Grounded

Those of you who have followed Filosofa’s Word for more than a year may remember a series of posts that I re-blogged by justascottishgirl, a young woman from Scotland who, in late 2015 to mid-2016 took time from her own life to volunteer helping refugees on the Greek Isle of Kos. Her tales were often heartbreaking, but I was so impressed with what she and others were doing – giving of themselves for the cause of humanity – that I shared her story a few times in March 2016. She eventually returned to Scotland, but has now moved to the Greek Isle of Kos. She has started a new blog, titled From Greece With Love, and shares her very astute thoughts on not just the refugee crisis, but the terrible inhumane incidents taking place around the globe. I am sharing, with her permission, the first post on her new blog where she starts with a question: How does one stay grounded with all the terrible things happening around the world? She concludes with: “Stand together, show love where you find hate and don’t let fear win.” Just A Scottish Girl is an excellent writer, thinker, and humanitarian extraordinaire, and this post is well worth the read. Please take a few moments to read her words, for they reflect what most of us are thinking in these troubled times. Thank you, Scottish Girl, for all you do, for your beautiful heart, and for permission to share your thoughts and words.

From Greece With Love

All through life when times get tough, when things start to run away with us or when things start to get too much we often hear the advice “stay grounded.” We are told to “keep our feet on the ground” to balance us, to remind of something solid, something steady that can help bring us down from those dizzying heights that challenging times can take us to. But what happens when that safety net fails, when you can no longer trust the earth to keep you steady?

Recently I experienced a rather nasty earthquake which has left this question playing on my mind. When we live in a world of such uncertainty, how exactly do we stay grounded when we can’t even trust the ground we walk on?

But this idea of losing trust in your surroundings goes further than a shift in tectonic plates, for me personally anyway. Over…

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Facts Are Facts … Or Are They?

Fact:  A thing that is known or proven to be true.

When is a fact not a fact?  When it is uttered by virtually anyone in the U.S. Federal Government.

It all started, you may remember, two years ago … January 20, 2017, when then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that the number of people attending Trump’s inauguration was much higher than those who had attended President Obama’s inauguration four years earlier.  It wasn’t true, there are numbers from DC Metro to show that the number of attendee’s at Trump’s inauguration were the lowest of the past four presidents.  Only about 61% as many attended Trump’s inauguration as attended Obama’s.  And if that weren’t proof enough, the pictures speak no lies …

inauguration crowds.jpg

Inauguration crowds … Trump’s (left) Obamas (right)

Two days later, Kellyanne was making the rounds and made an appearance on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.  When Todd, armed with facts and pictures, asked Kellyanne why Spicer would “utter such a provable falsehood”, Kellyanne herself uttered the sentence that would re-define language as spoken by anyone in the Trump administration:

“Our press secretary, Sean Spicer, gave alternative facts to [these claims], but the point remains that…”

And we knew right then that we would never be able to trust a single word that came from anyone in the Trump camp.

Alternative facts, also known as ‘lies’, have come to be what we expect when Trump, Kellyanne, or Sarah open their mouths.  For example, just one week after the lies about the size of the inaugural crowd, Kellyanne told another whopper …

“I bet it’s brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green Massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

Just to set the record straight, there never was a “Bowling Green Massacre”.

The lies, or ‘alternative facts’ have continued almost daily for two years, and we’ve mostly learned to ignore them, perhaps roll our eyes and shake our head, but overall we look through them and dig for whatever kernel of truth we may be able to find.  But there comes a point when the lies are so blatantly stupid that our jaws drop.

Yesterday, Trump spoke to reporters, futilely attempting to garner support for his ego-wall on the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico, when this jewel slipped from between his lips …

“Everybody knows that walls work. You look at different places, they put up a wall, no problem. You look at San Antonio, you look at so many different places, they go from one of the most unsafe cities in the country to one of the safest cities, immediately, immediately.”

