A Tribute to the Victims …

Wednesday’s tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has left a dark cloud over this nation.  While I will have more to say about how avoidable this could have been, and how sad that we, as a nation, place the value of our steel toys above the lives of our children, for today I find it more appropriate to honour the victims.  I cannot possibly do any better job than ThinkProgress has done with their tribute that includes pictures of 14 of the 17 victims, as well as a brief bio and some comments from friends.  And so with that, I ask you to please click the link below to learn a little bit about each victim in order to make this senseless tragedy a bit more personal, a bit more real.  And please keep the community and the families of these victims, many of them children, in your hearts and thoughts.

The Victims of the Parkland Shooting

Parkland 2

Black History Month In Canada… Mary Ann Shadd Cary – by John Fioravanti

Alright, who made off with the re-blog button? 

reblog

This is how it’s supposed to look!

I have fallen behind on sharing John’s wonderful, enlightening posts about Black History Month in Canada, and I was planning to share two of his today.  But there was no re-blog button to be found.  Yes, I know I’m half blind and not seeing quite right, but I checked several other fellow bloggers posts, and … no button.  Checked my own … still no button.  So, sigh, I am forced to use “Press This” to share John’s post.  The main reason I prefer ‘re-blog’ is that it shows the first part of the author’s post, enough to grab the reader’s interest and  makes them want more. Other reasons I prefer ‘re-blog’ include that it is quicker, and it also notifies the original author.  In the interest of doing that, I will take the liberty of providing a brief snippet here, and ask you to please click the link to read the rest, for this lady in the annals of history is truly remarkable!

Text dividersMary Ann Shadd Cary – Educator, Publisher, and Abolitionist

 

Mary Ann Camberton Shadd Cary, educator, publisher, abolitionist (born 9 October 1823 in Wilmington, Delaware; died 5 June 1893 in Washington, DC). The first Black female newspaper publisher in Canada, Shadd founded and edited The Provincial Freeman. She also established a racially integrated school for Black refugees in Windsor, Canada West. In 1994, Shadd was designated a Person of National Historic Significance in Canada.

via Black History Month In Canada… Mary Ann Shadd Cary

On Black History Month

It is easy to lose sight of many things with all the hoopla that comes out of Washington, D.C. these days.  Things that might otherwise be front-page news, are relegated to a paragraph of small print somewhere in the clutter.  February is Black History Month in the U.S. and Canada, and it deserves attention, rather than being stuck in a dark corner filled with the smoke left by Washington politics.

black history quoe1The History:

The origins of Black History Month date back to 1926 when Harvard historian Carter G. Woodson declared the second week in February ‘Negro History Week’.  February was chosen as it coincided with the birthdates of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, in February 1970.

In 1976, during America’s bicentennial, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.

black history quote2The Purpose:

Some question the need for a special month during which to celebrate black history, but I would argue that historically in this nation, the contributions of African-Americans have been minimalized,  swept under the rug.  I grew up during the Civil Rights era, and I cannot recall during my primary or secondary education learning about the contributions of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, C.J. Walker, Bessie Coleman or others.  Yet, their lives contributed to what our nation has become just as much as any others.

This nation was founded on diversity, yet that concept seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way. No single race or its culture can define this nation, and to fully understand our history and who we are today, we need to be able to look at our past from a variety of perspectives.  And yet, we often fail to do that, we fail to recognize the contributions by Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, and African-Americans.

Black history (just like Hispanic, Asian, European, and Native history) belongs to all of us — black and white, men and women, young and old.  The impact African Americans have made on this country is part of our collective consciousness. Contemplating Black history draws people of every race into the grand and diverse story of this nation.

98f/42/hgmp/12704/tep039In 1964, author James Baldwin reflected on the shortcomings of his education. “When I was going to school, I began to be bugged by the teaching of American history because it seemed that that history had been taught without cognizance of my presence.”

This year, perhaps more than any in the past five decades, bigotry and racism are raising their ugly faces.  White supremacism is seemingly on the rise, and bigotry flows down from the highest office in the nation.  I think that now, more than at any time in our recent history, it is important for us to stop a minute, turn our attentions away from the three-ring circus in Washington, and remind ourselves of the contributions and achievements of our brothers and sisters who have given so much to this country.

