An Eventful Evening

I was in the middle of a post that I had hoped to finish in time for this morning’s post, but I was interrupted and since I cannot corral my thoughts tonight, I am going with a post of a more personal nature.

Sometime between 4:00 and 5:00 this evening (Monday) I happened to walk by the living room windows that face our street, and saw not one, not two, but three Sheriff’s vehicles on the street.  Curious of course, I stepped out onto the sidewalk and saw that there was a fourth Sheriff’s car parked further down the street.  The officers seemed to have congregated around the apartment two doors down from mine.

Now, the sight of police here in da hood is nothing unusual, but that many is a bit concerning.  The next time I looked out, perhaps 15 minutes later, there were seven Sheriff’s vehicles and an unmarked SUV into which police were loading a dog … a police dog, I presume.

Those of you who know me know that I have little tolerance for drama and chaos, so around 7:00 I stepped out back on my patio and yelled at the police who were standing around their vehicles parked in the grassy backyard, “Hey … I’d like to know what the hell is going on!  I live here, I have a right to some information!”  Yeah, okay, maybe not the brightest thing, but in my defense, I hadn’t noticed the big guns they were holding.  Luckily, a very kind deputy came to my patio, calmly told me that there was a ‘very dangerous hostage situation’ and urged me to please go back inside.  I did.  I may not be the brightest bulb in the pack, but by this time my brain had engaged.

Checked the local news, but there was nothing to be found.

Below is a picture of my ‘quiet’ little street at about 9:00 p.m.

standoff

The house with all the lights on where that bright green light is shining is ours.

By this time, there were more than ten Sheriff’s vehicles surrounding our building, front-to-back and the street was closed off on both ends (it is a single block street with two buildings of attached townhouses on either side.)  An hour or so later, a SWAT team had been called in and spotlights were all over the place.

Finally, around 9:30, there was news on a local Fox channel saying it had begun as a domestic violence situation and escalated when the police showed up.  The man had a gun and had barricaded himself in his apartment.  Just before 11:00, daughter Chris went to bed (she gets up at 5:00 a.m. for her job), and granddaughter Natasha, aka Miss Goose, went upstairs to shower.  At last … a moment of quiet to sit down and work on my post!  Until …

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM …

Rapid gunfire … a searing pain from chest to back made me wonder briefly if I had been shot, but I was out of my chair and halfway up the stairs, so I figured I wasn’t the one they shot.  Checked on both girls, they were fine.  I returned to my ‘office’ at the kitchen table, but by that time, shaking like a leaf, I knew my post for this morning just wasn’t going to happen.

Sheriff’s deputies were walking up and down the street, between buildings, and through yards, so my first thought was that despite there being at least 50 cops, all with big guns, they had somehow missed, and this guy was on the loose.  Double-checked that both exterior doors were locked.  Checked the news … no updates.  I wanted to go out and ask one of the deputies, but Miss Goose was prepared to forcibly wrestle me to the ground … she may be little at barely 5’, but she’s got youth on her side!

At 11:58, I received a text message from my beautiful Iraqi friend Maha, who lives next door, saying …

“Juju everything is good.  He is die.  Police they killed him.”

And thus ends my exciting evening, although as of this writing, 1:17 a.m., there are still a SWAT van and at least six Sheriff’s vehicles on the street, with crime scene tape cordoning off the area.

But the events of the last 8 hours or so have made me think.  This was terrifying … and angering.  But there are people in the inner cities, people in other countries, who live through this scenario on a routine basis.  DAMN!  We complain over the smallest things … lately I have been bitching because my dishwasher is not working, and the apartment management has been slow to repair it.  But … wow … at least I’m alive to wash those dishes by hand.  We complain because we cannot go out and enjoy a Saturday night dinner at our favourite restaurant, because we must wear a mask to the grocery store.  You know what, folks?  We … most of us, anyway … have it so easy compared to so many people around the globe.  We take for granted things like being able to step outside our door without fear of being shot.  Tonight, I got just a small taste of what some people live through daily …

DAMN the gun culture in this country, and in fact DAMN the person who invented guns in the first place.  DAMN those people who think their ‘rights’ matter more than other people’s and who  think that violence is the answer to their problems.   And on that note, I shall try to catch up on some emails, for da hood is still swarming with police and there will be no sleep for Filosofa tonight.

