The Day That Lives On — December 7, 1941

Today is the 81st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour, a day that, in the words of then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt, “will live in infamy.”  I posted this on this day in 2019, but it bears repeating.  Annie G. Fox was a true hero on that day and should be remembered for all that she gave.

On this day in 1941, at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appeared out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.

Today, I came across a piece on the Jon S. Randall Peace Page about one of the heroines of that day, and I thought it a good thing to share with you …

On December 7, 1941, Japanese dive-bombers and Zero fighters screamed overhead at Pearl Harbor and Army hospitals on the island were overwhelmed with burn victims. At Hickam Air Field Station Hospital, amid the noise and confusion, dealing with shortages of supplies and even beds, one woman stood out, working ceaselessly and calmly despite the enormous loss of life around her.

First Lieutenant Annie G. Fox, Chief Nurse at the hospital, assisted in surgical procedures, administered pain medicine to the injured and prepped some for travel to nearby hospitals when the 30-bed facility was overwhelmed.

She was one of many recognized for their exemplary service on that tragic day in American history, and she would become the first US service woman to receive the Purple Heart, which she received for her actions during the attack.

Even though she was not wounded, at that time, the US military awarded Purple Hearts for “singularly meritorious act of extraordinary fidelity or essential service.”

But, two years after being awarded the Purple Heart, the criteria was changed to only those who received wounds by enemy action. Her Purple Heart was rescinded, and she was instead awarded the Bronze Star medal on October 6th, 1944, using the same citation for the Purple Heart originally awarded to her.

Fox was born on August 4, 1893 in Pubnico, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia.

There is not a lot of information on Fox online, but according to the War Time Heritage Association, “she served during the First World War from July 8, 1918 to July 14, 1920 and in the Second World War. Throughout the 1920’s and 30’s she served in New York, Fort Sam Houston in Texas, Fort Mason in San Diego, California, and Camp John Hay in Benguet and Manila in the Philippines. After sometime back in the Continental US, she was assigned to Honolulu, Hawaii in May of 1940. She was granted an examination for the promotion to Chief Nurse on August 1, 1941, promoted to 1st Lieutenant and transferred to Hickam field in November of 1941.”

After Pearl Harbor, Fox was awarded the Purple Heart on October 26, 1942 for her “outstanding performance of duty.”

The citation read:

“During the attack, Lieutenant Fox in an exemplary manner, performed her duties as head nurse of the Station Hospital . . . [She] worked ceaselessly with coolness and efficiency and her fine example of calmness, courage, and leadership was of great benefit to the morale of all with whom she came in contact.”

Although her Purple Heart was replaced with the Bronze Star, “the United States Armed Forces still recognizes Lt. Annie G. Fox as the first woman to ever have been awarded the Purple Heart medal,” according to the Purple Heart Foundation.

The Foundation states, “At 47 years old, Lt. Fox was for the first time placed in the middle of battle. There was gunfire, bombs detonating, and the sound of airplanes whipping over the hospital. It was not long after the attack began that the Japanese pilots turned their attention near Hickam Field and Station Hospital. While the “hellfire” rained down outside the hospital, Lt. Fox cleared her mind and jumped into action. She assembled her nurses and sought after volunteers from the base community to help her look after the wounded that started to arrive.”

Fox, according to the Wartime Heritage Association, “went on to be promoted to the rank of Captain [on] May 26, 1943 after transferring to Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, California. Annie Fox had a number of posts in the Army Nurse Corps serving as Assistant to the Principal Chief Nurse at Camp Phillips, Kansas. She served at Camp Kansas from 1943 to 1944. While there she was promoted to the rank of Major. Prior to her retirement from active duty December 15, 1945 she also served at Fort Francis E Warren in Wyoming. She eventually settled in San Diego, California where two of her sisters resided. She never married.”

She died on January 20, 1987 in San Francisco, California at the age of 93.

In March 2017, Hawaii Magazine ranked her among a list of the most influential women in Hawaiian history.

