Happy Mother’s Day … With Humour!

Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S.  I bet you can’t tell me the name of the person who is credited with the idea for a national holiday recognizing mothers?  Well, although Julia Ward Howe inspired the first movement toward a national observance during the Civil War, her idea didn’t quite catch on – perhaps the nation was still reeling from the divisive war, casualties, deprivations and didn’t feel like celebrating anything, even their mothers!  But a half-century later, in 1905, Anna Jarvis successfully introduced the idea for a national holiday recognizing mothers.  The first observance of Mother’s Day came on May 10th, 1908, at Jarvis’ church in Grafton, West Virginia.  By 1911, the celebration was observed in most states until on May 9th, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday to be held on the second Sunday of May.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2020 there were some 85 million mothers in the U.S., and in 2022 it is estimated that $31.7 billion were spent on gifts, flowers, and cards to celebrate mothers.  🙄 Leave it to the marketing industry to convince people they must spend, spend, spend, when a simple hug and an “I love you, Mom” would have sufficed.

But wait … there’s more to the story!  Jarvis’ idea was for a small, intimate occasion—a son or daughter honoring the mother they knew and loved—and not a celebration of all mothers.  But, as people are wont to do, they grabbed the proverbial ball and ran with it, turning it into a multi-billion dollar commercialized fiasco each year.  Anna Jarvis soon became disgusted as Mother’s Day almost immediately became centered on the buying and giving of printed cards, flowers, candies and other gifts.

Seeking to regain control of the holiday she founded, Jarvis began openly campaigning against those who profited from Mother’s Day, including confectioners, florists and other retailers. She launched numerous lawsuits against groups using the name Mother’s Day, and eventually spent much of her sizable inheritance on legal fees.

In 1925, when an organization called the American War Mothers used Mother’s Day as an occasion for fundraising and selling carnations, Jarvis crashed their convention in Philadelphia and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Later, she even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day as an occasion to raise money for charity. By the 1940s, Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the calendar.

Her efforts were to no avail, however, as Mother’s Day had taken on a life of its own as a commercial goldmine. Largely destitute, and unable to profit from the massively successful holiday she founded, Jarvis died in 1948 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.

In total, Mother’s Day spending exceeds $20 billion each year, according to the National Retail Foundation. In addition to the more traditional gifts (ranging from cards, flowers and candy to clothing and jewelry), one survey showed that an unprecedented 14.1 percent of gift-givers plan to buy their moms high-tech gadgets like smartphones and tablets. (Some people have more money than they have good sense, eh?)

On a personal note, I made a huge screw-up this year 😖, but I cannot tell you about it just yet, for it involves my gift to my daughter (because she is the mum now, and the best one I know!) and she sometimes reads my blog posts, but I’ll tell you later. 🙄

At any rate, to all the mothers reading this post, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!  And now … the ‘toonists get to have their say about the day …

Saturday Surprise — Critters, Critters, Critters!

Whew!  We made it to the weekend, my friends!  There for a time, I thought it might be questionable.  After the week we’ve had, I think the only way to start the weekend is with some … whaddya think … guess again … CRITTERS!!!  Oh … the title gave it away, huh?

First critter is our own furry family member, Pandi, short for Pandora, who underwent surgery last Friday to remove four tumours and was sent home on Saturday with pain meds and a “collar of shame” that has cost me a few night’s sleep and depressed the heck out of her.  On the upside, last night Goose and I decided the collar must GO … after all, she had learned how to get out of it and her stitches and staples were healing nicely.  So, a few before and after pics …


And now onto bigger sorts of critters …

Pedro Jarque Krebs, born in Lima, Peru in 1963, is a Peruvian wildlife photographer, best known for his darkly ambianced, studio- quality close-up portraits of beasts, large birds, and other wild animals.  He has numerous awards to his credit, including Sony World Photography Awards, SipaContest, IPA, and Px3. Krebs also draws attention to extinction problems like the fact that more than half of our planet’s animal populations have been wiped out in the last 50 years. Let’s take a look at some of his work …

And now that you’ve hopefully started the weekend out with a smile and a warm heart, go forth and have a wonderful weekend!

The Rich Get Richer … And We Help Them!