San Antonio?  Does he mean the San Antonio in Texas, the one that is some 150 miles north of the border?  The one where the Alamo is the major tourist attraction?  Ain’t no bloomin’ wall in San Antonio, folks.  We have a ‘man’ sitting in the Oval Office who flunked geography in high school!  Folks on Twitter had some fun with it, though …

“Is he talking about the Alamo, clearly, the only wall I know of in San Antonio? Has he forgotten how poorly that walll protected its occupants?”

“For the love of God…. can SOMEONE please get @realDonaldTrump a map? His shocking level of ignorance is absolutely frightening.”

“I believe the #BowlingGreenMassacre lead to the creation of the great #SanAntonio wall. ….i could be wrong. Im really just looking for a #SmockingGun. #hamberders”

“Geography is hard.”

And this from the mySanAntonio.com website …

“A quick search (consisting of looking out the window and then checking Texas Department of Transportation traffic cameras) found no walls barring anyone from San Antonio. In fact, the city is often known as one of the most welcoming and friendly cities in Texas.”

Proving once again that Donald Trump is a bad joke … a horrible joke … and that facts in our government have become completely meaningless.  And on that note, I must don long underwear, coat, hat and gloves and go shovel about a foot of snow from daughter Chris’ parking space so that she can park when she gets home from Kansas City late tonight.  Kansas City, by the way, has no walls either … just in case you were wondering.

By the way … Today is National Cheese Lover’s Day, so enjoy a few bites …cheese.jpg

Snarky Snippets … Again …

A couple of things in the news yesterday bothered me … really bothered me.  And you guys know what happens when things bother me, right?  I erupt into Snarky Snippets!  Grab your coffee, or better yet, your glass of wine, for I am full-on snark today.


A smooth shave turns bumpy …

First off, let’s talk razors, shall we?  I kept seeing remarks, mostly negative, about razors.  Meme’s, comments on Facebook, bad jokes … and I thought, “what the heck is up with razors?”.  But I didn’t think much beyond that until I saw this …gun-toting-dadHOLY SHIT!!!  I don’t know about Gillette, but it offends the heck out of me and makes me want to call Social Services on this guy!  And then I knew I must find out what all the hullabaloo is about.

Turns out, it is all over an advertisement that razor-maker Gillette recently placed, softening the male image from their usual “tough man” image, and appealing to men’s gentler sides.  It appears to be Gillette’s response to the #MeToo movement, and a response that I personally applaud.  So, what is the problem here?  Take a quick look at the ad and see what you think …

People are throwing away their razors and threatening a boycott of Gillette products.  WTF???  Do people really have nothing better to think about or to do with their time?  And are people so enamoured of the “he-man” image that they would rather see men portrayed as macho men than as kind, respectful men?

One such fool wrote on Twitter …

“I’m researching every product made by Proctor & Gamble, throwing any I have in the trash, and never buying any of them again until everyone involved in this ad from the top to bottom is fired and the company issues a public apology.”

Hold your breath, bucko!  Okay, so those gun-toting, tattooed, swaggering macho men feel threatened by a suggestion that they tone it down, treat women with a bit of respect.  I get that … well, no, really I don’t, but having known a few such men in my lifetime, I’m not surprised by it.  But what does surprise me is the response of some women!johnstoneSeriously, Kathleen???  You like to be shoved around a bit, maybe even slapped once in a while?

Although there were favourable responses to the ad, the response was overwhelmingly, 2-to-1, negative.  Folks … I think this says an awful lot about our society today, don’t you?


Clipping Pelosi’s wings …

In a rare event of petty revenge, Donald Trump told Nancy Pelosi that since she wouldn’t invite him to give the State of the Union Address before Congress on 29 January, then he wouldn’t allow her to fly via military transport for a previously undisclosed visit to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  Shocked, aren’t you?  I’m surprised he didn’t burn her house down.  A few things here … the trip was not made public out of concern for the Congresswoman’s safety … HELLO DONNIE???  And now the whole world is aware, so Nancy, who Trump told could fly commercial airlines if she still wished to go, is forced to either stay at home, else fly through the air with a big red bullseye painted on her back, thanks to the loose lips of the fool on the hill.  Watch what Stephen Colbert has to say about it (if you have time, watch the whole 8 minutes … I promise you will laugh …)


Nancy can’t go, but Lindsey can?