According to the Wartime Heritage Association, “regardless of the [Purple Heart’s] evolution over time or what it was decided would be awarded based on the circumstances, it is clear Fox acted with great heroism, courage and service to her fellow servicemen and women.”Annie-Fox

♫ The Devil Went Down To Georgia ♫ (Redux)

Given that Georgia has been on my mind for several weeks now, no more so than last night when the Georgia runoff election took place, I was going to play Ray Charles’ Georgia on my Mind today, but I realized I played it just a year ago, so I opted for this one that I’ve played only once, two years ago on the day after Charlie Daniels’ death (July 6, 2020) as rather a tribute to him.

As I’ve said on more than one occasion, I am not a fan of country music.  However, when a legend dies, no matter his field, he deserves to be honoured.  Charlie Daniels was a country music legend best known for his award-winning country hit The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

Daniels was active as a singer and musician since the 1950s. He was inducted into the Cheyenne Frontier Days Hall of Fame in 2002, the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Daniels won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1979 for The Devil Went Down to Georgia, which reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1979. The following year, “Devil” became a major crossover success on rock radio stations after its inclusion on the soundtrack for the hit movie Urban Cowboy, in which he made an onscreen appearance. The song still receives regular airplay on U.S. classic rock and country stations.

Although Daniels had a number of hits subsequent to The Devil Went Down to Georgia, this is the only one of his songs that I am familiar with, not being a country music aficionado.  And even though I am not a fan of the genre, I am in awe of the fiddle-playing in this song!

Daniels said that the idea for this song came from a poem he read in high school called “The Mountain Whippoorwill” by Stephen Vincent Benet. Said Daniels:

“We had gone in and rehearsed, written, and recorded the music for our Million Mile Reflections album, and all of a sudden we said, ‘We don’t have a fiddle song.’ I don’t know why we didn’t discover that, but we went out and we took a couple of days’ break from the recording studio, went into a rehearsal studio and I just had this idea: ‘The Devil went down to Georgia.’ The idea may have come from an old poem that Stephen Vincent Benet wrote many, many years ago. He didn’t use that line, but I just started, and the band started playing, and first thing you know we had it down.”

In this song, Satan himself pays a visit to Georgia and challenges a boy named Johnny to a fiddle duel: If Johnny can play the fiddle better than the devil, he gets a golden fiddle, but if he loses, the devil gets his soul.  It was Daniels who played the fiddle for both the Devil and Johnny, and it was also Daniels who dreamed up what they both would sound like.  The song charted at #1 in Canada, #3 in the U.S., and even #14 in the UK!

I actually do like this song … as I said, the fiddle playing is amazing, and it’s got a catchy, toe-tapping tune.  Politically, Charlie and I were miles apart, but that doesn’t keep me from admiring what he did, his talent, his music.  Charlie Daniels died yesterday at the age of 83.  His music will live on …

The Devil Went Down to Georgia
Charlie Daniels Band

The devil went down to Georgia
He was lookin’ for a soul to steal
He was in a bind
‘Cause he was way behind
And he was willin’ to make a deal

When he came upon this young man
Sawin’ on a fiddle and playin’ it hot
And the devil jumped
Up on a hickory stump
And said, “boy, let me tell you what

I guess you didn’t know it
But I’m a fiddle player too
And if you’d care to take a dare, I’ll make a bet with you

Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy
But give the devil his due
I’ll bet a fiddle of gold
Against your soul
‘Cause I think I’m better than you”

The boy said, “my name’s Johnny
And it might be a sin
But I’ll take your bet
And you’re gonna regret
‘Cause I’m the best there’s ever been”

Johnny, rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard
‘Cause hell’s broke loose in Georgia, and the devil deals the cards
And if you win, you get this shiny fiddle made of gold
But if you lose, the devil gets your soul

The devil opened up his case
And he said, “I’ll start this show”
And fire flew from his fingertips
As he rosined up his bow

Then he pulled the bow across the strings
And it made an evil hiss
And a band of demons joined in
And it sounded something like this

When the devil finished
Johnny said, “well, you’re pretty good, old son
But sit down in that chair right there
And let me show you how it’s done”

He played Fire on the Mountain run boys, run
The devil’s in the House of the Rising Sun
Chicken in a bread pan pickin’ out dough
Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no

The devil bowed his head
Because he knew that he’d been beat
And he laid that golden fiddle
On the ground at Johnny’s feet

Johnny said, “Devil, just come on back
If you ever want to try again
I done told you once you son of a bitch
I’m the best that’s ever been”

He played Fire on the Mountain run boys, run
The devil’s in the House of the Rising Sun
Chicken in a bread pan pickin’ out dough
Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Charles Fred Hayward / Charlie Daniels / Fred Edwards / James W. Marshall / John Crain / William J. Digregorio
The Devil Went Down to Georgia lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Who Will It Be????

