Greta Thunberg — Simply Amazing

I have written before about the young Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, and in fact she was one of my ‘good people’ one Wednesday last December.  Sometimes an activist will start like gangbusters, and then after a few months you hear nothing more about them, but not so Ms. Thunberg.  I see her name in the news at least once a week, and she has been inspirational to many young climate-conscious groups around the world.

Today, she is back in the news, and in a big way! A couple of big ways, actually.

Greta-Thunberg

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and The 1975’s Matty Healy pose for a photo. (Photo: Jordan Hughes)

The first is that she is featured on the first track of the forthcoming album of British pop-rock band The 1975.  In the track, Greta delivers a speech about the global climate emergency, against an instrumental background by the band.  Now, I have never heard of The 1975, but I give them two thumbs up for this effort, as well as the fact that all proceeds from the track will be going to the climate action group Extinction Rebellion.

The full text of Greta’s speech on the track is at the end of this post.

In an interview with The Guardian, Greta said …

“I’m grateful to get the opportunity to get my message out to a broad new audience in a new way. I think it’s great that The 1975 is so strongly engaged in the climate crisis. We quickly need to get people in all branches of society to get involved. And this collaboration I think is something new.”


The second thing is that Greta has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.  She was nominated by Freddy Andre Oevstegaard, a parliamentary representative in Norway …

“We have nominated Greta because the climate threat may be one of the most important causes of war and conflict.”

greta-2.pngThe Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce its latest laureates in October, and those selected will receive their prizes in December.  I do so want to see her win it!


And the third thing that has put Greta in the news this week is that she will be coming to the U.S. next month to attend a United Nations summit meeting on global warming in New York!  Now, you may remember from my previous post about Greta that she does not fly on airplanes because of the CO2 emissions, so you may be wondering how she plans to get here.

“Good news! I’ll be joining the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York. I’ve been offered a ride on the 60ft racing boat Malizia II.”

Malizia-2

Malizia II

Malizia II, is outfitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate electricity. That should make the entire trip possible without burning any fossil fuels.

Boris Herrmann, who will skipper the boat, said the voyage would not be the luxury cruise that a high-tech yacht might conjure in the popular imagination. The Malizia II is built for speed, not comfort. It has no kitchen, refrigeration system, air-conditioning or showers.

Think about this one for a minute, folks.  This young woman is so committed to saving our planet that she is willing to spend two weeks on a small boat, eating mostly freeze-dried and vacuum-packed meals, in order to do her part to save the environment.  Greta is sixteen years old … most kids her age are attached at the hip to their cell phones, ipods, laptops, and wouldn’t dream of missing a shower or a hot meal, let alone spend two weeks in a small boat on choppy seas!

Greta will be accompanied on the trip by a filmmaker; her father, Svante; and Pierre Casiraghi, the head of the Malizia II racing team who is also the grandson of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and the American actress Grace Kelly.

Greta is, with her parents’ approval, taking the year off from school to campaign against climate change, also plans to attend the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in December in Santiago, Chile.

I was impressed by this young woman when I first wrote about her eight months ago, but today … the only word I have is “WOW!!!”  She puts us all to shame, and particularly those who would “deny” climate science in order to justify their own greed.


I would like to end with a quote that was sent to me tonight by a very special friend:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Helen Keller

Ms. Thunberg is doing something that she can do … let’s all try to do just one thing more that we can do to help heal and protect our home, planet Earth.


Full text of Greta’s speech on The 1975 track:

We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis.

And we need to call it what it is. An emergency.

We must acknowledge that we do not have the situation under control and that we don’t have all the solutions yet. Unless those solutions mean that we simply stop doing certain things.

We admit that we are losing this battle.

We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed.

But homo sapiens have not yet failed.

Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands.

But unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.

We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.

Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.

And either we do that, or we don’t.

You say that nothing in life is black or white.

But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie.

Either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warming, or we don’t.

Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don’t.

Either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t.

