A Day In Honour Of Indigenous Peoples

Today in the nation’s capital, there is no Columbus Day. The D.C. Council voted to replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in a temporary move that it hopes to make permanent. Several other places across the United States have also made the switch in a growing movement to end the celebration of the Italian explorer in favor of honoring Indigenous communities and their resiliency in the face of violence by European explorers like Christopher Columbus.

The simple facts are that Christopher Columbus did not ‘discover’ the Americas … the indigenous people were always here.  And, at the hands of Columbus and those Europeans who would come after, the indigenous people, aka Native Americans, suffered greatly from being enslaved, diseased, dispossessed of their land, and slaughtered.  So, over the past few decades there has been a growing movement to alter the holiday to honour those who first occupied the country.

The movement is controversial, for we tend to cling to the traditions we have known all our lives, but it is a growing movement, with a number of states and cities doing what D.C. did, replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.  Thus far, the states of Minnesota, Alaska, Vermont, Maine, Louisiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Oregon, have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Hawaii celebrates Discoverers’ Day on this date, and South Dakota celebrates Native American Day, as have many cities too numerous to list here – more than 130, in fact.

Trump, however, instead has issued a formal proclamation recognizing Columbus Day, citing Columbus as a “great explorer, whose courage, skill, and drive for discovery are at the core of the American spirit,” calling the two-month journey across the Atlantic a “watershed voyage” which ushered in a new age.  But then, in this I consider him to be rather irrelevant.

So … how did this all start?

In 1977, the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas, sponsored by the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, began to discuss replacing Columbus Day in the United States with a celebration to be known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

1992 would mark the 500th anniversary of the voyage of Columbus, and there was a “Quincentennial Jubilee” planned to mark the date.  In San Francisco, the day was to include replicas of Columbus’ ships sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and reenacting their “discovery” of America.  It was then that the Bay Area Indian Alliance was formed, and they created the “Resistance 500” task force, promoting the idea that Columbus’ “discovery” of inhabited lands and subsequent European colonization of these areas had resulted in the genocide of indigenous peoples by decisions of colonial and national governments.

The group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12 as a “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People” and 1992 the “Year of Indigenous People”. The city implemented related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” beginning in 1992 to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the losses suffered by the Native American peoples and their cultures through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation.indig-peoples-day.jpgIn the years following Berkeley’s action, other local governments and institutions have either renamed or canceled Columbus Day, either to celebrate Native American history and cultures, to avoid celebrating Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas, or due to raised controversy over the legacy of Columbus.

Let’s take a look at just a few of the many contributions indigenous people have made to our world:

  • indig-peoples-day-3Constitution & Bill of Rights: According to Benjamin Franklin, the “concept” for the federal government was influenced by the Constitution of the Iroquois League of Nations.
  • Sign Language:  Today, hand signals are used to communicate with those who are deaf and/or mute. A similar system was originated to facilitate trade between Native Americans and early trappers/traders.
  • Products:  Native Americans are credited with introducing such diverse products as snowshoes, moccasins, toboggans, buckskin jackets, Kayaks, cradle boards, tomahawks, rubber, cotton, quinine, tobacco, cigars, and pipe smoking, among others.
  • Military Service:  The participation rate of Native Americans in military service is higher than for any other ethnic group in the U.S.  Members from many Indian nations have served with distinction and in a way that helped the U.S. win World Wars I and II… through the use of their various Native languages.
  • Conservation:  The Native Americans have always held a deep respect for the land and for our connection to this planet known as “Mother Earth.” They have always striven to live in harmony with the seasons and the land, to take only what was needed, and to thank every plant, animal, or thing that was used.
  • Art/Design:  The traditional and contemporary music of Native Americans have become integrated in many other cultures and musical styles. Indian artwork such as paintings, beadwork, totem poles, turquoise jewelry, and silversmithing, all remain beautiful and unmatched in this society.

Native-American-Day-Wampanoag-220px-SquantohowwellthecornprosperedAnd of course, a wide variety of foods, including potatoes, beans, corn, peanuts, pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, peppers, nuts, melons, and sunflower seeds.

We can never make up to the indigenous people in the Americas for what was done to their ancestors, but we can resolve to do better, and we can honour them in this way, by setting aside a special day of remembrance for all that they went through, and for all that they have given. celebrate-500-years-of-survival

Happy Thanksgiving … Joyeux Action de Grâce … Redux 2019

Today is a very important day in a couple of ways.  It is Thanksgiving Day in (most of) Canada, and it is also Indigenous Peoples Day in the U.S.  So, rather than dwell on the depressing latest news about the stench in Washington, I thought it would be more fun to take a look at these two holidays!  Yes, I realize it is Columbus Day, as well, but frankly that has been over-hyped for a long time, and you probably know a lot more about it than you do these two.

Since I have already done a fairly in-depth post about the Canadian Thanksgiving, I will share that first, and have an additional post later this afternoon about Indigenous Peoples Day.


🇨🇦 Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

I just realized, after a comment by friend Emily (Eschudel of Zombie Flamingoes) that today is Thanksgiving … in Canada!  Action de grâce!