One of my pet peeves these days is the income disparity in this country … in the words of Percy Bysshe Shelley, “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”  Of late, I have been having an ongoing battle with my conscience regarding my relationship with Amazon.  I have been a member of Amazon Prime for a number of years now.  I buy most all of our household products such as toilet paper, Tide pods, dish detergent, etc., from Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” program.  I own a Kindle and purchase a book or two most weeks.  Amazon has become my ‘go-to’ place for most of our non-food needs, for it is convenient — delivery to my doorstep, most often the next day — and I save money.  But of late, I feel guilty every time I hit the button to give more money to Mr. Jeff Bezos.

A letter I received this morning from Senator Bernie Sanders added fuel to the fire burning in my guilty conscience.  An excerpt from that letter …

Yet in the midst of all of the crises we currently face, Congress will likely be voting next week on a bill that provides tens of billions in corporate welfare to some of the most profitable corporations and wealthiest people on the planet. This bill provides $53 billion to the profitable microchip industry with no taxpayer protections and, if you can believe it, another $10 billion to Blue Origin, a space company owned by Jeff Bezos.

Amazon, which is owned by Bezos, is a company which, in a given year, pays nothing in federal income taxes after making billions in profits. And, by the way, in a given year Bezos has himself paid nothing in federal income taxes despite being worth nearly $200 billion.

Jeff Bezos has enough money to buy a $500 million yacht.

Jeff Bezos has enough money to buy a $23 million mansion with 25 bathrooms in Washington, D.C.

No. I do not think that the taxpayers of this country need to be providing a $10 billion bailout to Jeff Bezos to fuel his space hobby.

25 bathrooms???  Seriously???  Who in hell needs 25 bathrooms???  We have a 1,190 square foot townhouse that we pay $1,281 in rent for every month, with 2.5 bathrooms and we feel that is a luxury!  My daughter works 60+ hours a week as a nursing manager to pay the rent and recently received a promotion – with additional responsibilities, but no increase in pay!  And we’re helping support a man who has 25 bathrooms in one house, a half-billion-dollar yacht, and pays NO taxes?  It’s high time for Dickens’ ghosts of Christmas to pay Mr. Bezos a visit and see if he can be changed as Mr. Scrooge was!

In all good conscience, I do not think I can continue feeding the dragon.  Granted, the amount of money I spend on Amazon in a year is but a drop in the bucket for Mr. Bezos, but … a lot of drops are what fills the bucket, and Mr. Bezos’ bucket runneth over already.


And just for a bit of humour …

Things That Go Bump In The Night

I’ve heard it said that as one nears the end of this life, one becomes more introspective.  I believe that is true … it has been the cause of many a sleepless night of late.  While I’m not as brave as I once was, I am in many ways more courageous.  Yes, there is a difference between the two.  I used to be brave in the most foolhardy of ways … tempting fate, afraid of neither man nor beast.  Today, I am afraid of such things as driving the car more than a mile to the grocery store.  I was thinking the other night about some of the jobs I’ve had … why, I wouldn’t have the chutzpah to even apply for most of them today!  I’ve faced angry men pointing a gun at me, car wrecks, hurricanes … and never really felt afraid.  But today, though I may not be as brave as I once was, I have courage … a totally different thing.

I have the courage to say to Vladimir Putin when he threatens us with annihilation if we continue to help Ukraine, “F*CK YOU, Vlad!  You do not rule the world, you have no right to tell the United States to whom it can provide assistance, whether weapons, food, medical supplies, or whatever.”  I am not afraid of what Vladimir Putin can do to the United States, but rather am angry over his veiled threats. I think the reason for my ability to spit in Putin’s face is that the people of the United States are doing far more harm from within than Putin or Kim Jong-un or Xi Jinping can possibly do.  And that, my friends, is the bane of my existence, the thing that keeps me awake until daybreak most nights, the thing that makes me glad to be at the end of life rather than at the beginning.  The people of this nation … nay, of the world … seem not to give a damn about anyone but themselves.

But then I remember that even after I’m gone, many people I care a great deal about will be left to face this not-so-brave new world, the world where hatred and violence seem to be valued far more than love and peace.  A world where guns matter more than people, where religion has largely become a farce that would be better suited to a Broadway stage than a church.  Many people blame the former guy for the current state of the U.S., but I contend he is but a symptom, for the loons were out spewing their hatred long before he entered the picture.  He was their tool, their hope to inject their toxic bile into the lives of everyone in this nation.  Remember that although he lost the election by nearly 3 million votes, some 62,984,828 people did actually cast a vote for a madman with no relevant education, no government experience, a bloated ego, no humanitarianism, no compassion, no moral compass, and very little common sense.  Nearly sixty-three million people were so ensconced in their bigotry, their hatred of ‘other’, their desire to turn this nation into something ugly, that they were willing to hand over the reins of power to a madman largely because he shared their bigotry.

