It’s A Combination Of Remembering (AND reading) ~ Late Evening Thoughts…Intermezzo


A dear friend of mine, M. Christopher Boyer, is Pastor at Good Shepard Baptist Church. This morning, he took his congregation on a journey involving the Prophet Amos and the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin issue.

It’s a powerful piece and one I told him was worthy of publication somewhere.  He graciously gave me permission to post it here – and hopefully, he’ll find a wide outlet for his thoughts.

I was going to reprint it in its entirety, but decided to post this link to the printed sermon.  If I posted it on the page in full, I’d be wanting to break it up with pictures and such.  This way it stands alone … in all it’s power.  This being Sunday and all ….

It’s A Combination Of Remembering (AND reading) ~ Late Evening Thoughts…

By now, we all know the cover that uncovered a huge stream of hate/hysteria ….

I'd also direct your attention to the Willie Nelson story in the left hand corner ...

I’d also direct your attention to the Willie Nelson story in the left hand corner …

. Now, I have no argument that the picture is one of a self-confident, somewhat attractive youth.  The look of a lot of college students.  But, even as the picture hit the internet, before distribution – the flames began to fly.   OK, here’s where one of my points comes … IF the cover was only to glorify the bomber, then I don’t think they would have included this statement:


The article itself – which hopefully some people read online – while not exactly the world’s greatest journalism – attempted to deal with the question – why would someone who seeming had everything going for him do something such as this?  What failed him? Did his brother “turn him to the dark side”.  Some of these questions we may only get answers to at the trial…if ever,

I want to wander back in recent history a bit, and take a look at a moment in time and TIME magazine.  When this cover was published, TIME was pretty much everywhere and if not in most homes, was probably read somewhere by someone in that home.

Here’s a cover about Timothy McVey ….

The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others.

The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others.

Here’s a good-looking fellow, who lit an explosion that killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others. And TIME is having a debate about should he die.  I don’t recall a huge uproar over the photo or the story.  I don’t recall people wanting to burn the issue or stores refusing to carry it.  It was published, distributed and seemingly “forgotten” as a major issue for people to deal with …

OK, let’s go to another TIME issue a little more recent…Osama Bin Laden

3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian ) 20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )  422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian )
20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )
422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

So, just looking at the photo as a photo, here’s a fairly handsome person with a slight smile, piercing eyes – and to my untrained eye – has been slightly airbrushed.  Just slightly. And yet –

  • 3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian )
  • 20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )
  •  422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

Now, admittedly you might think I’m begging the question with this one, but in a sense, it was presenting a very pretty picture of a very evil person …

Which brings me to the Rolling Stone cover … warts and all.  One of the Boston Police was so upset at the cover he released some shots of the capture (which has now gotten him suspended) .  Sgt. Sean Murphy, Massachusetts State Police photographer really might not have wanted his photos to be used as the cover but was trying to counter-act what he perceived as the glorification of the bomber.  Here’s his picture … and my comments below ..

 caused injuries and death totaling 3 spectators killed and 264 casualties whose injuries were treated in 27 local hospitals

caused injuries and death totaling 3 spectators killed and 264 casualties whose injuries were treated in 27 local hospitals

There actually people today demanding (on Facebook and other places) that Rolling Stone should reissue the magazine with this picture on the cover.  Here’s my problem with that.  Go ahead, enlarge the picture for a moment…. I’ll wait …

This picture does as much to glorify him as the other might.  You have the handsome – albeit blood spattered – youth, with his shirt pulled up above his abs and a laser target on his forehead.  For an arrest photo, it’s also quite well-lit. It could actually pass as a fashion advertisement in a glossy magazine. [if you didn’t know who it was] Certainly, nothing that would tell you “this is an evil, scary killer” …

Here’s where I’m at with this … people didn’t like the photo because it didn’t reach their preconceived notions of what a killer should look like.  It also struck deep into the biases and dislikes that people have.  And sadly, there is no arguing with that.  Let me repeat that – there is no arguing with folks who are biased, discriminatory or yes, even racist.

S. I Hayakawa in his landmark book “Language In Thought And Action” talked about the idea that once we have cast someone in the role of the enemy all communications and actions are immediately suspect and forced to fit the narrative we’ve given them.

Seem familiar? We’ve seen it at two MLB events in the last couple of weeks.  I was watching on Twitter someone attempting to counter someones frankly bigoted argument with the truth Puerto Ricans indeed are US Citizens (have been since I think 1917). the discussion went about as well as you would think … nowhere.

More on this anon ….

And These People Are Found Where?