Well, folks, it’s that time of the year again.  No no … not the ‘holiday season’ … well, yeah, it is that too, but I was referring to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year!  Tomorrow, Time will announce this year’s person.  I looked at the list this afternoon and the first name stunned me … China’s Xi Jinping … the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.  Okay, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, considering they nominated the former guy as recently as 2020.  But still … shouldn’t Person of the Year be an honour held for people who have done and/or are doing something good in the world?  Yes, I do realize that they don’t necessarily award it to ‘good’ people, but rather those who were the biggest newsmakers of the year, but still …

And it gets even better …

The U.S. Supreme Court in all their “glory” is also on the list because, according to Time, it is “incredibly influential this year due to its conservative supermajority.”  Time seems to applaud their decisions that have set women’s rights back to the last century and taken authority to try to save the planet from disaster away from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis both made the list, as well.  Elon because he “has garnered controversy surrounding his takeover of Twitter” and Ron because a) he won his election, and b) his little stunt of flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard that gained him lots of attention.

Others on the list include MacKenzie Scott (Jeff Bezos ex-wife), Liz Cheney, and Janet Yellen … all decent sorts who have done some good, but not Person-of-the-Year sort of good.  I suppose we should just be thankful that Kanye West, Stuart Rhodes or Nick Fuentes aren’t in the running!

There is really only one person on the list who I consider worthy of the honour of being named “Person of the Year” and that is Volodymyr Zelenskyy (and Time didn’t even spell his name right!)  He is fighting the Russian bear on behalf of the people of Ukraine and has never once wavered, never considered backing down.  He is truly a man of courage and convictions, and if I had a vote on the Time Person of the Year, my vote would be for President Zelenskyy!


I’ve been friends with rawgod for many years now, and I have to say that this is by far the BEST post he has ever done! It is a timely post, a humanitarian one … a reminder to us all. The video is particularly interesting and I learned a lot from it about Apartheid in South Africa only a short 50 years ago … and as I watched, I thought, “Is this where the U.S. is headed?” (I recommend using the closed captioning for the video, as the narrator’s accent is sometimes difficult to keep up with, at least for me) Thank you, rg, for this excellent post.

Ideas From Outside the Boxes

On Sept. 12, 1977, Bantu Stephen Biko was murdered by the South African government. They considered him the biggest threat to their apartheid way of life. Little did they know that he had already accomplished his goal of raising the consciousness of the black people of South Africa. It took another 17 years before Apartheid was officially ended, but it would not have happened without the hard work and great insight and organizing ability of Stephen Biko.

I have been singing his praises for more than 40 years now, but few seem to really care. So, when I found the video below, I just had to post it. It is only a summary of his life and work to make South Africa free, and does not present the real struggles he went through daily, but it is something.

So why do I keep coming back to the life and accomplishments…

View original post 290 more words

Thoughts On Nancy Pelosi

Love her or hate her, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has dedicated much of her life in service to this nation and has been an effective leader.  Yesterday she, along with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, announced that she is stepping down come January from her leadership position.  In his latest, Dan Rather takes a look back at some of Pelosi’s accomplishments …

Madam Speaker

A record of results

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

18 November 2022

Nancy Pelosi has been one of the more consequential politicians in American history. As she leaves her party’s House leadership after years in the spotlight, we should take this moment to recognize the scale of her accomplishments.

In the tumult of the present, it is sometimes challenging to see a bigger picture. As we look back at history, however, we can see that much of the cacophony that preoccupied those living through the eras of the past dissipates. This perspective allows us to understand broader trends and the people who shaped the course of events. One suspects that those in the future trying to make sense of our times will reserve a place of prominence for Pelosi.