That is as black or white as it gets.

Because there are no grey areas when it comes to survival.

Now we all have a choice.

We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations.

Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.

That is up to you and me.

And yes, we need a system change rather than individual change. But you cannot have one without the other.

If you look through history, all the big changes in society have been started by people at the grassroots level. People like you and me.

So, I ask you to please wake up and make the changes required possible. To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible.

Today, we use about 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.

So, we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.

Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.

So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.

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Just Two Snippets This Morning …

I just have two tidbits of snark tonight … well, in truth I have a bunch more than two, but two is all I feel up to imparting tonight, for I am tired.


The 51st state? 

Yesterday, the House passed a bill to make Washington D.C. the 51st state of the union, but that bill is almost certain to fail in the Senate.  Not one single House Republican voted for statehood, and that is likely to be the case in the Senate, where the filibuster will demand 60 votes to pass.

At present 714,153 people live in Washington D.C.  With only 61 square miles of land, DC has the highest population density in the U.S.  Yet, the people who live in DC have no political representation, and the Republicans in Congress would like to keep it that way.  Why?  Primarily because DC has a majority Black population, and it is the goal of the Republican Party to keep as many Blacks as possible from voting, since they typically vote for Democrats.  If you don’t believe me, just look at the 250+ voter suppression bills in process in 43 states at present — all aimed at keeping people of colour and the poor from having a voice.  Republicans may give you a dozen excuses for their obfuscation, but when you cut through the bull, it boils down to the fact that if the people of DC had the ability to elect two senators, they would most likely elect Democratic senators and the Republicans don’t want that.  Simple.

Of course, Republican lawmakers have come up with a multitude of excuses, such as Representative Glenn Grothman, who claims the district does not qualify for statehood because it does not have manufacturing, agriculture or natural resources.  Or another who said it couldn’t qualify for statehood because it doesn’t have a landfill.  But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t qualify because it has a Black majority.  Apparently those excuse-seeking members of Congress have never actually read the U.S. Constitution.

Imagine those residents of the district … they live, they work, they pay taxes, they serve in the military … with no representation in Congress.  I think the people of the district have been remarkably patient … and they deserve better than they’re getting.


One less racist cop

William Kelly was a Lieutenant in the Norfolk, Virginia, police department until he was fired earlier this week.  The reason for his firing?  He contributed to the legal defense fund of that teenage punk, Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a Black Lives Matter protest.

But, Kelly not only contributed financially, he also left a message for Rittenhouse on the GiveSendGo crowdfunding site, saying …

“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong. Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

Did nothing wrong?????  WTF???  The boy, at the time 17 years of age, wasn’t even old enough to own a gun … in fact didn’t own a gun, but he borrowed an AR-15 from a friend and ended up killing two and seriously injuring another!  And a high-ranking police officer is applauding his actions???  Tell me again that we don’t need police reform in this country!

Chip Filer, Norfolk’s city manager, issued a statement …

“His egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve. The City of Norfolk has a standard of behavior for all employees, and we will hold staff accountable.”

And from the city’s police chief, Larry D. Boone …

“A police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duty is to serve and protect them. We do not want perceptions of any individual officer to undermine the relations between the Norfolk Police Department and the community.”

So, there’s one less racist officer on the streets of Norfolk, Virginia tonight, but how many more in cities across this nation?

OOPS–The Dark Money Folks Learn Conservatives Hate Dark Money Too!

For the most part, the only people who favour allowing the wealthy to buy elections are … the wealthy. And, of course, the politicians who sell their souls downriver for those billionaire’s dollars. Our friend Annie has an eye-opening post on the topic that I think you will find quite interesting … and anger-inducing as well. Thank you, Annie!

annieasksyou...

Image by Aidan Bartos @bartos; found via unsplash.com

“Unfortunately, we’ve found that [inhibiting billionaires from buying elections] is a winning message, for both the general public and also conservatives. It was most persuasive, convincing, riled them up the most.”