I’m going to file this bit of manufactured hysteria (yes, manufactured by stupid people) in the “I now know who does the housework in YOUR household” file:
“A few Tennessee lawmakers apparently inquired whether a new sink at the state capitol designed for custodial use was a sink for Muslims to wash their feet in before prayer, the Associated Press reported Monday. The lawmakers were reassured that it is simply a “mop sink.”

“I confirmed with the facility administrator for the State Capitol Complex that the floor-level sink installed in the men’s restroom outside the House Chamber is for housekeeping use,” Legislative Administration Director Connie Ridley wrote in an email. “It is, in layman’s terms, a mop sink.”

The Tennessee Capitol underwent renovations in December, the AP reported, and the sink is designed to make it easier for custodial staff to clean mops and fill buckets. The sink is located in a men’s bathroom outside the House chamber.”
>head his keyboard several times< …. Right .. in Tennessee – in the State Capital …who finds these people anyway – and where …..





And They Came To Believe And It Came To Pass ~ Late Evening Thoughts

[updated video link 9/26/2012]

Hopefully, by the time I’m done this post will make sense.  Starting with Friday, this was an amazing weekend for me.  I celebrated a dear friend’s birthday, went with two VERY dear friends to Rocky Horror Picture Show with a wonderful, silly and noisy audience, and Sunday went to a club where I actually felt free to dance and not worry about the “youngers” standing on the sides going “ewwwww”!  I also, at the club had my inner theater geek (30+ years in theater will do that do you) explode as I got to see ~ but sadly not touch ~ the computerized controls for the entire light system.  Yes, it was an amazing, exhausting but fun weekend.  A true mountain top experience.

As we all know, you really can’t live on the mountain top ~ you inevitably must go down into the valley.  And that’s where I came to today.  One thing I’ve learned is that there’s really no good grass or water on the mountain top, it’s down in the valley.  While the valley may not be totally comfortable and it’s certainly NOT the high of the top, it still is very, very important and extremely worthwhile ~ if you let it.

As I was dealing with the “down” of today, my mind went to some of my friends complaints that I have a tendency to believe in people far longer than I should.  I know that it is sometimes a problem.  I had one person I was trying to help who fell into the pattern of using me to “have a place to stay to sober-up, get a little food to eat, clothes washed and a little money” – rinse, repeat.  I have another that I have such a soft spot for…a couple of years ago, he was trying to spark a business and I made an investment.  Not in the business, but in him.  I believed in him then, and I believe in him now.  I’m seeing some pay-off from the investment, but I must be the only one so far.

But as I was wondering in my mind ~ there is a saying that “My mind is a dangerous place to wander in, unaccompanied ~ especially at night ~ I began to question my belief in people.  Then, my inner “me” took me back through much of my life … the problems in college, relationships that failed – badly, the three suicide attempts.  It was the third attempt  (which I posted about here before – feel free to read the history),  when at the CRU – the Crisis Residential Unit – that someone actually said they believed in me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there were plenty that believed in me, but somehow I had to come to the bottom before I could really realize it.  And as I climbed out of THAT “slough of despond” I became acutely aware of how powerful our belief in someone can be.  Oh, I’ve done it before, but there always seemed to be an agenda.  Now, I’m working agenda free.

To me, that’s where the power really begins.  You see someone not just as they are, but as they could be for themselves…..not as the person YOU want them to be.  I can’t change anyone, I can only encourage and believe in them.  They may not take the paths I would have or would have chosen – but they are on their own journey not mine.

I’m going to post more on this at another time, but also during the “down” of today, I found this video.  Here’s the power of only ONE person believing in someone.  He had only one person, his grandmother…I still cry each time I watch this video.  I want my life to be as she is … in the background, but believing.  That’s one of the things I’d like to be remembered for when – in the not too distant future – I’m gone that someone will say: “He believed in me”.

First off, I’m sorry there will probably be an ad (it is from You Tube after all) and please watch it all the way through and see what terrible power being told “you’re not good enough” can have over someone.  I’m not saying we have to encourage someone when they obviously can’t do something.  There’s no way at my age and (ahem) physical condition I’ll be an Olympic athlete – but there’s other things I can do…. and so can you.

[It appears I own an apology to Freemantle AND X-factor UK …Here’s the video embedded]

See people where they are, and for who they are … and as I used to tell my speech students, don’t change the pattern, just eliminate the flaws.

Mid-Morning Thoughts ~

Hopefully, everyone’s weekend was somewhat better than this one …

(h/t to

For my part, I had a delightful weekend…I connected with a dear, dear friend that I had not seen for a number of years!! You know it’s a dear friend when you can catch up on the fly, and not feel as if there’s been a huge space since you’ve been together!!!