Why does someone have to have the same skin colour as you do in order for you to call him ‘friend’?  Why must everyone believe in the same religious rites and rituals, the same deity as you before you can tolerate them?  It would be like me saying that if you don’t like peanut butter (nature’s most perfect food!) then I cannot be friends with you and thus I must dominate you!  C’mon, people!  Remember that we are ALL equal inhabitants of this planet, which brings me to another source of my sleeplessness …

We are knowingly, consciously, and deliberately destroying our home.  Make no mistake … the planet has put up with a lot from us humans, but it is telling us in many ways that it’s done with us, that if we don’t change our ways, it will evict us.  Ask yourself this … would you still drive that gas-guzzling SUV or keep your thermostat at a cool 70° all summer if you knew … knew that doing so would mean your grandchildren would die a slow, painful death in 20-30 years?  Would you still support the fossil fuel industry, eat beef & pork, and fly to the opposite coast for a vacation or a wedding if you knew that by the end of this century, humans would be dying for a lack of potable water, food, and even air to breathe?  Apparently, as I look around, the answer to that question is “yes, live for today and to hell with tomorrow.”

I am sick and tired of the new definitions given to words and used as rhetoric to monger hatred between groups of people.  You know the words I mean – words like ‘woke’ and ‘grooming’ that are slung like hash intended to insult and offend.  I’m sick and damn tired of all the name-calling and mud-slinging against anyone who doesn’t agree with someone else.  I’m sick and tired of people who value a dollar more than a life.  I’m sick and tired of every single thing having to be a divisive political issue.  It’s almost become impossible to even say “Good morning” to someone without it starting an argument!  I’ve heard it said that if one thing or another happens, it will cause a new civil war.  Personally, I think this nation is already engaged in civil war on many fronts:  political, racial, religious, wealth vs poverty, etc.

Yesterday, I heard that J.D. Vance, the author of a single book who is now running to replace Senator Rob Portman next year, said that childless people should not be allowed to vote, and that people with children should be given one vote for each child they produce.  This, my friends, is an extreme, but apt example of the lunacy that is devouring this country.  It is heartbreaking to watch a nation that I was once glad to have been born in devolve to this point.  It is infuriating to watch people who seemingly take pride in their ignorance choose the side of hatred and division.  It is gut-wrenching to know that this is the world I’m leaving to my daughter and granddaughter.

So yes, today I have courage that I didn’t have when I was young and foolish.  I have the courage to think for myself and to say what I think.  I have the courage to go against the flow, to call out evil when and where I see it, to do my part to protect the future for our children and grandchildren and to demand that others do the same.  Too bad I didn’t find that courage when I was younger – I might have been able to make a difference.

A Short Tribute To A Good Man

People come into our lives seemingly at random, some stay a few minutes, some a lifetime, but many stay long enough to earn a place in our hearts and our memories.  They may leave because of death, because of a disagreement, or simply physical distance, though the Internet has done much to shorten those physical spans.  Today, I learned of the death of one such person … a friend … nay, a member of my blogging family … who left an indelible mark on my heart and who will be sorely missed.  Many of you may remember him … Hugh Curtler.

A retired college professor of philosophy, Hugh was among the wisest men I knew.  More than once, he pulled me back to the realm of reality when my take on the political situation went out of bounds, and while I always listened to his wise words, I often failed to live up to his standard.  Like our mutual friend Keith, Hugh was my gold standard for common sense, for knowing how to respond to things said in the heat of a moment.

I knew that Hugh was battling cancer back in 2020, but for a long time he continued to post on his blog, email me fairly regularly, and comment on mine and others’ blog posts.  His last posts were in January and February 2021, and emails to him later last year went unanswered.  I knew … somewhere deep down, I knew … but I didn’t want to think about it, so like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, I didn’t think about it … much … except on those sleepless nights.

I have a book of Hugh’s, Alone in the Labyrinth, that he signed along with a short note and mailed to me back in early 2021.  I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

There is much I probably could say about Hugh … he was a kind man, a good man, a wise man … but it is his own words that are best suited to remind us of who Hugh Curtler was.  Below are links to just a few of my favourite among his many posts.  Today, I am saddened by the loss of Hugh, but enriched for having known him.

