Not There Yet

After work Thursday I stopped at the Salvation Army. I was dropping off some items I no longer needed. I then went inside to do some shopping. As a member of the working poor I often shop at such thrift stores. While inside I saw a stout woman in her thirties with two girls that were about 8 and 10 years old. The eight year old walked towards her mother holding up a pink t-shirt. The mother said, “Look at the letter o in the word love printed on it.” The letters were different objects with the o being a peace symbol. The woman said, “You know you’re not allowed to wear anything with a peace symbol on it.” I was puzzled by this comment and had to ask what the heck gives. I said, “What is wrong with a peace symbol?” She replied, “It is evil anti-Christian and the symbol for the New World Order.” I replied, “It represents peace and originally meant ban the bomb. It has been hijacked by a few organizations to try to mean something else but it boils down to symbolize people who want a peaceful world.  Wasn’t Jesus all about peace?” She replied, “We all have our own beliefs and I am sorry if I offend yours. That is all I have to say.” I did not reply I just finished shopping and left. On the drive home I noted that I went in the Salvation Army at about 2:50 pm. That made me wonder why these two school age girls were not in school. I then realized I had probably just encountered a homeschool mom. Perhaps they were shopping as a substitute for math class.

I have been running into quite a few of these homeschool moms and former homeschool moms. Many of these women have told me they were homeschool moms as their minister told them the Devil was in the public schools. We have a couple of churches in the valley that promote this idea. The irony is these former homeschool moms are looking for jobs since their kids are now grown. Many of them are getting jobs in the public schools as assistants, janitors, bus drivers and cafeteria workers. They don’t get the hypocrisy of now working where the supposed Devil lives. I wonder if their ministers have spoken against them working in the public schools. He is probably happy they are getting a paycheck and donating to the church. I have met a few women working in public education that are still homeschooling. I guess the homeschool kid is learning on the afternoon shift. I really don’t understand these Christian fundamentalist who only see the bad in public education and symbols and don’t care to look for all the good. I also don’t understand how they can’t see their own hypocrisy.

In the newspaper was an interesting story on Friday. It was about the Pine Bush, New York High School. For National Foreign Language Week, the school’s foreign language department came up with an idea. Every day that week the Pledge of Allegiance would be read in a different language. The intent was to promote the fact that Americans who speak a language other than English pledge to this great country. The idea was a hit until an Arabic speaking student read the pledge in Arabic. Catcalls from many students started immediately.  Students went home and complained to parents. Then parents called the school saying they had lost family members in the Afghanistan war. When these veterans were killed, weren’t they fighting to free Afghanistan citizens from the Taliban and their fundamentalist view of Islam? Sadly, the school apologized to students, staff and community members who took offense to the pledge being recited in Arabic.

In 2013, the parents of several Jewish students attending Pine Bush schools said their children were the targets of anti-Semitic harassment from classmates. I note that Jewish parents called the school complaining about the pledge being read in Arabic. They had no concerns that Arab students were now facing harassment in school. I guess they didn’t notice their own hypocrisy. I agree with what Sadyia Khalique spokesman for the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations had to say. He said, “When a simple student activity designed to promote mutual understanding receives such a negative reaction and the school in which it takes place is forced to apologize, all Americans who value our nation’s history of religious and ethnic diversity should be concerned.”

This week I heard some interesting programming on WYSU our local NPR radio station. They were doing a feature on the 50th anniversary of the Selma, Alabama civil rights march. I heard a Japanese-American (who along with his family was interned during WW II) and a Jewish rabbi interviewed.  They had gone back to attend the march they had been in 50 years ago. They talked about how the African-Americans in the first march influenced them with their courage. They were proud to have been such a part of history that helped change this country.

After the things I read and experienced this week I wondered if there had been much change. This week in Austin, Texas someone pasted “Exclusively for white people” stickers on storefront windows. The stickers called for no more than 5 black customers to be in a store at a time. It is being investigated to find out who did this. Sadly, this happened in Austin which is the most progressive city in Texas. This month a video came forward about the University of Oklahoma’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. They were happily seen chanting racist remarks about African-Americans. The same evening that University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon came under fire for a racially charged viral video, a Confederate flag was visible hanging in a window of Oklahoma State University’s SAE house. The SAE fraternity at Oklahoma and in other states have a history of racism. I’d point out that racism at these universities could be your real “Devil in the schools.” That racism could filter into society in a big way once these students graduate. I say that because of a study published last year in The Atlantic. That study showed that, “Fraternity men make up 85 percent of U.S. Supreme Court justices since 1910, 63 percent of all U.S. presidential cabinet members since 1900 and, historically, 76 percent of U.S. senators [and] 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives.”