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus
A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.
Arnold H. Glasow
A good friend will bail you out at 2am.  A true friend will be sitting there with you saying: “Damn, that was fun!!! – (unknown)

It also reminded me that life is indeed short, and our purpose is NOT to arrive at the grave all pretty and posed – to be lowered gently into the ground.  Life is to be lived so that at the very last minute you slide in all tattered, worn saying: “What a ride!!! WHAT A RIDE!!!”

And the beat goes on and on and on ~

As if living in a house that is still unfinished isn’t enough … I’m beginning to resemble someone on the show “Hoarders: Buried Alive”.  The kitchen cabinets STILL haven’t arrived which means there is nothing in the kitchen except a temporary sink/counter, microwave and “hallelujah” a coffee maker!!!

I’m grateful for electronic connections and the ability to store a lot of different information so that I don’t have to remember it … however (comma)…there is a down side.

I dropped my android phone cracking the screen – rendering it useless in about 2 hours.

I got a new phone – thanks to insurance – and then the problem hit. Sprint was unable to transfer my contacts – which are backed up on gmail. No problem you say? Unfortunately, I listened to gmail and put the 2 step authentication on the account.

This process involves a program ON THE PHONE…which, of course, I don’t have access to. I am now up to email 5 with gmail trying to prove that I own the #$& #@&* %&$$& account. Grrrrrrr. Hopefully, this last round will solve the problem.

But based one something their CEO said 3 years ago I don’t hold out much hope:

“Mr. Badros argued that Google asks so little personal information of a new Gmail customer that it’s hard to determine identity when the genuine user and the impostor both present themselves to claim the account, and neither can produce the verification. He said more information could be asked of users when they sign up, but the inconvenience would dissuade them from trying the service.

Mr. Gilbert added that proving identity with only minimal information is a problem, whatever form of communication is used to reach customer support. He said, “Even if they were standing right in front of us, it wouldn’t help.”” Stay tuned for information about the house … and the email….

Up And Down ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Just a couple of notes … I had a visit to the doctor today, and she was very pleased with my progress. She is very sure that it was bronchitis AND a viral infection. Of course, she had to add something she didn’t tell me the other day ~ which was her concern that it would digress into pneumonia. I’m glad she didn’t add that to the mix, my mind was already working overtime on possible problems. Thank you for those who added comments or emails. They were very encouraging, uplifting and ~ frankly ~ a great comfort to me.

And I am happy to report I am about 98% healthy. There is still a little coughing – at least I can talk in complete sentences now – and some “residual” issues. However, I can report I am back in the “pink” of things and enjoying being up and around once again.

The “down” news of the day is that Beverly Sills lost her battle against cancer today. And a beautiful voice has been silenced and a major supporter of the arts and people is no more. And yes, I had a chance to meet her ~ and she was as delightful as people say she was!!! A true artist and a wonderful human being ~ for whom no one was beneath her ~ and as a result had a zest for life and people!!

I said in the last post, that I couldn’t find a video of her performances with her close friend Carol Burnett — but I finally did … a wonderful mash-up of jazz and opera. It’s on the Beverly Sills website, so I can’t embed the video … but —>here is the link<— which is appropriately titled "The Farewell Medley." One final video … At the age of seven, Sills was chosen to be in the film short “Uncle Sol Solves It” in which she played a precocious singer whose family had various ideas about where she should study voice. She is taken to sing for Uncle Sol in his “Problem Court.” He decides, after her perky rendition of the Arditi classic, that she should study in America. (performed in 1936)

And so I say farewell to a wonderful person, an incredible talent and a person who only wanted the best in all she put her hand to do…and expected no less from those around her.

—more tomorrow

And For Your Viewing Pleasure ~ Evening Thoughts

It was a day full of frantic activity, a doctor appointment, back to work and more frantic activity around me. And to make the evening complete, I had to leave work much later than normal and missed the best connection to the bus I needed. As I’m trekking my way to the train ~ I get a phone call from my new (as in brand new) maintenance man who is having trouble drilling a lock.

Back to the complex … and yes, there definitely was a problem. Forty minutes later, back to the train to catch the bus home. (I was NOT singing three buses and a train!) There was yet another phone call from maintenance newbie – and while I’m getting someone to help him out…the cell phone battery runs out and the phone shuts completely down. The wonders of electronica – all my phone numbers and contacts were in the phone. So, I was without a way to call … even if I’d borrowed a phone.

It was a good time to just sit…wait…watch…and put things into perspective.

