Filosofa’s Mini Rants

Because I cannot afford a new computer at the moment, I shan’t write about today’s impeachment proceedings except to say that should Jim Jordan and I ever run into each other in person, his head is likely to look like a rotten turnip once I am done bashing it!  Since it is not prudent for me to write about the proceedings today, I figured a few snarky snippets or mini rants might alleviate some of the pressure in my head.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell posted the following on Twitter last evening …

“Critical legislation is currently frozen in place. Casualties of Democrats’ apparent inability to make headway on anything besides fighting with the White House.”

Seriously, Mitchie???  How many bills have been passed by the House that are sitting somewhere in your office because you refuse to even bring them to the Senate floor for a vote???  This was the most hypocritical statement I have ever heard!  The House is doing its job at the moment, investigating the criminal activities of the person sitting in the Oval Office.  You’ll get your chance to try, and hopefully convict him soon.  Meanwhile, why not earn your fat paycheck by passing some of the legislation that has been sent to you by the House?McConnellYou could start with … For The People Act to secure America’s elections, expand voting rights, and get money out of politics.  It was passed by the House and sent to the Senate 250 days ago!  The election is in less than 12 months, and your fat patootie is still sitting on the bill to ensure the integrity of the election.  Do Your JOB, Mitchell!


Gonna need a new computer after all if I keep beating the lettering off the keys …


U.S. representative Devin Nunes from California is an idiot.  There has never been any doubt.  I’m seriously considering reprising my Idiot of the Week feature for people like Jim Jordan, Mitch McConnell, and Devin Nunes! The man once co-sponsored an act to discourage frivolous lawsuits, but yet he himself seems to be ‘sue-crazy’.  In just the past two years, he has sued …

  • A stone fruit farmer in Dinuba, and two other people, for conspiring to damage his 2018 reelection by asking that Nunes not be allowed to call himself a “farmer” on the ballot.
  • The research firm Fusion GPS and a Democratic group called Campaign for Accountability for attempting to interfere with his “investigation” (quote marks are mine) into ties between President Trump and Russia when he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
  • Twitter and a couple of parody accounts, including @DevinCow, who has called Nunes “a treasonous cowpoke.” He is asking for $250 million to assuage his hurt feelings.
  • McClatchy, parent company of Nunes’ hometown paper, the Fresno Bee, for writing that he had a financial interest in a winery sued by an employee who was asked to work on a charity cruise where men behaved very, very badly.
  • And, most recently, Esquire magazine and the journalist Ryan Lizza, who Nunes claims have defamed him to the tune of $75 million in writing about the Nunes family dairy farm, which is not in California, but in Iowa.

nunesSheesh … is he trying to compete with Donald Trump for the Guinness World Record of most lawsuits?

I could actually write an entire post about Nunes, but he’s not worth that much of my time or energy, so I will confine myself to his latest antics.  Now, Nunes is a conspiracy theorist … almost as much of one as Alex Jones!  Back in 2018, he came up with some long-winded theory that the FBI was conspiring against Trump.  As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes participated in yesterday’s impeachment hearings … the ones I’m not writing about tonight.

Nunes began with an opening statement which included a misleading claim that Democrats on the committee had tried to “obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials.”  Then he went on to allege that the Ukraine whistleblower who reported Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was “acknowledged to have a bias against President Trump” and falsely claimed that the whistleblower’s “attorney touted a ‘coup’ against the president.”

Nunes also falsely claimed that Trump’s July 25 phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was to express “concerns about foreign corruption,” even though Trump did not mention “corruption” once on the call. Nunes also falsely claimed that the “officials’ alarm at the president’s actions was typically based on second-hand, third-hand and even fourth-hand rumors and innuendo,” even though multiple witnesses testified about first-hand interactions with Trump and with others.

Here’s another one whose head should be made to look like a rotten turnip!


Oh, and now that you’ve gone and mentioned Trump …


The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, arrived at the White House today for a visit with Donald.  Don and Recep have a close relationship, there are ties that bind them.  Back in 2015, after Trump threw his hat in the ring, he did an interview with then-Breitbart host Steve Bannon.  When asked about how he would deal with Turkey if he were to become president …

“I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul. It’s called Trump Towers — two towers, instead of one. … And I’ve gotten to know Turkey very well. They’re amazing people. They’re incredible people. They have a strong leader.”