Now, for those outside Canada, I thought I would look a bit into the history of Canada’s Thanksgiving.  We all know the lovely little story about the pilgrims and the natives and the first Thanksgiving in the U.S., which is basically a myth, but whatever.  So, I wondered if Canada has such a feel-good story too.  Well, turns out it’s confusing, but … let me tell you what I found, and then perhaps some of our Canadian friends will either correct me, or fill in the gaps.

According to Wikipedia …

“Thanksgiving is an annual Canadian holiday, occurring on the second Monday in October, which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

According to some historians, the first celebration of Thanksgiving in North America occurred during the 1578 voyage of Martin Frobisher from England, in search of the Northwest Passage.

Years later, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, from 1604, also held feasts of thanks. They even formed the Order of Good Cheer and held feasts with their First Nations neighbors, at which food was shared.

After the Seven Years’ War ended in 1763, with New France handed over to the British, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving days were observed beginning in 1799 but did not occur every year.

During and after the American Revolution, American refugees who remained loyal to Great Britain moved from the newly independent United States to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada, such as the turkey, pumpkin, and squash.

The first Thanksgiving Day after Canadian Confederation was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872, to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.

For many years before it was declared a national holiday in 1879, Thanksgiving was celebrated in either late October or early November. From 1879 onward, Thanksgiving Day has been observed every year.”

But then, I found an article in The Star (Toronto) that I think is more likely to be authentic …

“In the case of Thanksgiving Day, the critical actors were a group of Protestant clergymen in what is now Ontario. In 1859, these men petitioned the Canadian colonial government to declare a mid-week day of thanksgiving in recognition of the harvest. The government agreed to the ministers’ request, and it would do so again four more times before 1866, and annually beginning in 1871.

Protestant leaders had dual motives in lobbying for an autumn holiday. First, they wanted to reassure Canadian Christians, whose faith had been shaken by the publication of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in 1859.

Second, they felt obligated to mould Canadian identity in light of the prospect — and after 1867, the reality — of Confederation. To clergymen, an abundant harvest provided proof of God’s hand in nature, and evidence that Canadians were a chosen people. As such, a holiday that celebrated the harvest would give them the opportunity to remind Canadians of both their material prosperity and their divine national destiny.

Initially, Canadian Thanksgiving was a solemn and pious occasion compared to its American namesake. All businesses closed for the day, and church services were the only activities of note. Ministers delivered sermons that blended nationalism with religious dogma. Against the backdrop of the American Civil War, they hailed the superiority of British political institutions and praised Canada (incorrectly) for having avoided the evils of slavery.

Overall, their Thanksgiving sermons celebrated Canada for being a white, British, Protestant country — a perspective that pointedly ignored the presence of French Canadians, Catholics, Indigenous people, and non-British immigrants.

In time, however, the Protestant conception of Thanksgiving Day, and the narrow definition of Canadian identity that it promoted, gave way to other influences. From the 1870s onwards, holiday church services lost ground to secular community events and commercial amusements.

Meanwhile, Canadians began adopting American Thanksgiving traditions, such as family gatherings, turkey dinners, and football games. Such activities enabled previously excluded groups to stake their own claims to Thanksgiving, and by extension, to Canadian citizenship.

By 1957, when the government permanently fixed the timing of Thanksgiving Day, the holiday’s domestic focus was firmly established. While many Canadians used the occasion to close their summer cottages for the season, others devoted the day to family get-togethers and turkey dinners.

Today, Canadian Thanksgiving shows few hints of its religious and nationalist beginnings.”

Interesting … things are rarely as they seem on first glance, and it is always fun to delve into the traditions and history of other nations.  At any rate, I wish all my Canadian friends & readers a very Happy Thanksgiving … Joyeux Action de grâce. You have one very obvious thing to be thankful for:  that you have Justin Trudeau instead of Donald Trump! I hope you were all able to celebrate with loved ones, much laughter and good food.

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Jolly Sleepy Monday!!!

Monday-sleepy-2Good … {yawn} … Monday mor {yawn} ning, friends.  Sorry ‘bout that … I’m super {yawn} sleepy this morning for some reason.  Maybe it’s the season change, for it was definitely autumn here this weekend.  Hugh tells me they even had a bit of snow out there in Minnesota!  So, did you all have a good weekend?  Anybody do anything exceptionally fun?

And now, it’s back to the grind … er, um … the joy of the work week!  But first … there are treats over there on the table, and then let’s see what fun adventures we can find to get into today, okay?

Bacon — the one on the left is Larry’s, the one in the middle is rg’s, the one on the right is Emily’s.  Now guys — she’s younger and doesn’t have to worry so much about her cholesterol.  I’m just looking out for you guys.

baconbaconbacon

Coffee or tea?

coffeehalf-and-halfcuppa-tea

Benjamin’s donuts ‘n juice

halloween-donutsjuice-box

A few holiday treats!

halloween-cake        halloween-cupcake


A night in a blimp?

blimp-3You all know the Goodyear blimp that flies over football games and such, right?  Well, guess what?  Now, you can spend a night in the famous dirigible!  Goodyear listed one of its blimps on Airbnb for three separate one-night stays October 22 through 24.