Topeka Kansas resident, Rev. Fred Phelps died recently. He was the anti-gay minister who along with his followers disrupted burials of veterans who had died in the wars in the Middle East. They held up signs saying, “God hates fags” near the funerals. Phelps stated he believed veterans were dying in wars because so many in the U.S. support gay rights. Rev. Phelps has also used anti-Semitic language in the fliers and tracts he distributed at his church. I find all of this very strange given Fred Phelps background. He was a highly intelligent civil rights attorney who in the 1960s would take on racial discrimination cases that no other lawyers would. He passionately fought for the rights of blacks, and then turned his passion to hate condemning gays until he died in March of 2014.

It was Civil Rights leader, Bayard Rustin a gay man who introduced Martin Luther King to Gandhi’s teachings about peaceful protest. I’m sure many other gay men and women of all colors and faiths (and secular people) helped African-Americans in the Civil Rights struggle. Yet today, most black Christian churches lash out against gays fighting for their rights. I am left wondering if we have really come very far at all in the last fifty years. I also have to wonder if religion and some of its hypocrisy has helped or hindered our journey to that better world for our children.

 Oklahoma vies for most racist state.

The Roots: “Can’t Turn Me Around”

“Now or Never”

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” ~ MLK

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It’s All Relative

I am green Irish on all sides of the family. For St. Patrick’s Day, I wrote this poem to honor my Irish relatives.

I was lucky to spend

much of my childhood

around my great grandparents,

grandparents, and great aunts and uncles.

A hard-working and

hard living bunch.

They drove Chryslers that had

automatic pilot settings

that guided them to

Thistledown and Northfield

horse races on weekends

and to the lottery store

and family card parties

after the workday.

I truly hit the lottery

with this group,

because they instilled

working-class values in me.

Anyone of my Irish relatives

no questions asked would

give you the shirt off their back.

Of course the garment

would have been soaked

in honest sweat,

tobacco aroma,

whiskey stains

and had an ace or two

pinned inside the sleeves.

Their lives were cut short

by the hard work they did

and their hard play

that eased the workday pains.

They’re all gone

but never for gotten.

Bless you all!

10 things you didn’t know about St. Patrick’s Day.

Black 47: “James Connolly”

“The Big Fellah”

Irish Descendents: “Come Out You Black and Tans”

I’m troubled, I’m dissatisfied. I’m Irish! ~ Marianne Moore



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Wishing the Dinosaurs Were Extinct

I dropped my subscription to the Warren Tribune a few months back. I did that because the editor refused to print a column by one of their community columnists, Arya-francesca Jenkins. It was a column about Frackfree Mahoning Valley activists and problems people were experiencing because of fracking in our valley. I really can’t say that I am surprised that Warren Tribune Chronicle, Editor Frank Robinson wouldn’t print the column. I say that because Robinson is a corporate lackey and an enemy of the people. Frank hates unions and any talk of a clean environment because he hates anything that puts people before corporations. He hates liberals and loves to throw the word around to protect his precious corporations.

I no longer get the Warren Tribune but every once in a while a few people send me info from it. On March 4th I received a column Robinson wrote. It was in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline and how it was going to be a wonderful thing for the U.S. Editor Robinson stated, “President Barack Obama can provide no scientifically based specific reason for vetoing a bill to allow construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline – but he has killed the measure anyway.” Robinson went on about how no one except uninformed liberal environmentalist could oppose the pipeline. He heralded it as being safe and a job provider, economic booster and much-needed fuel provider.

