Friday, March 16, 2018

Women's History Month

"An Indian artist gives final touches
to a painting on street walls
on International Women's Day in Hyderabad, India,
Friday, March 8, 2013."

Read More About
International Women's Day


Women's History Month
~ Special Events
“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well."
~ President Jimmy Carter, 1980 ~

And see my related post:
~ "Not to be Devoured" ~
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Saving the River Babies

The Carry (2003)
by American Artist ~ Andrew Wyeth (1917 – 2009)

This is the kind of river I imagine
whenever I read "The Parable of the River Babies"

Slightly differing versions can be found

in Why Did The Policeman Cross the Road?
by Stevyn Colgan

and on the website of the
Unitarian Universalist Association

You can click on the links for detailed narratives, but, to explain briefly, a group of concerned bystanders or campers on the riverbank quickly come to the rescue when they see a baby floating by unattended. No sooner have they saved the little one from drowning, when along comes another baby, and then another. After numerous rescues, it occurs to the well - meaning life - savers that they are dealing with a much larger problem that must originate somewhere upstream. Perhaps the true dilemma is not drawing the babies out of the water but figuring out who -- or what force of nature -- is putting them in the river in the first place.

Similar to "The Drawbridge Problem," "Saving the River Babies" can be used as a collaborative learning exercise. After reading and discussing the parable, the problem - solving goal is to determine whether or nor there is a way to prevent the babies from being tossed into the river.

George Lakoff's distinction between Direct & Systemic Causation provides a helpful discussion aid:
"Direct causation is dealing with a problem via direct action. Systemic causation recognizes that many problems arise from the system they are in and must be dealt with via systemic causation. Systemic causation has four versions: A chain of direct causes. Interacting direct causes (or chains of direct causes). Feedback loops. And probabilistic causes. Systemic causation in global warming explains why global warming over the Pacific can produce huge snowstorms in Washington DC: masses of highly energized water molecules evaporate over the Pacific, blow to the Northeast and over the North Pole and come down in winter over the East coast and parts of the Midwest as masses of snow. Systemic causation has chains of direct causes, interacting causes, feedback loops, and probabilistic causes — often combined.

Direct causation is easy to understand, and appears to be represented in the grammars of all languages around the world. Systemic causation is more complex and is not represented in the grammar of any language. It just has to be learned."

[More from George Lakoff on the topic of "Moral Politics"]

USPS Andrew Wyeth Postage Stamps

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Like a Tame Lion

When You Lie on Your Resume
But Get the Job, Anyway!

The month of March is pretending to be a lion,
including actual snow, everywhere we turn . . .

Our own front yard . . .

side yard . . .

. . . and back yard.

Grim & Gram's backyard . . .
Sam was visiting for Spring Break
and witnessed this amazing sight,
something I myself have never seen
on any of my trips to England!
It caused much consternation . . .
but only for a few hours.

And from Ben: "First England, now North Carolina?!?!?!"

In Like a Lion ~ Out Like a Lamb

It could go either way!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Celebrity Look Alike

Way back in 1981, my dear friend Marilyn sent me the above clipping and told me that I looked just like Meryl Streep. I know, I know, she was being over - complimentary, but, I loved her for it (that's what friends are for!) and ever since that day I became a Meryl fan!

A highlight of this year's Oscar Celebration was Frances McDormand's brilliant gesture of inviting all the female nominees in every category stand with her. My favorite part was when she urged Streep, " . . . Meryl, if you do it, everybody else will, c'mon . . . ."

What an honor!

American historian and social observer Sarah Vowell also pays tribute to Streep when explaining the topic and title of her latest (2015) book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States:

"The thing that drew me to [the Marquis de] Lafayette as a subject -- that he was that rare object of agreement in the ironically named United States -- kept me coming back to why that made him unique. Namely, that we the people have never agreed upon much of anything. Other than a bipartisan consensus on barbeque and Meryl Streep" (25, emphasis added).

Surprisingly, even in the Meryl Streep department, I could name a few dissenters! Even so, what a perfect coincidence that I started reading Vowell's book and came across her reference to Streep on the same day that I wrote this post!
"Inclusion Rider"
Streep & MacDormand

Best Actress Nominees
Academy Awards ~ March 4, 2018

Celebrating Together
Golden Globes ~ January 7, 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018

Toxic Movies

Click for hundreds more.