Good Folks

Change

How Free Are We?

If, I say

Thank you, Hugh, for always being my rock, my ‘go-to’ when I needed a bit of good sense.  I will miss you, as I know others will … you were a big part of our ‘blogging family’ and I loved you!  R.I.P. Hugh Curtler

A Few Thoughts …

A few days ago, our friend Roger and I were chatting, and he happened to mention an old movie that I saw way back in the day, Inherit the Wind (1960).  I could remember very little of it, so I went to Wikipedia to be reminded of the story … oh yeah … it was based on the Scopes Monkey Trial, formally The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, in 1925 in small-town Tennessee.  I decided to watch the movie again, having forgotten most of it in the 50 years or so since I first saw it.  I’m glad I did, and I highly recommend it.

This movie has some of the best acting of all time.  Spencer Tracy, Frederic March, Dick York (of Bewitched fame), and Harry Morgan (of Dragnet and M*A*S*H fame) outdid themselves in this one.  But it wasn’t only the acting.  It was the film itself, the message, that cost me a couple of nights’ sleep.  It was seeing, or rather being reminded, of the cruelty of the human race, of man’s closed minds when it comes to views that do not match his own.

It is Spencer Tracy’s final words in the movie that provoke thought.  Speaking of his antagonist, Matthew Harrison Brady (Frederic March), as he speaks to newspaperman E.K. Hornbeck (Gene Kelly) he begins …

“A giant once lived in that body, but Matt Brady got lost because he looked for God too high up and too far away.”

And with those few words, I was reminded of the evangelical movement here in the U.S. today.  Is it possible that a person can believe in God or Allah or Buddha without adhering to a religion?  What, after all, does religion do?  It provides rites and rituals that manipulate people, that dictate what they must believe and how they must act.  And it expands … it attempts to mold all people into its set of values.  If a religion proclaims that homosexuality is wrong, then LGBTQ people must be either converted or exorcised from society.  If a religion teaches that white people have a higher value than all others, then Blacks, Hispanics, Middle Easterners … well, more than half of the world’s population must be set apart, given lesser roles in society.  If a religion teaches that women are lesser creatures than men, then women must be subjected to being ruled, told what to do and how to act, by men.

Religion, from what I’ve seen, promotes exclusion and hatred … hatred toward those who are considered to be somehow ‘different’, whether by the colour of their skin, their gender, or simply the fact that they don’t buy into the story of the world being created in just six days.

A personal story … when I was married, I lived in a small town in Virginia and my best friend was the wife of my husband’s cousin.  As our friendship progressed and we learned more about each other, she invited me to join their church.  As a non-believer and anti-religionist, I politely declined … no criticism, just a polite, “Thanks, but no thanks.”  Well, when she told her husband Danny, my husband’s cousin, he told her that she must ‘convert’ me, or if she couldn’t do that, she must stop being friends with me.  That, my friends, is how religion works … it segregates humans into cults or clans where only those with the exact same features and beliefs can be a part of their world.  There is no room for new ideas, new thoughts … you either fit in or you’re out.

Inherit the Wind takes place in a small town where the majority of the people are of the same church; they think alike, and new ideas are not welcomed.  The teacher in this case (York) was caught teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and it was this that landed him in the courtroom, fighting for the right to teach credible science, fighting for his right to be a teacher.  That’s all … he only wanted to open kids’ minds to other ways of thinking, to new ideas.  Rather like some of today’s teachers who only want to teach acceptance of Black people, Middle-Easterners, and LGBTQ people, but some in this nation are so scared of losing that white supremacy concept they found in church that they refuse to allow young people’s minds to be opened.  They feel threatened by new ideas, or even the teaching of history.

I think it is possible to believe in a god … whether you call it God, Buddha, Allah, Jain, or any other … without being religious.  There is much wrong in the world today … our environment is in decline, people are starving all around the globe, democracy is in decline, and people need/want to be able to believe that there is purpose in life, that somewhere, somehow, there is order in the chaos.  I get that.  But religion is only adding to the problems when it seeks to exclude certain people or ideas, when it seeks to close minds rather than open them, when it seeks to hide the truth from future generations.

Saturday Surprise … On Stolen Cars and Stolen Hearts

I must be feeling a bit nostalgic today, for this post, first published in 2017, is a humorous personal account.  Now, if you’re wondering why I’m reduxing yet another Saturday Surprise, I’ve been hard at work on my post for this afternoon, and due to poor sleep lately I’m not quite up to speed today.  I think you’ll find some humour here, though!