Another year, I might have committed to a daily post to honour the contributions of African-Americans throughout this nation’s history.  This year, due to the toxic environment on which I feel compelled to opine, and with my limited visual acuity, I am unable to do so, but I plan at least a few posts about people who I think made special and interesting contributions, and I will include some trivia at the end of some of my other posts.  It is little enough, but hopefully you will learn at least one thing you didn’t already know about our history, our culture.

black history quoet3

 

In Honour Of A Great Man: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.” 

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

 

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on 15 January 1929.  He would have been 89 years old today, had he lived. Today, we celebrate not only his birthday, but also his life and legacy. Martin Luther King Day celebrates not only Dr. King, but the movement he inspired and all those who helped move forward the notion of equal rights for ALL races, all those who worked tirelessly during the civil rights era of the 1960s, as well as those who are continuing the good fight even in this, the year 2018.

Dr. King, along with President John F. Kennedy, was the most moving speaker I have ever heard.  To this day, I cannot listen to his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech without tears filling my eyes.  If you haven’t heard it for a while, take a few minutes to watch/listen … I promise it will be worth it.

This post is both a commemoration and a plea for us to carry on the work that was only begun, not yet finished, five decades ago.  Today we should remember some of the great heroes of the civil rights movement, those who worked tirelessly, some who gave their lives, that we could all live in peace and harmony someday: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Roy Innes, Medgar Evers, Booker T. Washington, John Lewis, Percy Julian, Marcus Garvey, Desmond Tutu, E.D. Nixon, James Meredith, and so many more.  I am willing to bet there are some on this list of whom you’ve never heard, or perhaps recognize the name but not the accomplishments. If you’re interested, you can find brief biographies of each of these and more at Biography.com .

Yet, while we celebrate the achievements of Dr. King and the others, there is still much to be done. Just look around you, read the news each day. Think about these statistics:

  • More than one in five black families live in households that are food insecure, compared to one in ten white families
  • Almost four in ten black children live in a household in poverty, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Among prime-age adults (ages 25 to 54), about one in five black men are not in the labor force, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Although blacks and whites use marijuana at approximately the same rate, blacks are over 3 and a half times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession
  • For every dollar earned by a white worker, a black worker only makes 74 cents
  • Black families are twice as likely as whites to live in substandard housing conditions
  • Black college graduates now have twice the amount of debt as white college graduates
  • The likelihood of a black woman born in 2001 being imprisoned over the course of her lifetime is one in 18, compared to 1 in 111 for a white woman
  • Similarly, the likelihood of a black man being imprisoned is 1 in 3, compared to 1 in 17 for a white man
  • Of black children born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution, about half of them will still be there as adults, compared to less than one-quarter of white children

Data courtesy of the Brookings Institute – for charts and supporting details of above date, please click on link. 

And of course the above data does not even touch upon the recent spate of hate crimes, racial profiling, and police shootings against African-Americans.  There is still much of Dr. King’s work to be accomplished. But who is left to do this work?  Most of the leaders of yore are long since gone. There are still noble and courageous people out there carrying on the programs and works of Dr. King and the others, but their voices are perhaps not as loud, and there are none so charismatic as the late Dr. King.

In the current environment of racial divisiveness, we need more than ever to carry on what Dr. King only started. A year ago we ushered in a new president, a new administration, most of whom are not fighters for equality, many of whom actually support the tenets of white supremacy. There are already signs that the U.S. is headed backward down the path from which we have come. Trump himself has made racist statements and his father was affiliated with the KKK, even being arrested as he participated in a Klan rally in 1927.  Jeff Sessions, the U.S. Attorney General, is a proven racist.  And in cities all around the U.S., racial incidents are on the rise.

Martin Luther King believed that the path to his dream was a path of peaceful protest rather than violent protest, of love rather than hate, of understanding rather than aggression … not through violence.  This is why he is, and will always be, a hero.  Today, we have a president who encourages violence, who refers to white supremacists as “very fine people”, and whose rhetoric has widened the gap of divisiveness in this nation.  We need another Martin Luther King, but would anybody even listen?

In a speech on April 12th, 1850, then-Senator and future President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis said:

“This Government was not founded by negroes nor for negroes, but by white men for white men.” [1]

That was wrong then, it is wrong today, and it will always be wrong.  That is what Dr. Martin Luther King fought against, that is what I rail and sometimes rant against, that is why we need activists and groups dedicated to fighting for equality for all people … today, tomorrow, and forever. Dr. King fought and ultimately gave his life for the values I believe in, the values that should define this nation, though they often do not.  Dr. Martin Luther King was a hero of his time … thank you, Dr. King, for all you did, for the values you gave this nation, and for the hope you instilled in us all that your dream will someday come true.