As to the Doctor visit – she is working this from an interesting perspective ~ rather than trying to start with what it could be, she is starting with what the problem isn’t. So, several serious issues were eliminated today – being honest: TB and such are not the problem. The illness is not behaving as bronchitis should, however, she is strongly leaning toward that and/or a viral outbreak…and it treating it as such. I may not have any internal bugs left when she’s done! And hopefully, there will be no major side effects from the medications. I didn’t care for the two shots I got – and certainly have no desire for any more!!

The visit today was a relief to me. It’s amazing how the mind can add worry on top of worry, without any grounds. Of course, there’s always those around who want to add their two cents into the mix ~ mostly with dire stories of someone who died from just what I’ve had going on – or ended up in a terrible state and have I been tested for (insert name of Disease de Jour here)? I know they were only trying to offer comfort and care.

The comments and emails I received were more in line with the community I enjoy. My dear friend EB sent me a delightful card today that made my heart sing this morning.

I could have played “hide and seek” and said nothing, but “sardines” is much more fun and allows people to share in all facets of life.

There is more to share – but I’m very tired, and the medicine is “kicking my butt.”

–more later

Is It Still Safe To Go Back In The Water ~ Morning thoughts

Yesterday I arrived at the doctor’s office in time for my appointment, to be met with the news that she had an emergency and would need to reschedule. However, they did know some of what she wanted done for testing, and would I have a seat and hold out my arm.

After feeling similar to a pin cushion, my NEW appointment is for tomorrow – although if there is a cancellation, they will try and get me in today. They also had some pills to take that would help me sleep and not spend all my time coughing. Did they work? Yes, they did.

I will know more tonight, and even more after tomorrow. And, trust me, I am going to be playing “sardines” (see last post) and you will know what’s going on.

This morning I was going through some news sites — and I ran across this wonderful news item. My only question? What else could they use the batter for? …

(June 26, 2007)SCOTT CITY, Missouri – Police said inmates used pancake batter and toothpaste to cover a hole they made to allow a female inmate to slide into the next cell and join a male inmate. Now steel plates are being added to the Missouri jail’s interior walls.

The hole at the Scott City Jail was discovered this weekend, said police Chief Don Cobb. He said inmates removed a block from the wall, after making a digging tool with a nail, a wire from a light fixture and a toothbrush.

The mixture of pancake batter and toothpaste looked like mortar, he said.

Prisoners will stay in a county jail until a security check is completed at the city building.

The city jail’s exterior walls already are reinforced with steel to prevent inmates from escaping, Cobb said.

“Unless they can smuggle in an arc welder, they aren’t getting through that,” he said.

Just When I Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water ~ Early Evening Thoughts

When I last posted ~ I really thought my illness was fading away. That, unfortunately, turned out to be quite wrong. There are some serious concerns about what it is ~ and as a result ~ I have a doctors appointment in the morning. She wants to run a couple of tests and see if she can pin down what exactly is wrong.

To say I have mixed feelings about what is going on would be an understatement. On the one had I want to know what’s going on ~ on the other hand I’m not sure I do.

When I performed in the delightful adaptation of Robert Fulghum’s series of writings titled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” we did a section called “Hide and Seek.” He had written brilliantly about the wonderful game – ending, of course, with “Olley Olley Oxen – All In Free! He follows that with a description of “Sardines.”

“Better than hide-and-seek, I like the game called Sardines. In Sardines the person who is IT goes and hides, and everybody goes looking for him. When you find him, you get in with him and hide there with him. Pretty soon everybody is hiding together, all stacked in a small space like puppies in a pile. And pretty soon somebody giggles and somebody laughs and everybody gets found.” (emphasis mine)
–Robert Fulghum:
All I Really Need to Know, I Learned In Kindergarten.

As he usually does, he brought the story home with the story about a man who had developed cancer, and told no one. It was discovered by everyone he knew ~ including family ~ upon his death. His idea was to protect them from worry, etc. The end result was far from what he would have wanted. His family and friends felt cheated, hurt and confused that he couldn’t or wouldn’t trust them enough to be supportive and caring during that time.

And that leads to personal community…and the need for it.

I’m going to close this with a story about Jimmy Durante. He was asked to be part of a show for World War II veterans. In his response to the organizers, he explained that he could participate, but he would be able to do only a short monologue, and would then have to leave for another event. The organizers were happy to have im at all, and agreed.

When he was on stage, however, something happened. He finished his monologue and stayed. Ten minutes became twenty which became thirty. The applause and laughter grew louder and louder. Finally, he thanked his audience and took his final bow. Backstage, someone mentioned that they thought he had to leave early. Durante said, “I did have to go, but take a look, here’s the reason I stayed in the front row.”

There were two men one who had lost his right arm, and the other his left. They were sitting in such a way they were able to clap and cheer … clapping loudly and proudly.