One suggestion when I first started the Saturday Surprise feature came from Erika of Dorky Mom Doodles, who said, “I’d love to hear more about how your experiences/life stuff has shaped you and your beliefs.” Now personally, I don’t think my life has been all that interesting.  No doubt the experiences of the past 66 years have contributed to who I am today … but again, not all that interesting.  However … since I am very tired at the end of a very long week, and since Erika is a good friend from long before, I thought I would give it a shot this Saturday.  So, I present you with two somewhat humorous glimpses into my past … one from 50 years ago, the other from less than 12 hours ago.


My First Car Theft …

I was a really ornery child, and an even ornerier teen.  You guys thought I was always a real sweetheart, right?  Well, I joined the workforce at age 13, and my parents, who traveled frequently, decided that if I was old enough to have a job, I was old enough to look after myself, so I had a great deal of  autonomy at a very early age.  Oh sure, the neighbor was supposed to ‘check in’ on me, and my father’s secretary would call once in a while, but otherwise, I was on my own.  So, I learned to drive.  I worked with a lady who had a ’57 Buick, stick shift, and though I probably almost ground her gears to a nub, she did teach me to drive.

Now, my parents were trusting souls, and the keys to the family car were left atop their dresser in their bedroom.  Whenever they were out of town, I took the car keys and went out.  Let me just intersperse here, that I wasn’t really bad … I did not do drugs, nor alcohol, nor sex … I just liked to drive and feel free.  So, I took the car out, went to visit friends, went to the library, sometimes a movie … and then I went home to bed.  This went on for several months, and I wasn’t too bright, for I didn’t think they would ever find out … I mean, I put the keys back just so every time.

vista-cruiserBut apparently some of my parents’ friends saw me toodling about town in the ol’ Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon, and reported my transgressions.  Nothing was said, but the next time they left for the other coast, the keys were nowhere to be found.  So, I did what any self-respecting ornery teen would do … no, I did not stay home and watch Dragnet … I had a friend teach me to hot-wire a car, and off I went!  Unfortunately, the car was low on fuel, so when I stopped for gas, I then had to pop the hood and cross the wires to re-start it.  I guess someone thought that was a bit odd and called the cops.  So ended my first experience in grand theft auto.

behind bars

Shortly thereafter I bought my own car, a ’56 Chevy, for $50 and never needed to steal one again!

56 chevy


A Cute Kid and Expensive Popcorn …

This evening I needed a few things from the store … salad fixings, since Chris is out of town until late Sunday night, so Miss Goose and I are on our own.  So, I borrowed (no, I did not steal it … I asked for the keys and she happily handed them over) my neighbor and friend Maha’s car, and set off for Kroger.  Upon entering the store, there were a gaggle of Boy Scouts in the lobby, and the cutest, most adorable little guy came running to me immediately.  He was maybe 5-6 years old, curly sand-blonde hair, and thick, horn-rimmed glasses.  I think he may have reminded me of myself at that age, for I fell in love with this little guy.  He held up a bag of something … backward, so I had no idea what it was … and said, “Please, please, please buy some?”

I asked him to turn the bag around, and it turned out to be white cheddar popcorn.  Now, I love white cheddar anything, and I always try to be supportive of the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, so I told him I had just a bit of shopping to do, would be back out in 5 minutes and would then buy some.  When I came out just a few minutes later, li’l cutie came running up to me, grabbed my legs, and said “you came back!!!”  Oh be still my heart!

cute-kid

So, I proceeded to the table where the scout moms had the goods on a long table, along with a calculator and a cash box, little guy still clinging to me.  I picked up a bag of the white cheddar popcorn and saw a bag of caramel corn, so I picked up one of those too.  Now, best I recall, last year those were each around $5.  So, waiting for scout-mom to use that calculator and tell me a total, I pulled a $20 from my pocket.  Yeah … you already see it coming, don’t you?  Guess … just GUESS how much?