[1] (Kendi, 2016)   stamped

Saturday Surprise — John Lennon, A Tribute of Sorts

Welcome to Saturday Surprise and a cold beginning to the weekend.  I hadn’t given much thought to what to do for my Saturday Surprise post yesterday evening, for I was on a tear about my Friday pm topic, when an item plunked into my inbox and I thought, hmmmmm …. Maybe.  And so, while I was rolling smokes and baking cookies, I gave it some thought and decided it might be fun to take another glance at the past.  What was the item, you ask?  Well, yesterday, as it happens, was the 37th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon.  Some readers of this column may be too young to remember, but they still know who John Lennon and the Beatles were, no doubt, and anyway, most of my regular readers and myself remember quite well.  So, let us take a brief walk down memory lane and meet up again with Mr. John Lennon and by association, the Beatles.

Who Was John Lennon?

“John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England. He met Paul McCartney in 1957 and invited McCartney to join his music group. They eventually formed the most successful songwriting partnership in musical history. Lennon left the Beatles in 1969 and later released albums with his wife, Yoko Ono, among others. On December 8, 1980, he was killed by a crazed fan named Mark David Chapman.”  – Biography.com

But that doesn’t really tell us much about him, does it?  Let’s dig a bit deeper. Lennon’s first band was actually called The Quarrymen, and was composed of Lennon and several school friends from Quarry Bank High School, which they attended. The name morphed from The Blackjacks to Johnny and the Moondogs to Japage 3, before finally becoming The Beatles in 1960. Lennon’s mother, Julia, taught her son to play the banjo and then showed Lennon how to tune his guitar in a similar way to the banjo, and taught him simple chords and songs.

Lennon and McCartney first met when The Quarrymen played St. Peter’s Church Rose Queen garden fête in Woolton on Saturday, July 6th, 1957, and McCartney was invited to join the band soon thereafter. Although he had practiced endlessly for his debut, McCartney played horribly at his debut performance on Friday, 18 October 1957, missing his opening cue and playing all the wrong notes!  Nerves? Everyone expected Lennon to say something sarcastic, but the sight of the always overconfident McCartney looking so crestfallen made Lennon laugh out loud instead.

Lennon and McCartney both started writing songs influenced by Buddy Holly, and both were impressed with each other’s efforts. The two began writing together, and their writing partnership would become very successful throughout the 1960s. As they began leaning more toward rock ‘n roll, many of the original band members left the band, and it became clear that they would need an additional guitar player. Enter George Harrison.

QuarrymenMcCartney recommended his school friend George Harrison, who first saw the group perform on February 6th, 1958 at Wilson Hall, where McCartney introduced him to Lennon. Harrison was only 14 at the time, and Lennon initially thought him too young.  McCartney, however, didn’t give up and set up various opportunities for Harrison to perform for Lennon.  Once Harrison turned 15, Lennon finally capitulated.  Later that year, with only the three of them left in the band, they changed their name to Japage 3 (combining letters from each of the member’s names: John, Paul, and George), but the name change lasted less than a year, and they went back to being The Quarrymen.

By March 1960, struggling to get gigs, the group changed their name once again, and this time the name would stick: the Beatles. In August of 1962, Richard Starkey, known professionally as Ringo Starr, left the band he was with, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and joined the Beatles as drummer, completing the band that would ultimately go on to fame and fortune. The group continued to perform around Liverpool and in Hamburg, Germany, before being signed to Parlophone Records in 1962. After their signing, the Beatles achieved worldwide fame and became one of the most popular and successful musical artists of all time, before breaking up in 1970.

The Beatles achieved mainstream success in the UK early in 1963. Lennon was on tour when his first son, Julian, was born in April. During their Royal Variety Show performance that was attended by the Queen Mother and other British royalty, Lennon poked fun at his audience: “For our next song, I’d like to ask for your help. For the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands … and the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelery.”

After a year of Beatlemania in the UK, the group’s historic February 1964 US debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show marked their breakthrough to international stardom. A two-year period of constant touring, moviemaking, and songwriting followed, during which Lennon wrote two books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works.