Yep, straight from the horse’s mouth … a “little conflict of interest”.  But wait, it gets even better.  Two of Erdoğan’s sons-in-law play a role here.  One is Turkey’s Minister of Finance, and deals directly with Trump and Trump’s own son-in-law, Jared Kushner (you remember, the one who lied on his security clearance forms and was, therefore, not given the highest level security clearance?).  The other son-in-law is actually a Trump business partner and advisor.

After a phone conversation between Trump and Erdoğan last month, Trump pulled our troops out of Syria, leaving Erdoğan to invade the Kurdish-held lands and devastate our allies, the Kurds.  And yet, Trump praised Erdoğan …

“We’ve been friends for a long time, almost from day-one. We understand each others’ country. We understand where we are coming from. They’re highly respected in their country and in the region.”

Understands???  Trump understands NOTHING!  Another dictator that Trump praises and claims a kinship with, while he feeds our allies to the sharks.


Well, I thought this little rant might help me calm down, get rid of some of the angst residing within my head, but it has only made it worse.  Perhaps a little snack …

Will The Court Do The Right Thing?

Nearly a million young people may soon find themselves adrift, without a home or a job, and yet it is barely a blip on the radar, lost in the hoopla surrounding the impeachment proceedings.  Granted, the impeachment of a corrupt president is high priority, is perhaps the most important thing happening in this nation at the moment.  But, the lives of 700,000+ young people are pretty important, too.

Imagine you came to this country as a very young child … your first memories are of life in the United States.  You speak English, you went to school in this country, got an after-school job when you were 16, graduated high school with honours, and now you’re in college, studying to become a doctor, a teacher, or an accountant.  Your grades have earned you a partial scholarship, you are working nights at a food processing plant … and tomorrow it could all be taken away.  You could lose your job, be kicked out of school, and in fact be deported.

Deported?  To where?  You’ve never been outside the U.S. in your conscious memory!  This is your home!  You know nobody in the country of your parents’ origin.  What will you do?  How will you live?  You barely even speak Spanish!  And why?  What have you done wrong?  You’ve never even had so much as a parking ticket … you’ve lived your life well, respecting others, respecting the country that gave your family the opportunity for a better life.

More than 700,000 young people may face this situation soon, if he Supreme Court rules in Trump’s favour on the issue of ending DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that has been in effect since 2012.  Yesterday, the Court heard arguments from both sides, and indications are that they will likely rule in Trump’s favour.

In 2012, President Barack Obama introduced the program, which shields people who were brought to the United States as children from deportation. It was intended as a stopgap measure, and didn’t provide a pathway to citizenship. But it did allow participants, known as Dreamers, to get work permits, and in some states, including California, to access in-state tuition and legally drive. Dreamers can renew their status in two-year intervals.

To be eligible for DACA status, applicants had to show that they had arrived in the United States before they turned 16 and were no older than 30, had lived in the United States for at least the previous five years, were a high school graduate or a veteran, and had committed no serious crimes. The status lasts for two years, allows recipients to work legally and is renewable, but it does not provide a path to citizenship.

In 2017, for reasons I cannot understand, Trump decided to end the program.  Trump had previously indicated his support for DACA, but it was the work of white supremacist Stephen Miller and racist former Attorney General Jeff Sessions that convinced Trump to end the program.  They claimed that the program was illegal and unconstitutional, and apparently Trump, never having read the Constitution, decided to end the program.  In his formal announcement to end the program, Trump wrote …

“I do not favor punishing children. The program is unlawful and unconstitutional and cannot be successfully defended in court.”

However, it has been successfully defended in court, not once, not twice, but three times.  Three federal appeals courts have ruled that when an administration revokes a policy like this, on which so many people, businesses and even the U.S. economy have relied, the administration must provide a fully supported rationale that weighs the pros and cons of the program, the costs and the benefits. Faced with those lower court decisions, the Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court, where it now awaits its fate.

These young people have faced discrimination that nobody reading this post has likely ever faced. They are banned from many colleges, are not eligible for any federal grants or loans, and in most states,  they cannot even qualify for in-state tuition.  And yet thousands of them have graduated from college in the United States. How do they do it? The motivation of many of these students is so strong it is almost absurd.  And if Trump has his way, it may well be a death sentence for many of the 700,000.

Maria Nava, who graduated from high school in 2003, received no state aid. But her generous sister promised to contribute her own earnings to help put Nava through college. Trouble was, their combined earnings weren’t much. Nava used up the small private scholarships she earned as a top-ranking student. Most semesters, the sisters could afford just one class at Nava’s local community college. One class at a time. Nava graduated from her two-year college in 11 years.

