Sunday, May 13, 2018

Are You My Other???

Yeah Happy Mother's Day whatever.

Today is Thank God It's Sunday at my blog.

If you are not familiar with the adventures of P. D. Eastman's Baby Bird as he finds his way home, please spend seven minutes here: YOUTUBE  CHILDREN'S BOOK READ ALOUD  BECAUSE OF SPOILER ALERT

When Baby Bird hatches into a world with no mother in sight, he leaves the nest on a quest to find her. On his search, he asks each individual he meets, "Are you my mother?" Some (the kitten and various inanimate objects) respond with blank stares or silence. Some  (the hen, the dog, the cow) are more vocal in their rejection: I am a this. You are a not-this. I'm not your mother. You are...The Other.

On this Mother's Day, when we celebrate who we are and whence we came, this little book has me asking myself about this one here, and that one over there: is he one of us? or is she one of them? 

Are you my Other? 

Does your mother dress you funny?
Did you vote for the wrong person?
Or will you never stop letting me know that I did?
Did your ancestors mistreat my ancestors?
Or did my ancestors mistreat your ancestors? And do I think it's high time you got over it?

Are you my Other?

I used to think you needed a jolly good "talking to."
You needed a piece of my mind, is what you needed.

But maybe what you really need is a jolly good "listening to."

So I'll ask you, why? What makes you think the way you do? And how does that work? That happened to you???  Wow. I hadn't realized that. (I might've acted the same way, had that happened to me...) And then after that, what happened? And what did you think about that?

I'll sit on my hands and keep myself from saying, "Yes but, have you considered this, or that?"  I'll forget about the verbal tit-for-tat.

It's not about changing "the Other"'s not about turning her into my mother or anyone else from my tribe ...not into someone I've enlightened to see things my way.

Look, we're living in a society that's flying apart: coworkers, friends, family members refusing to have anything to do with one another anymore. And we're not even talking about how poorly the strangers treat one another. It's so hard to feel at home anywhere.

Remember the SNORT... the..the..the THING that the Baby Bird encountered at the end of his journey? The scariest, most Other-ish being he'd encountered thus far, was the one who finally brought him back to the nest. Home.

Welcome. Welcome.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Always After Me Lucky Charms. Ain't ya.

Art Credit:
There is a big pot of gold I am wishing for everyone (*1) who followed a rainbow here.

Today is St. Patrick's Day at my blog.

St. Patrick was said to have rid Ireland of snakes without wrecking the island's ecosystem. That fact alone makes him aces in my book.(Snakes? I'm agin 'em.) 

More remarkably, though, Patrick brought a message of PEACE to the land of the Great Gauls. Here was found a savagely bloodthirsty people(*2) who would, wearing little more clothing than what they were born with, engage one another in hand-to-hand combat, struggling to the death, just for the fun of it.(*3)

I'm thinking of y'all Gentle Readers as I type out the translation of ancient Gaelic words that St. Patrick may have used. I am mentally changing the "I" to "you," so as to be speaking this blessing in advance, with every keystroke, over the head of every blessed soul who visits this page: Deep peace to you.

Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ, of Christ,

Light of the world to you, 
Deep peace of Christ to you.
To hearJohn Rutter's lovely choral arrangement of this, click  here

(*) For every one, I say: even the person who turned me into an erstwhile FaceBook friend; even the political blogger who referred to me as a "B"; even the neocons and the neo-liberals. Peace to you, and peace to those with whom you interact.

(*2) "For the Great Gauls of Ireland, are the men that God made mad, for all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad."  GK Chesterton 

(*3) The Irish took St. Patrick's message to heart and dialed the aggression way down, though the Fightin' Irish of the University of Notre Dame may upon occasion dial it back up again

Monday, February 19, 2018

Recycling Rules being Recycled

I am saving potentially recyclable items in a marshaling area for the future when they may be picked up curbside, just as I save glass between my visits to the glass recycling bins around town
Today is Wisdom Wednesday at my blog.

As a result of changes in the recycling industry, some of which are themselves a result of China having  changed (wisely, I believe) their policy on being a holding tank for the plastic detritus from the West, many of the old rules for recycling are giving way to new rules.

One of the posts I had the most fun writing last year--about the safe way to recycle small plastic caps--is now outdated.

Different districts in the US are adopting radically revised--and radically varying-- recycling protocols. Stay tuned for news about recycling rules in your region. Don't just throw any old thing into the recycling bin and hope for the best. The realities of efficiency constraints are such that one "wrong" item might cause the contents of the entire bin to be rejected at the recycling center.

In my area, the only plastics that can be picked up curbside now are "1" and "2" plastics (such as disposable water bottles, milk and juice jugs.) The winds of change continue to blow, and in the near future, many more kinds of plastic will be collected by the recycling trucks, including styrofoam cups in some regions.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

When your life is more interesting than your blog

Today is Wisdom Wednesday at my blog.

There was a writer, who when contemplating the unwanted drama, indignities and other mishugas he suffered at the hands of his nearest and dearest, would console himself with the mantra: Everything is copy.

But on this Wisdom Wednesday, I resolve to restrain my scribbling hand and my typing fingers. Any act that promotes healing is to be prefered over any act that might hinder it; they're their stories more than my stories; the Golden Rule is to be the great motivator rather than any selfish ambition. The conviction against writing publicly about some  matters amounts to, in many practical ways, a crying shame, for damn fine copy they would make.

