Say, What

Things I know I could have said…when high:

You Can’t Let Dick Control Your Life

Thank you for evoking memories, particularly of days gone by. *BBC

You can’t just let nature run wild. *Walter Hickel, former governor of Alaska

I have opinions of my own-strong opinions-but I don’t always agree with them. *President George Bush

Even though there may be some misguided critics of what we’re trying to do, I think we’re on the wrong path. *Ronald Reagan

We don’t have to worry about endangered species-why, we can’t even get rid of the cockroach. *James Watt, former secretary of the interior

I didn’t intend for this to take on a political tone. I’m just here for the drugs. *Nancy Reagan on Just Say No!

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours. *Yogi Berra

If gays are granted rights, next we’ll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernard’s and to nail-biters. *Anita Bryant

I was under medication when I made the decision not to burn the tapes. *Richard Nixon

I feel my best when I’m happy! *Winona Ryder

Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked Cat

I was walking down the street when out of the corner of my eye…I saw a pretty little Calico cat approaching me.

She said, ” I never seen a Crazy Cat Lady, who looks so all alone. Could you use a little Bitchy company?

If you can pay with the right Seafood Sensation(dry mix)your evening will be nice. But if you can’t stick ‘meow’ up your ass and send me on my way!”

As the Lesbian Crazy Cat Lady, I said, “You’re such a sweet young kitten. Why do you become so unpleasant in your vainglory?”

She looked at me and this is what she said,

“Oh, there ain’t no rest for the wicked! Frisky’s Delight doesn’t grow on trees. I got my groomer to pay for. I got several litters to feed. There ain’t no Calico love in this world for free!”
Not even fifteen minutes later after walking down, Abandoned Alley: I saw the shadow of Tom Cat, creep out of sight. And, then he swept up from behind. He put a mark(a lifting of the leg and a strange smell) on me.

He made it clear he wasn’t looking for a ‘cat fight.’

Tom said, “Give me all your female felines. I want their love not your life. But if you try to make a move…I spray again, twice.”
I told him, “You can have my spayed female, she’s had a hysterectomy. And, she is a well known bitch.”

I gotta ask, “What made you want to live this kind of life?”
Tom said, “Oh, there ain’t no rest for the wicked. Getting laid is money that doesn’t grow on trees. I got birds to haunt. I got several Baby Momma’s with mouths to feed.”
Well now a couple hours past and I was sitting on my couch. The day was winding down and coming to an end. And so, I turned on the TV. And, I flipped it over to the news… what I saw I almost couldn’t comprehend.

I saw a pedigree’d Maine Coon, in cuffs, she’d taken too much of the nip. She’d staggered over her rhinestone collar and had just one quote to the cops:

“I got the Cougar down the street. I got Big Bill to pay. We are all the same…there ain’t nothing in this world for free!”

Memories of Sutton

A hundred year oak…now with faded auburn leaves.

Centuries of stone fences with homes long since gone.

The dogs unencumbered, free to explore a land unknown.

But still a muddied swimming hole is where they decided to roam.

We dodge dropping acorns from dismayed animals up above.

Deep in a forest untraveled,

I am reminded of that strawberry blonde child, sunfish and September early morning, in the plump sun.

Ghost House by Robert Frost

I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.

O’er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
The orchard tree has grown one copse
Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
On that disused and forgotten road
That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;

The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
I hear him begin far enough away
Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.

It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
Who share the unlit place with me—
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad—
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,—
With none among them that ever sings,
And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had.

Minding Mushrooms

The fight remains in the hand tossed rubble and rubbish.

Hope…in the ache that wakes.

Not paradise up close and focus tight.

But by innate tapestry under the sun’s light.

No treading a path beyond fine.

The superfluous for the mind.

Signs of the Father

My Father used to say, peace be with you…

But it never was.

Holding a stark bare cross above the bedroom door…

I had been taught ‘this is love.’

Father would shake my hand until life caught hold

Eventually, in obsession, he became less bold.

My Father had sent me to deviant schools.

I had been taught of prejudice, good books, how to look for fools.