The speaker is Kyle McKenzie, research director for Stand Together, a nonprofit advocacy group run by the right-wing oil billionaire Charles Koch. McKenzie was presenting survey findings at a meeting held on January 8—two days after it became clear the Democrats had gained control of the Senate.

Other meeting participants included long-time tax opponent Grover Norquist and two prominent Republican staff members: Caleb Hays is general counsel to Republicans on the House Administration Committee; Steve Donaldson is a policy adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McKenzie’s findings were not what these folks hoped to hear.

Jane Mayer, a long-time staff writer for The New Yorker, somehow acquired this remarkable tape…

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♫ Yummy Yummy Yummy ♫

Okay, lately I’ve been playing a lot of songs with deep meanings, and because the music post is the last thing I do at night, I’m often too tired to create a new post and settle for re-duxing a previous post.  Tonight, I decided to go for something completely silly, something to make you smile, maybe even chuckle aloud.  I remember this one from back in the day … way back in the day when I didn’t have to look at my notepad each morning to remember my name!  I know some of my readers (Clive, rg & David) won’t like this one from the ‘Bubblegum Pop Era’, but even they must admit it’s lighthearted and upbeat, a bit of comic relief.

Joey Levine, who was the lead singer of the Ohio Express, wrote this with Arthur Resnick, who also wrote Under The Boardwalk and Good Lovin’. Levine worked for Buddah Records under the direction of Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, who used studio musicians to back up Levine on this song.

Now, as I understand it, the Ohio Express wasn’t actually a band, but … well, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about them …

The Ohio Express is an American bubblegum pop band, formed in Mansfield, Ohio, in 1967. Though marketed as a band, it would be more accurate to say that the name “Ohio Express” served as a brand name used by Jerry Kasenetz’s and Jeffry Katz’s Super K Productions to release the music of a number of different musicians and acts. The best known songs of Ohio Express (including their best scoring single, “Yummy Yummy Yummy”) were actually the work of an assemblage of studio musicians working out of New York, including singer/songwriter Joey Levine.

A band previously known as Sir Timothy and the Royals was renamed “The Ohio Express” and hired to promote the singles by appearing at all live performances. This is the same group photographed on the record covers.

Make of that what you will, for I’m thoroughly confused.  At any rate, I hope this song brings a bit of humour into your day and a smile to your face.

Yummy Yummy Yummy
Ohio Express

Yummy, yummy, yummy, I’ve got love in my tummy
And I feel like a-lovin you
Love, you’re such a sweet thing, good enough to eat thing
And that’s just a-what I’m gonna do

Ooh, love to hold ya
Ooh, love to kiss ya
Ooh, love I love it so

Ooh love, you’re sweeter
Sweeter than sugar
Ooh love, I won’t let you go

Yummy, yummy, yummy, I’ve got love in my tummy
And as silly as it may seem
The lovin’ that you’re giving is what keeps me livin’
And your love is like peaches and cream

Kind-a like sugar
Kind-a like spices
Kind-a like, like what you do

Kind-a sounds funny
But, I love honey
And honey, I love you

Yummy, yummy, yummy, I’ve got love in my tummy
That your love can satisfy
Love, you’re such a sweet thing, good enough to eat thing
And sweet thing, that ain’t no lie

I love to hold ya
I love to kiss ya
Oh love, I love it so

Oh love, you’re sweeter
Sweeter than sugar
Oh love, I won’t let you go

Sweet thing
Yummy, yummy
Sweet thing

Sweet thing
Yummy, yummy
Sweet thing

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: A. Resnick / J. Levine
Yummy Yummy lyrics © Trio Music Company, Alley Music Corp., Trio Music Co., Inc., Trio Music Co Inc

Happy Earth Day 2021!!!

Today is Earth Day … the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, to be exact.  Typically, Earth Day is assigned a different theme or area of focus each year; this year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth.”