Lennon grew concerned that fans who attended Beatles concerts were unable to hear the music above the screaming of fans, and that the band’s musicianship was beginning to suffer as a result. Lennon’s “Help!” expressed his own feelings in 1965: “I meant it … It was me singing ‘help'”

In March 1970 he was unknowingly introduced to LSD when a dentist, hosting a dinner party attended by Lennon, Harrison and their wives, spiked the guests’ coffee with the drug. When they wanted to leave, their host revealed what they had taken, and strongly advised them not to leave the house because of the likely effects. Later, in an elevator at a nightclub, they all believed it was on fire: “We were all screaming … hot and hysterical.”

In an interview in 1966, Lennon made a comment that would cause quite a stir in the U.S., but barely a blink in the UK …

“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink … We’re more popular than Jesus now—I don’t know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity.”

The furore that followed—burning of Beatles records, Ku Klux Klan activity and threats against Lennon—contributed to the band’s decision to stop touring. Their final commercial concert was on 29 August 1966, and Lennon missed touring so much that he considered leaving the band then. He was almost constantly under the influence of LSD throughout most of 1967.

Lennon left the Beatles in September 1969, and agreed not to inform the media while the group renegotiated their recording contract, but he was outraged that McCartney publicised his own departure on releasing his debut solo album in April 1970. Lennon’s reaction was, “Jesus Christ! He gets all the credit for it!” He later wrote, “I started the band. I disbanded it. It’s as simple as that.”

Lennon went on with his solo career, but I have neither time, space, nor inclination to chronicle at this time.  Fast forward to that historic day, December 8th, 1980.

Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, and their young son, Sean, were living in New York City at the Dakota, an old Gothic fortress at 1 W. 72nd Street. John and Yoko, returning home from a photo shoot, were greeted by fans begging for autographs.  One of those fans was a man named Mark David Chapman, who handed over his copy of “Double Fantasy” for Lennon to sign.

After a busy day of recording, John and Yoko headed home that evening arriving at 10:45 p.m. Just as they were about to enter their home, Chapman, who had been hanging outside the Dakota all day, pulled out a gun and fired five times, hitting John Lennon four out of the five in the back and shoulder.  John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at Roosevelt Hospital at 11:07 p.m. After shooting Lennon, Chapman put down his gun, sat down and waited for police to arrive while reading J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.

And that was 37 years ago yesterday.  A legacy?  Sure, but also a human being who was subject to the same temptations and human frailties as we all are.  The man created some great music, though, and I share with you perhaps his most famous solo from the album of the same name, Imagine.

 

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope some day you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope some day you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Roger’s Book Launch — CONGRATULATIONS!

Our friend Roger Llewellyn (woebegonebuthopeful) has just published a new book available on Amazon, Of Patchwork Warriors: (Being Vol.1 of the Precipice Dominions).  While I would love to be able to write a review to include in this post, I cannot, for while I have read a few chapters here and there, as Roger posted them on his blog, my own schedule was such that I missed more than I read.  So, here is the introduction from the Amazon page:

Patchwork Warriors

“There came an era when the threat of incursion from the infernal other world realm of the Zerstorung was strong, placing the survival of entire unsettled Oakhostian Empire at risk and thus disparate forces began to marshal, to take up any cause or seize any opportunity.

There in the background The Ethereal, The Stommigheid or The Astatheia just a few names for the force which had arrived upon The World in Ages faded from record. Viewed either as a pernicious creature seeking to control, a power for good, an aspect of Nature to be treated with caution or a means to an end, it remained a constant. With an oft forgotten tendency to engage with the unwilling, the unassuming and the unruly from the ranks of lesser folk whose consequential and various struggles would unsettle many a careful plan.

This is the tale of three such, an innocent housemaid, a dutiful soldier and a self-appointed scourge of evil quite unaware the safety of an Empire would soon be resting on them.

They did not take uniformly or conventionally to the task, for that was the way of things, when involved with The Ethereal, The Stommigheid or The Astatheia.”

Though I cannot review the book as yet, I can tell you from the bits I have read that this tale is fun and the characters whimsical and delightful.  I found one who reminds me much of me … I will not tell you who … you can figure it out as you read the book.