If the Supreme Court overturns lower court injunctions and says Trump followed the law in rescinding DACA, not one of these amazing, accomplished young people will be able to work for a law-abiding employer in the United States.  After Nava’s 11 years at a two-year college, after more than 8,000 DACA teachers have been hired by U.S. school systems, after 14,000 DACA nurses and other professionals got jobs in health care — all who have jobs will have to be fired when their DACA expires. Those who are students will be ineligible for a job with a law-abiding employer.

I sincerely hope that there are five justices on the Supreme Court who have not exchanged their conscience for partisanship.  If the Court sides with Donald Trump & Stephen Miller on this issue, we will know that the Judiciary Branch of our government is no longer an independent, non-partisan branch, but rather an extension of the Executive Branch, currently led by a bigoted, corrupt, wanna-be dictator.

Good People Doing Good Things — Young People Around The World!

Today is World Kindness Day, so it’s rather a good day for this post, don’t you think?  Good people come in all sizes, shapes & colours, and there is no age requirement for being a good person.  Every now and then, I like to focus this feature on young people who are doing good things, for it gives us reason to hope for a brighter future.  And believe me, there are plenty of them out there!


Take, for example, Nicholas Lowinger.  Now, Nicholas had a good example to follow, for his mother worked in various homeless shelters across the state of Rhode Island.  When Nicholas was only five years old, his mother took him to visit in one of the shelters, and he quickly realized that the children in the shelter were living in circumstances that were very different from his own.  While Nicholas had a brand-new pair of light-up sneakers, he saw children in the shelter who had no shoes.nick-lowinger

“I saw other kids my age who looked just like me. The only difference was, they were wearing old, tattered shoes that were falling apart. Some didn’t have a pair of shoes to call their own. I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in a family that is able to provide me with whatever I need. A lot of kids here in the U.S. don’t have the same opportunities.”

Fast forward to 2010, when Nicholas was 12 years old and met a homeless brother and sister duo at school who took turns going to school because they only had one pair of shoes between them.  Nicholas gave the boy a pair of his own basketball sneakers, but it gave him an idea.

“I didn’t want to make one donation and stop there. I wanted it to be something I could do for the rest of my life.”

With the help of his parents, he then started the Gotta Have Sole Foundation.   Since 2010, the organization has donated new footwear to more than 100,000 homeless children in 35 states.  Take a look at this short clip to see Nicholas tell a bit of his story.

Two thumbs up to this young man whose social conscience began at a very early age!  👍👍


Or how about sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen … Six years ago, these two sisters, then ages 12 and 10, decided they were going to do something about the plastic problem on their island of Bali.  The girls were inspired by the country of Rwanda’s ban of polyethylene bags in 2008 and decided to try to get their native Bali to do the same.

Bali is part of the island nation of Indonesia, which is the world’s second biggest polluter when it comes to marine plastic, trailing only China.

The two sisters got the idea for Bye Bye Plastic Bags in 2013 after a lesson at school about influential world leaders — change-makers — including Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

“My sister and I went home that day thinking, ‘Well, what can we do as kids living on the island of Bali?’ You see, we didn’t want to wait until we were older to start making a difference. It wasn’t even a question, really. It was more like, what can we do, as kids, right now.”

The answer was right in their own backyard …Bali-beach

“It got to the point where on weekends when we would go to our childhood beach, if we went swimming there, a plastic bag would wrap around your arm. And you say just, enough is enough.”

They went online and discovered that over 40 countries had already banned or taxed plastic bags.

“We thought, ‘Well, if they can do it, c’mon, Bali! C’mon, Indonesia! We can do it, too!’ So, without a business plan or a strategy or a budget, like my mom will tell you, we went forward with a pure passion and intention to make our island home plastic bag free.”

They got some friends together, went online to start a petition and got 6,000 signatures in less than a day! They spread awareness through school and community workshops. They organized massive beach cleanup campaigns, all the while drawing international attention and that of local politicians too.

“I think one of the biggest tools that pushed us forward was our decision to go on a food strike.”

The sisters put the word out about their plan on social media. Local media picked it up, and that prompted the governor at the time, I Made Pastika, to do what any savvy politician would do when faced with two teenage girls threatening a hunger strike. He invited them to come see him.

“Within 24 hours, we had a phone call and then the next day we were picked up from school and escorted to the office of the governor.”

