BBC NEWS: Hurricane Ian: They stayed for the storm – what happens now?

Setting politics aside today, I want to share our dear friend Scottie’s post. Scottie and his husband Ron have survived Hurricane Ian, but not without damage to both their home and themselves. My heart goes out to them and I feel helpless to do anything other than express my genuine love and concern. Please keep Scottie and Ron in your hearts, for they have been through so much, with more to come.

Scottie's Playtime

Punta Gorda Is the next town up from us so we got what the got. We are in North Fort Myers between Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. I understand everything in this article. Ron is tired. He has fought all his life to make things better and gotten knocked back and down repeatedly. He was tired rebuilding this place before but it was feeling like it was becoming what we wanted. Now Ron has lost hope and feels overwhelmed. My going down yesterday didn’t help his feelings as he feel’s this is hurting me bad. But it is hurting all of us I tell him I just had five days of over doing. Like 30 hours behind the wheel of a vehicle and spending a night trying to sleep in the van in a parking lot. So much more. But we had no information. No one in management came to…

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Saturday Surprise — Squirrels, Squirrels, and … More Squirrels!

I love watching squirrels!  They are so cute, but also personable … we have a few squirrels who pay us a daily visit.  I think it could have something to do with the unsalted peanuts and bird seed we put out each morning.  But they are so much fun to watch, and they are smart critters, too!  They somehow know that the kitties cannot get to them through the window, and they delight in tormenting the kitties!  They stand on the patio table in front of the window on their hind legs and do a little squirrely happy dance, swishing their furry tail from side to side, while the kitties, sitting on the chair in the kitchen window looking out paw the window, growl and whine!  The squirrels, meanwhile, just grin at the kitties!

When I came across this collection of squirrel pics over on Bored Panda, I knew I had to share them with you!  I can think of no better way to cut through the stress and angst of this past week than these cuties!

From the article in Bored Panda …

Did you know Squirrel Appreciation Day is a thing? It’s celebrated every January 21st as an opportunity to learn more about the little rodents, and even if we’re far from that date, it’s always a good time to celebrate these precious balls of fur! Squirrels are pretty awesome, and their cuteness is only matched by the fact they’re quite clever and can form cognitive maps in their heads of the places they store their food.

I’ll never forget the first time I visited London, where I was amazed by the number of cute squirrels in St. James’s Park and how well they tolerated being surrounded by so many people. As naive as I was as a child, I thought the city had a secret squirrel sanctuary! When I investigated some more, I found out squirrels can be incredibly friendly to humans. They have a reputation for curiosity and get interested in what’s going on around them.

For all these reasons and more, squirrels are easy to love. And if you’re a fan of adorable animals like us, you’ll surely appreciate this gallery of squirrel pictures! So scroll down, feast your eyes, and upvote your ultimate favorites!

Squirrel Licking A Glass Window

One Woman Started Putting Bowls Of Ice Out For The Squirrels In Her Yard. This Little Guy Was So Grateful, He Fell Asleep Cooling Off

I Followed Squirrels Daily With My Camera For 6 Years And Here Are 50 Of My Best Photos

A Squirrel Ran Into The Store I Work At And Stole A Chocolate Bar

I’ve Spent A Couple Of Years Photographing Squirrels And Their Different Emotions

Squirrel Fell In Love With My Stepdad

Saw A Squirrel Eating A Strawberry Off A Fork On My Way To Class

Rescued This Little Guy While Shooting Some Photos In A Wooded Area. My Dogs Adopted Him

So Ive Been Feeding The Squirrels Lately And This Is What I Saw At My Door When I Woke Up

Defiant Squirrel

This White Squirrel I Saw On My Walk

Hoomans Said If Your Ear Is Itchy, Someone Is Thinking Of You

This Little Guy Needed To Say Hi

Squirrel Love

My Mom Occasionally Leaves Nuts Under Our Bird Feeder. Today, He Came To The Window And Asked For More

Sadie The Squirrel Has Eaten 3 Jack O’Lanterns So Far

I Give The Local Squirrels Breakfast Every Morning. He Was A Latecomer. His Face Says It All

Squirrel On Dog

Indian Palm Squirrel In My Indian Palm

I See Her Suspicious Look And A Cucumber… But Look At Her Feet On The Bowl!


I hope that the squirrels made you smile this morning!  I also hope you have a safe, fun and happy weekend!

Heed The Warnings

Well, friends, I’ve managed to get another ‘temporary ban’ from Twitter today!  Why, you ask?  Because in response to an idiotic tweet by Matt Gaetz praising the conspiracy theorist Kari Lake, I replied …

“The best thing that could happen would be for Kari Lake to go jump in a lake … and stay there. And then, if you could join her, and take Margie Greene and Lauren Boebert with you … that would be a great start!”