Eve of Destruction

Everything that is happening in the U.S. today — the pandemic, highest death toll ever, Trump attempting to silence our voices, dirty cops being let off the hook, racism, civil rights protections for women, minorities, LGBT people under the 1964 Civil Rights Act being removed as Trump attempts to ‘burn it all down’ before he is forced out — it all makes me feel that this song is the right one for the day … perhaps more so today than ever before.

Eve of Destruction
Barry McGuire

The eastern world, it is explodin’,
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
And can’t you feel the fears I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
Take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
But when your return, it’s the same old place,
The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace,
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace,
Hate your next door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace,
And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.
No, no, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Songwriters: P. F. Sloan, 1965
Eve of Destruction lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Hello 2016 … er, um … 2021

I started to write a New Year’s post last night … it began like this …

Well, my friends, we made it through this year of sheer hell.  Most of us have survived not only the coronavirus pandemic, but also the pandemics of hatred and stupidity that have taken over our newsfeeds and the headlines in every major news source.  Sadly, I must remind you that a ‘new year’ is but a manmade contrivance to help us keep up with our lives, not an actual reset of events.  That said, I think 2021 will start just as 2020 ended … with a raging pandemic and political chaos; with people dying by the hundreds or thousands, with a megalomaniac and his bootlickers attempting to turn this republic into an autocracy by overturning our votes.  Nothing changes just because when the clock strikes midnight you pop the cork on a champagne bottle, kiss your loved ones, and turn the calendar to January 2021.  You won’t wake up in the morning to find that Donald Trump is in prison and that we actually have an intelligent, concerned president.  You won’t wake up to find that you can now go out for dinner, take in a movie, or pop over to the mall for a bit of shopping without wearing a mask.  You still won’t find toilet tissue, Lysol, or Clorox disinfectant wipes on your grocery shelves.  You will still be limited to two packages of meat at your local grocery store.  You will still be worried sick about sending your child back to school.  And more than 1,813,000 people will still be dead worldwide of a virus that is nowhere near being controlled. 

Um … not quite the tone I was shooting for, but very much an honest assessment.  Then, I began to wonder what my New Year’s post five years ago, the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 was like, so I went digging around in the archives.  I think you will find my words kinder and more hopeful back then, plus I think that, knowing what we know now, you will find some humour in it! 


I do not quite understand why it is, but most of us welcome in the new year with great hope for the next 365 days, almost as if we believe that the slate we were using for the past 365 days was wiped clean at the exact moment the ball hit bottom in Times Square, and we are now starting afresh with new hopes, new dreams, a clean slate on which to write a new story, a better one.  Okay, okay … I am not going to be a the one to dash those dreams, those ethereal images that you are seeing with such joy.  Life will see to that soon enough, probably when you awaken in the morning and turn on the news, pick up the morning newspaper, or boot up the computer.

Do you make resolutions at New Year’s?  I do not, so I am always curious about people who do.  Oh sure, I hope that I can do better at certain things than I have in the past, but that is pretty much a daily hope of mine.  Do people who do make resolutions start thinking about their resolutions a week in advance?  A month?  I once had a friend who made his resolution on the morning of January 1st … same resolution every year … when he awakened with a massive hangover and resolved then and there to quit drinking, effective immediately.  His resolution usually lasted for about 12 hours.  Have you ever made a resolution and actually kept it throughout the year?  I don’t think I personally know anybody whose resolution was anything other than a dim memory by January 31st, so I am curious if some people who do make resolutions actually do manage to keep to them.