Pastika signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the sisters to work toward eliminating plastic on the island — and later pledged to rid Bali of plastic bags by 2018. That didn’t happen, but the sisters kept engaging government at every level — local, municipal and national — to keep up the pressure. Melati Wijsen says she learned a lot about dealing with politicians in the process.Melati-IsabelBut … in December 2018, the new governor of Bali announced a law banning single-use plastic in 2019, thanks in part to the sisters’ efforts and those of like-minded NGOs.  Last year, the girls founded their own NGO (non-governmental organization), Bye Bye Plastic Bags.

“We’re actually now in 28 locations around the world, and it’s all led by young people. We’ve created a starter kit and a handbook that guides them through this process of how to start a movement.”

Bali-beach-2These young women are pretty awesome, don’t you think?  Perhaps we need them to come over here?  Another two thumbs up!  👍👍


And then there’s Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone, the “world’s youngest self-taught engineer”.  Kelvin got his start when he began looking for ways to fix local problems with technology as an 11-year-old, just five years after the country’s volatile civil war ended.Kelvin-DoeKelvin Doe grew up in Freetown, Sierra Leone. At the age of 11, he started collecting scrap material on the way home from school. He discovered that with a little bit of tinkering he could make working parts from things that others had thrown out. Feeling inspired he’d go to bed at 7pm only to wake up in the middle of the night and tinker while the rest of his family slept.

He went on to build a community radio station out of recycled parts that he powered with a generator also made out of reused material. David Sengeh, a PhD student at the MIT media lab and Kelvin’s mentor, said: “In Sierra Leone, other young people suddenly feel they can be like Kelvin.”

In 2016, at the age of 19, Kelvin became an honorary board member of Emergency USA (a global non-profit that provides free medical care for those affected by war and poverty) and founding the Kelvin Doe Foundation, a non-profit organization that is committed to empowering young people in Africa to design innovative solutions to tackle some of the most critical issues in their communities.

Take a look at this video from when he was only fifteen …

Wow, huh?  I’m in awe of this young man!  Another two thumbs-up!  👍👍


Okay, folks, I’ve run out of thumbs now, so that wraps this week’s “good people” post up, but hopefully you found something to love and to inspire you about these young people!  Until next week … remember, if you can’t find a good people, then just go ahead and be one!

Please Mayor Bloomberg, Don’t do it

Jeff shocked me today by posting not one, but TWO posts! This one … he speaks for me with every single word. We do NOT need wealthy businessmen running our government … men who have never in their entire lives known what it’s like to have to beg for someone to help you pay the rent, or make a choice between paying the electric bill or taking your sick kid to the doctor! Thank you, Jeff, for this timely and apropos post!

On The Fence Voters

Instead, how about an effort to end homelessness?

So now Michael Bloomberg is considering a run for the presidency. Please, Mr. Mayor, do us all a favor and un-consider.

I’m sorry. I’ve had about enough of billionaires with political aspirations. Look, I admire what many of these guys have accomplished in life. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have donated billions of their fortunes to worthy causes. And Bloomberg himself has donated to many charities. I do not begrudge them for making a ton of money. It’s not their success that turns me off — whining about paying a bit more in taxes? Oh yeah, that does it.

Have we not learned anything at all? The idea that people can dip into their massive fortunes to, in a sense, try to buy themselves into political office is unseemly and just plain wrong. It’s something we need to fix as part of…

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Public Impeachment Inquiry Begins-Will America Care?

Tomorrow begins the public phase of the impeachment process and it will be widely televised. But, will anybody be watching? Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters ponders this, and his words are astute and well worth sharing. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Starting this Wednesday, November 13, 2019, the public portion of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump will begin. Will the American people care?

It’s an open question.

For a while, I wondered whether the major networks were going to cover the hearings. Much to my surprise, they indeed will be covering the event. Scheduled to appear Wednesday are Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant for European Affairs George Kent. ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS will preempt regularly scheduled programming for live coverage. It was music to my ears.

I knew for sure that the major cable news networks and CSPAN would be covering the hearings, but now that the major networks are in the fray, there are no excuses for the American people. If you want to watch the proceedings, you can do so in multiple ways. If you can’t watch them live, you can undoubtedly tape them, or watch…

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Junior Writ A Book!

Junior-book-1Junior, aka Donald Trump, Jr., has allegedly written a book.  Now, I say ‘allegedly’, because let’s face it, Junior doesn’t come across as the brightest bulb in the pack, but rather as a ‘chip off the old block’, in other words not much more literate than his father.  My guess is he either had a ghost writer or a lot of help from people with far higher IQs than his own.

Disclaimer:  I have not read Junior’s book, nor will I.  I did see a display of them at Barnes & Noble yesterday, but I did not even touch them. 