We can start with her effectiveness in leading a caucus that has been notorious for its fractiousness. Both as speaker and House minority leader, Pelosi was able to balance the centrifugal forces that would have overwhelmed lesser politicians. She understood the breadth and limits of her power. And more often than not, she was able to play the hand the voters had given her to impressive effect.

Her tenure has been historic. In 2007, she became the first woman speaker of the House. And after the Democrats lost the chamber four years later, she managed her party in the minority until returning to speaker again in 2019. Her pioneering status was clearly a source of pride for Pelosi, but she didn’t stand around admiring her own role in history. For her, achieving the speaker’s gavel was about maximizing the legislation her party could pass with the votes she could wrangle

Most of the country had given up Obamacare for dead after the 2010 special election of Republican Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s seat. But Pelosi found a way to keep the long-held Democratic dream of expanding health care alive. She willed it into law using every lever of power she could muster, even though she knew it would hurt her party at the ballot box in the subsequent midterms.

Pelosi believed being entrusted with power was more about what you did with it than about keeping it. In intensive legislative sessions in the first two years of the Obama presidency and later with President Biden, she was able to pass a slate of bills that will shape this nation for decades to come. At the end of the George W. Bush administration, she understood the gravity of the financial debacle and passed an unpopular bailout of the banks to keep our economy from complete collapse. During the Trump administration, she stood as a foil to a chief executive out of control.

Pelosi’s pragmatic leadership and eagerness to protect vulnerable members of her caucus, especially in more conservative districts, often led to criticism from the progressive wing of her party that she was too cautious. Many felt she could have pushed for more progressive measures and that the House could have provided greater oversight of the Trump White House. One wonders how future historians will evaluate her balancing acts.

Of course the greatest vitriol for Pelosi has come from the other side of the aisle. She has been consistently demonized by the political right, who have turned her into a caricature upon whom they rained down opprobrium with relentless glee. In fevered segments on Fox News and political attack ads, Pelosi has been depicted as a radical socialist from that modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah, San Francisco.

She (and make no mistake — Pelosi’s gender underpinned the attacks she endured) became a useful shorthand for what her political enemies railed as the antithesis of “real America.” It is not surprising that the violent insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6 were hunting for her. Sadly, her husband was recently badly injured by an assailant who broke into their home after being influenced by this poisonous rhetoric.

That Pelosi was actually an unusually effective politician who occupied the political center of her party and whose actions belied the histrionic characterizations of her Republican opponents probably only fed the bullying. Just as the taunts on schoolyards are often fueled by insecurity, one has a sense that many Republicans were jealous of Pelosi’s political acumen. That she was able to so effectively push a broad Democratic agenda and stymie Republicans on multiple fronts could predictably propel a hatred born from their impotence and frustration.

While presidents sweep into office with a national vote, our system of government allows for individuals to rise to significant power in the legislative branch despite representing a relatively small sliver of our country’s geography. There are no term limits. And the sway of control in Congress means members can find themselves in both the majority and minority, sometimes multiple times, over the course of their tenure in office. And that was the case with Pelosi.

Few have understood the workings of Congress and how to maximize them for the benefit of their agenda more than Pelosi. Nobody outworked her, nobody out-toughed her, and few could match her intellect. Contrary to the claims of her critics, she also understood America well, especially the needs of the members of her caucus who hailed from a diversity of districts. She was able to balance the opportunity of the moment with the needs of the future.

Being the first woman to serve as speaker of the House would alone have made Pelosi a historic figure. But in the end, it is for all the reasons that Pelosi was vilified that she will be remembered as such a consequential leader who shaped her political era. Generations to come will live in the country she helped forge through the force of her will and transformative political skill.