And yet, though Trump claims the Trump-shutdown is the reason to disallow Ms. Pelosi’s travel, look who turned up in Turkey yesterday …lindsey-graham-erdoganYep. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi cannot go visit our troops in Afghanistan, but Senator Lindsey boot-licking Graham can go visit the Dictator of Turkey, one of the few men who Trump admires, or more likely envies.  You will remember that it was a telephone conversation with President Erdoğan that convinced Trump to announce that he would pull all U.S. forces out of Syria, presumably in order to give Erdoğan a chance to fulfill his mission of destroying our allies in Syria, the Kurds.

Given that John Bolton and literally all of Trump’s foreign policy advisors cautioned against a rapid pull-out and that removing U.S. troops from Syria is at a standstill, largely as a result of Erdoğan’s threats against the Kurds, Erdoğan is upset that his buddy, Trump, did not follow through on their conversation of December 19th.  And so, wanting to stay on the good side of his buddy Erdoğan, Trump sent Lindsey Graham to smooth the ruffled feathers of the Turkish dictator.  From the look on Erdoğan’s face, it wasn’t working.

Erdoğan welcomed Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria; however, the Turkish president condemned what he said were attempts by senior U.S. officials to delay the withdrawal and link it to conditions including guaranteeing security for our Kurdish allies.

The timing is interesting, too, for it was just on Wednesday that the Turkish Parliament voted to grant emergency powers that give Erdoğan broad authority to act when Turkey’s financial stability is deemed to be under threat.  Deemed by whom?  Why, Erdoğan, of course! This, folks, is the power Trump is so envious of.


Oh, and speaking of travel during the shutdown …

Trump has announced that he will meet with Kim Jong-un again before the end of February.  Presumably, since he has threatened to allow the shutdown to last for years, and since he shows no signs of being willing to make reasonable compromises, he will likely be traveling during said shutdown.  Perhaps …trump-travel-shutdown


A friend posted this ‘toon on Facebook yesterday evening and I just couldn’t resist …toon

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

♫ I’ll Never Fall In Love Again ♫

Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote this for the Broadway musical Promises, Promises, Neil Simon’s musical adaptation of Billy Wilder’s screenplay The Apartment. Bacharach and David had added this song to the musical at the last minute at a time when Burt had the flu, which explains Hal David’s little joke of rhyming “Pneumonia” with “Phone ya.”

Several recordings of the song were released in 1969, the most popular of which was by Dionne Warwick, who took it to number six on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100. Another best-selling version was by Bobbie Gentry, who topped the UK chart, which I listened to tonight and did not care for at all.

I’ll Never Fall in Love Again
Dionne Warwick

What do you get when you fall in love?
A guy with a pin to burst your bubble
That’s what you get for all your trouble
I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

What do you get when you kiss a guy?
You get enough germs to catch pneumonia
After you do, he’ll never phone ya
I’ll never fall in love again
Dontcha know that I’ll never fall in love again?

Don’t tell me what it’s all about
‘Cause I’ve been there and I’m glad I’m out
Out of those chains, those chains that bind you
That is why I’m here to remind you

What do you get when you fall in love?
You only get lies and pain and sorrow
So far at least until tomorrow
I’ll never fall in love again
No, no, I’ll never fall in love again

Ahh, out of those chains, those chains that bind you
That is why I’m here to remind you

What do you get when you fall in love?
You only get lies and pain and sorrow
So far at least until tomorrow
I’ll never fall in love again
Dontcha know that I’ll never fall in love again
I’ll never fall in love again

Songwriters: Hal David / Burt Bacharach
I’ll Never Fall in Love Again lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Saturday Surprise — Let’s Go Places!