I do not make resolutions, but I think about, based on the past year, what the year 2016 might bring.  It would be lovely, and I am sure some say this is their hope for the new year, to think that within the next twelve months we will see peace and prosperity around the world, an end to wars in the Middle East, an end to racism and bigotry in our own nation, more love and tolerance, less hatred toward our fellow man, and an end to the highly annoying facebook memes that attempt to compress complex socio-political issues into a single sentence.  Who wouldn’t love to see an end to ISIS, Boko Haram, al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations?  These are dreams we could all share, even if we are divided on who should be the next president of the U.S.  But sadly, just like the person who buys a lottery ticket and goes to bed dreaming of a new home, a new car, and telling his boss “I quit”, when we look back a year from now, I am pretty sure those problems will still exist, others will have joined them, and people will still be … well, human.

Filosofa is not a cynic, contrary to what you may think.  I am actually known in my circle of friends as quite the optimist … annoyingly to some.  But I am a pragmatist, a realist, and as such I do not live in a world of dreams.  One of the readers of this blog commented yesterday that we need to say to ourselves, “okay, the world is a mess … now how do we fix it?”  I like that attitude. So, while I do not make resolutions, I do have hopes.  Unlike hopes for world peace, an end to all war, etc., my hopes are that people will start asking themselves “what can I do to make the world a little bit better?”  And then start looking for answers.  The answers are all around you, if you just realize what the question is.  Many years ago, my answer to this question was, and still is, to treat everybody as human beings.  These days, I try to make a difference by writing, in hopes that I might be able to make just one person think about things that matter.  Most of us, realistically, are not in a position to bring about world peace.  We cannot all be Mother Teresa or Gandhi.  We cannot all be leaders of nations.  But we can make small differences within our own small spheres of influence, in our community, in our neighborhood.  We can volunteer one day a month at a homeless shelter or food pantry, we can help a neighbor who is struggling, we can donate unwanted clothing or food items to the poor.  We can find ways to fight violence without resorting to more violence.  We can talk a little bit nicer to people, say “good morning” and “thank you so much” to the young person who bags our groceries.  Think that doesn’t make a difference?  Think again.

So my hope for the new year is that we all try very hard to find the small things that we can do to help people we come into contact with every day.  No, it will not end the conflict in Syria, it will not eradicate Iran’s enriched uranium supply, and it will not remove Donald Trump from the presidential race, but a lot of little deeds add up to making the world just a little bit better.  You can be part of the problem or you can be part of the solution … your choice.

In closing, I wish each and every one of you a year of peace within your own family and circle of friends, good health and that you be able to meet all of your needs.  Happy New Year!

Jolly New Year Monday!

Happy Monday morn, my friends!  Come on in out of the cold … just toss your coats over there … Jolly is the coat keeper for the day!  This is always a weird week, I think.  Christmas is over, all except the cleaning up, putting away, etc., and it’s a short week, with New Year’s Eve on Thursday.  When I laboured outside the home, I always hated this week … trying to catch up from the previous week, but not really being able to because most people took a vacation week, and I couldn’t get the answers I needed.  I’m very much a creature of routine, and when my routine is wrecked two weeks in a row, I tend to get rather dark ‘n grumpy.  This year, however, I’m trying to be laid back … with everything else happening in the world, the small stuff really just doesn’t much matter.

So, did you all have a nice holiday?  I know many of you, especially in the UK where very strict lockdown regulations are in place, missed spending the holiday with your families or friends, but hopefully by next holiday season things will be vastly improved.

So, if it’s Monday it must be time for some humour to start the week out, right?  Grab a snack – Joyful wouldn’t let me in the kitchen, so I have no idea what she’s cooked up this morning – and we’ll go in search of a few chuckles.

tea              baconJollys girlfriend Joyful

good-xmas-donuts-2     juice boxes


The secret to a longer life?  Math!

Kane_TanakaI found this both interesting and the last bit highly humorous.

The world’s oldest person, Kane Tanaka, turns 118 on Saturday.  She was born in 1903, and lives in a nursing home in Japan, where she wakes up at 6 a.m and enjoys playing board games. Her secrets to longevity: eating good food and practicing math.

Practicing math???  Whoa … I better stop using the calculator on my phone to add 2+2 and start using my noggin a bit more, yes?