Is this really necessary?
A gun in your face, just to advertise a movie?

Who will join me in spurning
this kind of so - called entertainment?

Continued connections
from previous post
Not Cool, Not Funny


How to change the world:
The Low Road

What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can t walk, can’t remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can’t stop them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organisation. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

by Marge Piercy (b. 1936)
American poet, novelist, social activist
(Copyright 2006, Middlemarsh, Inc.)

You can hear this and many of Piercy's political poems
in her own voice on her CD:
Louder: We Can't Hear You (Yet!)

or find it in her famous collection
The Moon Is Always Female
(Copyright by Marge Piercy; published by Alfred A. Knopf)

[on facebook 07/22/2011]

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Sweetheart Tree

In Moldova and Romania, the First of March, known as Martisor, is a holiday similar to Valentine's Day, celebrated with sweets and trinkets and tokens of friendship.

Remember this Golden Oldie?
If only it said "blossoms of yellow" instead of "white,"
it could be about the Yellow Gold Guayacan Tree:

The Sweetheart Tree

They say there's a tree in the forest
A tree that will give you a sign
Come along with me to the Sweetheart Tree
Come and carve your name next to mine

They say if you kiss the right sweetheart
The one you've been waiting for
Big blossoms of white will burst into sight
And your love will be true evermore

Songwriters: Johnny Mercer / Henry N. Mancini
Sung by Natalie Wood / Johnny Mathis / Bobby Darin / many others

Here & Above: Some Vintage Sweetheart Trees

More on my Fortnightly Blog Post

Previous March First Posts

2010: Kiss Me & Kiss Today

2011: My Vegetable Love

2012: Love However Brief

2013: Beyond Ideas

2014: The First [Mild] Day of March

2015: Wind from a Leaf

2016: Reading the Obituaries

2017: Piano Bar


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Not Cool, Not Funny

Anti - gun - violence artwork
by Ethel Gilmour (1940 - 2008) ~ Medellin, Colombia
Non - Fiction Series, 1995
Colombia Certified
There is no Elephant in this Picture
I Cannot See the Sea
I Want to Walk and See the Flowers


First, some bad news. My friend and colleague Rebecca requested that everyone read this article, and I second her request:

"Men Are Responsible for Mass Shootings:
How Toxic Masculinity is Killing Us"

by Jennifer Wright
From the article: "So let’s start talking about the culture of toxic masculinity that makes men believe they should get a gun and shoot people with it.

We live in a culture that worships men with guns. You can probably think of many off the top of your head—John Wayne, Indiana Jones or James Bond come immediately to mind. They’re all men who get what they want. Women are all eager to have sex with them. They have the respect of their peers and their communities."
Why it is that guys with guns are seen as cool?

If you ask me: No, not cool!


Second, more bad news. Right after reading the above article, which is mostly about anger, I read this one about humor:

"The World's Funniest Joke
(According To Science)"

by Michael Taylor

Taylor saves the "best" joke for last, and it's about one man shooting another one with a gun. What? No, not funny! But apparently that's what the what the survey respondents voted as funniest joke. Go figure.

I've taken classes on the theory of humor and satire, right? I know about context, timing, frustrated expectation (Aristotle) and derision (Plato). Despite all that, guess what? This joke is not even remotely funny.
From the article: "If you didn’t fall over laughing, don’t feel too bad. In an interview, Wiseman says he doesn’t think it’s all that great either. 'It’s terrible. I think we found the world’s cleanest, blandest, most internationally accepted joke. It’s the color beige in joke form.'"
Clean, bland, acceptable, beige?

Well if by "beige" he means "unimaginative," okay.

But definitely not funny!


Third, even more bad news: the NRA has its own television station:

"Why the NRA Always Wins
It’s not the money. It’s the culture."

By Bill Scher
From the article: "NRATV is a new piece of the puzzle, having been launched only in late 2016. But it’s a window into the culture that the NRA has nurtured for decades. Every minute, the network pumps out a message that can be delivered regardless of external events: Liberal elites want to take away your guns and freedom. Terrorists and criminals lurk everywhere and you need to know how to defend yourself. And by the way, look how cool guns are and how powerful they make you feel!"
Let me repeat: No, not cool!