Somehow, Goodyear squeezed a bed, a couch, two chairs, several tables, a potted plant and plenty of football knicknacks into the tiny blimp gondola, and it looks surprisingly cozy.  And imagine the views you’ll have … why, I would stay awake all night just looking at th … what???  It won’t be leaving the ground? blimp-1Bummer.  The blimp will remain grounded in an air hangar minutes from Goodyear’s headquarters in Akron, Ohio.  Guests can step outside the blimp into an open entertainment center complete with a TV and open bar.  Heck, I can stay home and have television and a glass of wine.  I wanted stunning views!

Anyway, if you’re interested, it’s only $150 for a one-night stay.  Goodyear advises those interested to monitor its Airbnb listing on October 15 for a chance to make a reservation.


Tough luck …

A Japanese businessman traveling on business in Paris had his watch stolen last Monday.  Now, normally I would have empathy … I mean, it’s rather an invasion of person to have your watch snatched right off your wrist, yes?

The man had stepped out of the Hôtel Napoléon, near the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées, around 9 p.m. on Monday evening to smoke a cigarette, when he was approached by a man who asked him for a cigarette, but when he put his hand out, the thief seized the timepiece and ran away.

But, there’s a reason I’m not terribly empathetic here … the watch was valued at $830,000.  Obviously, if he could spend that much on a watch, when one that costs $30 would keep time just as well, then he isn’t in need of my compassion.  Perhaps at least the thief will find a way to do good, to help others, with the money he gets for the watch.

What, you may ask, does a nearly million-dollar watch look like (for nobody reading this post has likely ever seen one!)?  Well, it was a Richard Mille Tourbillon Diamond Twister, and it looks like this …

fancy-watch

Seriously???  And people pay almost a million dollars for THAT???


Pumpkin carving … glub blub

jack-o-lantern‘Tis that time of year, when people are carving pumpkins into scary faces and other things.  Where do you carve your pumpkin?  Chris is the pumpkin carver in our house.  She used to do it in the kitchen, but now she usually just sits on the floor out here in the living room and carves away.  But there is a group of people who have a unique pumpkin-carving place this year … underwater!

Nearly two dozen artists of all ages, working in teams of two, used dive knives and fine carving tools to transform their orange gourds into sea creatures Saturday. The divers also were challenged to keep the hollow, naturally buoyant pumpkins from floating off while they carved their critters.  Take a look …

Josephine Walker and Stephanie McClary from Detroit, Michigan, placed first with their representation of two moray eels encircling a heart.  Their prize?  A dive trip for two at Key Largo’s Amoray Dive Resort, the contest’s organizer.


And now for a few ‘toons ‘n pictures …

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I had to think a few minutes to get this one, but once I did, I chuckled

pic-3

This is soooooo me!

toon-1toon-2toon-3


And this one is for Hugh, with a little something extra, since I forgot Maxine last week!

Maxine-autumnMonday-famous-grouse


jollyWell, friends, I’ve really enjoyed spending a bit of time with you this morning, but I know you have things to do, places to go, people to see.  Please remember to share those gorgeous smiles you’re wearing … remember that some people didn’t make it over for Jolly Monday and they might need a smile.  Have a wonderful week all!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

July 4th? Just Another Day …

Once upon a time, in the ‘Land of milk and honey’, Independence Day, celebrated on the 4th of July each year across the United States, meant something.  It was a time of remembrance, a time when the independent spirit of the founders of this nation rose up and declared that this would be a nation in and of itself, that we would fight for the right to make our own laws and to form a nation based on humanitarian values.

That was then, and this is now.  Today, the United States has become a greedy, war-mongering nation rent by political differences, fueled by greed and lust for power.  Add to that, a government so corrupt that it enables a power-hungry dictator to shred the Constitution that has been the fabric of our nation for 232 years and has meekly handed over the keys to the castle in exchange for empty promises of great riches.

This nation once opened its doors to the “tired and poor” from other nations who sought asylum from evil dictatorships … today, we are the evil dictatorship.

The men and women who sought to make this a respectable and worthy nation would no doubt be horrified by what this country has become, as are many of us still living today.  It would be rather like seeing your child, a child who once had so much potential, fall victim to drugs and alcohol and throw away his opportunities.  This is exactly what has happened in the U.S.

Those who valued wealth over humanitarian causes, have given us a cruel and malevolent dictator who, by all appearances, plans to continue on the path to completely destroying all that was once good about this country, and we seem helpless to stop the madness.  Point in case … Trump’s plans for tomorrow.

Trump-circus

A circus by any other name … (notice the ‘crowd’ in the viewing stands)

The Fourth of July in Washington D.C. was once a fun family affair, with picnics, music, festivities, and at the end of the day, fireworks.  This year, all fun festivities have been cancelled in favour of a political rally by a madman whose already-bloated ego requires that the entire nation bow down and pay fealty to him.  He has turned the marking of a historical event into a celebration of … Trump.  Forgive me if I view this in rather the same vein as a celebration of the sinking of the Titanic.

Tomorrow’s events promise to be a disgusting display of hedonistic arrogance on the part of Trump and of some portion of this country at a cost to We the People of somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million, though the cost estimates have not been forthcoming by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.  Congress, specifically the Senate Appropriations Committee, requested the cost estimates days ago.  A similar affair was considered for Veteran’s Day in 2018, but was cancelled in the face of cost estimates around $92 million.  What changed?  Why is it all of a sudden alright for Trump to stage this costly “tribute to self”?