Uh-oh Santa … should’a stuck with the reindeer!

An unidentified Northern California man thought it would be cool to dress as Santa Claus and deliver candy canes to children in his community … via a motorized parachute.  Neighbors say he flies around the neighborhood often in his vehicle, but this time there was a bit of a hitch … ol’ Santa got entangled in a set of electrical wires!

He flew into a maze of power lines and wound up suspended in them, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

Santa-wires

The man, who wasn’t identified, was not injured. Video from the rescue shows the red-white-and-blue aircraft dangling overhead as Santa sat fastened to the pilot seat. Neighbors watched from the ground as crews worked.

Santa-wires-2Power was shut off during the rescue to about 200 customers in the Rio Linda area, according to Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District spokesman Chris Vestal.

“It’s unfortunate, but we all need to remember that there’s still a lot of good out in the world, there are people doing good things and to look at the brightness of the holiday season.”

“W/o a scratch & full of good cheer we made sure Old St. Nick will use his reindeer when he sees you later this year,” the fire department said in a tweet after the incident.


So, how about some New Year’s themed ‘toons?

toon-Maxine-2toon-Maxinetoon-15toon-15toon-14toon-13toon-12toon-11toon-4toon-5toon-5toon-6toon-7toon-8toon-9toon-3toon-2

"I told the downstairs neighbors they had to take their tree down by New Year's."


And, I have a few cute pictures to share with you …

cute-pic-1cute-pic-2cute-pic-3


The highlight of my life the past month or so has been a pair of grey squirrels that appear every morning outside my ‘office’ (kitchen table where I write this blog) window.  After a couple of days watching their antics, I started putting a handful of unsalted, unshelled peanuts out every morning for them, which they take great joy in.  Then, wanting to give them a more nutritious diet, I did some research and ordered a bag of “Critter Crunch” from the Audubon Society, which they also enjoy, but they still prefer the peanuts.  They hop all around the patio, jump from the wrought iron rocking chair to the top of the grill, to the handlebars of Miss Goose’s bicycle!  They are beginning to trust me a bit more, I think, and I smile every time I see them through my ‘window on the world’.  Their latest antic is teasing one of our cats, Pandi.  If she is sitting in the windowsill, they jump up on the outside window ledge and … I swear I think they laugh at her!  Her tail twitches, then quivers, she bats at the window, and the squirrels just sit there.  It is, truly, the highlight of my day.  So, I went in search of a cute squirrel video for this week’s Jolly Monday …


Well, my friends, it’s that time … time for us all to be about our appointed chores.  But take heart … it’s a short week!  Meanwhile, as you go about your week, please take time to lend a helping hand wherever you can, and share those gorgeous smiles with people who look like they need one.  Have a safe and happy week.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly and Joyful!

Filosofa Ponders Thanksgiving 2020

Today, in the United States, it is a holiday called Thanksgiving.  I won’t go into the history of the holiday, for frankly the history we all learned in our early school years was a white-washed lie.  But, for most of us the holiday lives on anyway, as we try to spend it with family and friends, remembering that no matter what is happening outside our front door, we still have much reason to be thankful … we live, we breathe, we have family and friends who love us, a roof over our head and food on our table … so much more than some people have.

That said … this year is a different kind of Thanksgiving.  The pandemic has had us in its grip for ten long months now, many of us have lost loved ones, our lives have been turned topsy-turvy, some have lost jobs and even their homes.  It feels … almost surreal, almost like a dream (nightmare) from which we keep hoping to waken.

For four years now, we in the U.S. have lived under a regime whose modus operandi was ‘divide and conquer’ and we have all paid a hefty price.  We are exhausted from it all, from trying to stay atop the latest ways in which our government was undermining our very foundations, blatantly disregarding our democratic processes, and indeed, our very lives.  We’ve lived with the most corrupt regime ever to occupy the highest echelons of the federal government in this country – if we thought that Richard Nixon was a crook … well, he looks like a cute puppy compared to the band of criminals whose salaries we’ve paid for four years now.