The article starts out gloomy, but actually has a pro - active ending. Please read:
"Gun control proponents don’t necessarily have to emulate the NRA and, say, launch a TV network. But they might consider marshaling the financial resources of Bloomberg, and other multimillionaires, and emulating one of the most successful public service advertising campaigns in history: the anti-tobacco “truth” campaign.

Hundreds of millions have been spent since 2000 by what is now called the “Truth Initiative” on edgy ads that turned teenage perception of what smoking represents from cool rebellion to corporate dishonesty. The ad campaign is not the sole reason, but it is widely credited for helping drive smoking levels among teens down from from 23 percent to 6 percent.

Like the tobacco industry, the NRA has been cultivating an image of guns as a source of freedom and cool, with the extra value of protection from grievous harm. A large-scale countercampaign could help reverse that image, highlighting the damage guns do every day: the depressed never getting another chance for mental health services, the children dying from home accidents, the domestic abuse victims who never could escape. Other spots could depict life where guns are controlled around the world, to show what is possible. A partnership with Hollywood could bring gun issues into more TV shows and movies, similar to how Hollywood was successfully pressured to stop making cigarettes look cool. [Of course, Hollywood isn't exactly doing a great job when it comes to smoking either; shame on them.]

Such a campaign would have two main objectives: In the short run, keep the gun control majority engaged on a daily basis, and in the long run, reduce the demand for guns in areas where the NRA exerts political influence.

As heartwarming as it is to see high school students organize anti-gun marches, they are no more likely to be successful in busting the NRA narrative, or separating politicians from NRA money, than the parents of Columbine and Sandy Hook. The gun rights community is steeled against succumbing to sympathetic victims, as they have convinced themselves that they are above the politics of knee-jerk emotion.

Social conservatives are fond of the insight, “Politics is downstream from culture.” There is a big gun-rights culture that has a grip on our politics. Until there is a gun-free culture that can rival what the NRA has cultivated over decades, no national trauma, no matter how searing, is going to move the political needle."

Yet another discussion on the topic.
And my answer to an annoying rhetorical question:
"Of course it is NEVER okay to shoot kids with any kind of gun.
And if every kind of gun ever used in any kind of school
(or similar) shooting is banned forever from the face of the earth,
then that is A - OKAY with me."

As displayed at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellin

See More Ethel Gilmour

@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

February 28 ~ Yellow Gold Guayacan

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Saving What We Love ~ Stronger Tomorrow

"What does it matter if I’ve been
discouraged or encouraged over the years?
This thing’s got to be done. It’s not a question
of how I feel from moment to moment. . . .
Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed
at failure and the disheartening effects of
ignorance, greed, corruption and bad politics,
but never give up."

~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas ~
(1890 - 1998)
Read more -- about this amazing woman after whom the Parkland, Florida, high school is named: American journalist, author, women's suffrage advocate, conservationist and defender of the Everglades

“That's how we're gonna win.
Not fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.”

~ from The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi . . . also features a significant new character named Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) who . . . doesn’t want her sacrifice to have been in vain. . . .

"Rose is a wonderfully sneaky character, in that she’s set up as a plucky sidekick but almost immediately becomes a crucial teacher, and equal partner, for Finn. Her certitude about the Resistance is not tied up in a noble idea of heroism, but in her understanding of what they’re trying to overthrow. . . .

'That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love,' she tells Finn. It’s a motto that might sound trite, but it’s a beautiful summation of what Johnson is trying to grapple with. The First Order is evil, yes, but the Resistance isn’t just good because they’re against them; the rebels are also trying to create a better world, and to protect a cause the rest of the galaxy can rally to. It’s a message Johnson drives home with the film’s final image—one of the stable boys on Canto Bight, sweeping the steps for his master, and looking up at the stars, dreaming of a more hopeful future."

Read more: "The Last Jedi's Biggest Storytelling Innovation"
By David Sims

"May our minds be stronger tomorrow."
~ from Brigsby Bear

"But it soon becomes apparent that the conversations would only be normal if the child were 8 years old and the family belonged to a cult. James’ only conversations revolve around Brigsby Bear, never mind the weird handshake ritual of the family when they say in unison, 'May our minds be stronger tomorrow.' They wear gas masks to go outside, which James does on occasion. . . . James can’t help but relate everything he sees to Brigsby Bear; he won’t stop talking about it.