The only thing that will, hopefully, put a damper in Trump’s illusion of grandeur is that there are multiple large protests being planned.  The baby Trump blimp that featured prominently in the UK’s “welcoming” of Trump has arrived on our shores and was planning to fly above the Lincoln Memorial all day, but now the government has said that it cannot be filled with helium and must be kept out of Trump’s field of vision.  Other protests are guaranteed, and while Trump will wear blinders to them, they will firmly show that We the People do not favour a display of military hardware and a political campaign speech by he-who-would-be-king.

I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when children are being held in captivity without adequate food, clothing, or medical care, separated from their parents for literally no just cause.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when we are treating asylum seekers as if they were hardened criminals.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when the nation is in the grips of a madman who is teetering on the brink of taking us into a war that nobody wants, and for no reason whatsoever.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate when this nation is so divided that we now judge people by their political party, by the colour of their skin, by their religion or lack thereof.  I cannot find it in my heart to celebrate a nation that is taking away the rights of people … of women, of LGBT people, of Muslims, of Latinos and more.

The fourth of July is just another day … one where the trash will not be picked up and the mail will not be delivered, but still … it’s just like any other day.  There is no longer anything special to celebrate, for what once was, is no longer.

♫ Happy Birthday ♫

Folks, I have been taken to task and even threatened with a big stick for missing the 69th birthday of one of my most favourite musicians, Stevie Wonder.  I’m sure you’ll never guess who it was that called me on the carpet for my perfidy and oversight, right?  😉

Today, we are all well aware that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in January each year.  But, it wasn’t always so.  Some of my younger readers may not realize that MLK Day was only officially designated as a national holiday in 1983, only 36 years ago, when President Ronald Reagan signed it into law.  Jimmy Carter tried and failed to get congressional approval in 1979, and that is when Stevie Wonder took up the mantle.  He wrote, produced and sang Happy Birthday in 1981 as a tribute to Dr. King, and in an effort to stir national interest in creating a national holiday to honour him.

Stevie Wonder had a huge role in getting Martin Luther King day recognized as a national holiday in the U.S. He helped organize a rally in Washington on January 15, 1981 (King’s birthday), that was a key event in the movement. With the crowd chanting, “Martin Luther King Day, we took a holiday,” black leaders and celebrities appeared, and when Wonder spoke, he said:

“As an artist, my purpose is to communicate the message that can better improve the lives of all of us. I’d like to ask all of you just for one moment, if you will, to be silent and just to think and hear in your mind the voice of our Dr. Martin Luther King.”

A highlight of the rally was Wonder’s performance of this song, and over the next few years, Wonder continued his work to raise awareness of the movement and apply political pressure to get the holiday recognized. Another rally followed the next year, and on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill. The holiday was first observed in 1986, but it took many more years before every state made it a full holiday complete with a paid day off for state workers. South Carolina was the last to do so, joining the other 49 states in 2000.

The first official Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, held the third Monday in January of each year, was held on January 20, 1986, and was commemorated with a large-scale concert, where Stevie Wonder was the headlining performer.  This song was never released as a single in the U.S., but was featured on Wonder’s album, Hotter Than July, and the song charted at #2 in the UK.  In fact, Wonder also performed this song at the Diamond Jubilee Concert in London for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.  He also performed it at Nelson Mandela Day at Radio City Music Hall on July 19, 2009.

Am I off the hook now, Ellen?  I still say you could give me some advance warning about these dates, for you know I cannot remember anything!  🙃

And now, I give you Mr. Stevie Wonder …

Happy Birthday
Stevie Wonder

You know it doesn’t make much sense
There ought to be a law against
Anyone who takes offense
At a day in your celebration cause we all know in our minds

That there ought to be a time
That we can set aside
To show just how much we love you

And I’m sure you would agree
It couldn’t fit more perfectly
Than to have a world party on the day you came to be

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday

I just never understood
How a man who died for good
Could not have a day that would
Be set aside for his recognition

Because it should never be
Just because some cannot see
The dream as clear as he
That they should make it become an illusion

And we all know everything
That he stood for time will bring
For in peace our hearts will sing
Thanks to Martin Luther King

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday

Why has there never been a holiday
Where peace is celebrated
All throughout the world

The time is overdue
For people like me and you
Who know the way to truth
Is love and unity to all gods children

It should never be a great event
And the whole day should be spent
In full remembrance
Of those who lived and died for the oneness of all people

So let us all begin
We know that love can win
Let it out don’t hold it in
Sing it loud as you can

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday
Ooh yeah

Happy Birthday…
We know the key to unify all people
Is in the dream that you had so long ago
That lives in all of the hearts of people

That believe in unity
Well make the dream become a reality
I know we will
Because our hearts tell us so

Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday…

Songwriters: WONDER STEVIE
Happy Birthday lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music Scandinavia AB, Black Bull Music, Fox Film Music Corporation, Agelong Music Publishing Inc., JOBETE MUSIC CO INC, BLACK BULL MUSIC INC, JOBETE MUSIC CO., INC., WB MUSIC CORP. O/B/O INC. SUMMY BIRCHARD, INC.