As Editor Robinson will only believe information from conservative sources let me begin there. I looked for info from conservative Forbes magazine about Keystone XL. This from a Forbe’s story about the pipeline,  “Pipeline defects have been identified along a 60-mile stretch of the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline, north of the Sabine River in Texas. 
Sections of pipe have dents, faulty welds, and pin-holes in some sections enough to see daylight through. The installers have been digging up parts of the new southern segment of the Keystone pipeline that only recently have been installed. 
It seems that the existing leg of the Keystone has spilled more oil in its first year than any other first-year pipeline in U.S. history. I can just imagine the mid-level manager’s thought processes on this. Hmmm…I’m making a decision on a pipeline that is involved in an extremely political battle, that may have a huge impact on the American economy, that could make tens of billions of dollars a year for my company but that could, if done badly, destroy the drinking water and irrigation supply for the bread-basket of America, and that even has international diplomatic ramifications.” Also, “You’d think that a $45 billion-a-year prize for the U.S. would warrant spending a few thousand dollars more for a decent length of pipe. Just the political capital alone that would come from demonstrating you care at all about the environment might go a long way to getting the President to approve such a Golden Goose. Instead, this pipeline is becoming a Presidential Sophie’s Choice.  It pits the environment against the economy.  Greed against caring.  The United States against Canada.  Conservative against liberal.  Labor against Progressives. There really is no good choice here. But the economic and energy security arguments used in favor of the pipeline aren’t really that strong.  The surge in domestic natural gas production, the rising global cost of oil, and the economic bust of 2008 have changed the energy equation dramatically. America has been steadily reducing its oil addiction. Oil consumption has dropped by 2.5 million barrels a day over the last eight years. That’s equivalent to closing a Keystone XL every three years. The pipeline is not a make-or-break deal for the American economy or even our energy security.”

In the same article, “The Keystone XL is designed to promote exports of Canadian tar sands oil and its refined products to non-U.S. markets, especially China and Latin America. China is now the largest foreign investor in Canada’s tar sands, representing 52 percent of all foreign investment since 2003. Ironically, the XL pipeline may increase gasoline prices for Americans and reduce national energy security – not bolster it, as promoters claim. The U.S. would carry the greatest share of the risk while getting the smallest share of the benefits. And then there’s the properties of this oil itself that enter into the risk portion of the analysis. Compared with conventional crude, heavy oil extracted from tar sands has to be at higher temperatures and pressures in order to flow. And still the tar sands have to be boiled to separate the heavy oils, and then diluted with light hydrocarbons and methane to flow. Since this mixture is the most viscous, sulfurous and acidic form of oil produced today, it may just be a bit hard on the pipelines. Again, riskier to the United States. Which may be no problem at all if the pipelines are installed as designed, with epoxy coatings and other corrosion-reducing technologies. But we keep installing crappy pipe and cutting corners. All in all, the cost/benefit is not in America’s favor.”

The oil and gas companies made record profits in the last several years. Despite that they have laid off more than 11,000 U.S. workers. So much for the jobs being promoted by extending Keystone XL. Editor Robinson, like the GOP leaders pushing Keystone XL are dinosaurs. The future job growth is going to be in renewable energy. In 2011 jobs in solar energy doubled and have been growing since. For our children’s future we need to focus on clean renewable energy. It will make us a more secure nation and foster American ingenuity. We’ve also got to realize our corporate owned politicians and editors that want to keep us on fossil fuels, are ancient fossils who dwell in the past.

Keystone XL is against the best interest of our country.

Pipeline inspector turns whistleblower about the poor quality of Keystone XL Pipeline.

5 Reasons the Keystone XL Pipeline is Bad for the Economy.

Keystone XL Pipeline vs. Water

Robert Earl Keen: ‘The Road Goes on Forever”

“Shades of Gray”

“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” ~ Ansel adams

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Common Good vs. Self-interest

I met a man promoting our area by setting up a blog linking gamers in the Mahoning Valley. He came to an open poetry reading at the Lime Tree in Warren, Ohio. It turns out he is Tracey Winbush’s cousin. The first thing he said to me was, “I am not crazy enough to be a Republican like her.” I have mentioned Tracey and her right-wing radio show many times before. She has a show called, “Afternoons with Tracey and Friends” at 600-AM WSOM. The cousin explained to me that Tracy is an opportunist and that is why she is a conservative Republican. The GOP in their attempt to appeal to African-Americans and women was very happy to latch onto Tracey. She became the area Republican Party treasurer. Then in 2013 the county Republican Party’s executive committee unanimously recommended Winbush to serve on the county’s elections board. Secretary of State Jon Husted approved and she got the job. In a quote from the Youngstown Vindicator Winbush said, “I’m so excited to serve the people in this capacity; I’ve always wanted this position. It’s important to oversee the voting process and make decisions in the best interest of voters. I don’t get excited about too much, but I’m really looking forward to this.”