Today it was announced that new unemployment claims jumped to 78,000 from 18,000 the week before.  In the week of the election, nearly 26 million adults – 12% of all the adults in the nation – reported that their household didn’t have enough to eat.  As many as 40,000 people are behind on their rent or mortgage payments and at risk of losing their home.  When you look at this, you have to wonder – is there really anything to be thankful for?

My answer to that is that yes, despite it all, there is a lot to be thankful for.  We have just elected a good man, a decent and kind man to be our next president.  He is an intelligent man, has decades of experience in our government, first in the Senate and then for eight years as Vice President.  He is carefully choosing the best of the best for his cabinet and administration advisors.  He cares about the environment, he cares about the average person, he has a plan … he has a plan.  Joe Biden said something yesterday that was exactly what my favourite former boss once said to me … he said he wants his experts to tell him what he needs to know, not what he wants to hear.   That … that in itself is a breath of fresh air.

Yes, problems will still remain and I have no illusions that they can be resolved in a single four-year term, but … Biden and his team will do their level best to repair as much of the damage that has been done to this nation as possible.  Biden will be a president for the people, not just the wealthy CEOs of big corporations.  I listened to a clip from Joe Biden’s pre-Thanksgiving speech earlier tonight and I suddenly felt more confident, safer, and more hopeful than I have in the past four years.

The one thing, though, that We the People must do in order to help restore some semblance of order in our world is find a way to start resolving our differences.  This nation is more divided today than at any other time since 1865.  Hatred and violence are constant and exhausting.  We must begin finding ways to listen to one another, to forge a middle ground where we can meet halfway, for if we don’t, our nation will fail.  The ‘United’ States will become a conglomerate of separate countries, constantly at war with one another.

I will admit that my heart is not into the holidays this year, and were it not for the girls, I would be quite content to skip Thanksgiving and Christmas altogether.  I’m sure some of you feel the same.  But friends, when we stop and think about it, we do have much to be thankful for.  So, you can’t travel to Aunt Sadie’s for Thanksgiving dinner, or host Grammie ‘n Grampie.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s sad, but it’s not the end of the world.  Take a deep breath, remember that tomorrow the sun will come up, it will be a new day, and 24 hours closer to January 20th.  And now, I ask you to listen to this short clip, just 2 minutes 45 seconds, of parts of Joe Biden’s Thanksgiving speech yesterday.  And then, off you go to cook that turkey or emu, as it were!  Enjoy your Thanksgiving, keep safe, don’t over-stuff your bellies,  and remember … you have much to be thankful for … we all do.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa.

Open Letter To Republican Members Of Congress

Dear Senator/Representative,

I write today out of extreme frustration as a citizen of the United States, a person who has paid taxes since 1964 when I was but 13 years of age, and an independent voter who has voted since 1972 for both parties at various times.  I believe I have earned the right to speak my piece, and I shall do so now.

Since the U.S. Constitution was adapted in 1787, this nation has abided by certain standards, one of those being a fair and honest election whereby everyone has an equal voice, and once the results are tallied, they are accepted by all.  In the 2016 election, it was later proven that Russia aided and abetted the election campaign of Donald Trump, who actually lost the election by nearly 3 million votes, and yet due to the electoral system, was placed in office on January 20th, 2017.  His opponent, Hillary Clinton, graciously congratulated him on his ‘win’ the day after the election, as did then-President Barack Obama.

Fast forward to November 3rd, 2020, not quite three weeks ago.  The election was held, but results were not immediately available because of the surging pandemic that led many of us to vote by absentee ballot.  Within a couple of days, it became obvious that Joe Biden had won the election, had earned 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, and had scored over 6 million votes more than Donald Trump.  And yet … without one shred of proof or evidence, that result is being hotly contested by Trump and his lawyers.  Not only that, but Trump continually claims, falsely, that he won the election, that there was massive voter fraud, and that “the democrats stole” the election from him.