Nothing More…Nothing Less

Nothing more whimsical than wild turkey’s in the evergreens

A dog’s stubby knees

Frisky felines pretending to be sweet

Heifer’s that refuse to take a seat

Laugh Over Tears

Valerie Harper passed the other day. Yup! Two bouts with cancer. Ten years later…she was with us. Until a few days ago.

Cancer kills! I get that but…comedy, laughter and giggles…heal.

I had a ‘friend’ ask,

‘Why so upset over Valerie Harper? She was 80 after all!’

Why so upset?

I grew up in a home filled with hate, bigotry, judgment and punishment. That is just what it is! However, out of one of the two television stations worth damn; on Saturday afternoons, I watched comedy.

This world we live in, particularly in these horrible times, I would rather laugh then cry. Valerie Harper’s death was not unexpected…the depth and death of her comedy? Missed by those of us that needed a little more…funny in our lives.

Masking the Beast!

Inside a serene natural grocery store in Mill Valley, California, Dr. Jen Gunter is scowling at the women’s health aisle. “What’s wrong with the way the vagina smells?” she scoffs, looking over the topical wipes, creams, and washes promising to resolve undesired aromas. “There are no products here to make balls smell better.” Gunter whips […]https://www.motherjones.com/media/2019/08/wellness-goop-jen-gunter

Dr. Jen Gunter Wants to Protect Your Vagina From Gwyneth Paltrow

Someone needs to come up with a Patchouli/THC spray…and then, I’ll be interested!

Know Before You Go

I know before I go…into the woods so dark and deep.

But there is nothing more natural then peeing on a tree!

Course, I have the wrong parts….so I end up peeing on my feet!

Unlike in the U.S., where it is forbidden by law, in Europe it’s not rare to see a man standing to pee at the side of the road, or even at a tree in the city. Less common but not unheard of is a woman hovering behind bushes with her pants down. Some might wonder what the flora has to say about all that. The artist Friedrich Karl Waechter surely considered this when he created his piece Pinkelbaum, or Peeing Tree.

As part of the Frankfurt art initiative Komische Kunst (Funny Art), the artwork is installed in an old maple tree. A plaque near the tree reads (translated from German): “For 300 years I was pissed at, starting today I piss back.” 

Just walking towards it, the tree looks very innocent, but once you get closer, there it is: the passerby is hit by a stream of “pee.” Most people, after recovering from the shock, find it quite funny.

The tree is located at the side of the way around the little lake Jacobiweiher, near the Oberschweinstiege, one of Frankfurt’s nature areas. The pee stream breaks only in winter for a short time. The Pinkelbaum is still there, but it does not pee, to prevent damage by frost. 

Know Before You Go

The “Pinkelbaum” can be reached by a short walk along the small lake “Jacobiweiher”, close to the Restaurant “Oberschweinsstiege”.

It can be reached by Trolley Car No. 17, get out at the sorp “Oberschweinstiege”.

If you come by car, there are two parkings along the “Oberschweinstiegeschneise”, one at the crossing with “Isenburger Schneise”, the other at the crossing with “Darmstädter Landstrasse”.Visit Germany with Atlas Obscura Trips

https://www.atlasobscura.com

Soft Cotton

Today, I envisioned her for the first time…with older eyes.

As though I had been staring at the sun far too long.

Sight dusted by light…a slow fade to dusk.

Her smile…mild and pleasant like twilight on a warm summer’s day.

Gracing and caressing…gently strong.

When night falls, the darkness becomes my love…soft cotton flannel for the dim skies so long.

Mixed Breed

She runs to what she knows…and disregards all the rest. When I eventually reach up to her…it is then I understand love with no regrets.

Still a mighty hunter offering to me….

‘What I now know is her best.’

Both our strides a bit slower than before…

nothing more…

nothing less.

late summer in New Hampshire

In the dancing shade of the morning pines
I go searching for her spirit.
Year upon years, this is my choice, by design.
Year upon years, full knowing her shine is something I will never find.

In the oddest of manner, her actions remind me of mother and her nature.
How an awkward summer breeze can bring the charm of relief.
With her hands flat against a wall,
cynically…always leery of the fall.