Just Two Thoughts …

It occurs to me that those of us writing political blogs covering U.S. politics and the regime of Donald Trump spend more time correcting misconceptions that he creates than we spend being proactive and creative.  But so be it … we cannot let the fool on the hill get by with lies that go unchecked and with tarnishing the reputations of good people.

Image result for don mcgahnThe latest, of course, is Don McGahn, former White House counsel.  According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, McGahn testified under oath that Trump had given him a directive to order Rod Rosenstein, then-Deputy Attorney General, to fire Robert Mueller based on a ‘conflict of interest’ that did not, in fact, exist.  McGahn refused, and ultimately left Trump’s employ rather than break the law.

Naturally, Trump denied that he had told McGahn to fire Mueller …

“As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself.”

Ah yes, he could have, but that would have opened a can of worms and made him look even guiltier than he already did at that point.  Now really, folks, who are you going to believe … Trump who has told more than 10,000 documented lies since his inauguration, or McGahn who had the integrity to refuse an order and resign rather than break the law?

Then last month, the day after the redacted copy of the Mueller report was released to Congress and the public, Trump contacted McGahn and asked him to publicly declare that he doesn’t believe Trump obstructed justice.  McGahn refused Trump’s request.  Now if that doesn’t speak loud and clear that Trump is, to this day, obstructing justice, then I don’t know what it takes.  Are you listening, Mitchell McConnell??? 

Trump, needless to say, is in a state of rage …

“I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller. In fact, he was allowed to finish his Report with unprecedented help from the Trump Administration. Actually, lawyer Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!”

Image result for quotes about lies thomas jeffersonUnprecedented help from the administration?  I think not.  And if he wasn’t a fan of McGahn, why did he hire him in the first place?  More lies.  With apparently nothing better to do, Trump tweeted some 70 times on Saturday. Since he is so fond of giving everyone nicknames, I think his new moniker ought to be Tweety Twump.

McGahn is still, as of this writing, scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on May 21st, though Trump has ordered him not to.  I think that since McGahn is a private citizen, and since he has already testified before the Mueller team, that even Trump’s “executive privilege” cannot stop McGahn if he chooses to testify.  I hope that he will, I like and respect McGahn, however if he doesn’t, I hope that the committee will issue a warrant for his arrest for contempt of Congress.  Somewhere, somehow, Congress must find the chink in the armour and be allowed to do its job.


july-2The United States celebrates Independence Day on the 4th of July each year.  The celebration commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject and subordinate to the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states.  Of course, it would take a war to make the declaration reality, but this is the date that is remembered for its significance.  In recent decades, the holiday is, for many, not much more than an excuse to picnic or grill out, drink lots of beer, and watch fireworks after dark.  Nonetheless, there is symbolic meaning to the day.

One of the most prominent events takes place in Washington, D.C., which includes fireworks on the mall.  Correction … it did.  Until King Donald Trump decided to take over the celebration and make it all about himself, rather than the people who fought for this nation’s independence back while his own ancestors were still living in Germany.

Trump has decided to move the fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River (who said it was up to him???), but that isn’t even the worst of it.  He has decided to hold a bloomin’ campaign rally from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial!  What an irony!  The man who was known as ‘Honest Abe’ … being defaced and devalued by the most dishonest president in the history of the United States.  The man who fought to free the slaves and end bigotry being smeared by the one who is “Making America Racist Again”!

This is supposed to be the people’s celebration, not Donald Trump’s.  That’s okay, though, for just as I said last year, in my heart, there is nothing to celebrate this July 4th.  Frankly, in this, the year 2019, I wish we were still a subject of the Crown.  Queen Elizabeth is a much kinder, more intelligent leader than the one we have.

Presidents Day ?????

Today is Presidents Day.  I considered ignoring the ‘holiday’ because we currently have no president worth honouring, but then I realized that the holiday is to celebrate all our past presidents.  While I could bore you with the history of the day, you can go to History.com  for a comprehensive history, so I decided to regale you with some presidential trivia instead.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to name a woman to his cabinet: Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins as his secretary of labor in 1933. She was previously a social worker who worked in settlement houses in Chicago and Philadelphia. During her tenure at the department, she established the Labor Standards Bureau and was a principal architect of the Social Security Act.

Warren Harding had the largest shoe size: Size 14. His slippers and golf shoes are still on display at the Smithsonian.

Theodore Roosevelt wore a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair during his inauguration: The lock of hair was contained in a ring that was gifted to Roosevelt by John Hay, who worked for Lincoln during his presidency. Roosevelt wore the ring at his second inauguration in 1905. A great admirer of his predecessor, Roosevelt had watched Lincoln’s funeral procession pass by his house in New York.

Gerald Ford was a fashion model in his youth (even appearing on the cover of Cosmopolitan): He was talked into the job by Phyllis Brown, a woman Smithsonian.com describes as his “first love.” They appeared together in a ski resort spread of Look magazine in 1940, as well as on the Cosmopolitan cover in 1942. Ultimately, however, she wanted to pursue modeling while he wanted to begin his career as a lawyer, which ended their relationship.