If you’ve ever heard Tracey’s show you would know she gets excited over the smallest of things. She spends her radio time yelling over callers and cutting them off if they dare disagree with her. Her cousin said he has asked her to be a guest on the show and she has refused him. He wanted to have a debate and name it, “Winbush vs. Winbush.” He wanted the public to know Tracey was the only one in the family with conservative beliefs. I note that area GOP Treasurer Mark Mangie now sits at the microphone quite often with Tracey. I suspect the GOP feels they need to babysit Tracey so she doesn’t stray far from the party line. Perhaps, they still can’t believe their good luck at scoring a female African-American to believe in their “angry old white guy” agenda.

Sadly, three times the Community Bill of Rights amendment to keep Youngstown safe from fracking was defeated on the ballot. Winbush was very outspoken against it. “It is actually not telling the residents of the city of Youngstown about hydraulic fracturing. It has nothing to do with water and air purification. It has to do with an agenda,” said Winbush. “It is not worth the paper it is written on.” The one with an agenda is Tracey. I agree with her cousin that her agenda is to use and be used by the GOP to gain money and power.

I had a big chuckle at a recent commentary in the Youngstown Vindicator. It was David Skolnick’s article, “Portman – Strickland Senate race will be wild.” Skolnick said this about Strickland, “The former governor he spent the past 11 months as president of the Center American Progress Action Fund, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C. Based on some of the center’s policies, it wasn’t a smart career move for Strickland to work there.”

Here is a statement I got from the website of the Center American Progress Action Fund: “We believe that America should be a country of boundless opportunity—where all people can better themselves through education, hard work, and the freedom to pursue their dreams. We believe this will only be achieved with an open and effective government that champions the common good over narrow self-interest, harnesses the strength of our diversity, and secures the rights and safety of its people. Real progress will be achieved only through innovative solutions born of open collaboration. To realize our vision we must: Build an opportunity nation where every hard-working person, regardless of background, can realize their dreams through education, decent work and fair play. Reawaken America’s conscience, our sense of shared and personal responsibility, to build healthy, vibrant communities. Reform government so that it is of, by and for the people: open, effective, and committed to the common good. Use America’s strength to bring the world together, not pull it apart.”

Does Skolnick actually believe that working at a place that tries to accomplish these beliefs is harmful to Strickland or anyone? I especially like the part about “championing the common good over narrow self-interest.” As a union activist I went to the picket line and events supporting striking Youngstown Vindicator workers a decade ago. They went on strike for a pay raise and other issues following a four-year wage freeze. Of the 173 union members 93 were making less than $9 an hr. The Vindicator brought in scabs they paid $20 an hr. The strikers published their own paper, The Valley Voice, during this time. I purchased those editions and thought it was better than the Vindicator. It was a 261 day long and bitter strike. Skolnick worked at the Vindicator at that time. Did he support his brother and sister union members and “champion their ‘common good over the narrow self-interest” of the Vindicator?” I do believe Mr. Skolnick choose self-interest and crossed the picket line and went back to work. That makes it hard for me to believe anything Skolnick writes.

Music time:

John Mayall: “Nature’s Disappearing”

“Unanswered Questions”

“Gasoline Blues”

“After God finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab … When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the Devil shuts the gates of Hell to keep him out. No man has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with.” ~ Jack London


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A Shut-In Poet Responds

I’ve known a woman for a long time that many people consider a great poet. She has written a couple of thousand poems and had many published. I asked her to define her poetry style as I find it hard to read. She said, “When writing poetry I avoid pentameter, opting for trimeter, tetrameter and, less often, dimeter. The regular form I use employs the ballad stanza, a traditional form that is divided into quatrains, using tetrameter for the first and third lines and trimeter for the second and fourth, while rhyming the second and fourth lines (ABCB). I often use perfect rhymes for lines two and four. In some of my poems, I vary the meter from the traditional ballad stanza by using trimeter for lines one, two and four, while only using tetrameter for line three.” At this point I was shaking my head as I didn’t know or care what any of that meant. I really feel she needs to have some fun and lighten up.

I asked her to compare my poems to hers. She replied, “Your poems only resemble mine in the fact we both use what I’ll call unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Mine because I find it artsy, you because you’re terrible at spelling, punctuation and the English language in general. My poems sometime contain slanted rhymes, yours contain politically slanted rhymes. I write about spirituality and loneliness. Your poems are rants or ridicules of politics, social norms and trends.”