Roger likes to make up words … he sometimes makes up words for me to use in lieu of others in my somewhat … colourful vocabulary.  For this book, he has almost invented a whole new vocabulary, words for which he helpfully provides brief explanations at the beginning.  Some are so much fun that I may take to using them on occasion, for example “Twonk – Elidian term of insult.  Means ‘fool’” (Surely I can think of a few people to call twonks!).  Or one of my very favourites “Kerfluffeg – A Karlyn word for confusion or confused” (I can use that one on myself most often!)

Roger also designed his own cover for this one, and I think he deserves kudos for both a book well-written and a charming cover.  Now, obviously, I wish all my readers would hop straight over to Amazon  and buy this book.  It is only $0.99 USD … c’mon guys, that’s less than a bottle of water!  But if you prefer, at least download the free sample and read that … at which time you will know that you must buy the book!  Or at the very least, pop over to Roger’s blog, heroicallybadwriter,  and congratulate him, for I know that he has worked long and hard on this book.

Congratulations, Roger … beautiful cover, beautiful book, and a job well done!  I will read and review as soon as humanly possible.  And thank you, my friend, for the mention on the dedication page … you brought a huge smile to my face with that!

Now readers … go check out the book!!!

A Hero … A Dreamer … R.I.P.

His name was Alonso Guillén. He died a hero. Last week, he headed south from his home in Lufkin, Texas, with a borrowed boat, insisting he wanted to help rescue flood survivors. A week ago, last Wednesday, Alonso was helping to rescue those trapped by floodwaters in the Houston area when his boat hit an Interstate 45 bridge and capsized.  One of the two friends with Alonso was able to cling to a tree until he was rescued, but Alonso and his friend Tomas Carreon both died.

Alonso.png

Alonso Guillen — DJ Ocho

On Friday, searchers found the body of Tomas Carreon. On Sunday, relatives finally found Alonso Guillén’s body. Alonso Guillén was 31 years old, Tomas Carreon was 25.  Mr. Carreon had three young children. Mr. Guillén’s mother, Ruiz de Guillén, lives in Piedras Negras, Mexico, and was initially denied entry into the U.S. once she learned of his death. According to the Washington Post, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol eventually worked with the Mexican Consulate to reach an agreement to allow Ms. Guillén to enter the U.S. in order to attend her son’s funeral.

 

carreon-2

Tomas Carreon with 6-year-old son

 

Alonso Guillén was a Dreamer, having entered the U.S. with his parents when he was 15 years of age.  Tomas Carreon was also a Dreamer until his marriage, which gave him permanent resident status.  Dreamers are those who came to the U.S. as children and are temporarily protected from deportation by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Alonso’s family has mixed immigration status and is divided by the border. His mother, a Mexican national, still lives in Piedras Negras, Mexico, with one of his brothers. His father is a legal resident, and his brother Jesus is a U.S. citizen.  Alonso had a driver’s license, a career as a radio DJ, and owned a home.  He had no criminal background, had never been arrested for so much as spitting on the sidewalk.  According to friends, family and coworkers, he was an all-around good guy.

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Alonso Guillen

“He worked hard at everything he did and made life a little more enjoyable for everyone around him,” the radio station Y-100 wrote in a Facebook tribute. “A truly selfless man, he spent the last hours of his life helping others in a time of need.” Alonso’s radio name was “DJ Ocho”, a throwback to his early days when he found it difficult to say his name, Alonso, and called himself Ocho instead. He was known for his generosity in the Lufkin community. If a friend or neighbor needed anything — a wheelchair, money for a surgery, a car fix — he would lend a helping hand, using his reach through his radio show to rally support for those in need. He worked as a disc jockey at dance clubs on weekends, but he did not drink or smoke.

This is the man who would have lost his driver’s license, his job, his home and likely have been deported within the next six months, since the Idiot-in-Chief in the White House decided yesterday to rescind Obama’s 2012 DACA legislation.  This is the man that at least some portion of Trump’s base think are out to take their jobs.  This is a man who represents that group Trump referred to as “murderers and rapists”. This man believed in the U.S. — it was his country too.

crying

 

I will have more to say about DACA in the coming weeks, but this post is a tribute to Mr. Alonso Guillén and Mr. Tomas Carreon … nothing more.

Two good men died doing what they believed in – helping people in need.  These two men, like many others, are heroes and deserve our respect. R.I.P. Mr. Tomas Carreon and Mr. Alonso Guillén.  Your courage, bravery and good works will not be forgotten.