Twitter claimed I was “encouraging suicide”, so I’ve been banned for 12 hours.  Oh well … I’m not exactly shedding tears or losing sleep over it.  Actually, I’m rather glad someone actually noticed what I said for a change!

On to bigger and better things.  Our friend TokyoSand over at Political Charge has a post this morning that I hope you’ll take a minute to read … she begins …

In this country, we see evidence every day that David Frum was right when he said, “If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they won’t abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.”

But it isn’t only in this country … the picture is much bigger than just the U.S., as could be seen yesterday with the election in Italy of a Mussolini-style fascist Prime Minister.  Please do read Do We Still Care About Democracy?

And along those same lines, this morning our friend Roger sent me a cartoon … a Disney cartoon of an all-time favourite story, Chicken Little.  But this version is a bit different than the one you may remember from your childhood.  Please do watch it … and then take a deep breath and do what TokyoSand suggests and get ready to fill out that ballot!

My thanks to both TokyoSand and Roger for their contributions today.  Let’s hope people around the globe wake up before it’s too late.

♫ I’ve Gotta Be Me ♫

I’ve played this only once before, about two years ago, and tonight it just felt … right.


Recently, a friend and I were discussing our childhoods, and I confessed that I was a disappointment to both of my parents, though in different ways.  My mother wanted a little girl that she could dress up as a doll in frilly, lacy dresses, and instead she got me, who would much rather play in a mud puddle or climb a tree than sit and sip tea in a dress so starched that it whispered.  My dad, on the other hand, always wanted a boy, and instead he got me, who had zero interest in sports and took nearly 90 swings to hit a single golf ball!  Anyway … long story short, I was never the person either of them envisioned, but instead I grew up into … ME.  Complete with flaws and human frailties, I never aspired to be anybody other than who I am.  Or, as Popeye used to say, “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.”   Unlike so many people, I am comfortable in my own skin and care little whether I meet the expectations of others or not.

And now that I have bored you to tears … that story was a lead-in to tonight’s music post, I’ve Gotta Be Me, sung by Sammy Davis Junior.

I’ve Gotta Be Me is a popular song that appeared in the Broadway musical Golden Rainbow, which starred Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé.  The music and lyrics for the musical were composed and written by Walter Marks in 1967; the production featured a book by Ernest Kinoy. This song was listed in the musical as “I’ve Got to Be Me”, and it was sung by Lawrence’s character Larry Davis at the end of the first act. Lawrence released the song as a single in 1967, and the following year it hit number six on the Billboard Easy Listening chart.

And then came Sammy Davis Junior, who recorded the song in 1968 while the musical was still running on Broadway.  This version of the song was a surprise hit for Davis, since the musical was not among the more successful shows on Broadway that season. Produced by Jimmy Bowen, Davis’ cover of the song peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1969 and remained in the Top 40 for 11 weeks.

This is Davis’ third highest charting single on the Hot 100 in his career; Something’s Gotta Give had reached number nine in 1955, while The Candy Man hit #1 in 1972.

Other artists who have recorded or performed I’ve Gotta Be Me include Ella Fitzgerald, John Davidson, Michael Jackson, Della Reese, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, and The Temptations.

I’ve Gotta Be Me
Sammy Davis Jr.

Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am

I want to live, not merely survive
And I won’t give up this dream
Of life that keeps me alive
I gotta be me, I gotta be me
The dream that I see makes me what I am

That far away prize, a world of success
Is waiting for me if I heed the call
I won’t settle down, won’t settle for less
As long as there’s a chance that I can have it all

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be
I can’t be right for somebody else
If I’m not right for me
I gotta be free, I’ve gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I’ve gotta be me

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be
I can’t be right for somebody else
If I’m not right for me
I gotta be free, I just gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I gotta be me

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Walter Marks
I’ve Gotta Be Me lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management

9/11 — Twenty-One Years Ago

“We will never forget” means something.  There are things in our collective history that we will remember until our dying breath.  For me, 9/11 is the most dominant of those things that I will never forget.  I remember exactly where I was standing when my co-worker Rose hollered from about 10 feet away and said, “Hey Jill … they say a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!”  I remember the vivid images we would all see throughout that day and the next and the next.  It would be years before the tears would stop, and even today they sometimes come unbidden when I see an image or read something about that day.  It is shocking to think that the children born on that day are now full-grown adults with jobs, college degrees, and perhaps families of their own.  To me, it still seems like just a little bit ago.