I am always surprised by people who say, “Yeah, so???” Or those who say “What the heck is Earth Day?”  Or worse yet, those who say it isn’t their problem.  So, please bear with me while I explain very briefly.

History – In The Beginning

The concept for Earth Day was conceived in the mind of then-Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson recruited help from Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and others, and on April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 2018-4Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest honor given to civilians in the United States—for his role as Earth Day founder.

From Then To Now

Through the years, Earth Day has focused largely on global warming and a push for clean energy. Earth Day 2000 used the power of the Internet to organize activists, but also featured a drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a First Amendment Rally. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.Earth Day 2018-3Earth Day 2010 saw new challenges:  Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to the narrative—cynicism versus activism.  Still, some 250,000 people showed up at the National Mall for a Climate Rally, launched the world’s largest environmental service project—A Billion Acts of Green®–introduced a global tree planting initiative that has since grown into The Canopy Project, and engaged 22,000 partners in 192 countries in observing Earth Day.


And Today???

Under the previous administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was nearly decimated and environmental regulations rolled back or reversed.  Four the past four years the United States has stood alone among all nations in eschewing the science of global climate change.  However, thankfully, the Biden administration understands the critical need to address the multiple issues that are destroying our planet and  we are, once again, an active player in the fight against climate change and other environmental issues.  I believe that the vast majority of people in this nation do understand how critical our environment and our stewardship of the planet earth is.


What can YOU do?

You may think that there isn’t much you, personally, can do to help restore our earth, but you’d be wrong.  Each and every one of us can do a few simple things to help and little things add up to big things, as we all know.  Here are a few ideas from the Old Farmer’s Almanac …

1. SUPPORT OUR POLLINATORS!

Bring native bees and other pollinating creatures to your garden. One way to do this is by selecting the right plants. Need ideas?

2. CLEAN UP PLASTIC IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD OR LOCAL PARK

One of the best ways to connect with the Earth is through cleanups! Go on a walk with a trash bag and help to clean up any plastic that you find. Perhaps you know of a nearby ditch that is polluted with trash that needs a spring cleaning! You’ll start to realize that plastic permeates every aspect of our lives. But as the world wakes up to its addiction, just how easy is it to ditch plastic while growing and storing more of our own food? Don’t forget to recycle what plastic you can. See a Plastics Recycling Chart.

3. SWAP OUT YOUR KITCHEN AND HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS!

Let’s talk about the cooking and cleaning products that touch the food we eat as well as our skin. This year, we’ve discovered a line of kitchen and household products called If You Care.” Everything’s biodegradable and does not use chemicals or plastic. Think 100% recycled aluminum foil, chemical-free parchment paper for baking, compostable bags made with potato starch, and even vegetable-based inks for their packaging. We love company’s motto: “We care simply because it’s the right thing to do!” You can find If You Care products online and in stores. See the store locator.

For more ideas, visit the Old Farmer’s Almanac.


In Summary

This is a post about Earth Day, but more to the point it is a post about the need for Earth Day.  It isn’t just about one day a year, about marches and articles such as this one, but it is about awareness.  The entire purpose of Earth Day is to raise awareness, to stir people to take action.  Climate deniers will continue to deny the need to protect our environment, not because they are as stupid as they seem, but rather because they are as greedy as they seem.  But there is much that each and every one of us can do with very little effort.  Recycle, pick up trash when you see it on the streets or in your local parks, plant a tree, plant flowers to encourage pollination, turn the thermostat down, conserve water, reduce food waste, turn off lights, consolidate errands and trips in the car, walk more/drive less, take the bus … use some common sense and be a good steward of the planet.  And meanwhile, keep petitioning your elected officials at local, state and federal levels … let them know that a healthy environment is more important to you than the profits of the fossil fuel and other industries.  Please … my life and yours are at stake, but more importantly our children’s and grandchildren’s lives are at stake.

Happy Earth Day, my friends!  Why not celebrate by planting a sapling or a few flowers in the back yard?