Four presidents have received the Nobel Peace Prize: Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama. Roosevelt was honored for his work on international peace, including on efforts to broker a peace treaty between Russia and Japan in 1905. Wilson was given the prize in 1919 for his work toward founding the League of Nations after World War I. Carter had already retired from the presidency but won the Nobel prize in 2002 because of his efforts on human rights resolving international conflicts. Mr. Obama was nominated for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said at the time.

George Washington owned a profitable whiskey distillery. Whiskey was one of Washington’s most important business ventures at Mount Vernon. At peak production in 1799, the distillery used five stills and a boiler and produced eleven thousand gallons of whiskey. With sales of $7,500 that year, it was perhaps the country’s largest distillery.

William Howard Taft became a Supreme Court Justice after his retirement. A graduate of Yale and Cincinnati Law School, Taft loved law but was unsure about politics. At the urging of his wife, Nellie, and mentor, Theodore Roosevelt, he reluctantly accepted his party’s nomination for the presidency, calling the presidential campaign “one of the most uncomfortable four months of my life.” After losing the 1912 election to Woodrow Wilson, Taft served as a professor of law at Yale and was later appointed by Warren Harding as chief justice of the United States, a pose he considered his greatest honor.

John Tyler had 15 children. Tyler was married twice. He had eight children with his first wife, Letitia. After she died, the 54-year-old president married the 24-year-old Julia Gardiner, with whom he had seven more children. Tyler wins the prize for being the most prolific of all American presidents.

Abraham Lincoln attended séances at the White House. Lincoln’s wife, Mary Lincoln, became interested in séances after their young son Willie died in 1862. At the White House, she engaged mediums, who conducted “spirit circles” or ceremonies during which those who attended could communicate with their loved ones who had crossed over into the next world. Mary was eager to believe in these mediums as it made her loss somewhat bearable, and she encouraged the president to attend a few séances, which he did. It is not clear if Lincoln participated to appease his wife or out of real interest and belief.

And a few really short tidbits …

George Washington’s false teeth were made from elephant and walrus tusks, gold, and ivory not wood.

John Adams was the first to live in the White House.

Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia.

James Madison was the shortest president at 5-foot-4 inches.

James Monroe was the last founding father to serve as president.

John Quincy Adams skinny dipped in the Potomac every morning.

Andrew Jackson had a pet parrot he taught to curse.

Martin Van Buren coined the word “OK.”

William Henry Harrison had a pet goat.

Franklin Pierce was arrested during his presidency for running over a woman with his horse.

James Buchanan was a bachelor and never married.

Abraham Lincoln is honored in the wrestling hall of fame.

Ulysses S. Grant was given a ticket for riding his horse too fast.

Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to use a telephone and his number was 1.

James A. Garfield could write with both hands at the same time in different languages. (Pretty impressive when you consider that today’s prez cannot write in a single language with any hand!)

Chester A. Arthur owned 80 pairs of pants.

Grover Cleveland was the first and only to be married in the White House.

Benjamin Harrison never touched light switches because he was afraid he would be electrocuted.

Grover Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms. Making him the 22nd and 24th president.

William McKinley was the first president to have mass produced campaign buttons.

Theodore Roosevelt was shot while giving a speech and finished his speech with the bullet in his chest.

William H. Taft was the only former president to serve as chief justice on the Supreme Court and swore in presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

Woodrow Wilson is the only president to have a PhD.

Warren G. Harding gambled away a set of White House china.

Herbert Hoover spoke Chinese to his wife to keep their conversations private.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, were fifth cousins once removed.

Harry S. Truman does not have a middle name. His parents gave him the middle initial “S” as a tribute to his relatives whose names started with the letter S.

Dwight D. Eisenhower installed a putting green in the White House and played over 800 games of golf while in office.

John F. Kennedy was awarded a Purple Heart, which he received for his service in WWII.

Lyndon B. Johnson was a teacher before becoming president.

Richard Nixon partly funded his first political campaign with money he won playing poker while in the Navy.

Jimmy Carter filed a UFO sighting in 1973.

Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans and placed a standing order of 720 bags per month to be delivered to the White House and various federal buildings.

George H. W. Bush loves wearing colorful, patterned socks.

Bill Clinton is a two-time Grammy winner.

George W. Bush was the head cheerleader at his high school.

Barack Obama collects comic books.

And now you know enough about Presidents Day!  Oh … and don’t bother to check your mail today, for there is no mail delivery.Presidents Day

Valentine’s Day Cards of Yore …

Valentine-MaxineToday is February 14th, otherwise known as Valentine’s Day.  In modern culture it is a day for romance, for flowers, cards, candy hearts and chocolates.   Even this ol’ hag awoke to a lovely card in my inbox this morning that started my day with a smile.  But throughout history, Valentine’s cards have sometimes taken a dark turn …

In the mid-1400s, Charles Valois, the Duke of Orleans, penned a Valentine poem for his wife. Considered to be one of the earliest Valentine’s poems, Valois’s missive is far from an ardent declaration of marital passion. Instead, the sombre wording reveals a 21-year-old who is already ‘sick of love’.

I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine,
Since for me you were born too soon,
And I for you was born too late.
God forgives him who has estranged
Me from you for the whole year.
I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine.