Filosofa Returns — With Bits ‘N Pieces

Dearest Readers!  Thank you all for the many well-wishes for my weekend hiatus!  I had a great weekend … no car troubles, no injuries, just a nice, relaxing weekend!  I missed you guys, missed your comments that sometimes make me think, other times make me laugh!  I am now back home, safe and sound, although I DID manage to get lost just ten miles from home!!! I am blaming that one on heavy traffic and not being able to get into the lane I needed to be in.  Still, one might think that since I have lived in this area for more than 20 years, I could find my way around!  I am directionally challenged.

I have been responding to comments this evening, and I apologize that my responses are perhaps not as in-depth as usual, but I wanted to get caught up on that tonight and I had four days’ worth to catch up, so I did not expound as much as I might have another time.  I will be working over the next several days to get caught up reading your posts, so be patient.  Meanwhile, since I am not likely to write a full post tonight, a few snippets from the weekend news:

  • I was saddened to hear of the death of entertainment legend Jerry Lewis on Sunday at age 91.  The official cause of death was ischemic cardiomyopathy, which occurs when the heart becomes unable to pump sufficient blood through the rest of the body due to a coronary artery disease. I did not realize that Mr. Lewis had suffered three heart attacks during his lifetime, the first when he was only 34 years old.  He also had Type I diabetes, pulmonary fibrosis, had battled prostate cancer and a fall during a Las Vegas show in 1965 nearly paralyzed him.  He was best known as a comedian, having received several awards for lifetime achievement from the American Comedy Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Venice Film Festival and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But what set Jerry Lewis apart was his humanitarian work. He supported fund-raising for research into muscular dystrophy, as well as many other causes that go beyond what I could possibly cover in this snippet.  He was a fine entertainer and a good human being who will be missed on this earth.  Rest in Peace, Jerry. jerry-lewis-2

  • So, I heard that Steve Bannon is out of Trump’s administration. I received no less than three messages within an hour of the announcement.  Of course, given Bannon’s ideology, I am glad he is out.  That still leaves Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka, of course, but Bannon was, I felt, the biggest threat and from time to time I even wondered if he wasn’t, perhaps, the puppeteer.  But I think there is more to this than meets the eye.  On August 7th, more than a week before his ouster, Bannon contacted Breitbart to let them know he would be returning.  And he made a comment that he can do more good on the outside than on the inside.  I am not sure what I suspect, but I am suspicious of … something.  When I’ve had time to study and ponder it more, I’ll try to clarify my suspicions.

  • You know those annoying ‘speed bumps’ that are intended to slow drivers down in areas where children may be playing, or raccoons dancing in the street, or whatever? We have two on our street and they are annoying, but if they slow traffic down, I’m all for them, for here in da hood, we do have large numbers of children playing, riding bikes and skateboards in the middle of the street.  Well anyway, the Brits have come up with “illusory speed bumps”!  According to a report in the Guardian, “They are painted humps on the road: white arcs, about a metre wide, like slightly asymmetrical Vs that, by the miracle of perspective, fool the eye into seeing them as looming out of the tarmac as drivers approach.”  Sure would save wear and tear on one’s suspension system if they work! speed bumps.jpg

  • The Great American Eclipse. They hyped it for two months.  A total eclipse – 99.4% they said.  As I mentioned last week, I was a bit nervous about driving home from Pennsylvania on Monday, because I feared it would become pitch dark and I would not be able to see.  I drove, and I drove, and I wondered when it was to happen.  I noted that the day had become slightly darker, but there were clouds overhead, so that could explain it.  That was it … it got, maybe 5-7 degrees darker.  When I got home, I asked Miss Goose if it had been spectacular here.  Nope … just got slightly darker.  While relieved that I didn’t have to find a place to stop for an hour or so, I am somewhat disappointed. They ought not to have built up so much suspense.  Was it a spectacular thing where any of you live?  solar eclipse

  • Headline news in both today’s New York Times and The Washington Post is that Trump briefly looked up at the sun without protective glasses today. I ask you:  a) does anybody care?; b) so what – he’s already blind in the ways that matter?; and c) why is every bloomin’ thing the man does considered ‘newsworthy’?  Next we’ll be hearing what he eats for dinner each night and what time he poops! Sheesh. not-too-bright

And on that note, I have emails to answer, a suitcase to unpack, and am shooting for a (relatively) early bedtime tonight, as nine straight hours of driving today has just about done me in!  Thanks again, dear friends, and I will be back on my regular schedule by the end of the day!