Not the kind of wisdom you came looking for? ...well, there is  this. I get so many compliments when, just before I face the world, I treat myself to a spritz of wet n wild's photofocus(TM) SETTING SPRAY. It gives a dewey look while making my makeup last longer. It's like hairspray for my face!

And that's all I got for today, folks.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Holiday Playlist 4 MLK Day

Today is Mathematical and or Mystical   Martin Luther King Day at my blog.
I had always hoped that this land might become a safe & agreeable Asylum to the virtuous & persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong  -- George Washington, in a letter to Francis A. van der Camp 1788

I hope you haven't taken your Christmas decorations down yet.  Strings of colorful lights blinking cheerily through the gloom of a chilly night in mid-January--what's not to love?

Give your holiday celebrations  a fresh new twist by incorporating references to one of the Prince of Peace's most courageously nonviolent followers: the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

If you hail from the CD generation, I hope you haven't put away your collection of holiday music either. Here is a playlist of some of my favorite Christmas music made by African Americans.

The Best of Volume 2 Motown Christmas The Christmas Collection
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"-  Jackson 5
                 (amusing banter between Michael and his incredulous older brothers)

"Twinkle Twinkle Little Me" - The Supremes 
(tender, with a sweet message:
"Christmas brought me where you are/And heaven gave me life/I'm that friendly little star/You wish upon each night")
"Purple Snowflakes" (Stereo Mix) - Marvin Gaye
(unique and haunting, in a minor key: "...pretty purple snowflakes/Here in our midst, we're surely blessed/Chestnuts roasting/Over the  heat, gee ain't life sweet?/Tempters toasting)
Christmas with the Stars 
"Ave Maria" - Aretha Franklin (wow!)
Mahalia Jackson Silent Night, Holy Night 
"Joy to the Woild"  (love the N'Awlins accent!)
"No Room at the Inn" (upbeat in a soulful kind of way)
A Very Special Christmas Live From Washington D.C
"Christmas in Hollis" - Run DMC
("I picket the wallet up then I took a pause/ Took out the license and it cold said 'Santa Claus'/ A million dollars in it, cold hundreds of g's/Enough to buy a boat and matching car with ease/But I'd never steal from Santa...")
"Give Me One Reason" - Tracy Chapman and Eric Clapton 
"Give me one reason to stay here/
And I'll turn right back around"
 Wonderfully ironic  choice for a Christmas album because
 Jesus : Heaven : Earth :: President Trump : Mar-A-Lago : Haiti
Do you know that some conservatives (not all) "have a problem with" making a holiday for MLK? I would remind those folks that there were some non-Caucasian veterans who had served bravely in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, but before the Civil Rights movement in which Dr. King was a leader, they were often hassled and prevented from voting when they showed up to vote. There's something not at all right about that, to treat veterans that way, wouldn't you agree?

I understand the concern other conservatives have about uncontrolled immigration. Sure, security and the realities of the national debt require limits to how many refugees and immigrants we take in (there are other ways to help those we can't, which I've described here.  To those of you, having an extreme view of these limitations, say "You have to go back" to anyone whose ancestors weren't from Europe, I would point out an excerpt from the correspondence of the United States' most famous founding father:

I had always hoped that this land might become a safe & agreeable Asylum to the virtuous & persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong  -- George Washington, in a letter to Francis Adrian van der Camp 1788

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Choose Something Like a Very Stable Star.

Today is Mystical Monday, on the cusp of Tuesday What's In the News Day at my blog.

So first, four quick political observations, and then, off on a tangent to four lines of Robert Frost's poem,
Choose Something Like a Star.
The President of the United States recently described himself as a Very Stable Genius.

The creator of the Dilbert cartoon (Scott Adams) claims the presidential tweets are, well...pure genius...and he even started a hashtag #POTUSVSG so others can cheer along.

On the other hand, many people don't see the president's tweetings in that light at all.  When they hear his words, they laugh at him, but some say that they actually ache.

Tens of millions of people are talking about those tweets.

**  ***   *****   *******   ***********  ************* *****************

Tens of millions of us gazing into the night-sky. We don't understand each other, but for a little while, and maybe for a little while after that, it doesn't matter.

...So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.


1. The whole poem (scroll down past the post-mortem) can be read here:

2.  Many thanks to an old friend from my school days for steering me toward that poem.

3.  Art Credit: The Adoration of the Magi, Albrecht Dürer

Friday, December 29, 2017

My son and I on same wavelength, sort of

Today is Family Secrets Friday at my blog.

My son read Coinky Dinks and Theme for the Day and remarked that we can recognize the hand of God not only when good things are happening to us, but also on the days when we encounter obstacles and pain.

The funny thing is, I had included a sentence to that effect at the end of the post, but  I deleted it before publishing, before he could've read it, because...

...many people are unable to receive that wisdom when they're going through a storm.  At times like those, a helping hand is the best sermon on God's providence.

I don't know what people who read this are going through. "Where's the hand that's helping me?" someone might be wondering. They are everywhere, asking that question, and also everywhere, waiting to be the answer.  Some things take time.