Good People Doing Good Things — Mama Rosie

I almost never redux good people posts.  There are enough good people out there who deserve the spotlight that I don’t need to revert back and redux them.  However … on occasion my attention is drawn elsewhere and rather than let you down, I do redux some of my favourites … I try not to do it often, but it happens on rare occasions.  Tonight, it is nearly 3:00 a.m. and I have literally been glued to my election returns app for about 5 hours now, and will likely be glued for another couple of hours!  Some of the results disgust me, but overall I’m pleased see that there is no red wave.  Seems like some … not all, but some … of the worst candidates are being told to go sit down and shut up.  Anyway, long story short, I did not write a new good people post tonight, but instead I am sharing with you one of my all-time favourite good people, Mama Rosie!  I first wrote about Mama Rosie back in January 2018, and four years later she is still doing good work!  She is, in my book, the very definition of humanity.

You probably don’t remember, but back in mid-October, I mentioned that I had started a piece about ‘Mama Rosie’, who was definitely a good candidate for this feature, but that she had done so many wonderful things that I couldn’t finish the piece in time for that week’s post.  At the time, I thought I would feature her the following week, but who-knows-what came along and distracted me, and I never did return to finish that one.  Mana Rosie is back on my radar this week, however, because apparently I am not the only one who thinks she is worthy of notice.  Mama Rosie, aka Rosalia Mashale, was one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes of the Year for 2017!  So without further ado, please allow me to introduce … Mama Rosie!!!!

Mama RosieIn 1989, Mama Rosie was a schoolteacher who had recently retired and moved from the Eastern Cape to the township of Khayelitsha, in Westerna Cape Town, South Africa.  Khayelitsha is a poor and overcrowded township of approximately 15 square miles, and a population density of more than 26,000 people per square mile.  The unemployment rate is 54.1% and Khayelitsha is afflicted by the largest HIV/Aids epidemic in the world. Many days Mama Rosie noticed children scavenging for food in a nearby dumpster, and one day she invited them in …

“I called them in, and we sang rhymes, and I gave them bread and something to drink. And that was the birth of the daycare center.”

Mama Rosie enlisted the aid of other women in the community and by the end of the first week, 36 children were being cared for.

Mama Rosie had run the free daycare center for over a decade, and was thinking of retiring when one morning she opened her door to find a child who had been abandoned on her doorstep.

“He was between the age of two and three. He was naked and full of sores. He didn’t even know his name.”

She did what anybody would do, and took the boy to the police, who, knowing her reputation of caring for children, told her that she should care for him!  And that was the beginning of the orphanage!  Before long police and social workers were bringing orphaned and abandoned children to Mama Rosie, and hospitals were calling her to pick up babies whose mothers had died in childbirth. She never turned a single one away.  By the end of the first year, she was caring for 67 children in her own home!

“I didn’t have the heart to turn anyone away. Young girls and boys and babies were in every part of my house.”

Baphymelele.jpgIn 2001, she established Baphumelele which means “we have progressed”, and boy have they ever … progressed …

“We have a medical clinic for children and another facility for adults. We care for those who have HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases, such as cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, and (we) operate a hospice for children.”

Please take a minute to watch this short video … I promise that you will fall in love with Mama Rosie!

Baphumelele has developed into a thriving community project over the years. In addition to the Children’s Home and Educare Centre, Baphumelele has expanded to include the Adult Respite Care Centre, Child Respite Centre,  Hospice in the Home, Child Headed Households, Fountain of Hope, and Rosie’s Bakery/Sewing Project.

Baphumelele takes care of more than 5,000 orphaned, abandoned or sick children in desperate need of loving homes. Some have lost their parents to Aids, while others are themselves HIV-positive.

When the children in Mama Rosie’s care grow up, she helps them find jobs, or else gives them work in the bakery.

Mama RosaBut Mama Rosie’s efforts don’t begin and end with only the children!  She founded a women’s group, Sakhulwazi Women’s Organisation where women come together to learn skills such as sewing, beading and growing food … skills that will help them earn a living in the community.

At the CNN 2017 Hero of the Year awards ceremony last month, Mama Rosie gave a speech, where she said …

“They always say it takes a village to raise a child. Please join us to raise more orphans.”

I give two thumbs up to Mama Rosie for all her tireless efforts on behalf of the people of Khayelitsha!


Sadly, Mama Rosie did not win the CNN Hero of Year award, but one of my previous ‘good people’ did!  Amy Wright of Wilmington, North Carolina was named Hero of the Year. 

