence of my open-mindedness.

Other sources than the Defense establishment  opened a world of understanding, removed many a prejudice, and gradually refined my education especially of history and political opinion. My new direction unfolded in the next year and I pursued my dream with fierce commitment to serve a higher goal than acting like a pawn in the military. My experiences can help others re-evaluate their closed mind on politics, foreign relations, military adventures, religion, athletics, and domestic problems. Finding one’s purpose in life in America isn’t such an easy task with the cost of education so high now. But one who has curiosity about the opportunities available and a passion for some field, can gain perspective and inspiration from my experiences. Once I found a path that consumed me with passion I aimed as high as I could. No matter what confronts the reader, my story demonstrates an ordinary person can survive major conflicts, injuries, risk of death, disappointments, and still flourish. If I could wander through that minefield and avoid a mortal blow, anyone with determination can flourish. The indispensable ingredients are feeling enthusiasm for whatever path you choose, having a worthy purpose, and living your life to the fullest. We all gain by a free exchange of ideas in America and that is our strength that hostile governments run by dictators should heed rather than consider a weakness. Daniel C. Lavery

Dan at his Encino Civil Rights Law Office



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Words On Fire Book Signing December 7 Noon-2PM

Crown Book Store Woodland Hills

Crown Book Store Woodland Hills


(click to expand)   You are invited to a book signing on December 7, 2013  at Crown Book Store, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd. # 1340, Woodland Hills, (next door to Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant) 12-2PM Book Signing, cookies, soft drinks, and snacks, featuring Daniel C. Lavery discussing his memoir, All the Difference, reading excerpts and poems with internationally published poet Richard Weekley discussing his recent book, Already There, reading selected poems, and addressing the group in ten minute cycles followed by ten minutes mingling with the audience, answering questions, and book signings for purchasers. Plenty of time for feedback from the audience. New sessions with different words on fire will take place every thirty minutes. Words on Fire Poster   BookCoverAll the Difference 52813

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