It is in her purposeful silence that she makes the greatest remark of all.
Arms wide open, her innocence so green.
Having sustained an ocean of gray…
Seemingly born to jump the waves.

These morning thoughts cannot be introduced to anyone but myself.
It is in her rare laugh that I, too, shine.
I am weathered with its glow.
Such as the unavoidable seasons.
In her earthy silent remarks…it is there I find reason.

to Listen…Again

It is so quiet on the hill.

You can hear the crickets yawn and the grasshoppers stretch.

The ravens above echo, silence, such a simple thing.

It is so quiet on the hill.

You can hear the squirrels chew and the chipmunks sigh.

It is in these moments, I learn to listen…again.

a Word about Disability

Christy Brown (5 June 1932 – 7 September 1981) was an Irish writer and painter who had cerebral palsy and was able to write or type only with the toes of one foot. His most recognized work is his autobiography, titled My Left Foot 

Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities. @mr.rogers

Kristiana Reed’s pre-print review of SMITTEN

Too often we sideline LGBTQ+ work as a genre of its own, when it should be mainstream; literary works which are written by people to be enjoyed by people, no matter what their race, sexuality, gender and/or religion.

TheFeatheredSleep

Thank you to the incredible Kristiana Reed for this advance review of SMITTEN, Indie Blu(e)’s latest poetry anthology which will be published this Fall. 

Candice Daquin and the editors at Indie Blu(e) Publishing have worked their magic once more in raising a powerful chorus of voices.

Daquin is a woman who has always sought to empower others from the first moment I became acquainted with her work and her nature. I also cannot think of a better person and writer to spearhead a body of work which celebrates love between two women. 

The writers and styles within this collection, which Daquin has woven seamlessly together, are varied – eclectic and powerful yet with the same, strong undercurrent coursing through every piece that this is what love looks like.

It is possible people will read the sub-heading of SMITTEN and assume this is an exclusive collection; only accessible if you are woman…

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to Tinker and Wane

As the shade ebbs and flows.

Tinkers and wanes.

There is a playful game.

Herein lies the difference between the ground below.

And, the time that flies above.

So careful in its place…maple leaf on a breezy chase.

The punctured weeds…not a trace of milky embrace.

Cat O’ 9, growing tired from the punishment.

Resting wearily with the sun at its back.

Before the winds came there had been a pact.

Be small, be torn, but take heed of the facts.

There are no wars to be won…

surrounded by tinted glass.

Fife Farm, Franklin NH

Cherish the Dog

No one tells you how quickly dogs age. How one day you wake up and suddenly their face is all white, how their eyes start to seem more milky than yesterday, how you have to call their name a few more times than you used to.

People tell you not to blink when you have children, but what about the dog who was with you before your children were even thought of? The dog who was by your side before you found the love of your life, the dog who jumped from apartment to apartment in your early 20’s. No one tell’s you to cherish every moment you have with them.

Cherish the dog. The one who’s been there through every break up and every dumb fight with your best friend. That dog who slept in bed with you when lonely and made you feel safe when you left home. Cherish him, because one day you’ll take him on a walk and he’ll start to get tired before you and you’ll realize just how many years he has been walking by your side.

Placating the Darkness

Waiting for the sun…on an overcast day.

Hoping to keep the monsters at bay.

Walking from room to vacant room…

only seduces my plight.

The smattering of charcoal clouds…black, gray butterflies…

Once I tailor my sight…

all that surrounds is placating…bright.

When Worlds Collide

the Beatles

Tell me true,

what is it that you feel?

Does a passerby…shower hurt your sense and sensibility?

Do the clouds above pad your nobility?

What a different world…when walking into someone else’s words.

Some spend a natural lifetime looking for answers.

Lifting every immobile boulder.

Each knowing in the precious present…what we get is older.

In the heart and the head.

In the lily and the pond.

In the here and beyond.

Dark as a Rose

A storm within a storm within a storm within a Rose

A lily without her pad…forever sinking

So, what is in a name Rosie?

With your whirlwind of violent voices…jading and shading your blood red petals

I hear your claim to be quite alright

But I see your thorns routinely sharpened…just out of spite

Requies-Cats

The great charm of cats is their rampant egotism, their devil-may-care attitude toward responsibility, their disinclination to earn an honest dollar. In a continent which screams neurotically about cooperation and the Golden Rule, cats are disdainful of everything but their immediate interests.