 

Art From The Holocaust

Last week, a new art exhibit opened in the German Historical Museum in Berlin. Its title? Art From The Holocaust. A blogger who I only discovered yesterday, thanks to Rob Goldstein, has written a beautiful tribute to this exhibit, complete with some wonderful pictures. This is a bit outside my normal subject matter, but I thought it was very tasteful and beautifully written, and I wanted to share it with my readers. Many thanks to artinmanyforms for this post, and for permission to share!

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A new exhibition in Berlin explores the grim realities of life for Jews in Nazi camps and ghettoes.

A historic new exhibit, Art from the Holocaust, opened in the rear wing of the German Historical Museum in Berlin last week. For the first time ever, art from the collection of Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Museum is being shown outside in Germany. The exhibit features 100 works, mostly drawings and paintings, by Jewish inmates of labour camps, ghettoes and concentration camps. Many of the works portray the dark realities of day-to-day life in Nazi imprisonment. The fact that the works survived to the present day is, in most cases, a miracle: many were hidden or smuggled out at great risk by friends of the artists.

The show, which is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel, comes at a moment of…

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Respect For A Good Man – Senator John McCain

No political commentary this morning, only deep sadness at the news that Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer.  While I have not always agreed with Senator McCain, I have immense respect and admiration for the man. He is a good man and one of the few in his party who I think genuinely cares about the people of this country.

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Lt. Commander John McCain on return to U.S., March 18, 1973

John McCain has been serving this nation in one capacity or another since 1958, when he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. He became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. When he was offered release because of his father’s rank, McCain refused to be freed before those who had been held captive longer. He was a prisoner of war until 1973, during which time he was frequently tortured.  He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona, where he entered politics. McCain was first elected to the House in 1982 where he served two terms before winning a bid for the Senate just four years later.

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John McCain & wife Cindy

Senator John McCain has given much of his life to his country and his fellow Americans for nearly sixty years.  Today I take this opportunity to honour him and hope that my readers will also.  No matter what our politics, our beliefs, no matter what side of the aisle we sit on, we must always remember that our humanitarian values come first.  At times like this, we put the politics, the arguments aside for just a moment.  John McCain is a good man, he is in my thoughts and my heart today.

“John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known. Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.” – President Barack Obama

“John McCain is as tough as they come. Thinking of John, Cindy, their wonderful children, & their whole family tonight.” – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

“.@SenJohnMcCain, you are a true fighter & I’ll be praying for you until you beat this. I know you will.” – Senator Chuck Schumer

“My thoughts and prayers are with @SenJohnMcCain, a true hero. Cancer is up against one Anerica’s toughest fighters.” – Senator Cory Booker

“.@SenJohnMcCain is a man of principle, integrity, and the father to a loving family. The entire country is with him in this fight.” – Senator Dean Heller

“Praying for my friend @SenJohnMcCain, one of the toughest people I know.” – Senator Steve Scalise

“Just spoke to @SenJohnMcCain. Tough diagnosis, but even tougher man.” – Senator Jeff Flake

“John McCain is a hero to our Conference and a hero to our country. He has never shied from a fight and I know that he will face this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his life.” – Senator Mitch McConnell

“John and I have been friends for 40 years. He’s gotten through so much difficulty with so much grace. He is strong – and he will beat this.” – Former Vice President Joe Biden

“As he’s shown his entire life, don’t bet against John McCain. Best wishes to him for a swift recovery.” – Former President Bill Clinton

“My thoughts are with John McCain and his family tonight. A true fighter and American hero.” – Senator Kamala Harris

“Heidi and I will be lifting up John, Cindy, and his entire family in our prayers in wake of his recent diagnosis…” – Senator Ted Cruz

“Senator John McCain is a fighter and true, bonafide American hero. We’re behind him every step of the way. Cancer picked on the wrong guy.” – Senator Patty Murray

“Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon.” – Donald Trump

“Karen & I are praying for @SenJohnMcCain. Cancer picked on the wrong guy. John McCain is a fighter & he’ll win this fight too. God bless!” – Vice President Mike Pence

As you can see … politicos from both sides, current and former, have put aside their differences to offer their support and love to Senator McCain.  I hope we can all do the same.