The title of Junior’s book is Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.  Another “us vs them” book.  The dedication reads …

“I dedicate this book to the DEPLORABLES. While the elite of the other party look down on you and would rather you stay silent, I salute your work ethic, patriotism, and values. America wouldn’t be great without your blood, sweat, and tears.  I will always stand with you!  I am proudly one of you.”

They just can’t leave Hillary alone, can they?  It’s as if they are obsessed. I imagine Hillary is getting more than a few laughs out of their ridiculous obsession.  But I digress.

junior-book-memeThe book, I am told, is currently ranked #3 on Amazon’s ‘bestseller list’, though it has only a 2.5-star rating on Barnes & Noble and doesn’t appear on the New York Times Bestseller list.  Perhaps Jeff Bezos is trying to play nice with Trumpie and manipulated the Amazon rating?  Anyway, people have been having fun with this, or rather making fun of Junior.junior-book.pngComedians Davram Stiefler and Jason Selvig — aka The Good Liars ― on Thursday changed the covers of “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us” at a Barnes & Noble store in Brooklyn, New York, to “make it a little more honest”.  The Good Liars are the same group that put this poster on the New York City subways …crazy-rudy.pngAnd back in 2017, they planted fake merchandise in the Trump Tower gift shop.  The fake products included KKK hoods, urine-proof sheets, a Vladimir Putin calendar, Russian flags and much more.  Check out their video that tells all about it!  But, back to the book …

The Good Liars weren’t the only ones to spoof Junior! FiggeredWritten by Ben Fletcher, a “UK based actor, writer, producer, director, publisher, and failed politician”, it is touted on Amazon as …

This book will be a book that will change your life as you know it forever. That’s right. Forever.

This is going to be the book that will change forever the way that you look at all of the things that are going on across our great nation and also the rest, not-so-great, bits of the world.

This is going to be the look that makes you realize just how many of the problems that we see and face each day are the fault of those snowflake generation liberals.

In this book, no one is going to be spared.

In this book, political correctness has had its Green Card denied and been turned back at the border.

This parody was released on November 5th, the same day as Junior’s book.  I read a few of the customer reviews and you can tell the democrats from the republicans just by those comments.  Democrats all found it hilarious, republicans all pouted and said, “I don’t see the joke”.  ‘Twould seem the republicans have lost the ability to see humour, have lost the ability to laugh at themselves, eh?

But, if you’re still scratching your head over the #3 Amazon ranking, Junior may have had some help in selling that book.  Turns out that the Republican National Committee (RNC) has bought up a large stock of the books and is giving them as gifts in exchange for campaign donations.RNC-letterDespite the Amazon ranking and favourable reviews, most reviewers did not think highly of the book.  The Guardian reviewers Ed Pilkington and Martin Pengelly were among the naysayers …

“… it reveals its author to be every bit as devoted to partisan trolling, childish insults and grudge-holding as his father in the Oval Office.  Trump Jr tells readers he did not set out in writing Triggered to offend anyone. Which is surprising, as he does such a good job at precisely that.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is a “feeble old fool” at the head of a “crooked investigation”; conservative commentator Bill Kristol is a rat; the Squad of four leftwing congresswomen that includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, should be renamed “Hamas caucus”; George W Bush is a loser like Romney.

One of the more striking aspects of the book is the way in which Trump Jr portrays himself as a victim of liberal political correctness. “I’m essentially not allowed to have an opinion any more, let alone express that opinion in public,” he writes.”

junior-colouring-bookBut, there was one thing in the book that has drawn the ire of many, particularly veterans, when he appeared to compare the sacrifices by U.S. troops killed in combat to …

“… the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed — voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off of the office.’”

Understandably, many including myself found that offensive.  There is no comparison between men and women who gave their lives in service to their country, in a war they did not start, to a family who chose to divide and destroy an entire nation.  The “sacrifices” they have made have brought them profit and power.  The sacrifices the soldiers made brought them and their families nothing but grief.  No comparison.

Yesterday, Junior stormed out of a book launch in anger.  The ultimate irony is in this headline:

“Donald Trump Jr. stormed out of an event for his book — which accuses the left of stifling open debate — after getting heckled for refusing to do a Q&A”

The funniest part about this is that the people there were Trump supporters!  They just wanted him to answer some questions. Like his father before him, this boy knows how to make a fool of himself, then blame us for laughing!  For those of you who are old enough … remember what the old Sears & Roebuck catalogs were used for?  Perhaps Junior’s book could serve a similar purpose?