Bathsheba! to whom none ever said scat-No worthier a cat ever sat on a mat, or caught a rat! Requies-cat! John Whittier

Cemetery Vs. Graveyard

I love a good cemetery and/or graveyard.

I feel safe there.

Safer than with living beings.

FYI- The difference between a cemetery and a graveyard? A graveyard adjorns a church and a cemetery does not. Which means you can bury ashes in a cemetery…you cannot in a graveyard.

That Is Just the Way It Is?

‘that is just the way it is…’

I watch you say…through my native eyes

Just a private conversation with kindness and hate

How long before…

‘that is just the way it is…abates?’

A generous thief…this loathing

But when all is said and not done…

I say to hate, it does not pay to live like that…

With both feet in the past

Mother and Her Nature and Beauty

What beauty can be…

a lone mushroom

a barren tree

or some ragged weeds.

Mother and her nature do not judge my scars…

skinned lines that carried me so far.

Nor am I aware of discretions while I scamper towards her majesty.

….

I can stammer my words of poetry

often erratic

often loose like a noose.

Yet, Mother and her nature…decide my needs.

What It’s Like

Jethro: Claims to be a career criminal. Claims he’d rather freeze outside than to be back behind the wall. He is currently homeless.

We’ve all seen a man at the liquor store beggin’ for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked and full of mange
He asks a man for what he could spare with shame in his eyes
“Get a job, you fuckin’ slob” is all he replies

God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues
Then you really might know what it’s like
Then you really might know what it’s like
Then you really might know what it’s like
Then you really might know what it’s like

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love
He said, “Don’t worry about a thing, baby doll, I’m the man you’ve been dreamin’ of”
But three months later he say he won’t date her or return her calls
And she swear, “God damn if I find that man I’m cuttin’ off his balls”
And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin’ through the door
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore

We’ve all seen a man at the liquor store beggin’ for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked and full of mange
He asks a man for what he could spare with shame in his eyes
“Get a job, you fuckin’ slob” is all he replies

……………….

I’ve seen a rich man beg
I’ve seen a good man sin
I’ve seen a tough man cry

I’ve seen a loser win
And a sad man grin
I heard an honest man lie

I’ve seen the good side of bad
And the down side of up
And everything between

I licked the silver spoon
Drank from the golden cup
Smoked the finest green

I stroked the fattest dimes
At least a couple of times
Before I broke their heart

You know where it ends
Yo, it usually depends
On where you start

I knew this kid named Max
He used to get fat stacks
Out on the corner with drugs

He liked to hang out late
He liked to get shit faced
And keep the pace with thugs

Until late one night
There was a big gun fight
Max lost his head

He pulled out his Chrome .45
Talked some shit
And wound up dead

And now his wife and his kids
Are caught in the midst
Of all of this pain

You know it comes that way
At least that’s what they say
When you play the game

God forbid you ever had to wake up to hear the news
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to lose
Then you really might know what it’s like

….. To have to lose… …..

If Only

Happiness– which is total and complete satisfaction with yourself. This means you realize that nothing and nobody else can make you happy. Happiness is something you get from yourself. If you’re completely satisfied with yourself, nobody can take it away from you. ##the RZA

My Flag

I took my flag to church…with chimes ringing at noon.

I took my flag to church for healing.

I placed my

red…for the color of my skin

blue…for my mother’s sadness

white…for cleansing my weak mind

upon a ancient altar.

I waited for condolense from a religion I did not choose.

I brought my own incense

my native tongue.

I placed, delicately, the love and duct tape I had been born with.

I laid out the only tools I knew how to use.

I found no tranquility among the brick and mortar confines.

I found my soul crying out for her own mind.

Wrapping my flag about me…I stammered out…wearing a rainbow of colors …I refused to become blind.

Helping Turtles Across the Road

So few are my misguided thoughts on religion…whilst in the arms of a golden, August day.

I could walk forever into the unknown…bathing in the silver lining of a sunflower’s intoxicating…glow.