Hello friends!  No no … don’t take your coats off, for we are heading out on the Filomobile in just a second, as soon as I find my bloomin’ keys.  JOLLY!!!  Have you seen my keys?

keysjolly

Okay … c’mon gang … we’re going to visit some fun places today, for I am getting tired of sitting home and listening to depressing news, aren’t you?  Yes, Hugh, I promise to get you back in time to shovel your snow!shovel snowHop aboard … sorry, but I don’t have a working heater in the Filomobile, and cannot afford to get this one fixed, but we’ll be where it’s warm in just a few minutes …

For our first stop, we’re heading to Mexico!  It’s been some 40 years since I’ve been to Mexico, though I used to go several times a year.  One of my favourite things when I was young was cabrito from street vendors … what?  You never had cabrito?  Roasted goat meat … they slow roast it over an open fire overnight, then sell it from carts on the streets … never has anything tasted so good!

cabritostreet vendorSigh … memories.  But today we are heading to Hierve el Agua, located in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.  Hierve el Agua is Spanish for “the water boils”, or “boil the water”, and the name comes from the bubbling natural mineral springs that are found here, that run into bathing pools on a spectacular cliff-top location. When you approach Hierve el Agua, from a distance, you see what appears to be a massive waterfall frozen on the side of the mountain. But ice is impossible in this hot climate. These are actually mineral deposits formed over thousands of years as a result of the mineral-laden water spilling over the edge of the cliff and trickling down the rocky mountain side. As the water runs down the rock face, it forms large stalactites like structures similar to those found in caves.hierve el agua-1Hierve el Agua consist of two waterfall-like rock formations. These are formed on cliffs that rise over fifty meters from the valley floor, with one “waterfall” reaching down twelve meters and the other reaching down thirty meters. The twelve meter one is called “cascada chica” (small waterfall) and “flows” off a base which is about sixty meters wide. The other is called “cascada grande” (large waterfall), and extends down from a base with which is about ninety meters wide and eighty meters above the valley floor. The more easily accessible and more often visited of the two waterfalls is the “cascada chica”. It is also called the Amphitheatre.hierve el agua-2.jpgThe waters of the spring are over saturated with calcium carbonate, which is what gets deposited forming the waterfalls-like rock structures. The waters, with their high mineral content, are reputed to have healing qualities, and you will see tourists soaking in the waters in one of the natural pools at the top of the rock.hierve el agua-3

I want to run over to Austria in a minute, but while we’re on this side of the globe, let’s pop over to Mexico City, for there is something I want to show you …coyote fountainThis, my friends, is Fuente de los Coyotes, or Coyote Fountain, a bronze statue fountain portraying a pair of beautiful coyotes surrounded by jets of water.  Coyotes were once a common sight in this part of the Mexican valley. During the reign of the Aztec empire, what is now buildings and roads would have been covered in pine forest and scrubland where coyotes and other animals dwelt. What’s more, the coyote was an animal with much significance in the Aztec cosmovision.coyoteOkay, now let’s travel across the pond to Austria.  Now, who else do you know that will take you halfway ‘round the globe to show you … traffic lights???  Bear with me now, whilst I tell you the story behind the lights …traffic-lights-1It all started with the Eurovision Song Contest. Held annually, the contest sees overs 50 countries battling in front of a live television audience of over 180 million to have their song proclaimed the Eurovsion winner. In return, the winning country gains the rather dubious honor of staging the next year’s contest, though the cost of this would, in actuality, bankrupt many of the tiny micro-nations that compete.