A Warning for America From two Former Prime Ministers

The First Amendment Freedom of Speech … how far does it go? Too far? These days, in the age of conspiracy theories and faux news as promoted by the likes of Fox ‘News’, it seems that perhaps it’s time to place a few constraints on that freedom. As I’ve long said, every ‘right’ is accompanied by a responsibility, and for the past decade or more, far too many have shrugged off the responsibility. Our friend Jeff has written his thoughts, and the thoughts of other well-qualified people, on this topic. Thanks Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

When two former Prime Ministers from one of the leading democracies in the world sound the alarm about Fox News, and specifically, the sprawling media empire of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, it’s time our elected politicians in America stop sitting on their asses and do something.

While Fox has been spewing its brand of hate, division, and lies over here for decades now, in some ways, it’s comforting to know that it’s not just happening over here. Australia, too is suffering from the same infection. It appears that their parliament has begun to take it serious enough to conduct an inquiry into the media giant, spurred on by a petition signed by 500,000 Australian citizens and initiated by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Both Rudd and one of his successors, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, testified on April 12 to parliament about the dangers of News Corp and…

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Accountability vs justice

I think most of us breathed a big sigh of relief yesterday afternoon when the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case was announced and Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts. Some said the verdict was ‘justice for George Floyd’. But, as our friend Brosephus reminds us, there is a difference between accountability and justice. Yesterday’s verdict was accountability, holding a former police officer accountable for his actions. We’re still a long way from justice for all in this country.

The Mind of Brosephus

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

“Establish justice”

That was the first order of business for we the people of the United States when the country was founded. In the almost 245 years since the United States was founded, justice has more often been an illusion than reality for the Black community. The illusion is rooted in the constant fight between the Black community and America itself over the most basic sense of equal justice under the law. While we’ve grown from being valued worth three-fifths a single person only for the purpose of appropriating seats for Congress, we still have to fight for…

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♫ Scarborough Fair ♫ (Redux)

I had a different Simon & Garfunkel post in mind for tonight, but suddenly exhaustion has hit and I simply don’t have the energy to do more tonight, so I dug around and found this one that I played nearly three years ago … I’ll get to the other one soon … I promise … and no, I’m not giving clues as to what it might be!


In the last week or so, daughter Chris who is a lover of all things British, discovered a new television show to love called “Rosemary & Thyme”.  It’s fairly interesting, actually, about two middle-aged British women playing detective and solving murders every week.  I jokingly refer to the title of the show as “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme”, ala the song Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel.  And as payback for my humour, I have had this song looping through my head for two days now, so in a ritual of exorcism, I am sharing it here with you!

Scarborough is a small town on the coast of England. The “Scarborough Fair” was a popular gathering in Medieval times, attracting traders and entertainers from all over the country. The fair lasted 45 days and started every August 15th. In the 1600s, mineral waters were found in Scarborough and it became a resort town. Today, Scarborough is a quiet town with a rich history.

In Medieval England, this became a popular folk song as Bards would sing it when they traveled from town to town. The author of the song is unknown, and many different versions exist. The traditional version has many more lyrics.  Paul Simon learned about this song when he was on tour in England, where he heard a version by a popular folk singer named Martin Carthy. When Carthy heard Simon & Garfunkel’s rendition, he accused Simon of stealing his arrangement. Carthy and Simon did not speak until 2000, when Simon asked Carthy to perform this with him at a show in London. Carthy put his differences aside and did the show.

The lyrics are about a man trying to attain his true love. In Medieval times, the herbs mentioned in the song represented virtues that were important to the lyrics. Parsley was comfort, sage was strength, rosemary was love, and thyme was courage.