You know, and I know that not a single shred of evidence exists to support Trump’s claims.  Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the United States Department of Homeland Security, Christopher Krebs, said that the 2020 election was the most secure in the history of the nation.  He was fired for telling the truth and for doing his job.  Still, Donald Trump continues to create chaos by making false claims.

In the past week, four members of Congress have followed their conscience and condemned Trump’s attempt to cast doubt on the validity of the election:  Senator Mitt Romney, Senator Ben Sasse, outgoing Senator Lamar Alexander, and Senator Pat Toomey.  Each of the four have said it is time for Trump to face the fact that he lost and be gracious in conceding the election.  YOU, however, remain silent.  I ask you now … WHY?  You know that Joe Biden won the election honestly and fairly.  You know that Donald Trump is a temperamental, dishonest ‘man’, lacking in integrity, who has done more damage to this country than the last ten presidents combined.  So … why are you silent?  Your silence speaks volumes about your character.

Surely you must realize that Trump is casting doubt, not only on the integrity of the 2020 election, but on our democratic processes as he continues to rant and rave about things that simply do not exist.  You have achieved one of the highest-ranking positions in the nation, so surely you must be an intelligent and well-educated individual, and yet at this moment, it appears that you are without conscience.

I, and my fellow citizens, call on you today … yes, TODAY … to condemn Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and actions, to demand that he concede the election so that President-elect Biden’s transition team can get to work, planning for a smooth transition and the ongoing safety of the nation.  IF you do not, if you continue to enable Trump and his minions to undermine the democratic processes of this nation without so much as a whimper on your part, then you do not deserve the position you hold.  Know that, if you continue to allow this to go on without adding your voice to those of Senators Romney, Sasse, Toomey, and Alexander, then I and others will work tirelessly the next time you are facing a re-election bid, to ensure that the American public knows just how disinterested in the future of this nation and its people you are, and I will work to support your opponent, whoever he or she may be.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison – citizen, taxpayer, voter


Note to readers:  I have sent this letter to Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Representative Warren Davidson, and am planning to send it to the local newspaper, as well.  The silence in the GOP on this matter is deafening and we cannot wait forever for these members of Congress to find their consciences.  Feel free to adapt and use the letter if you wish.

Musings From The Rabbit Hole — Unity

Joe Biden, who will take the Oath of Office in just 67 days, has promised to try to unify the people of this country … unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office who has done nothing but divide us.  I applaud that effort, and until yesterday I naively thought it might just be possible.  I still hope that it can be done … certainly if anybody can, Biden is among the best candidates to do so.  But today I have my doubts.  I don’t want to be negative or a naysayer, for we all need all the hope we can find, but I am nothing if not a pragmatist, a realist. Yesterday as I perused the news, considered what was happening, it occurred to me that a large number – about half – of the people in this nation do not want unity, but rather thrive on division and chaos.

Certainly, there have always been political divisions in this country and always will be, for we are a nation of humans, but what we are experiencing now goes beyond ideological differences and into the arena of personal hatred.  This “Reign of Cruelty” as I term the past four years, has changed us, has made us more willing to accept things that we once abhorred.  It has made us less human.

I hate that it has boiled down to Republican vs Democrat and the language of hate, the finger-pointing, the blame game is always … always the fault of everyone who identifies with one party or another.  I, too, have been guilty of saying, “The republicans only want …” or “The republicans are the cause of …”, and it’s not something I’m proud of, but admittedly it will likely happen again, for I am human.

Today, thousands of people are gathered in Washington to … what?  I’m not sure what they hope to accomplish, but they are protesting the results of the election, results that clearly prove Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. They are parroting Trump’s false claim that the election has been ‘stolen’, that there was massive voter fraud, even though this has been disproven.  They’ve brought their guns, they’ve brought their Proud Boys, their maga hats, their Trump banners, and while so far nobody has been killed, I won’t be surprised if there is violence and death before the day is done.

I am neither a democrat nor a republican, but for the past twenty years or so, I have found nothing particularly valuable in the republican platform, while I do support the same sorts of things the Democratic Party supports, things like providing affordable health care for everyone, women’s rights, equal rights for the LGBT community, equal opportunities for people of all colours and religions in such areas as housing and employment.  I support raising the minimum wage, workplace safety, and perhaps most importantly, taking care of the planet that we have long neglected.