Several notable recording artists have begun their careers here, including ABBA and Celine Dion. Eurovision is also loved for its high-camp costumes and performances, making it a firm favorite with Europe’s LGBTQ community.traffic-lights-2The 2014 Contest was won for Austria by Conchita Wurst, a drag queen with a surname that means “sausage” in German. Thrilled by this success, and eager to welcome Europe to its capital in 2015, the Austrian authorities commissioned three new diversity pictograms for Vienna’s traffic lights.traffic-lights-3These Ampelparchen show three different paired figures (straight, gay, and lesbian), each holding hands and surrounded by hearts. Originally intended as temporary, a Facebook campaign led to them becoming permanent, and today they can be seen throughout the center of Vienna. Indeed, the Ampelparchen have been so well-received that cities as far afield as Salzburg, Utrecht, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, and London have all installed their own versions.

I love the diversity … the recognition of diversity, don’t you?

We have, I think, time for one more stop before we head home.  Are you hungry?  Since we are already in Austria, it seems a shame to miss these rolls, which I hear are delicious. buchteln-1In Austria, pull-apart rolls known as buchteln often house a dollop of plum or apricot preserves. But throughout history, bakers have studded the center of these brioche-like buns with various ingredients, from squares of chocolate to poppyseed paste to lottery tickets!  During the Biedermeier era of the 19th century, a time during which Europe’s middle class expanded considerably, buchteln were referred to as “lotteries” because of their play-to-win filling.

Though the yeasty treat originated in the Bohemia region of Czechia, today, Austrians consider the warm, fruit-filled style—often served fresh from the oven—a local classic. Bakers press jam in the middle, then place the dough side-by-side to create the finished bread’s pull-apart effect.  Let’s try a few, shall we?

Home cooks also turn plain, unfilled buchteln into a decadent dessert by serving them in a pool of vanilla cream. The fluffy rolls absorb whatever sauce they touch, so it’s best to avoid attempting this style with the ticket-filled version.buchteln-4Well, folks, now that our bellies are full, we better head home so you guys can get on with your weekend plans.  I’m so glad you made a bit of time to join me in this little jaunt here and there!  I will be hibernating for the rest of the weekend, as we are supposed to have an ice storm, followed by up to 9 inches of snow, and with sub-zero temps!  Have a safe and happy weekend, dear friends!

An Important Message …

I came across this video created by Greenpeace a few days ago.  Greenpeace, founded in 1971, is a non-governmental environmental organization focusing on worldwide issues such as climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues.  Their mission statement:

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

The video contains probably some of the worst singing you will hear this week, but the message is important, the message is one that needs to be remembered and shared.  Our lives, the lives of our children and their children are at stake here, and every person on this planet has the ability to make a difference.

♫ I’m In A Different World ♫

Tonight’s song by the Four Tops is a special one to celebrate the birthday of my dear friend, David Prosser.  Now, I won’t tell how old David is today, but I am 67 and he is five-and-a-half months older than I am, so … put your math skills to work here.  But shhhh … don’t tell!

Feliz cumpleaños … Penblwydd hapus … and Happy Birthday, David!

I’m in a Different World
Four Tops

In this world of ups and downs my dreams all fall through
Things just don’t work out, no matter what I do
Disappointment haunts me, through each lonely day
The world around I see, in only shades of gray

But when the love light shines upon my face
I’m in a different world
A world I never knew, I’m in a different world
A world so sweet and true, I’m in a different world

I’m no longer just another face in a crowd
Hey, look into my eyes, you’ll see I’m strong and I’m proud
You are all the sweetness of my life, you see
You have brought heaven right here on earth to me
No man of wealth, I know I’ll ever be
But I’ll be satisfied just knowing you love me

On the stage of life I’ve played a loser’s part
It seems like I’ve been down right from the very start
Every time I lift myself up off the ground
Something always happens to bring the curtain down

But when your love light shines upon my face
I’m in a different world
A world so warm and sweet, I’m in a different world
Now that you’ve been loving me, I’m in a different world

Each time you speak my name or put your hand in mine
The empty life I knew, I leave it far behind
‘Cause you gave me the love that I truly felt
Most of all you made me believe in myself
You’re more than a love to me, you’re my way of life
I’ll forever cherish you, more each day and night