Why such a bleak tone on a day intended to celebrate love? The circumstances in which the verse was penned may shed some light on Charles’s sense of desperation. Having already lost one wife, Valois was still only 15 when he married 11-year-old Bonne D’Armagnac in 1410. Their time together was short-lived: Charles was captured by the English at the battle of Agincourt in 1415 and held captive for 25 years. The above verse was penned during a period of imprisonment in the Tower of London. Alone in a cell, having outlived one wife and been involuntarily separated from another, Valois’s solemnity might be excused.

The unfortunate pair were never reunited: Bonne had died by the time her husband was released. This fascinating letter is held in the manuscript collections at the British Library, though sadly there is no record of any reply.

While it was common practice to exchange letters and love tokens in February, the first ‘cards’ were not sent until the late 18th century. Lack of technology meant that early cards were handmade, with lovers decorating paper with flowers and romantic symbols. Pamphlets were available designed to assist those who struggled to express themselves. The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, published in 1797, offered a selection of poems that could be copied out and sent to the beloved.

In Britain, the oldest surviving Valentines card is thought to date from 1790. The recipient had to work to discover their valentine: the card was a puzzle that had to be unfolded in a particular way in order to reveal delicate illustrations and the verse hidden within. Known as a ‘puzzle purse’, this unusual example is among a collection of 800 Valentines held in the archives of the Postal Museum’s archives.

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A ‘puzzle purse’, a popular type of card from the Georgian period that had to be unfolded in a particular way to reveal the hidden verse within. 

The sending of cards became more common during the Victorian era, with the development of new printing techniques and reductions in the cost of paper. Handmade efforts, often featuring lace paperwork, flowers and love knots, continued to exist while mass-produced cards flooded the market.

I think I might be a little offput to receive this handmade Valentine containing a taxidermy canary …Stuffed-canary-Valentine

Then there were the ‘Vinegar Valentines’: cards designed to point out faults in the recipient and demonstrate the sender’s desire not to claim their love. Although the nature of the card often lent itself to its immediate destruction, sufficient numbers survive to suggest that Vinegar Valentines were not gender specific.

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An 1870s “vinegar Valentine”, the sender Repelled by his “glitter”, the sender rejects the snakelike gentleman, preferring to remain alone than live a “bitter” life in his company.

Some cards offered women the opportunity to comment anonymously on personal appearance, with scathing words and demeaning sketches. Others, commenting on the recipient’s habits, reflect societal concerns of the day.

Valentine's Card

The text at the bottom reads: “The kiss of the bottle is your heart’s delight,/ And fuddled you reel home to bed every night,/ What care you for damsels, no matter how fair!/ Apart from your liquor, you’ve no love to spare.”

Valentine's Card

“Pray do you ever mend your clothes/ Or comb your hair? Well, I suppose/ You’ve got no time, for people, say,/ You’re reading novels all the day.”

The Valentine card traveled across the Atlantic during the 19th century, but printed cards were often too expensive for the average American. Things changed dramatically in 1913, when the Hall Brothers produced their first Valentine card. Becoming Hallmark cards in 1928, the company is now considered a key player in the commercialization of Valentine’s Day with more than 1,400 varieties of card now in circulation.

Despite popular belief, not all 20th-century cards featured the romantic symbolism we see today. Some cards employed fruit or animals to suggest lewd intentions, and others were used as marketing opportunities by Walt Disney and McDonald’s.

Not all cards were so benign. Overtly racist cards depicted cannibals preparing their loved ones for the pot, claiming to be “all a stew for you”, while others played with cowboy imagery to suggest the recipient’s capture.  And then there was the truly macabre …valentine-card-skunk

I hope you all have a fun Valentine’s Day!  To all my friends, I wish you a …Happy Valentine's Day

A Jolly Cold Monday …

Good Monday morning, friends!  Come on in … don’t worry about tracking snow in … Jolly will sweep it up in a minute.  Did you all have a wonderful weekend?  Mine?  Oh, well, since it stayed well below freezing all weekend, and since I’m still doing battle with a respiratory ‘thing’, I stayed in all weekend, but I did get to spend some time reading and sleeping, so that was nice.  I’ve simply got to get some energy back this week, for as you can see, we still have Christmas lights and decorations up in the living room.  I managed to ‘un-decorate’ the rest of the house, but the living room is still pretty Christmas-y.  I gave some thought to just leaving them up, since we’re already a month-and-a-half through the year, but no … they must come down this week!

Grab a snack and a cup of java or tea, and let’s see if we can find something to help us start the week out with a smile, shall we?

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Coca-Cola is rolling out a new flavour for the first time in over a decade.  I don’t drink soft drinks more than three or four times a year, but I’m likely to try this one … Orange-Vanilla. orange-vanilla-cokeThe company also considered raspberry, and lemon-ginger, but after a test run of the orange-vanilla in Canada proved successful, they chose that.  Said a company spokesperson …

“We wanted to bring back positive memories of carefree summer days. That’s why we leaned into the orange-vanilla flavor combination — which is reminiscent of the creamy orange popsicles we grew up loving, but in a classically Coke way.”

It will be in stores on Monday, February 25th, so mark your calendars!  And if you try it, let me know what you think.


Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but … I find the concept of online dating services to be just a bit creepy.  First, it seems to me an act of desperation.  Second, I’m leery of strangers, especially in this day and age.  But even with that said, this next story is just about beyond weird in my opinion.