$35

Yes, $35 for two bags of not-even-very-great popcorn!!!  Me being me, I would normally have explained to those scout-moms what they might do with their overpriced popcorn … but there was my little guy with the thick glasses, looking up at me with what I can only define as love … and so, I sighed, pulled another $20 out of my pocket, and left with 2 bags of salad, some crispy onion straws, and $35 worth of popcorn.  It does occur to me that I should have had the opportunity to bring the little guy home for a day or two, for the price.

download


So now you have seen both my extremes … the car thief and the softee.  Hope I did not bore you beyond tears or cause you to re-paint your image of me in a darker shade.  Now it’s your turn … share with us, if you will, a funny story from your past in the comment section!  And then go out there and have a terrific weekend!  Love and hugs to you all …

My View: There Are Not “Two Sides” on Ukraine

I do not like censorship. I believe that free speech, within certain limits, is an integral part of any democratic nation. That said, I struggled last week with a decision to moderate comments from a couple of readers. One such reader has been disrespectful to other readers, and both promote blatant lies and conspiracy theories in their comments. I did not make that decision lightly nor happily, but after much inner debate (those conversations between me, myself, and I sometimes get volatile!), I decided it was the right thing to do. I am obviously not alone in making this decision, as fellow blogger Diane Ravitch writes in her latest post.  Thanks, also, to Bob Shepherd for pointing me to Ms. Ravitch’s blog!

Diane Ravitch's blog

As regular readers know, I have received and posted several comments complaining that I don’t write posts showing “both sides” or “different sides” on Ukraine. They disapprove of my support for Ukraine and my criticism of Putin.

In some cases, the commenters have included links to articles or videos claiming that Putin had no choice but to invade Ukraine because…he felt encircled by NATO, or he needed to protect Russians in Ukraine, or Ukraine is overrun by Nazis, or some policy analyst warned that NATO’s expansion would provoke Putin. Other commenters claim that I should not post anything sympathetic to Ukraine unless I post equally sympathetic commentaries about places where the U.S. brutalized the local population or where other nations are suffering.

Let me explain. This is my blog. It is not CNN, FOX, MSNBC, or a network station. The articles I post are my choice.

My choice is to…

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Snarky Snippets From The Wee Hours

As I lay in bed in the wee hours, trying to shut my mind down so that I could catch a bit of sleep, a song popped into my head.  No, not the Bee Gees, not Lionel, not even Stevie Wonder.  Ernie.  Yep, Ernie of Sesame Street fame singing … Rubber Ducky!  And so, at 4:34 a.m. I lay in bed singing softly …

And that confirms my suspicions … I am losing my marbles!  Don’t ask how that leads into today’s Snarky Snippets, but somehow it does.


On Tuesday, the United States set a record … we flew past the one-million mark in COVID deaths.  No, I never said it was a record to be proud of … but who didn’t see this one coming?  Initially, scientists predicted we would set this record in late spring or early summer, but by January it was plain to see that it would happen sooner.  Mask mandates?  Gone.  Vaccine mandates?  Gone.  And yet, the pandemic is still very much with us and not likely to leave anytime soon.  The death toll slowed somewhat for a week or two, but it is very much on the rise again and I won’t be surprised to see it go back to an average of 2,000 as it was last year and into the first part of this year.


Today, March 24th, marks one month since Russia first invaded Ukraine.  Since then …

  • Some 3.2 million refugees have fled from Ukraine,
  • 150,000 people are stuck in the northern city of Chernihiv with little hope of aid after Russia cut them off from the capital, Kyiv,
  • 13,000 – 14,000 Ukrainians have been killed,
  • Between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed,
  • Cities have been nearly leveled, leaving many homeless and without food or water

Putin denies claims of war crimes, saying that civilians were not targeted and civilian deaths and injuries were merely ‘collateral damage’.  Seems to me he doesn’t understand the definition of ‘collateral damage’.  Collateral damage is when you bomb a munitions factory and the night watchmen are killed in the process.  When you intentionally bomb an apartment complex where people live, as Russia has done in Ukraine, that is a war crime.  There is really no grey area here.  Those in this country who support Dictator Putin can never lay claim to being humanitarian!


Last month, two top prosecutors leading the criminal investigation into Donald Trump and his business resigned after the Manhattan district attorney said he was not prepared to authorize an indictment against Trump.  One of the two, Mark F. Pomerantz, was a prominent former federal prosecutor and white-collar defense lawyer who had come out of retirement to work on the case against Trump.

One part in particular of Mr. Pomerantz’ letter of resignation dated February 23rd  stated in no uncertain terms that …

“The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did.”