She certainly has my number. On the other hand, I told her she isn’t able to write about current things like I do. I say that because she doesn’t really get out very often. As she has gotten older she has become a bit of a shut-in. I have often wondered why she has withdrawn so much from people. She use to be fun to hang out with even if she was artsy fartsy. She decided to show me up. She decided to write a poem describing why she has become a recluse. She also took my advice to have some fun. She said she would write her poem in my straight forward silly rhyming style.

This is the poem she sent me:

Why I’m a Recluse in 2015

I sometimes walk to my livery stable,
play pool on my billiards table,
and write poems at my drafting table.
I gaze out from my Victorian gable,
but never go out in public as I’m not able.
Some gab and say I am very unstable.
That talk is all just a mere fable.
I don’t leave the house as I have cable.
I watch it while drinking lite beer.
The TV news brings me no cheer.
It only plays on my fears.
As it warns me about racketeers,
black marketers, mutineers, emirs,
financiers, political spheres, privateers
storms that are severe,
both far and near.
Every month I’m told of a spreading new epidemic to fear.
Swine flu, Ebola, SARs, the measles it’s all hype and insincere.
Meant to benefit that Big Pharma profiteer.
Sorry I won’t let you be my puppeteer.
I’m to fear terrorists from Somali buccaneers
or is it ISIS or the Taliban it’s not clear.
It all makes me off-balance affecting my inner ear
and messes with my celestial and physical sphere.
I realize I have to be a shut-in to persevere.
Politicians who are part of government
want me to fear big government.
I use my good judgment
to realize I fear government
because these clowns are part of government.
I never did anything to deserve this scum as punishment.
I want regular Joe’s to realize their own empowerment.
Staying home keeps me out of trouble day-to-day.
A message lost on our nation who gets into foray after foray.
First military attachés, communiqués, and armament caches
then boots on the ground Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan invasion day.
On to Somalia, Libya, Syria so cops of the world we can portray.
I almost ventured out sometime around Christmas Day
but there was a war on Christmas I heard Bill O’Reilly say.
Calls for war by those who never fight in them will never fade away.
Think I’ll just go to the garden and pick a big bright bouquet.
I don’t pick ones in the woods anymore.
Reality TV has shown me I’m done for
and can expect nothing but gore
if I ventured into the woods on such a chore.
There might be violent moonshiners with guns in their dirty drawers
making killer lightning shit you can’t buy in a liquor store.
I fear there also could be zombies, and vampires looking for bloody goods
or Chupacabras, Big Foot or the Jersey Devil lurking in those backwoods.
I’m into gardens and anything to do with botany
that’s why I thought I’d like that channel HGTV.
The house shows said my life was gloomy, paltry and measly
because I didn’t have granite counters which are the new swanky.
Double sinks in the bathroom is hip all the designers did agree.
Anyone know of a plumber who will put them in my outhouse privy?
My Victorian estate with so many walls is considered shabby and stodgy
as an open floor plan is considered more roomy, homey and cutesy.
What a bunch of dizzy, daffy, dopey, snooty, cheesy hooey.
They said if I don’t remodel, redecorate and upgrade
my house will decay and be worth less than I paid.
Just more crap to make me more and more afraid.
Screw them I say as I open a Mike’s Lemonade.
I haven’t traveled and I haven’t strayed
from my estate in many a decade.
I’m old enough for Medicare but poor enough for Medicaid.
I’ve never had a love and know I’m going to die an old maid.
I’ve corresponded with lots of people so it’s ironic
every one of those relationships stayed plutonic.
All these fears have made me panic
so I ended up a psychotic,
neurotic, hysteric eccentric.
My biggest fear is speaking in public.
and reading at open poetry like a beatnik.

How’s that Jim? ~ Love in spirit Emily Dickinson

Frequently asked questions about Emily Dickinson.

Quoting Napoleon: “Emily Dickinson Tribute”

Freisberg & Sokacic: “I’m Nobody Who Are You?”