Oh,
I’m in a different world

A world that’s warm, a world that’s sweet
A world that’s every bit complete
A world that’s real, you’ve made me see
All the beauty surrounding me
Oh, look what you’ve done for me
Oh, look what you’ve done for me
I’m in a different world, now that you’ve been loving me
I’m in a different world, and that’s where I want to be
I’m in a different world, now that you’ve been loving me…

Songwriters: Brian Holland / Edward Holland / Edward / Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Lamont Herbert Dozier
I’m in a Different World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

The Ultimate Hypocrisy …

Did you ever wonder what Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, does for a living?  Well … ‘for a living’ is likely a misnomer, for I’m fairly certain that Mikey brings home enough to pay the bills … but Karen is, indeed, gainfully employed.  She is a teacher.  An art teacher.  At a school.  A school that bars LGBT students … and teachers.

The school is Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, where Ms. Pence previously taught from 2001 to 2013.  The school does not allow gay students and requires employees to affirm that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, despite the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v Hodges. The school’s employment application equires candidates to describe their faith in Jesus Christ, affirm that they are a born-again Christian and vow to adhere to specific standards in their personal and professional lives.  Welcome to 1692, the year the Salem witch trials began.  Welcome to the Dark Ages!  Is it not the ultimate hypocrisy that the wife of a man who has sworn to uphold the Constitution is so blatantly in defiance of the values espoused in that document?

Item #8 on the employment application requires that an applicant initial the following statement:

“I understand that the term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman,” it reads, adding that certain “moral misconduct” would be disqualifying, such as “heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female.”

Karen Pence signed her initials, agreeing to the above statement.  Karen Pence, the wife of the man who is likely to, through order of succession, become the next President of the United States.  Think about that one for a minute.

Unlike public schools, private schools can require students and employees to follow specific religious beliefs and adhere to certain behavior in their private lives. They are not restricted from teaching from religious texts in class and are not subject to employment discrimination laws.

As I have stated on numerous occasions, I am not against any religion per se, although I do not ascribe to any religion myself.  I believe in the doctrine of “live and let live”, and as long as people do not attempt to enforce their own beliefs on others, I do not care what religion people choose to follow.  But this … is an abomination.  If parents wish to send their children to a parochial school, as long as they are willing to fully fund their child’s education with no assistance from taxpayer money, I have no problem with that.  However … when said religious schools are exempt from federal employment discrimination laws, then yes, I have a problem … a BIG problem.  When they exclude children who do not fit into the narrow confines of their own moral views, then yes … I have a problem.

For those who might not understand my objection, let’s turn the tables just a bit.  Let’s say I want to start up a school for African-American LGBT students and I refuse to hire any white Christians, simply on the basis that a) they are Caucasian, and b) they are Christian.  How long do you think before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shuts my school down?  Yep … less than a day after the first complaint. eeoc-1Discrimination, whether it is in employment, education or housing is wrong.  Discrimination against a specific race, age, disability, national origin, religion, gender, or gender identity is wrong.  Such discrimination is against the law.  Period.  And here’s a really terrifying thought …

“It is a place that partners with families, always looking far into the future, preparing a generation of young people who will someday take our place as parents, teachers and leaders.” 

Mike Pence, Karen Pence and the Immanuel Christian School need to get over their feelings of superiority and come into the real world where people are different, yet can live together in a world of peace, mutual respect, compassion, and love.  Isn’t that, after all, part of the Christian dogma?  Or has it changed?

A side note:  Mike Pence’s daughter, Charlotte, wrote a book about a bunny … or more specifically, a day in the life of the Vice President as seen through the eyes of her bunny, Marlon Bundo.  Last spring, late-night comedian John Oliver re-wrote the book just a bit, making old Bundo gay, hooking him up with another boy bunny, and sending the two on a quest to get hitched.

Oliver’s book was an instant success, and even Charlotte Pence bought a copy, saying …

“I have bought his book. It doesn’t have to be divisive. I think that everybody can come together over Marlon.”