"His parents try everything to divert his attention from the show and dismiss it as unimportant. . . . But James is fixated and will not abandon his love for Brigsby Bear. Fortunately for him, his new friends find James’ favorite show entertaining and his enthusiasm contagious. One by one, those around James learn to accept his obsession and jump on board . . . ."

Read more: "Quirky Sundance Film Filled with Surprising Tenderness"
By Amy Iverson

Monday, February 19, 2018

Presidents Day: Duty to Posterity

Abraham Lincoln ~
born 12 February 1809 - died 15 April 1865
16th President of the United States of America ~
from 4 March 1861 – until his death
Ben, Gerry, and Sam ~ Spring Break 2004
At the Lincoln Memorial

" 'Tis our task to transmit to the latest generation:
a political edifice of liberty and equal rights,
gratitude to our [founders],
justice to ourselves,
duty to posterity,
and love for our species in general."

Summarized from Lincoln's Lyceum Address
Springfield, Illinois ~ 27 January 1838


The following poem has been on my blog before,
but never on Presidents Day!

You Were Wearing

You were wearing your Edgar Allan Poe printed cotton blouse.
In each divided up square of the blouse was a picture of Edgar Allan Poe.
Your hair was blonde and you were cute. You asked me,
"Do most boys think that most girls are bad?"
I smelled the mould of your seaside resort hotel bedroom on your hair held in place by a John Greenleaf Whittier clip.
"No," I said, "it's girls who think that boys are bad."
Then we read Snowbound together
And ran around in an attic, so that a little of the blue enamel was scraped off my George Washington, Father of His Country, shoes.

Mother was walking in the living room, her Strauss Waltzes comb in her hair.
We waited for a time and then joined her, only to be served
tea in cups painted with pictures of Herman Melville
As well as with illustrations from his book Moby Dick
and from his novella, Benito Cereno.
Father came in wearing his Dick Tracy necktie: "How about a drink, everyone?"
I said, "Let's go outside a while."
Then we went onto the porch and sat on the Abraham Lincoln swing.
You sat on the eyes, mouth, and beard part, and I sat on the knees.
In the yard across the street we saw a snowman holding a garbage can lid mashed into a likeness of the mad English king, George the Third.

by Kenneth Koch, American poet, playwright, professor 1925 - 2002

More by Kenneth Koch [pronounced "coke"]:
The Syntax of Love
House Sisters

Friday, February 16, 2018

Chinese New Year

The Year of the Dog
I'm a Rooster, known for Constancy.
How about you?

Find more animals in the
Chinese Garden of Friendship
Darling Harbour ~ Sydney, Australia

Here are a couple more from my trip last June --
wish I'd been more diligent & photographed them all!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Be My Valentine?

Painting by Yerbolat Tolepbay (b 1955)
At the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Astana, Kazakhstan

Because the Night You Asked

for Josh

Because the night you asked me
the moon shined like a quarter
in the sky; because the leaves
were the color of wine at our feet;
because, like you, there was a private
sense of absence in my every day;
because in your arms my heart grows
plump as a finch; because we both
pause at the sight of heavy branches
burdened with fruit, the sound
of apples dropping to the ground;
because you hold no secrets;
because I knew what I wanted;
because we both love the snow,
the ice, the feeling of a long deadening
freeze and the mercy of a thaw;
because you gave me an empty
beach on a warm day in fall,
and a feeling that we might stay
for awhile, just the two of us,
looking out across the water,
I said yes.

by Crystal Spring Gibbins
found in her book Now / Here


Upon reading Gibbins' fairly new poem,
I was reminded of Judy Collins' song of the Sixties:

Since You Asked
Sung by Judy Collins

What I'll give you since you asked
Is all my time together;
Take the rugged sunny days,
The warm and Rocky weather,
Take the roads that I have walked along,
Looking for tomorrow's time,
Peace of mind.

As my life spills into yours,
Changing with the hours
Filling up the world with time,
Turning time to flowers,
I can show you all the songs
That I never sang to one man before.

We have seen a million stones lying by the water.
You have climbed the hills with me
To the mountain shelter,
Taken off the days one by one,
Setting them to breathe in the sun.