“The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise.” ~ Emily Dickinson

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Picking the Bigger Battle

  I’m sure you’ve caught the latest scare in the media. Not long ago it was Ebola and now it is the measles. The debate is turning into a political football. This football is inflating not deflating. It’s people who believe in vaccinations for their children vs. those who don’t believe in them for their children. The pro-vaxxers are calling the anti-vaxxers evil monsters who hate their children. They assume anti-vaxxers are flat Earthers who hate evolution and science. The anti-vaxxers are calling the pro-vaxxers Nazis who want to imprison them for not getting their children vaccinated. I recently got a shingles shot. I did that because I’ve seen my father suffer with shingles. My children have had their vaccinations. We do not run out and get the latest flu de jour flu shots. I do understand some of the suspicions the anti-vaxxers have when they know the vaccine manufactures are on board to make $41 billion in 2015. I’m sure those manufacturers love the media scaring the crap out of the public, about the latest disease making the rounds. I am not pleased with the anger and jargon on either side of the vaccination issue. With all the outrage from both sides I don’t see a solution unless, someone comes up with a vaccine to fight panic and demagoguery I think a little more civility and education would help the situation but don’t see any on the horizon.

I’d rather talk about a different disease all together. It is the disease I’ve lost the most relatives to. It is the disease that I lost my best friend to when we were both 19. It is a disease that makes me deaf to any of the latest media scare diseases. It is the disease that needs more attention than any other. It is a mass murderer causing genocide. It is a disease that has no vaccination. It is a disease that has led me to attending two funerals in the last few weeks. I’m talking about cancer, a disease every family is familiar with. My neighbor Dante age, 52 died of cancer on New Year’s Day 2015. When I went to view him at the funeral home I noted the large number of people who came to pay their respects. The very long line of people standing outside in the cold attested to how many people’s lives and hearts he touched. Dante was the father of three girls. My daughter, Mackenzie grew up playing with his youngest daughter, Kelsey. Kelsey spent lots of time at our house and Mackenzie spent many hours at their house. During those years my wife became ill and bedridden for several months. Dante and his wife Angie found out and came to the rescue. They brought food, offered prayers and were there to help get my kids off and on the bus. I am too proud to ask for help but I didn’t need to because Dante and Angie were intuned to what community is all about. Years later I was remodeling and needed to reroute a gas pipe from my boiler. No plumber would do the job as  it involved working in a crawl space under my dinning room. Dante worked at plumbing and offered to do the job after hearing about my dilemma. He did a great job and refused to take money from me. Kelsey and Mackenzie spent lots of time playing cards with my mother-in-law, who my kids called Baba. When Baba died the December before last Kelsey came over to tell Mackenzie how sad she was to hear. Now Mackenzie has had to say the same to Kelsey about her dad. Dante fought the good fight against cancer and now our community is left with a lot less “common unity.”

Last weekend my wife and I were grocery shopping for her brother. He has been recouping after back surgery. While at the grocery store we ran into the hairdresser who cuts both of our hair. She was wearing a scarf on her head as she lost her hair because of chemo. We were glad to see she is feeling well enough to get out and about. She is soon going to the Cleveland Clinic for some stem cell treatment and is feeling very optimistic. She misses work and wants to return as soon as possible.

The very next day one of my wife’s relatives phoned us. We were told my wife’s cousin, Dave’s wife; Diane had just died of cancer at age, 60. At the funeral Dave told us he felt somewhat blessed. That is because Diane had been given 3 years to live over 7 years ago. Dave said that none the less he still has a lot of questions for God when he sees him. Both Dave’s dad, Ed and my wife’s dad, Ray died in 1973. Ed and Ray were card playing drinking brother-in-laws. Both of them suffered heart attacks dying on the spot. Dave is right it is better to have some time frame about dying. That way you can make a wise decision about what good you can do with the rest of the time you have on this planet. It really is the way we should be living everyday anyway. Diane found her purpose knowing her time was limited. She was an excellent quilter so she decided to teach other how to quilt. Her proudest achievement was working with other women to make a giant cancer quilt. The quilts had many patches each featuring the names of people who had died of cancer. In 2014 more than 559,000 people lost their lives due to the fight against cancer. A quilt that size would blanket the Earth (pun intended).

  I am reminded that Native Americans made quilts. The pride of every Dakota home is the God’s Eye- the morning star quilt. It lies folded in the home to wait as a gift. It is used to cover the bed, and it also wraps the dead. It makes everything it covers sacred. It is  sacramental. It is a visible image that holds an invisible reality. ‘It will not leave you orphans.’”