And the real kicker … the Trevor Project—a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth, which split the proceeds from Oliver’s book with an AIDS nonprofit—announced that it had shipped 100 copies of the thing to Immanuel Christian School!  Along with the books, they included a note …

“Policies and rhetoric that exclude or reject LGBTQ youth can lead to increased risk for suicide and depression, and it’s our organization’s mission to end suicide among LGBTQ young people.  With your help, we hope you will change your school’s student and employee policies to accept LGBTQ students and employees.”lgbt flag

 

♫ You’ll Be In My Heart ♫

Last time I played a Phil Collins song, dear friend Ellen, who is always so encouraging, so supportive, mentioned that her favourite Phil Collins piece was You’ll Be In My Heart, and she told me the most touching story about her association with this song …

“For over 13 years I took care of a special needs child from the first month of her precious life. She actually lived with me for 6 of those years. She was nonverbal, but loved music and cartoons. My son was probably her favorite person in the world, as she was his too. We took her to see Tarzan and she was enchanted by the music. I would hold her and rock her to sleep singing this song…it was her song. Whenever she heard it, she would smile. She was my heart and I miss her still.”

As I also love this song, and was brought to tears by Ellen’s story … this one’s for you tonight, Ellen!  Actually, since I loved both the Tarzan version and the official version, I offer them both … take your pick!

A brief bit of background …

Collins wrote this for the Disney movie Tarzan, and it earned him an Oscar for Best Original Song. It was Collins’ first win in the category.  According to Lily Collins, who was born in 1989, her dad wrote this song for her.

“It was written as a lullaby to me when I was younger. We grew up watching Disney shows and movies together so that was his way of kind of being able to do it for his kids. It was so special.”

Collins’ association with Disney perplexed some of his fans, but he grew up watching Disney films and was thrilled to take on the project. “With or without the glory, I would have taken the experience,” he told Rolling Stone.

You’ll Be in My Heart
Phil Collins

Come stop your crying
It will be alright
Just take my hand
And hold it tight

I will protect you
From all around you
I will be here
Don’t you cry

For one so small,
You seem so strong
My arms will hold you,
Keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can’t be broken
I will be here
Don’t you cry

‘Cause you’ll be in my heart
Yes, you’ll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
You’ll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You’ll be here in my heart
Always

Why can’t they understand the way we feel
They just don’t trust what they can’t explain
I know we’re different, but deep inside us
We’re not that different at all

And you’ll be in my heart
Yes you’ll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more

Don’t listen to them
‘Cause what do they know
We need each other, to have, to hold
They’ll see in time, I know

When destiny calls you, you must be strong
I may not be with you
But you got to hold on
They’ll see in time, I know
We’ll show them together

‘Cause you’ll be in my heart
Believe me you’ll be in my heart
I’ll be there from this day on
Now and forever more

You’ll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You’ll be here in my heart
Always

Always I’ll be with you
I’ll be there for you always
Always and always

Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
I’ll be there
Always

Songwriters: Phillip David Charles Collins
You’ll Be in My Heart lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

Filosofa’s State of the Union Address

Yesterday, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, sent a letter to Donald Trump strongly urging that he either reschedule the State of the Union Address or deliver it in writing, in the wake of the ongoing government shutdown, which entered its 26th day on Wednesday, and which has affected nearly 800,000 federal workers. Pelosi cited critical government agencies in charge of overseeing the event — namely U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security — that have been hobbled by the shutdown.

Under the circumstances, it is highly unlikely that Trump will, in fact, deliver a State of the Union address in person on Friday, 29 January.  So, it seemed prudent, just in case I am asked to deliver it in his stead, to go ahead and write my own speech … Text dividersGood evening Ms. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans.

Ms. Pelosi graciously invited me to fill in for Mr. Trump in giving the State of the Union Address tonight, for with the government shutdown in its 39th day, the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security are stretched far too thin to provide adequate security to attend this address to Congress.  It was determined that far fewer people want to bump me off than Mr. Trump, so my safety seems not to be at risk and thus I am here to deliver the speech to Congress and the Nation tonight.  Mr. Trump’s speechwriters worked very hard to provide me with a written speech, however, I seem to have left it back at the hotel, so luckily I have written my own.