The pandemic perfectly highlights the differences between the two ‘sides’ in this nation.  We cannot even agree to protect each other from a deadly virus, cannot agree on something so simple as wearing a mask in public, else staying home.  If we cannot agree on even that, how can we possibly come to terms on such things as environmental regulations, universal health care, and ending systemic racism?

This nation was founded on freedom of religion, which also means freedom from religion, and yet today a growing portion of the population believes that their religious beliefs ought to be the basis of the laws that we must all live under, even those of us who do not share their beliefs.  This only further divides us … wars have been fought over this very thing, but we fail to learn the lessons of history.

The effort to unify will require compromise, and I just don’t see a willingness among the people of this nation to budge so much as an inch, let alone meet the other side at the halfway mark.  What will it take to bring the people of this nation together, united in a common goal?  Will it take bombs being dropped on us by an outside entity?  Will it take the deaths of half the people in the nation before we open our eyes and realize that we cannot keep killing each other?

Can we possibly set aside our vitriol and hate for a moment and think about the things we have in common?  Or do we still have anything in common?  I think we do … we all love our families and want the best for them, we just don’t agree on what is the best or how to achieve it.  We all have certain basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and breathable air … we just don’t agree on how to achieve those things.  We all want our children to have a good education … we just don’t agree on what, exactly, that is.  So yes, we have much in common, but we view it from different perspectives.  All of which would be fine, if we respected each other, respected others’ viewpoints and agreed to compromise.  Instead, we try to shove our views down the throats of others.

If you’re waiting for me to tell you how we can fix this … don’t hold your breath, for I have no idea.  I only hope that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are far wiser than I and can make decisions and policies that will help narrow what I refer to as the Great Divide.

♫ I’ve Gotta Be Me ♫

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

Jolly Monday — Cliff Notes Version

Good Monday morning, my friends.  Jolly, Joyful and I are … a) recuperating from Hallowe’en, and b) preparing for tomorrow night.  I was in favour of skipping Jolly Monday this week, but I was outnumbered by the other two, so agreed to a compromise … no humorous stories, only a few treats, but plenty of ‘toons, memes, funny signs, and a cute animal video!  We hope to be back in full swing next week … depending, I suppose, on what happens between now and then.  So, grab a cookie or something and come see the cartoons!



Lots o’ TOONS!!!

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A few funny signs …

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Some humorous memes …

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The other day, I was looking out the front window wondering why there were sunflower seeds all over our tiny front yard, when Miss Goose noticed a squirrel sitting atop the tallest sunflower (now drooping) eating the seeds and spitting out the shells on the ground!  It was just the cutest thing … we stood at the window watching for a good half-hour … most fun I had all week!  Here are a few of the pictures …

So, when I started looking for a cute animal video for Jolly Monday, of course I thought of squirrels.  I think this one fit the bill perfectly!


Well, folks, I hope you found something to smile about, and we apologize for the rather abbreviated version of Jolly Monday.  My wish for my U.S. friends is that you are able to hang on to some of your sanity in the week ahead.  And please, whatever you do, remember to share those smiles with all you encounter.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly, and Joyful!

Snarky Snippets Volume MLXIV

I don’t honestly know how anybody can not have an overload of angst these days, but some appear to be perfectly content doing whatever it is they do and largely ignoring the fires that are burning all around them.  More power to them, I suppose, but I just don’t understand it.  I, on the other hand, have such an overload of angst that I punched my coffee pot this morning and called it a b*tch, even though it is a male!  What … you didn’t know appliances had gender?  Of course they do, just like cars, eagles, puppies and people!

Anyway … lucky you, dear friends, get the dubious honour of listening to me vent my snarkiness!  Hold on tight …


Politicizing food …

Back in April, as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) started a program called the Farmers to Families Food Box Program whereby the Department purchases agriculture products and distributes food boxes to local food banks for distribution to people in need.  The food boxes contain a combination of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and meat products.  A worthy cause, for certain.