Lest you think I’m being too hard on “poor li’l Junior”, I leave you with a couple of final pictures … the ones I always see in my mind whenever I hear his name …junior - killertrump-sons-killers

 

In Honour Of The Real Heroes …

Today, 11 November, is Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations and Veteran’s Day in the U.S.  In all our nations, it is a day to remember and honour those who have died while in military service.  While the specifics and the observances may vary somewhat from one country to the next, the meaning is much the same — to honour those who fought and died in wars they did not start.  It is also Armistice Day world-wide … a day that marks the end of World War I, the “war to end all wars”.  Only, sadly it didn’t … end all wars.

One of the first blogs I connected with way back in the early days of Filosofa’s Word when nobody read what I wrote was a blog about a dog and his human, A DOG’S LIFE? (STORIES OF ME AND HIM).  The dog is Ray, who graciously allowed a man named Colin to adopt him, and the blog is mainly about their adventures together.  We drifted apart over the years, but recently reconnected through another blog, NUGGETS OF GOLD.  Long story short, as I am rambling here … on Saturday, I happened upon Colin & Ray’s blog and found a poem that … well, it sums it all up far better than I could have.

Our friend David said it best this morning …

“I honour the dead on both sides in all conflicts.  The all fought because of decisions made by politicians.”  

Those who fought did not start the wars, they did not want to kill others, but they did their duty.  Let’s honour not only those of our own country, but all who have lost their lives in the service of their country.

Thank you, Colin, for sharing this touching poem.cemetery

JUST A COMMON SOLDIER

(A Soldier Died Today)

He was getting  old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.

© 1987 A. Lawrence Vaincourt

Take a minute today, no matter where you live, to thank a veteran, or even give one a hug, okay?  And, to all the veterans in my life, a personal and heartfelt “Thank You”.

♫ Let’s Stay Together ♫

I had a song in my head all day.  It was Cat Stevens’ Wild World.  I really, really wanted to play it tonight.  But … alas … I played it in August 2018.  I thought about redux-ing it, but … sigh.  No doubt I will play it again here someday, but … not today.  So, I listened to it four times, had my fill, cried each time, and finally moved on.  To … Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly.  But nope, already did that one, too.  Okay … NEXT …!  Oh … hey Al …Al-Green… look folks, it’s our friend Al Green!  What you got for us tonight Al?  Ah yeah … that’s great …

Let’s Stay Together … that tune turns me inside-out!  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner!  Thanks Al!

Al Green wrote the lyrics to this song; the music was written by Al Jackson Jr., and Willie Mitchell. Jackson is a legendary soul drummer who recorded with Booker T. & the MG’s; Mitchell was Green’s producer. Green did about 100 takes before he got one he liked, and even then he wasn’t sure the song was any good. It was Mitchell who set him straight, telling him it “had magic on it.”

According to Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 songs, after Willie Mitchell gave Al Green a rough mix of a tune he and drummer Al Jackson had developed, Green wrote the lyrics in 5 minutes. However, Green didn’t want to record the song and for two days he argued with Willie Mitchell before finally agreeing to cut it.

Tina Turner’s 1983 cover of this song revitalized her career, returning her to the charts in both the UK and US for the first time for over a decade. Now, I am a big Tina Turner fan, but for this song, only Al Green will do.  However, since Tina Turner’s version was bigger in the UK, and I have a lot of UK readers, I will play her version too.

Barack Obama sang a couple of lines of the song during an appearance on January 19, 2012 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for a fund-raising event. Al Green was the opening act and as the American president took to the stage, he noted the soul legend’s presence in the audience and surprised his staffers close by with an impromptu spot of crooning. “Those guys didn’t think I would do it,” he joked. “I told you I was going to do it. The Sandman did not come out.”  I have included that short clip just because … I wanted to.  Because seeing a real man as president still brings a tear to my eyes, remembering how things once were.

I used to believe that someday, some guy would sing this to me.  Sigh.  🐺

Let’s Stay Together
Al Green

Let’s stay together
I, I’m I’m so in love with you
Whatever you want to do
Is all right with me
Cause you make me feel so brand new
And I want to spend my life with you

Let me say that since, baby, since we’ve been together
Loving you forever
Is what I need
Let me, be the one you come running to
I’ll never be untrue

Oh baby
Let’s, let’s stay together (‘gether)
Lovin’ you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad
Oh, oh, oh, oh, yeah
Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad

Why, why some people break up
Then turn around and make up
I just can’t see
You’d never do that to me (would you, baby)
Staying around you is all I see
(Here’s what I want us do)

Let’s, we oughta stay together (‘gether)
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad
Come on
Let’s stay, (let’s stay together) let’s stay together
Loving you whether, whether times are good or bad

Songwriters: Willie Mitchell / Al Green / Al Jackson Jr
Let’s Stay Together lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Jolly Monday Wishes A Happy Birthday To Sesame Street!!!