♫ End Of The Line ♫

I had only ever briefly heard of the group Traveling Wilburys, but a few nights ago Clive suggested a song by them so I thought I’d look into them a bit more, and I’m glad I did!  A bit about the group first …

Based on the accomplishments of its members/founders, the group is indeed considered a ‘supergroup’ …

  • George Harrison (yes, THAT George Harrison, the ‘quiet’ Beatle)
  • Bob Dylan
  • Tom Petty
  • Jeff Lynne
  • Roy Orbison

The five came together when George Harrison needed a B-side for a single. He got his friend Jeff Lynne to work on it with him and Bob Dylan offered use of his garage studio. Tom Petty and Roy Orbison came along, so the five superstars found themselves together writing and recording the song on the spot: Handle With Care. They had such a good time making it and were so impressed with the results, they decided to form a band and include the song on a full album, which they recorded a month later.

The group only lasted three years, from 1988 to 1991, but during that time released three albums.  Tonight’s song, End of the Line, was released in October 1988, just two months before the death of Roy Orbison from a heart attack.  The song only charted at #63 in the U.S. and #52 in the UK.  The album it was on, however, Volume 1, rising to #1 in Canada, #3 in the U.S. and #16 in the UK.

In February 1988, George Harrison was asked during an interview what his next plans were, and he replied …

“What I’d really like to do next is … to do an album with me and some of my mates … It’s this new group I got in mind: it’s called the Traveling Wilburys, I’d like to do an album with them and then later we can all do our own albums again.”

When Roy Orbison died in December 1988 the group put together a music video for End of the Line showing Orbison’s guitar rocking in a chair next to his photo when his vocals are heard.

The story of the Traveling Wilburys is fun and fascinating, and I encourage you to take a further look at SongFacts and Wikipedia.  Meanwhile, let’s listen to the music and watch the video!  Oh, and thank you, Clive, for pointing me in this direction!

End of the Line

Traveling Wilburys

Well it’s alright, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s alright, if you live the life you please
Well it’s alright, doing the best you can
Well it’s alright, as long as you lend a hand

You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring
(At the end of the line)
Waiting for someone to tell you everything
(At the end of the line)
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow brings
(At the end of the line)
Maybe a diamond ring

Well it’s alright, even if they say you’re wrong
Well it’s alright, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it’s alright, as long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it’s alright, everyday is Judgment Day

Maybe somewhere down the road a ways
(At the end of the line)
You’ll think of me, and wonder where I am these days
(At the end of the line, end of the line)
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays
(At the end of the line)
Purple haze

Well it’s alright, even when push comes to shove
Well it’s alright, if you got someone to love
Well it’s alright, everything’ll work out fine
Well it’s alright, we’re going to the end of the line

Don’t have to be ashamed of the car I drive
(At the end of the line)
I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive
(At the end of the line, end of the line)
And it don’t matter if you’re by my side
(At the end of the line)
I’m satisfied

Well it’s alright, even if you’re old and gray
Well it’s alright, you still got something to say
Well it’s alright, remember to live and let live
Well it’s alright, the best you can do is forgive

Well it’s alright, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s alright, if you live the life you please
Well it’s alright, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s alright, we’re going to the end of the line

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: George Harrison / Roy Orbison / Thomas Earl Petty / Jeffrey Lynne / Robert Dylan

End of the Line lyrics © Umlaut Corporation (ascap), Laut Music, Umsongs

♫ I Am Woman ♫

I posted this song in October 2020, somewhat as a tribute to Helen Reddy who had died just a couple of days earlier.  I was just about to get started on my music post tonight when I read Sadje’s post and this song immediately came to mind and I was suddenly struck with a strong desire to hear the song once again! 

The year was 1972 when at the height of what is now called the ‘feminist movement’, our fight to be treated as equals, Australian singer Helen Reddy released the single I Am Woman.

From The Guardian

In her pomp during the early 1970s no woman sold more records or scored more No 1 singles in a row (six) on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart; nor did any other female vocalist excite quite such opposing views among the public. Hipsters were repelled by her silky vocal style and smooth arrangements, with Alice Cooper dubbing her “the queen of housewife rock”; conservatives, on the other hand, were unsettled by I Am Woman’s call to arms.