Samsung has rolled out a new ‘dating app’ with a unique twist.  Instead of seeing a picture of the person they are trying to hook you up with, you see a picture of the inside of their refrigerator!  According to Samsung’s website

refrigerdaterDating where the inside is all that counts

Refrigerdating is a service that helps you to find love based on the content of your fridge. By uploading an image of your food, you can get in contact with others who have realized that you are what you eat!

Thanks, but no thanks.  And anyway, if I uploaded a picture of the inside of my fridge, anybody with an ounce of sense would run in the other direction very quickly!


You’ve all heard the expression, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”?  Well, David Aguilar, who is studying bioengineering at Barcelona’s International University of Catalonia, proves that to be true.  Born with only one arm, David combined his love of building with Lego blocks and his need for a second arm, and … well, watch him show you what he has done …

Pretty awesome problem-solving skills, wouldn’t you say!  I love the “can-do” attitude!


I came across a few funny meme’s on a friend’s Facebook page and decided to snag them to share with you this morning …

funny-meme

sign-1

spider-meme


By the way … before I forget!  Thursday is Valentine’s Day, so if there’s someone special in your heart, don’t forget to send a card, or just call and say, “Hey … I love you!”  You don’t have to spend a lot of money on flowers or jewelry … a card will mean just as much.Valentines


And finally … what’s not to love about these adorable Red Pandas?


jollyI hope you’ve found something to bring a smile to your face this morning, and that you’ll share those smiles with those who need them most.  Keep safe & warm, and have a great week, my friends!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa & Jolly!

Happy Groundhog Day!!! – Redux

This is a repeat of my 2017 Groundhog Day post.  This year, Phil will not be able to dig his way out from the deeply frozen ground, so … no worries about him seeing a shadow!


“Ground Hog Day is tomorrow. We’re the only country that accepts weather predictions from a rodent, and denies climate change facts by scientists.” – Alt-NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

ghd-3Good morning!  Today is a very special day, so I am setting aside my usual fare for this morning’s post to pay due respect and homage to none other than Pennsylvania’s own … {drumroll} … {applause} … Punxsutawney Phil!!!!  A brief summary of the legend and the history for my friends across the pond who may not know about Phil:

On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.

ghd-5Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.

The line of groundhogs that have since been known as Phil might be America’s most famous groundhogs, but other towns across North America now have their own weather-predicting rodents, from Birmingham Bill to Staten Island Chuck to Shubenacadie Sam in Canada.

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According to the Weather Channel, the forecast in Punxsutawney is a high chance of cloudy skies, and even a chance of a flurry or two. According to the legend, this means an early spring is ahead. For the record, Punxsutawney Phil has only been accurate 39% of the time since 1887.

I used to say that Groundhog Day was my favourite holiday, mostly because it did not require a lot of effort on my part … no huge meal to cook, no presents to buy and wrap, no tree to decorate or lights to string.

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I happened across a humorous piece I thought you might enjoy.  Scott Feschuk, a Canadian speechwriter, humourist and former newspaper journalist, wrote this satire piece after hearing Trump’s rather ridiculous speech on black history.  It is his take on what a speech by Trump to commemorate Groundhog Day might be like:

“Well, this is Groundhog Day, so these are just a few little notes I want to share with you. On this day, we honour the tremendous history of groundhogs throughout our country. Throughout the world, if you really think about it, right? Because that’s where groundhogs are and where they live. Here but also there. Everywhere, really, except not exactly everywhere but almost.

Mostly in the ground though, on or it, or in the vicinity – which is why we call them that. Groundhogs. Right there in the name.

They’re incredible animals and their incredible example is unique in many ways. So many unique ways that honestly there’s no point in me examining any of them in any detail. We all know. We all know bigly.

You’ve all heard about groundhogs. They are well known and people know about them. We have some good ones. We have the one from that place in Pennsylvania and we have other ones and we have the one from that golf movie with one of the Ghostbusters. There are others. Many others that we all know, and I also know them.

The groundhog from the movie Groundhog Day is an example of a groundhog who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I noticed. Big impact. But all groundhogs – big impact on the seasons and the changing of the seasons. There are several seasons and we all know what they are.

I do very well with groundhogs, by the way, not that you’d know from CNN which is fake news and disgraceful. But I do substantially better than others have done. They hear me talk about underground life—it’s horrible, life is short, you can get killed by a wolf on the way to pick up an acorn. They hear me and they love me.

The groundhog is cherished. I am very proud of the fact that people in America can learn about groundhogs, and many other things. And they can learn about their many, many accomplishments, which we celebrate on this day, which is why it is called Groundhogs Day and is so special.

I’m proud to honour our groundhog heritage and will be honouring it more and more. Like I said before, a groundhog is an animal—much like a fox is also an animal. And Fox News has treated me very nice. Wherever Fox is, thank you.

Omarosa saw a groundhog once.” 

So there you have it.  Everything you always wanted to know about Groundhog Day and more!  For the record, though I am not a cute, furry little animal that lives in holes in the ground, my prediction is that the sun has taken a permanent vacation.  Here, we have had exactly one sunny day since January 20th.  One.  Just ONE!  I think the sun came out, saw something evil, and went back behind the clouds for protection.

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