This is called the State of the Union address because the purpose is to inform the American people how the country is doing, and where we are going, what we plan to accomplish in the coming year.  Let me start with how we are doing.

America is more divided today than at any time since the end of the Civil War years.  We have problems, folks – serious problems.  As I mentioned today marks the 39th day of the partial government shutdown that is affecting everyone in one way or another.  You, the people of this once-great nation are losing confidence, and understandably so, in your government.  Investors are losing confidence and it is being reflected in the dropping stock market and also in the job market.  Consumer prices are on the rise.  The food you buy to feed your families costs more than it did a month ago and there is a very real danger that meat and produce may be contaminated, since the U.S. Department of Agriculture hasn’t sufficient staff to continue food safety inspections. 

Apart from the government shutdown, we have a plethora of other problems that we seem unable or unwilling to address.  Perhaps the most critical one is that of the environment.  Since the rollback of past environmental regulations that were intended to cut back on carbon emissions, it was reported earlier this week that carbon emissions in the U.S. have increased by 3.4%, not decreased as they needed to.  This is a problem, not only for the United States, but for our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, as well as the rest of the globe. 

The other critical problem facing the nation is that we have lost the trust and respect of our allies, which leaves us in an extremely vulnerable position.  We abandoned our allies when we announced our intent to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, when we exited the Iran nuclear agreement, and more recently when we announced that we would pull all U.S. troops out of Syria, leaving our allies holding the bag.  In addition, our threats to pull out of NATO, our unwarranted criticism of our allies, high import tariffs, and seeming attentiveness toward our adversaries further have our allies wondering whether they could depend on us in case of an emergency.  This is a dangerous situation.

Here at home, we face other problems.

Last year we saw a number of mass shootings in the United States.  113 people were either killed or injured in school shootings alone, and young people are asking us why we don’t do something, why we don’t pass laws to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental problems, of people who are known domestic abusers, why we don’t have stronger gun laws in this country. 

The nation is torn apart by the debate about immigration and a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.  Border states are particularly torn, for such a wall would limit, if not eliminate trade and tourism between our two countries and would almost certainly cause further political and economic unrest. 

Our education system is failing our young people.  They are not receiving the education they need in order to succeed, to become the next generation of leaders, of scientists, of historians or great inventors.  Instead, we are training them only for specific jobs, thereby severely limiting their options.  

We have fallen far behind other Western nations in the development of renewable energy sources, have become far too dependent on fossil fuels which are causing more damage and destruction to the environment every day.

Bigotry in all its forms is at an all time high in our nation today.  Racial tensions are the highest they have been since the 1960s when people died to gain Civil Rights for African-Americans, for all people.  Rights are being taken away from the LGBT community.  Women’s rights are being trampled.  Muslims are discriminated against openly in public.

Our elections are no longer fair, for almost every state has gerrymandered districts, newly imposed voter identification laws that discriminate against the poor and minorities.  Polling places in poor districts are closed, or in some cases the hours dramatically reduced, making it impossible for a working person in one of those neighborhoods to vote.  Foreign entities have interfered in our elections, often skewing results.  Both domestic and foreign lobbyist firms have influenced elections and now have some of the people sitting in this room tonight in their pockets. All of this has led to voter disenfranchisement and apathy.

And healthcare … drug prices are obscenely inflated in the United States, as are insurance costs.  The ACA has been chipped at to the extent that many can no longer afford their health insurance.  People are sick and dying for lack of money. 

I wish I had better news to report, but frankly, ladies and gentlemen, our nation is in a sorry state today.  I cannot speak for Mr. Trump as to any plans for the coming year, but I have given you a rundown, in brief, of the State of the Nation.  And on that note, I thank you for your time this evening.