So why did Manhattan District Attorney Alan Bragg basically drop the investigation?  I don’t know, but frankly it seems highly suspicious to me.  Bragg claims that the investigation is ongoing, but he damn sure doesn’t appear to be putting the effort into it that his predecessor, Cyrus Vance, did.  Someday, somehow, the truth will be known.  I just hope it isn’t too late to keep a megalomaniacal madman from overtaking the nation in 2024.


Our friend Keith mentioned a John Oliver video about ‘Critical Race Theory’ that he had found particularly interesting.  I found the video, watched it, and I concur fully with Keith … it is a ‘must see’!  It is 28 minutes long and if you’re like me, that’s a big chunk of time that you cannot often afford, but please do take the time to watch this one … John Oliver makes some excellent points and I think you’ll find it noteworthy, but also humorous.  Thanks, Keith, for pointing me in this direction!

Let’s Revive Common Courtesy!

Today is National Common Courtesy Day, according to the National Day Calendar folks.  According to their website …

National Common Courtesy Day on March 21st serves as a reminder of the behavior that keeps society from melting into a sea of madness. In addition, the day brings awareness to how crucial common courtesy is in our lives and provides examples to help us improve.

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, courtesy is described as a: behavior marked by polished manners or respect for others: courteous behavior b: a courteous and respectful act or expression.

Common courtesy can be as simple as saying “please” and “thank you” when asking for and receiving a service, gift, or assistance. Kindness and courtesy go a long way and are noticed by others even if you do not realize it. Letting someone in front of you in traffic is easy. Hold open a door for someone or give a person a hand with his groceries. Give up your seat on the bus to someone who might need it. Introduce yourself to the new employee or kid at school and take the time to introduce them to the rest of the crew.

All simple, common-sense things, right?  For some, yes, for others … not so much.  In today’s climate of political and social unrest, common courtesy often appears to have left the room.  I do see examples of common courtesy on the rare occasions I am able to leave my house.  I was having trouble with the digital card reader a few weeks ago when I was checking out at Kroger with just a handful a few groceries, and while the cashier was giving me dirty looks and rolling her eyes, a gentleman behind me stepped up and helped me get the machine to register my card.  I thanked him profusely and he actually tipped his hat to me!  But more often what I see is quite the opposite of courtesy.  Take a look on social media … any of it … Facebook, Twitter … and see some of the things written there.  Last week I saw a post calling for the execution of Dr. Anthony Fauci on Twitter, and worse yet, numerous people … thousands of them … were supportive of that post, including one of the readers of this blog!

Road rage and gun violence have increased during the last two years, since the start of the pandemic.  WHY???  Is it really the fault of the car in front of or behind you that you must wear a mask, or that your favourite restaurant has closed, or even that you’ve been laid off from your job?  Does that gun solve your problems?  Hardly.

Every day we hear about people being rude to servers in restaurants, cashiers in stores, and there has been a spate of airline passengers having to be restrained by duct tape, or a plane having to detour from its destination because crude passengers, aware of but fighting against mask regulations, have physically assaulted airline staff or other passengers!  These things, my friends, is NOT who we are … or at least not who we should be.

I’m not sure when the notion of ‘common courtesy’ began to be tattered and worn.  I think the years of the former president played an enormous role, and of course COVID and the associated restrictions also contributed.  But to be honest, Americans have never won the contest for common courtesy even before the “Reign of Trump”, so Trump and COVID merely served to exacerbate the situation.

And a bunch of today’s politicians certainly aren’t setting an example!  Some have promoted and encouraged violence against any and all who disagree with them, while others follow and promote conspiracy theories.  At least two that I’m aware of made last year’s Christmas cards from photos of their young children all holding guns!!!  This is in direct opposition with the concept of ‘common courtesy’!!!

I typically think the ‘National Days’ are propaganda, meaningless and trivial although sometimes good for a few laughs, but this one, a day set aside to think about and renew our determination to treat others with respect and courtesy, is one that I think should be observed more than once a year … like, maybe every day?

We can make our voices, our opinions, heard without raising our voices, without abusing others, without name-calling and cursing.  We can hold open a door, step aside, help someone who is struggling, even if they don’t believe the same as we do.  We can be staunch defenders of certain values and beliefs, and still be kind, still treat others with decency and respect.  And who knows … if we help somebody today, maybe … just maybe … that person will in turn help somebody else, and thus a movement is begun.  Okay, so maybe I’m being a Pollyanna, but folks … this violent hatred we are seeing all around us simply must 🛑STOP🛑 … and what better way to start the ball rolling than by making a concerted effort to observe National Common Courtesy Day?