Monthly Archives: April 2013

Worst Quote of the Week

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“If babies had guns they wouldn’t be aborted.”

U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, on his new campaign bumper sticker.

Well, that just makes a whole hell of a lot of sense!  But, wait!  He might be onto something.  Babies holding guns – not much different than politicians holding guns.  I mean, at least babies are too little to know what the hell they’re doing; while most politicians are too little-minded to know what the hell they’re doing.

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In Remembrance – Oklahoma City

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April 19, 1995

The 1993 Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas segues tragically into the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building exactly two years later.  Again, the matter has to do with religious extremism, unmitigated hate and White supremacists.  May the Great Creator bless the 168 innocent souls who died in that bombing.  No matter what happens, love always wins out over hate.

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

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In Remembrance – Mount Carmel and the Branch Davidian Siege

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April 19, 1993

It’s difficult to believe it’s been 20 years since that awful day when a 51-day standoff with an extremist religious group culminated in a conflagration and the deaths of 80 people, including 20 children.  I still feel sad for those babies and children, but I don’t have any remorse for the group’s perverted leader, David Koresh, and the other adults who allowed this to happen.  That one event signaled a violent rebirth of the White supremacist movement in the United States and ridiculous questions about freedom of religion and gun rights.

But, this is for those children who had no choice in the matter.

“I am a free spirit like a wind
I bend with the breeze, carefree with the bliss.
I wander here and there,
And finally found a love to share.

Together we had laughter and tears,
For he is my sweet disaster.
With one heart we embraced with love,
The little angel sent by one up above.
Yet laid unto rest shortly,
before we even accept the reality.

On this earth life and love you gave,
But science had numbered your days.
Up above the joys and fears,
You tiptoed and leave.
Mommy is in anguish of losing you our dearest.

The sun was shiny and fluffy on your final day,
Rainbows and butterflies swept our pain away.
Lonely days and tearful nights were not yet over,
Yet mom and dad clasp their fingers together.

One day we will see you again our angel baby
When our time is over you will walk with us merrily.
Someday we will gaze you up high,
Up above the blue sapphire sky.
We will be proud to tell you with a smile,
That we are more stronger because of you…having you even just for a while.”

Athena Ali, Tiptoed Moments

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Psycho Crap

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The death last week of legendary comedian and actor Jonathan Winters invoked a plethora of admirable responses.  Many contemporary comic figures, such as Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, spoke fondly of a man who inspired them in their own careers.  But, amidst the accolades came another type of acknowledgement: that Winters suffered from depression and alcoholism.  I never knew that – and I really didn’t care to hear about it.  It’s become inevitable though in recent decades, especially here in the U.S.; that when someone dies, or announces their run for public office, the media tries to learn what bad stuff lurks in their backgrounds.

It seems to be a uniquely American trend; one I still insist began with Watergate.  When the American populace first heard some of the secret tapes Richard Nixon recorded, most were shocked at the level of foul verbiage that spewed from the mouth of the president.  It may be naïve in retrospect, but at the time, I suppose most people assumed someone at that level of power would speak more maturely and professionally.

But, I remember my mother saying how surprised she was to learn, years earlier, that actress Carolyn Jones wasn’t the angelic figure she often personified herself to be.  That’s the thing with people in the entertainment community, though; they create a universe for themselves and expect the public to believe it’s true.  Pretty much the same can be said about politics.  There’s a certain sense of egotism one must possess to succeed in either venture.  Yet, is really necessary to point out the bad things people have done?

Almost as soon as the local ABC news channel announced Winters’ death, they just as quickly pointed out that he’d battled depression and alcohol.  In fact, that took up half of their brief piece on him.  Here was one of the most talented and ingenious comedians the U.S. has ever produced, and the goddamn news has to highlight the fact he was a recovering alcoholic!

I know what it’s like to suffer from depression and alcoholism.  The two are almost symbiotic; conjoined twins of human psychosis.  Growing up shy and an only child – as I’ve mentioned here before – plunged me into severe states of depression while enduring the tough times of childhood and my teen years.  When I discovered alcohol, it only numbed the pain, but it didn’t make it any better.  It never does.

I’m not proud of those struggles – except to say I got through them – but I certainly don’t want to be remembered for it.  However my epitaph reads, I’d hate to think whatever demons lumbered around in my mind take up much of the dialogue.  We Americans love a good success story, but it seems we also love to see people humiliated in public.  We like to see that proverbial dirty laundry flapping in the winds of fame and fortune.  Or, some do.

I don’t know what it is that compels this society to do that to people.  Are we so enamored with our own potential that we have to snuff out our competition at any costs?  Or, are we just that psychology twisted?  Regardless, it’s immature at best; cruel and destructive at worst.

We all want to have people think the very best of us.  So, as I contemplate Jonathan Winters, here’s what comes to my mind: hysterically funny, innovate, creative, impressive; a man with no equal; a damn good comedian; someone who made me laugh every time.

Image.

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Why the hell not?!

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I’ve been paying for those lazy welfare fuckers for over 30 years!  I’m not talking about unemployment or social security!  People pay into that.  But, I can’t stand all these people who sit around on their butts – fucking, getting drunk, playing dominoes and trying to figure out ways to take things from the rest of us.  That’s why people are crossing the border illegally from México.  That goes for corporate welfare, too!  We hard-working folks need all the help we can get.

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Thoughts and Prayers for Boston

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May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

May the rain fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

Boston Marathon Bombing.

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Cities in the Night

What would the world’s largest metropolitan areas look like if illuminated only by the light of the stars?  That’s difficult to imagine, given the unyielding relationship between cities and their plethora of lights.  But, French photographer Thierry Cohen has done just that.  Cohen worries that intense urbanization has spawned generations of people who are too detached from the natural world.  He feels a city-bred individual “forgets and no longer understands nature.”

Light pollution has become a serious concern in recent years.  Before, no one really gave much thought to the ill effects of so many artificial sources of light.  City skies have become virtually empty of stars.  The International Dark-Sky Association, founded in 1988, works to preserve the integrity of the night sky by advocating for fewer lights and more practical usage of those that are necessary.  Their efforts are paying off.  In 2002, the Czech Republic became the first country to enact legislation to eliminate light pollution.

Three years ago Cohen embarked on an ambitious project to help city dwellers realize what they’re missing.  He traveled to some of the world’s largest cities and photographed them during the day; meticulously recording the time, angle, latitude and longitude of the shot.  Then, he journeyed to remote deserts and plains at corresponding latitudes and pointed his lens to the night sky.  New York City, for example, parallels with the Black Rock Desert in Nevada; for Hong Kong, it’s the Western Sahara in Africa; for São Paulo, it’s the Atacama Desert in Chile; and for Cohen’s native Paris, it’s the prairies of northern Montana.  Cohen then manipulated the photographs to create composites of the cities and their skyscapes.

The results are magnificent.  Observers don’t see a skyline as in a fantasy or a dream, but rather as it should be seen.  And, in the end, hopefully they’ll begin to think about more their environment.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

New York City

New York City

Paris

Paris

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

San Francisco

San Francisco

São Paulo

São Paulo

Shanghai

Shanghai

Tokyo

Tokyo

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