Scarborough Fair
Simon & Garfunkel

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
For once she was a true love of mine

Have her make me a cambric shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without no seam nor fine needle work
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Tell her to weave it in a sycamore wood lane
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
And gather it all with a basket of flowers
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Have her wash it in yonder dry well
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
where water ne’er sprung nor drop of rain fell
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Have her find me an acre of land
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Between the sea foam and over the sand
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Plow the land with the horn of a lamb
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Then sow some seeds from north of the dam
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Tell her to reap it with a sickle of leather
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
And gather it all in a bunch of heather
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

If she tells me she can’t, I’ll reply
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Let me know that at least she will try
And then she’ll be a true love of mine

Love imposes impossible tasks
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Though not more than any heart asks
And I must know she’s a true love of mine

Dear, when thou has finished thy task
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Come to me, my hand for to ask
For thou then art a true love of mine

Songwriters: Arthur Garfunkel / Paul Simon
Scarborough Fair lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

Good People Doing Good Things — Everyday People

One doesn’t need to be rich or powerful to be a good people … one only needs to care about others and be willing to make a few sacrifices to help people.  Today, I bring you a bunch of good people, and a good critter too!


A journey of a thousand miles …

It’s funny how sometimes one simple act of kindness can have a domino effect and completely change a person’s life.  Just a few short months ago, Kenneth Smith of Fort Worth, Texas, was homeless and didn’t even have money to buy a meal.  He was resting, with nowhere to go, in a chair outside a Fort Worth Outback Steakhouse hungry and half asleep.  Today, he has a job, a place to live, and plenty to eat, and it all started with a woman who, seeing him slouched in the chair as she was leaving the restaurant, asked him if he was alright.

“She asked me was I alright, so I told her, ‘No, I’m not okay at this time.”

She gave him a $100 gift card to buy dinner.  During the course of his meal he began talking to the restaurant’s managing partner, Laura Hodges, who said to Mr. Smith …

“Hey, I don’t ever want you to want for food or go hungry. I want you to always have somewhere that you can get a warm meal. So, here’s my business card. Bring it anytime.”

For a few months, Mr. Smith dropped in for a meal from time to time until he finally decided to ask Ms. Hodges for a job, and just last month he was hired to bus tables.  Since Smith had no home, Ms. Hodges posted on the Fort Worth Foodies Facebook page asking if anyone knew of a motel with affordable rates.

Instead, generous commenters have now paid for six weeks at a nearby Extended Stay hotel and have donated more than $2,200 along with a bike, clothing, kitchen items and groceries.  Says an incredibly grateful Kenneth Smith …

“I think it’s so much of a good blessing, and it’s wonderful just to have people these days that’ll do things for you.  This is a whole new beginning that God has blessed me with, so I’m trying to get on this right good track that he wants me to stay on.”

Smith is saving up his money for a car, then a home and one day hopes to have his own food service business.  Sometimes all it takes is a leg up, a helping hand, or a $100 gift card.  The woman who started the ball rolling is unknown.  Ms. Hodges says …

“We wish we could find her and know who she was because she blessed both of our lives. This has been a great thing for both of us.  I’m blown away by the generosity of people. It’s absolutely amazing.”

As Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu once said, a journey of a thousand miles starts begins with a single step.


Forgiveness

Carl Wallace is the owner of Diablo’s Southwest Grill in Augusta, Georgia. Just over two weeks ago, someone smashed the restaurant’s front door with a brick in an attempt to steal cash from the register — but there wasn’t anything in the drawer.

“You know my initial response was, you know, anger, frustration. I realized that we’re gonna have to kind of put up a Facebook post about our door looking really, really bad because here we are going to put up two sheets of plywood over the front door to just get through the day.”

But a funny thing happened as he was writing the post to explain the restaurant’s door …

“It really kind of occurred to me … Easter weekend and to just extend an olive branch. You know, extend the layer of forgiveness and kindness and give the … would-be robber some redemption and a different path.”

Wow.  How many of us would have been so forgiving?  The Facebook post reads …

“Our burritos are such a smash hit we’ve got people breaking in at 4am for their fix. So if ya see our door looking hurricane fabulous at Wheeler Rd this is why.