   Diane and Dante  and caring people like them do not leave us orphans. They leave us with a valuable gift. That gift is learning from them that life should not be lived complacently. Do you really want to die thinking; was just doing no harm enough of a way to live? My life has been blessed knowing so many people like Diane and Dante. I hope you have been so blessed.

Jonathan & the Modern Lovers: “Old World”

“Abu Jamal”

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.” ~ Jean Vanier


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A Rabid Dog Would Have Been Put Down by Now

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than 4 million women experience physical assault and rape by their partners. 1 in 3 female homicide victims are murdered by their current or former partner every year. Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment. Workers at women’s shelters have often said that on Super Bowl Sunday more women seek shelter than any other day of the year. Other people have claimed that is just a myth. Recently, we’ve seen a couple of professional football players batter the women and children in their lives. There was less outrage over this than there was over an under inflated football. Most domestic violence incidents are never reported. There continues to be reported case after case of a serial batterer. It is no myth that this man is destined to kill again. He keeps walking away from his crimes with no justice for his victims. He was recently accused of battering another girlfriend. I wrote this poem as an outcry to all the battered women who are afraid to report their batterer.

A Rabid Dog Would Have Been Put Down by Now

Florida resident 17- year-old Trayvon Martin

was shot and killed by Wyatt Earp wannabee

28-year-old George Zimmerman back in 2012.

Trayvon was unarmed unless you count

a bag of Skittles and iced tea as a weapon.

He was going to mix them together

to try to get high on them.

So said drug addicts Beck and Rush

who are both in need of their next fix

so they tend to see everything as a drug.

A jury let Zimmerman walk on a murder charge

because of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law.”

The law lets you kill others

if you feel they threaten you.

Truth is being on the very same planet

with Zimmerman makes me feel threatened.

So, perhaps I should get a gun

and a plane ticket to Florida.

Before shooting Trayvon Martin

George had two run- ins with the law

with one being an assault on a cop.

His judge father got his charges dismissed.

He’s had many more run ins with the law

since he shot Trayvon in 2012.

One involved threatening his wife with a gun

and punching his father-in-law in the face.

His wife was afraid to press charges

which she said she later regretted.

Several months later he was involved in road rage

where he angrily chased down another motorist.

He told the other motorist, “Do you know

who I am, I will fucking kill you.”

The other driver was afraid

so he did not press charges.

George Zimmerman has been making money

signing autographs at gun stores and gun shows.

Now in 2015 George was arrested

for assaulting his present girlfriend

and throwing a wine bottle at her.

Sean Hanitty has called Zimmerman

the victim in the Trayvon Martin shooting.

I’m still waiting on Hannity, FOX NEWS, the Tea Party, conservatives

and the NRA to ask Zimmerman to take personal responsibility for his actions.

Zimmerman’s attorney Don West has stated,

“George is very unlucky with the ladies.”

George considers the bad luck part the fact he keeps getting caught

doing domestic violence to all of the women in his life.

Maybe the women were all wielding bags of Skittles

at George in a threatening type manner.

Why do women keep dating these “bad boy type” of raging lunatics?

Violent creeps like O.J., Phil Spector, Chris Brown and Robert Blake.

Sports figures and actors who have to beat the women off

and do so literally with their fists, knives and guns.

Meanwhile, nice guys who respect women can’t get a date.

I thought 79-year-old Charlie Manson was the craziest person on the planet.

Wrong, it’s the 25-year-old woman who wants to marry him in prison.

Even this obviously insane woman does not deserve to be abused.

No woman deserves to have her life turned into a domestic abuse nightmare.

Women should never believe they are going to be the one

that can turn around one of the abusive monsters.

The women who have had anything to do with George Zimmerman

have become involved in a nightmarish version

of the movie, “Ground Hogs Day”

where George commits the same domestic violent crimes

woman after woman that he dates or marries.

He is ending up with less and less of a sentence each time.

It’s as if he gets a bulk discount for repeated violence

or was wearing a police uniform.

I think it’s high time

George did some time.

Maybe next time, maybe next time, maybe next time.

To be continued………………………………………………….

This is the area where I feature some music that might go along with my subject. Just click your mouse on the underlined links.

“Nobody’s Better Than Me”

Crocked Monsieurs: “Home Sweet Home”

“Do not allow him—the abuser—to tell you who you are or take the blame for his actions.”~  Source Unknown


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