I have written almost every year about that day and the circumstances surrounding it, have written about my own feelings, about what we as a nation should have taken away from what happened.  I think the memories are fading for many, being replaced by the more immediate social and political divides that dominate our news feeds, our lives.  I didn’t want to repeat the words I’ve said nearly every year, but neither could I simply ignore this, the 21st anniversary of the attacks on the United States by terrorists that changed the face of the nation.  Fortuitously, my inbox yesterday included a tribute by Dan Rather that I found moving and reflective of my own thoughts on this day.


9/11

21 years later

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

10 September 2022

9/11

21 years.

We tend to mark major anniversaries. But why should this year be less important?

It isn’t.

                   And yet I wonder: Is this still a day that stops us in our tracks?

We will never forget where we were when we heard, when we saw, when we cried.

But so much has passed between then and now.

9/11 changed our nation forever.

        But so too have events that followed.

               History marches in only one direction — forward — in lockstep with our lives.

Still, I am drawn back. I know that it will be so for as long as I am here.

That bright, sunny morning — a postcard of a New York day that turned hopelessly dark.

I smell the smoke.

      I hear the screams.

            I see the faces of the perpetually missing in walls of photographs.

                  I touch the void.

I think of the mistakes that preceded 9/11.

                                                                     And the mistakes that followed.

I think of our national goodwill

        and how it was squandered.

               I wonder at a unity

                     that has dissipated to acrimony.

I mourn for those who died that day.

      And those who perished in the wars that followed.

            One of which was a misguided war of choice. The folly of Iraq still haunts us.

What if?

      What if?

            What if?

                  The questions accumulate. We ask despite knowing there are no answers.

Fate can be cruel. And on that day the cruelty left us all altered.

I think especially of those who lost friends and loved ones.

      The personal emptiness they have had to face is greater than our collective grief.

            Let us never forget that.

For the rest of us, we lost a sense of invulnerability.

      How could our mighty nation be thus attacked?

Today the vulnerability of terrorism remains.

But it is crowded with a long list of others.

Our country is precarious.

      We feel exposed.

            At risk.

And it is not only for us as individuals.

      Our national freedoms,

            Our constitutional rights,

                  Our public health,

                        and the very mechanisms of democratic governance are under threat.

                             We yearn for stability

                                   knowing it will be ever elusive.

But strength and resilience are possible.

    We saw that then.

          And we can see it now.

For those of us who were lucky enough to emerge from the tragedy, steady we must be.

Steady.

      Steady.

            Steady.

To carry on the memory of those who perished

                                                             into the challenges ahead.

Open Letter To All Candidates For Office

Dear Sir or Madam …

Back in the day, campaign advertisements were used to inform the public what the candidate stood for, what their values were, and what they planned (hoped) to do if they won the privilege of serving in an elected office.  THAT is exactly what we need and want to hear today, but instead of serious policy information, we are ‘entertained’ by a barrage of mud-slinging, name-calling, and lies about the candidate’s opponent.

Here are a few pointers for you if you actually care to win votes based on your qualifications:

  • Do NOT tell us what your opponent thinks or will do … we have eyes and ears and can read and listen to what he or she says.
  • DO tell us what your values are, what your hopes and plans are should you win in November.
  • Do NOT insult our intelligence! Most of us are perfectly capable of listening to both sides, researching to sort truth from lie, and then making an intelligent decision.  It is a slap in the face for you to assume that we cannot understand the realities of such things as climate change, COVID, inflation, etc.
  • Do NOT sink into a mudfest just because others are doing it. Maintain decorum and dignity.  And for Pete’s Sake do NOT name-call!
  • Do NOT even refer to ‘Republicans’ or ‘Democrats’ … you are the candidate, we are the voters. Keep political parties out of it.  When you say, “Democrats blah blah blah …” you are labeling half the people in the nation, assuming that they all think and act alike.

And here are a few questions that, I believe, are of the utmost importance to ALL voters, regardless of political affiliation:

  • Do you support women’s rights? Will you defend and protect a woman’s right to make her own decisions, whether about birth control, abortion, a job, education, or whatever else?
  • Do you believe that human lives are more important than the “right” to bear arms? Will you consider sensible gun laws to further protect the lives of school children and everyone else in this nation?
  • Do you prioritize the environmental concerns and will you do everything in your power to make the United States a key player in the battle to reverse the effects of human-created climate change? Will you restore the power of the Environmental Protection Agency and operate to aggressively cease the mining, drilling, and use of fossil fuels at the earliest possible moment?
  • Do you support educating and training all public servants to combat the brutal systemic racism and homophobia we have seen in police departments around the nation, as well as other government agencies?