To the would be robber who is clearly struggling with life decisions or having money issues… please swing by for a job application. There are better opportunities out there than this path you’ve chosen. My personal cell is 706-513-3557.

No police, no questions. Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on.

Sincerely Carl”

So far, nobody has come forth, but nonetheless, Carl Wallace did what most of us would not likely have done in similar circumstances … he extended the olive branch, and in my book, he is a good people.


A closet filled with kindness

Anderson “Andi” Musser is a fifth grade student at Shreve Elementary School in Ohio.  Recently, a friend confided in her that she wished she had some girls’ clothing to wear to school.

“I went to my closet and got the clothes and shoes that I had outgrown. I gave them to her at school the next day. And she was really happy.”

After gifting her friend clothes, Andi couldn’t stop thinking about how great it felt to help someone in need, and a seed of an idea began to sprout.  The next day, Andi approached her principal with her idea to create a Kindness Closet, a place students can visit during the school day to “shop” for a new or gently worn garments.

Says Principal Adam Stein …

“She came to me, and I said, ‘Yup, let’s do it.'”

Andi asked local stores for donations. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Everything Rubbermaid, Goodwill, Kohl’s, and Mission: Thrift all pitched in.

“It’s great for Andi to see her vision come true. It’s part of our culture here at Shreve and Triway. … Proud is an understatement, for sure. It’s what every principal and parent would want for their kid to do – to put others first.”

I’m amazed … a young girl has more humanity and compassion than so many adults we see today.  I think this young lady is going to make a difference in people’s lives in this world.


Critters is good people too

It was September 2000 when Kevin Hines, at the age of 19, decided to end his life.

“I jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge. I was nineteen years old and after leaving the bridge, my first thought was that I had made a terrible mistake.  Upon my resurfacing, I bobbed up and down in the frigid waters surrounding me. Then, something brushed by my legs, I feared it was a shark come to devour me whole. I tried to punch it thinking it might bite me. However, this marine animal, whatever it was, just circled beneath me, bumping me up.”

The sea creature helped keep Hines afloat until he was rescued by the Coast Guard.

Soon after his recovery, Hines became a suicide prevention/motivational speaker. He never knew what the animal was until he was featured on ABC’s “Primetime with John Quinones” to discuss suicide prevention.

Hines said he was flooded with emails after the show and one of them was from a man named Morgan.

He wrote:

“Kevin, I am so glad you are alive as I was standing less than two feet away from you when you jumped…. And by the way it was not a shark (like you mentioned in the TV show) it was a sea lion and I have pictures.”

Hines received a picture from birds-eye view of his near lifeless body laying atop a circling sea lion.  Now Hines tells his story to at-risk groups around the nation, urging people to get treatment for mental illness and helping them realize that suicide is not the answer.  That sea lion may have saved many more than just Kevin’s life on that day more than 20 years ago … we will never know.

Regarding the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial

This afternoon, former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts of murdering George Floyd. I planned to write a post later about it, but meanwhile I read Brendan’s piece, and … well, I couldn’t have said it any better, so I am re-blogging his. Thank you, Brendan.

Blind Injustice

The George Floyd Mural in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Like with many people in the United States, and across the world, my heart was beating at a mile a minute as the judge in the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial read the verdict on all three counts:

Guilty.

Guilty.

Guilty.

After I heard the verdict, I was personally relieved. I know many others who feel relieved with the verdict as well, for it meant that George Floyd’s life mattered enough that the police officer who killed him went to prison.

However, in my own humble opinion (humble because I do not have to worry about police on a daily basis like my friends of color do), what we saw today was not justice for George Floyd. Justice would’ve been if George Floyd didn’t get killed at the hands of Derek Chauvin.