Welcome to another episode of Jolly Monday on this cold Monday morn.  This is a special day in many ways, but one of those ways is that it is Remembrance Day (Canada and the Commonwealth countries) and Veteran’s Day (in the U.S.), a day to remember and honour those who died while in military service.  I’ll have more about that in a later post today, but I just wanted to mention it here.  Well, toss your coats over there, and grab a nice hot drink and a snack off the table, for I have a couple of cool things to bring smiles to those blue lips this morning!

fruit              autumn-cookiescroissants

Sorry guys, no bacon today!  I forgot to buy any, and I used the last of it last week!


🎈 Happy Birthday Sesame Street!!! 🎈

The anniversary was actually yesterday, November 10th, but since yesterday was Sunday, there was no appropriate venue for me to celebrate, so we are celebrating this event one day late.  Do you know what the event is?  I’ll give you a hint … 1969.  Still don’t know?  Okay, how about this … Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Elmo, Bert & Ernie … NOW you got it?  That’s right, folks, it was fifty years ago yesterday that Sesame Street made its television debut!

The show was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney, a former documentary producer for public television. Cooney’s goal was to create programming for preschoolers that was both entertaining and educational. She also wanted to use TV as a way to help underprivileged 3- to 5- year-olds prepare for kindergarten. “Sesame Street” was set in a fictional New York neighborhood and included ethnically diverse characters and positive social messages.  There was Linda, the librarian who taught sign language, and Tarah who taught us about wheelchairs …

Sesame Street taught ABCs and 123s, but also much more … it taught our children about diversity and acceptance, taught them how to deal with tough situations and emotions.  And most important of all, it made learning completely painless and even fun!

They had a foster child character, an HIV-positive character, and once Elmo even testified before Congress! Elmo-CongressWhen Will Lee who played the shopkeeper Mr. Hooper, died unexpectedly of a heart attack, Sesame Street tackled the concept of death …

Well, okay, now I’ve gone and made you cry on Jolly Monday.  But, say ‘Hi’ to the gang over at Sesame Street, wish them a Happy 50th Birthday, and then I promise to make you laugh!Sesame-Street


Big Foot has been STOLEN!

Police in Florida are seeking information on the disappearance of an unusual piece of property — a 300-pound Bigfoot statue.Bigfoot-missing.pngThe Boynton Beach Police Department said the 8-foot-tall Sasquatch statue was stolen from in front of a store called Mattress Monsterz in October.

“Bigfoot is missing,” the department tweeted.


But if you think that’s bad …

In Marysville, Ohio (I used to work at the Honda plant in Marysville!) thieves made off with a roller coaster!!!kiddie-coaster-2The Union County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a white, Dodge Ram with a flatbed that was spotted by a traffic camera taking the roller coaster.coaster-thievesThe roller coaster, which is worth about $50,000, has alligator-themed cars that measure 20 feet in length.

Who the heck steals a roller coaster???  What are they thinking they can do with it … give it to their kids for Christmas?  Set it up in the back yard?  Sheesh.


Campus parking fines payable by … WHAT???

This one caught my eye, and while I expected to find humour, and I did, I also found something kind of nice.  I never had to pay parking fines during my undergrad years, but when I went to grad school, I racked up quite a few.  They were all written off thanks to a couple of kindly profs, but still …

This happened at University of Alaska in Anchorage.  Students can pay outstanding parking fines with donations of peanut butter and jelly for fellow students facing hunger.

“Any nut butter-almond, cashew, peanut butter- or any flavor jam, jelly, marmalade, preserves, etc. will be accepted. All donations must be commercially produced (no home canning), unopened and not expired.”

The jars will be distributed through the UAA Emergency Food Cache at the UAA Student Health and Counseling Center.  Two jars can erase $10 worth of fines, while five jars eliminates $60.

I think that’s really nice, don’t you?