These are the things that matter most to us … far more than the price of fuel at the pump.  Don’t talk down to us and assume you will garner our attention and our votes by ranting against your opponent.  Instead, tell us who YOU are, what YOU believe, and what YOU promise to do if elected.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, taxpayer, voter

♫ Stevie & Tom ♫ (Redux)

Tonight I need me some Stevie!  Digging around to see what I have or haven’t played recently, I came across this one by two of my favourite artists, Stevie Wonder and Tom Jones from Tom Jones’ television show in 1969 — way back when.  I listened … I found a strange sensation on my face … like something tugging at the corners of my mouth … pulling them upward.  Could it be … could this actually be … the beginnings of a smile?  And then, I played it a second time … and yeah, there’s a smile alright … damn but these two guys are goooooood … doesn’t matter what they sing … they’re solid gold all the way.  Okay, so I just played it in 2020, but … 2020 was a looonnnnngggg time ago, right?  And I do so need the smiles this one brings, so for tonight … just listen, relax, and … SMILE!  Humour an old woman.

Good People Doing Good Things — One And Thirty

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested you guys might have seen or experienced — or maybe even performed — a random act of kindness that would qualify as a ‘good people’ snippet, but since nobody jumped on that bandwagon, I shall tell one of my own from Monday afternoon.  I had made a rare trip to the grocery store for “just a few things” — sugar, zucchini, a red onion, and some cherry tomatoes.  Well, you all know how “just a few things” can sometimes turn into a bit more.  Since I only actually go into the grocery store about 3-4 times a year these days (I use the free pickup service most often), I was like a kid in a candy store!  To the essentials, I added a 7-pound bag of birdseed, some toaster egg pastries, a honeydew melon, and before I knew it I had 3 bags instead of the single bag I was anticipating.  Since I use my own reusable canvas bags, they hold a lot more than the average grocery bag, making them a bit on the heavy side.  So, I got home and being the stubborn mule that I am, I determined to carry all three in at one time, rather than make a second trip back out to the car.  (Miss Goose was out for a walk, else she would have been the one carrying them in.)  But then, there’s that four-inch rise to step up on the sidewalk in front of my house, and since the onset of my illness my balance is a bit off, I knew I had a problem.  So, I set one of the bags down on the sidewalk so I could use one hand to balance myself by holding on to the hood of the car, but I was still struggling to get onto the sidewalk.  The maintenance man for our apartment complex was working on the heat pump next door and saw me.  He immediately rushed over, took my arm, asked if I was alright, and helped me up onto the sidewalk.  He then insisted on carrying all three bags into the house for me.  Just a small thing?  Sure, but I was ever so grateful for his help … he didn’t have to do it, it isn’t part of his job to help an old lady whose too stubborn for her own good, but he’s a good person and so … he helped me.  This, my friends, means as much to me as someone who donates a million dollars to charity.  It’s those little acts of kindness that remind us of the bright side of humans.

A few days ago, another ‘good people’ and one of our own blogging buddies, Scottie, sent me an email with a video and said he thought perhaps I could use it for a forthcoming ‘good people’ post.  Well … long story short … this one brought a tear to my eye more than once!   The video is less than 8 minutes long, but it felt like only a minute … there are 30 … yes, 30 good people highlighted on this post … some doing small things, others risking their own lives or even giving a million dollars to a worthy cause!  As the narrator says at one point, “This is what it means to always remain human.”  Thank you so much, Scottie — you are good people too, y’know!

@grondamorin’s Twitter’s “Permanent Suspension” Woes

Hey friends! Our dear friend Gronda has been issued a lifetime ban by Twitter! For being honest. Just like the rest of us. Think we can get something going to remind Twitter that WE are the customers? Heck, if they can let some of the politicians like McCarthy on Twitter, surely a 72-year-old grandmother should have a voice!

Gronda Morin

See the source image

On June 22, 2022, I as @grondamorin was responding to a tweet, when I was surprised by the following Twitter notice:

Your account is permanently suspended

After careful review, we determined your account broke the Twitter Rules. Your account is permanently in read-only mode, which means you can’t Tweet, Retweet, or Like content. You won’t be able to create new accounts. If you think we got this wrong, you can submit an appeal.

On June 22, 2022, I did file an appeal with Twitter. Here’s some of what I wrote:

I’m a 72-year-old news junky who enjoys using my Twitter account. I have less than 2,000 followers and I follow less than 1000 folks, but my tweet impressions have ranged anywhere from 300,000 to 1M. As an ex-Republican Party member until 2016, I’m pretty moderate in my views.

Based on my memory, I was responding to a @DrAmyCarson…

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