Accepting the 1973 Grammy award in the best female pop vocal category, Reddy rubbed salt into the wound by saying: “I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible.”

She had not expected the song to become a hit, let alone a cultural touchstone. She wrote the lyrics (the music was composed by an Australian guitarist friend, Ray Burton) on impulse, having lain in bed one night and taken stock of the grinding struggle to break through in the music business.

As a jobbing singer in Australia and then Los Angeles, she had been belittled and harassed by male executives and performers, and consequently became part of a Hollywood women’s discussion group. What emerged the day she wrote I Am Woman was effortlessly, unequivocally anthemic: “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore … I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.”

It caught the mood of what was then called the women’s liberation movement just as it was becoming an unstoppable wave; nearly 50 years later, the phrase “hear me roar” is part of the lexicon.

I Am Woman charted at #1 in the U.S. and Canada, #2 in Reddy’s home base of Australia, and did not make even a ripple in the UK. However, in 1974 her song Angie Baby hit #1 in the UK, her only UK hit at #5.

In addition to her signature song, two others are favourites of mine, and since this is a tribute, though a small one, I shall play all three tonight, though I will only include lyrics to I Am Woman.  I shall also post Angie Baby, for while I don’t recall this one, it did top the U.S. charts at #1, and I have many readers in the UK who may remember it.

I Am Woman
Helen Reddy

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can face anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Helen Reddy / Ray Burton
I Am Woman lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management

My other two favourites are You and Me Against the World

And I Don’t Know How to Love Him

And last, but not least, Angie Baby

R.I.P. Helen Reddy, and thank you for sharing your beautiful voice, your extraordinary talent.  You will be missed.


A Day In Honour Of Indigenous Peoples

This is a partial reprise of a post I did in 2019, but with some revisions/additions/updates.

Last Friday, 7 October 2022, President Biden issued the 2nd Presidential Proclamation on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  There has been a growing movement to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day and at least ten states have already done so.  Ten other states officially observe the day, though they have not replaced Columbus Day as yet.  In addition, more than 100 cities have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, including Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, Denver, Phoenix and San Francisco.

Many students learn the phrase, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. But Columbus was not the first foreign explorer to land in the Americas. Neither he nor those that came before him discovered America—because Indigenous Peoples have populated the Western Hemisphere for tens of thousands of years. European contact resulted in devastating loss of life, disruption of tradition, and enormous loss of lands for Indigenous Peoples in the Americas. It is estimated that in the 130 years following first contact, Native America lost 95 percent of its population.

Over the past few decades there has been a growing movement to alter the holiday to honour those who first occupied the country.  So … how did this all start?

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

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

The group convinced the city council of Berkeley, California, to declare October 12 as a “Day of Solidarity with Indigenous People” and 1992 the “Year of Indigenous People”. The city implemented related programs in schools, libraries, and museums. The city symbolically renamed Columbus Day as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” beginning in 1992 to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the losses suffered by the Native American peoples and their cultures through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation.

In the current socio-political culture whereby many states and localities are attempting to whitewash the history of this nation, to pretend that European settlers, white people, were some shining stars without fault, I think it is more important than ever that we remember our past, recognize the horrific wrongs that were done to Indigenous Peoples as well as Blacks, Hispanics and others, in order to ensure that future generations will will never repeat these terrible tragedies.indig-peoples-day.jpgIn the years following Berkeley’s action, other local governments and institutions have either renamed or canceled Columbus Day, either to celebrate Native American history and cultures, to avoid celebrating Columbus and the European colonization of the Americas, or due to raised controversy over the legacy of Columbus.

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

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

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

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

Note to Readers:  I am closing comments on this post, for the comments have gotten out of hand.  Sorry, folks.

The World Mourns Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom for the past 70 years, died yesterday.  She was 96 years of age.  Even though I fully expected the news sometime yesterday, it took my breath and I found myself with tears running down my cheeks.  Unable to speak without a sob, I texted my granddaughter, Natasha, with the news even though she was sitting only six feet away from me.