Time for a few ‘toons, don’t you think?toon-1

toon-2

toon-3

toon-4

toon-5

toon-6


And a few cute or funny picturespic-1

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pic-funny

I’m sorry guys … I just couldn’t resist!  You know I don’t mean it, right?  Right?  Guys???

pic-funny-2


And that wraps up another …

jolly{pssssst … Gwammie … did ya forget about the aminamal video?}

Oh … Jolly just reminded me … how could I possibly end Jolly Monday without a cute animal video???


jollyOkay, folks, this is really it for this morning, for some of you have jobs (you know, the kind where they pay you to go there and do work?), and others of us have … um … jobs that pay only in the currency of personal satisfaction!  Please, remember to share those lovely smiles with others you see today … speak kindly, for you don’t know what people are dealing with.  Have a great week, dear friends!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

I Thought We Were Better …

There was a big college football game between Louisiana State University and the University of Alabama, to be played on Alabama’s home field yesterday afternoon.  For some reason that still evades me, Trump and Melania attended the game … at our expense, of course.

Now, in recent weeks, Trump has received less than warm receptions at other sporting events, such as game #5 of the World Series where Washington Nationals fans ‘boo-ed’ him and chanted “lock him up!”  One Fox News commentator said …

“They should hold those fans accountable. You don’t boo the president! You show respect to him!”

Excuse me, sir, but respect is earned, and thus far Mr. Trump has done nothing to earn mine.  Though I have mixed feelings about the boo-ing and chanting, it is a means of peaceful protest, and I’m pretty sure that had I been at that game, I would have boo-ed as loud as any.

And then, there was the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) last week that was attended by Trump, accompanied by his sons Junior and Eric and Republican lawmakers Kevin McCarthy, Mark Meadows and Peter King.  The crowd there also jeered the party, and some even held signs calling for Trump’s impeachment and removal.  One gets the impression that he is not as well-loved by ‘everybody’ as he claims, yes?

So, fool that he is, he made plans to attend this Alabama college game.  College campuses were almost made for protest, it seems.  Young people in the U.S. today are politically savvy and most are not very happy with the way the country is being run, so it stands to reason that there will be protests, right?  But wait!  Officials at the University of Alabama declared that any students caught “disrupting” Trump’s visit would lose their reserved seating for the remainder of the season.  This is a direct violation of students’ First Amendment right to engage in peaceful protest, to make their voices heard.

And so it was that Trump received a ‘warm’ reception at the game on Friday night.  Too bad … I think it would have been appropriate if everyone had protested by boycotting the game.  But, there was at least one protest outside the stadium …baby-trump-balloon-2The baby Trump balloon was on display at a park near the stadium!  For a few minutes, anyway … until some over-zealous Alabaman/Trumpian decided to … slash it!baby-trump-balloonAccording to one of the organizers of the protest …

“It was a random dude just ran up to the balloon, stuck a knife in it, and ran off. We had police close by because of another driver earlier, so they went over and arrested him and his getaway driver.”

Three things bother me greatly about this:

  • Why has Trump, with Melania in tow, wasted taxpayer money and his time to attend three separate sporting events in the course of two weeks? Does he really have so much free time on his hands?  Is there not work he could be doing?  Is this what we pay him for???  Or are we paying to feed his over-bloated ego, paying for him to “be seen” by his loyal masses?

  • If the students of the University of Alabama had to be threatened in order to give Trump a ‘warm’ reception, doesn’t that tell you something about the sentiment of the public toward Trump? And … where were the students’ first amendment rights?  I know it’s Alabama, but last I looked on the map, it is still one of the 50 ‘United’ states, and as such, its people have the same rights, as afforded by the U.S. Constitution, as any of us.

  • Where is the civility? I do not recall a single time that anybody acted in this manner when President Obama made a public appearance.  But then, I don’t recall Obama ever acting in the manner in which Trump acts in public, either.  Perhaps it’s true what they say, that sh*t flows downhill, and Trump’s behaviour has flowed all the way down to his fans.  But, are we really going to allow Trump’s behaviour and hateful rhetoric cause us to regress as a society to the point that we cannot even allow a peaceful protest?

The right to peaceful protest is one part of the foundation of this nation.  But, like every other right, it is contingent on accepting the responsibility that accompanies it.  When protests turn violent, we risk losing that right.  But, think about it … remember during the 2016 campaign when more than once, Trump urged people to perpetrate violence on protestors?  Remember he even told one group at a rally that he would pay their legal bills if they were arrested for beating up protestors?  I wonder if he will offer to pay the legal bills for the man who slashed the balloon?  Remember when Trump applauded then-candidate, now-Congressman Greg Gianforte for beating up a reporter who simply asked him a question he didn’t like?

No matter what side of the political fence a person is on, there is simply no excuse for violence.  This, coupled with the lunacy of the gun culture in this country, is a recipe for disaster.  I thought we were better than this, but more and more I’m learning that we are not.