Recently, however, the boxes began to include something else … a letter in both Spanish and English, signed by none other than Donald Trump.

The utter arrogance of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office should not surprise me, right?  Nothing should surprise me anymore, but … I find my hinged jaw still drops when I read stuff like this …

Trump requires food aid boxes to come with a letter from him

This, my friends, is a sign of a desperate and despicable ‘man’!  This is, in the words of one food bank director, ‘egregious’.  I think there is no word in the English language that can fully describe what a foul act this is by a foul ‘man’.  It is reported that this was Ivanka Trump’s idea in the beginning.

Anti-hunger advocates and food bank workers are outraged, saying the move violates the Hatch Act and compromises relationships with the food-insecure people they serve, but attorneys say that since the election is not mentioned, there is no Hatch Act violation.  Personally, I think that since Donald Trump has not contributed one single dime to this program, nor was it his idea, then he has no right to mandate his name be included.

Many food banks are removing the letters from the boxes at the distribution sites, which of course takes extra time.  Some recipients who received the letter have thrown them out of their car windows.


Banned again …

twitter-6Well, Twitter has once again banned Filosofa, this time only for 12 hours, though … last time, when I referred to a female Fox News ‘host’ as a bimbo (she really is!), I was banned for three whole days!

So, what did I do this time?  I happened upon this tweet

Trump-tweetAnd my fingers were flying before I had time to stop them.  Still, what I said wasn’t all that bad … not a single bit of foul language, no threat, no name-calling.  I simply said that if he honestly believed he won Tuesday’s debate, he is deranged and belongs in a mental institution rather than the Oval Office.

Within minutes, I received this email from Twitter …Twitter-noticeNow, I think it is hilarious that what I said is considered “glorifying violence”!  How does this in any way, shape or form ‘glorify violence’???  I’ve seen far worse things on Twitter by Trump’s two sons, Junior and Eric, and in fact I’ve seen worse by Trump himself.  I could have appealed, but I don’t care enough to waste my time … Twitter can ban me for life and I won’t lose a moment’s sleep over it, but I just thought it was ridiculous.  Ah well, I wear my suspension as a badge of honour!Badge_Honour


Breonna’s murderer wants your help

It was just over a week ago that I wrote of the fact that none of the three officers who fired the shots that killed an innocent woman, Breonna Taylor, were indicted.  The only indictment handed down in relation to the case was against one officer who fired shots into a neighboring apartment, where nobody was injured.

Myles-CosgroveToday, I was incensed to read that one of the three officers, Myles Cosgrove, who whether officially or not, did indeed take part in the murder of Ms. Taylor, has set up an account on a “Christian crowdfunding site” GiveSendGo so he can “purchase the remainder of his service time” and retire!  That’s right, folks, he says that it will be impossible for him to return to work because he feels that he and his family are in danger.  But, what really galled me … well, two things actually.  The first is a portion of a statement by his family …

“With regards to the media, nationally and locally, the Breonna Taylor case has been forged into a tool for an agenda that has no regard for the lives that are being destroyed.”

Lives that are being destroyed???  What about Breonna Taylor’s life???  He and two other officers, men entrusted with the safety of the public, robbed Breonna Taylor of her life!  And he has the unmitigated gall to ask people for help and say he is the victim here?  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The other thing that angered me was seeing that already the fund has received 943 donations totaling $44,838!  Apparently there are a lot of fools out there who would rather support a murderer than donate to a legitimate charity that feeds the poor or shelters the homeless!  Oh, and by the way, the same site, GiveSendGo, hosts another murderer, Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and murdered two people.  His account has received 12,596 donations totaling $535,361!  What the hell is wrong with people???


And now, Filosofa will take a few minutes to catch her breath and listen to some music to try to calm the snark monster within!  OH … By the way … I almost forgot that today is World Smile Day!  Since I won’t be doing a separate post about it this, year, please do take a minute or two to check out my post from last year!

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