Instead, what we got was accountability. Namely, accountability for a chokehold that…

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Snarky Snippets Still Going Strong

Just a few bits ‘n pieces of snarky to brighten your afternoon …


A chopper on Mars … whoopee

The media seems quite excited over NASA’s latest feat, flying a remote-controlled helicopter on Mars.  In fact, most people seem quite excited about it and Barack Obama even tweeted …

“With all the enormous challenges facing the world, it’s worth taking the time to appreciate extraordinary human achievement and our relentless impulse toward discovery.”

I beg to differ, for one simple reason … how much did it cost and how much good could have been done for people with that money.

The Republicans in Congress are bitching about the cost of President Biden’s infrastructure bill, and yet they are perfectly happy seeing $85 million spent sending a damn helicopter to Mars?  To what end?  Despite what Elon Musk and writers of science fiction might imagine, humans are not ever going to live in large numbers on Mars or any other planet other than Earth.  The atmosphere of Mars will not support human life – so why the Sam Hell are we spending money on this???

Yes, the space program is exciting, and I was thrilled in 1969 when Neil Armstrong, upon setting foot on the moon, made his iconic speech about “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”  But that was then, and this is now.  Today, I see the space program as among the least relevant things our government is doing.  We need to be taking care of people, and frankly space exploration does nothing to help in the fight for survival that so many people are fighting.  Perhaps we should be more concerned about things that need fixing here on planet Earth?

NASA’s budget for 2021 is $23.3 billion … our tax dollars hard at waste.


Lack of sleep … uh-oh

On average, I sleep 4-5 hours a night, though often it is less.  Every now and then, my body plays “catch-up” and I sleep 8-10 hours in one night.  In less than two months, I will be 70 years old.  So, naturally it caught my eye when I read about a new study that concludes people who sleep 6 hours or less in their 50s and 60s are 30% more likely to develop dementia in their late 70s!  A dear friend of mine sleeps even less than I, some nights not at all.  We’re doomed!!!


A follow up

Yesterday, I wrote a post, From the Mind of Filosofa, where I pondered on a number of issues facing the U.S. today, one such being the issue of white police officers killing unarmed Black people, indicating racism in our police departments across the country.  Needless to say, this isn’t a new topic and has been discussed at some length for several years now, but there have been several such cases in a short span of time, and with the Derek Chauvin trial about to conclude, it’s on everyone’s minds.

In response, our friend David noted a blog he had visited where the writer of the blog suggested that perhaps Blacks are treated no differently than white people, but the media sensationalizes it more.  It seemed a fair question to ask, though in my gut I believe that there is racism in policing because we’ve seen the evidence time and time and time again.  However, I decided to do a quick bit of research.  What I found is that in any given year, more white people are killed by police than Blacks, BUT … white people also comprise the vast majority of people in the country, so you have to consider the question by percentage, not by pure numbers.

I put together this chart, showing that as a percentage, Blacks are much more likely to be killed by police than whites …

The other question I would ask, but haven’t yet had the time to research, is what portion of each group killed by police was armed, for in most of the cases we know of where Blacks were killed by police, rarely were the Black people armed.  In many cases they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, like Breonna Taylor, who was asleep in her bed!


In Florida, it’s now legal to kill protesters?

Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that makes peaceful protest a crime, and driving a car through a crowd of protesters not a crime.  Say WHAT???  According to the Orlando Sentinel

The law, which goes into effect immediately, grants civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road, which Democrats argued might have protected the white nationalist who ran over and killed counter-protester Heather Heyer during the Charlottesville tumult in 2017. It also makes blocking a highway a felony offense.

The law also creates a broad category for misdemeanor arrest during protests, and anyone charged under that provision will be denied bail until their first court appearance. De Santis said he wanted that to prevent people from rejoining ongoing protests.

It creates a new felony crime of ‘aggravated rioting’ that carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a new crime of ‘mob intimidation.’

My best guess is that this law will be challenged in the Courts as being unconstitutional and will very quickly be reversed.  But then … of late my ‘best guesses’ haven’t been very good, have they?  What’s really scary is the idea that DeSantis is reportedly considering a run for president in 2024.