Queen Elizabeth was the last of a dying breed, or perhaps a breed that is now extinct with her death.  She cared … genuinely cared … about the people in her nation and around the globe.  We don’t see much of that today.  She and Prince Philip had been married nearly 74 years when he died in April of last year … a marriage that lasts that long speaks volumes about both people, about their patience, willingness to compromise, mutual respect and more.

A few of the comments and thoughts by people yesterday …

Rita Grant, 64, a worker at a children’s center in London, said that with the difficult situation Britain was going through, with a cost-of-living and energy crisis, the queen was the only element keeping the country afloat. “She is the glue that holds everything together. If we lose her we lose a lot,” said as while shopping for food in London. “Without her, we will be lost.”

Jackie Peebles, 48, struggled to hold back tears as she spoke about the first time she waved to the queen on the royal yacht in Jersey at age 10. “She is all I ever known since I was a child. I feel like she is my Nan.” She said she was going to make a scrapbook of the queen’s photos for her daughter, who “might never get to see her. I just feel so sad.”

“She was a constant in a sea of chaos. She was the living embodiment — majestic, sure-footed, seeming divinely ordained — of a Great Britain that once had been and is no longer. She provided a sense of steadiness and continuity during her country’s transitions. Her passing carries a significance far greater than her official duties would indicate.” – Dan Rather writing on SubStack … you can read his entire tribute here.

No doubt you will read and see numerous tributes to this special lady over the coming days … tributes that will be far better than any I could write, so I choose to honour Queen Elizabeth II by sharing some iconic pictures …

Princess Elizabeth with her mother, The Duchess of York, in 1927.

1945 – Princess Elizabeth was photographed in her British Army uniform. At the time of the picture, she was a second subaltern (equivalent to a second lieutenant) in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) of the British Army.

1947 – With her then-fiancé, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

1947 – The wedding

1949 – The queen looked thrilled while she posed with her son Prince Charles.


1981 – The queen posed with her son Prince Charles and his then-fiancee Lady Diana Spencer at Buckingham Palace.

1982 – Pope John Paul II, the head of the Catholic church, paid a visit to Buckingham Palace to meet with the Queen of England, who is the head of the church of England.

1983 – Queen Elizabeth II looked pleased to meet Indira Gandhi, the first female Prime Minister of India during a visit to the country.

1983 – During her official visit to the United States, the queen attended a banquet in San Francisco and toasted glasses with President Ronald Reagan.

1983 – While in Delhi, India, the queen met with Mother Teresa of Calcutta and presented her with the Order of Merit, which recognizes distinguished leaders and culture shifters.

1996 – South African President Nelson Mandela and the queen sat in a carriage for his official visit to England.

2003 – For this official portrait, the queen wore an embellished pink gown with her husband, their son, Prince Charles, and grandson Prince William at Clarence House.

2011 – Barack and Michelle Obama, QEII, and Prince Philip all looked dapper as they posed in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace. The queen invited the Obamas for a two-day State visit.

2020 – Riding Balmoral Fern, a 14-year-old Fell Pony, on the grounds of her Windsor Castle home.

2020 – The queen awards Captain Sir Thomas Moore with the insignia of Knight Bachelor at Windsor Castle. British World War II veteran Captain Tom Moore raised over $38 million for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

2021 – The queen gives her Christmas Day speech from home, next to a framed photo of herself with late husband Prince Philip.

2022 – The Royal Windsor Horse Show releases a new photo of the monarch for her 96th birthday, celebrating her lifelong love of horses.

As the news of the Queen’s death circulated, people began gathering outside of Buckingham Palace where suddenly a rainbow appeared …

Around the world, buildings will reflect the global mourning of Queen Elizabeth.  In New York, the Empire State Building will shine purple & silver in honour of the Queen …

In Ottawa, Canada,  a huge picture of the Queen lights up the side of the National Arts Centre.

And in Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower lights will be turned off in honour of the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth belonged to the United Kingdom and they will mourn her more than any, but her death is sad for us all, and the world will mourn in its own way.  She was truly a great lady and she will be missed.  R.I.P. Queen Elizabeth.