Take the lilies and the lace
From the days if childhood,
All the willow winding paths
Leading up and outward,
This is what I give,
This is what I ask you for;
Nothing more.

Judy Collins / Jimmy Webb

Saturday, February 10, 2018

10 ~ 10.5 ~ 55

A Happening Girl ~ 1980

Barbara & Bette ~ 2014

Bette & Barbara ~ 2017

April 1, 1980
Washington Post ~ recap of the interview

[Very humorous & insightful!]

I have always loved it that, when pressured by Barbara Walters to do so, Bette Midler refused to rate herself on a scale of 1 - 10. Instead Bette answered: "Oh, I think I'm about a 55. I don't know. I'm a happening girl."

Thanks Bette Midler for being so smart! And thanks to my son Sam for inadvertently reminding me of this anecdote (when discussing shoe sizes)! You just never know when a really great connection will present itself and remind you of something that happened 38 years ago!

I was recently texting Sam about ordering some slippers that he wanted for Christmas:

Kit: "10.5 ~ wife or medium?"

Kit: [upon immediately spotting my typo]: "Oops! Freudian slip -- should say WIDE!"

Sam: "I'm a 10.5 ~ medium.

And the color is 'Sarhara' -- tan with brown sole.

And my wife better be a 10.5!!!


Just kidding!"

Well, naturally, I relished the sudden opportunity to share with Sam the wit and wisdom of The Divine Miss M, who taught us that no matter how we look, we are off the scale!

In the same vein, Brian Andreas, equally wise and witty, reinforced the idea a decade later with his StoryPeople story about being a Princess. Much like being a "10," being a "Princess" is simply too limiting. Measuring our potential requires much broader categories than are typically available:

About his imaginary future wife, I wrote back to Sam: "She will be! At least! No joke! Back in 1980 when being a '10' was all the rage, Barbara Walters asked Bette Midler to rate herself on a scale of 1 - 10, and Bette said '55.' Barbara said 'No, really.' And Bette said, 'Really! I'm a happening girl!'"

Although I have recounted this exchange many times to many people as one of my all - time favorites, I had neither re - watched nor re - read the Midler - Walters interview since seeing the original in 1980. But after chatting with Sam, I decided to check out google for the archived material, and there it was! I have to brag (Bette would approve!) and say that I'm pretty impressed with myself for remembering Bette's response nearly word for word! Obviously, it was a very memorable insight from an impressive role model!

Thanks to my sister Peg and my friend Peggy for sharing:
Peg: "Bette Miller has always been my idol. I want to be just like her when I grow up."

Peggy Morris: "I remember that interview and was thrilled with her answer. She crushed it!

She was in concert here some years back and complained about ticket prices for her show. Bette told the audience about her fights with promoters. She lost that battle but promised she’d give us every darn dime’s worth of price. She did! 'Darn' was not the word Bette used!"
P.S. ~ A Timely Update

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles

Super Bowl LII ~ Eagles 41 vs Patriots 33
How thrilling for Sam to join the throng at
the Philadelphia ~ City Hall!

If you're from Philly, you love the WaWa!

Sam stopped by to check out our West Philly house:
~ Corner of 48th & Beaumont ~

Where we lived 1993 - 2001:
~ Our beautiful side street ~

Where we lived 2001 - 2004:
~ Corner of 3rd & Pine ~
Sam took this one
by the light of the historical street lamp!
We had the wrought iron railing made 16 years ago.

Ben and Sam were raised on the Eagles, and have been waiting for this moment since childhood! Whether or not you live and die for football, the communal joy is the fun part! Our old Philly friend and neighbor Hannah posted updates of the festivities throughout the day, including the fact that every hymn in church, and one of the lessons, featured eagles. Apparently, eagles appear in scripture 38 times; and perhaps in at least as many hymns (e.g. "Raise You Up On Eagles Wings").

Back in the days when Ben & Sam were choristers at St. Peter’s, Sam went in before choir practice one Sunday morning and added Donovan McNabb’s name to the prayer list — not because Donovan was injured, but just in hopes of an Eagles 🦅 victory! At long last his prayers have been answered!

My lucky Eagles earrings,
a present from Sam when he was little.