I could even dare all tomorrow’s…in the deep, stare of a steer’s gaze.

Now and always, deep in the musky, wild…sorrow weakens.

Worry becomes less bold.

I understand all that is not mine….because the stillness of humid air tells me so.

Crab Apple perfumes my mind…

I live to let go.

All this and so much more…

helping snappers across Morrill road…

Is the only religion I need to know.

Queen for a Day

Such a trampoline of sandy, ill begotten, virtues, bounce up to greet my gritty feet.

And, it is a long road to greet…the others!

The others…like me.

So…I trade mountains for the buttery aroma of all the half shells along north beach.

Not trans.

Not bi.

Just scantily clad friends in need of retreat.

There is no need to beware of differences…between pride or right or wrong.

The Queens and bears and otters who came before me allow for no spite.

Within the dunes, no titles, labels or names.

As the sun also sets…we are all the same.

You Do Not Have to Be Good

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver

Yet Another Ultimatum from the Cat

As an older cat, Billie, had begun to wander outside. Not one to condemn freedom. I had gently allowed this behavior…with a watchful eye. However, after having been naked all her life, placing a breakaway collar on her…proved difficult.

And, that, that was the straw that broke the portly Billie’s… usually casual demeanor.

Polydactyl cats should not be allowed pens!
Good Luck with your love issues, Billie

Night Crawlers

Just a private conversation between the night crawlers…and, I.

As the sun wakes its weary head…mirrored reflections on mistakes made.

Holes bored into my soul.

Curled in upon itself…divots, to which I dare no enemy tread.

Modern day judgment comes often.

Frequently it is swift.

Always it is free.

I could tap love on her slender, shoulder.

But I appreciate that she not know such demons exist.

A Hymn to the Evening

Soon as the sun forsook the eastern main
The pealing thunder shook the heav’nly plain;
Majestic grandeur! From the zephyr’s wing,
Exhales the incense of the blooming spring.
Soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes,
And through the air their mingled music floats.
Through all the heav’ns what beauteous dies are spread!
But the west glories in the deepest red:
So may our breasts with ev’ry virtue glow,
The living temples of our God below!
Fill’d with the praise of him who gives the light,
And draws the sable curtains of the night,
Let placid slumbers sooth each weary mind,
At morn to wake more heav’nly, more refin’d;
So shall the labours of the day begin
More pure, more guarded from the snares of sin.
Night’s leaden sceptre seals my drowsy eyes,
Then cease, my song, till fair Aurora rise.

#Phillis Wheatley, the first African American to write a book of poetry.

to the Earth

Eery with the waft and wiff of wildlife.

Sad and yet, joyous is their song.

I understand between the lyrics…this, this, is where I belong.

Never to run, a walk is where my curiosity fits.

Though nothing is delicate between the thorns and ivy. And, cagey hills are lonesome and long.

The untamed…a favorite song.

Sanguine and sandal-ed…to the earth is where I belong.

My silhouette of vanity ties me to the beauty.

My silhouette, minuscule, to all of mother’s scenery.

Hard Woods

What it means to stare

Would have been better to keep an existential eye…

while looking between green gray hues

and, peering at anemic disarray.

Languid disorders, sight unseen,

grappling with a colorful mind…

Well, in earnest, it is an ordeal best suited for the unrefined.

Dragnets flung over the road maps,.

collecting ‘speaking in third person’…

like passing the hat.

Well noted, a window’s pardoning glare,

and,

with a quick glimpse forward,

fleetingly witness…

to be or not to be…be aware.

Forthwith, we will beg,

pardon my stare.

Pardon my stare.

“There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.”
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

Unique Kind of Normal

As soon as, I married madness and rebellion…

the tilted, chaotic, walls, fell in upon themselves.

A panting dog with only a muddied puddle to quench her thirst…I gave into acceptance of water from the sullied, still waters.

Every morning, as sanity mounts upon a cluttered and chipped floor.

Inching closer to the bedroom door.

Every morning, ordinary thoughts and scattered mind debris, grasp at my feet.

Must remain stringent and pull a unique kind of normal…around me…

As Time Grows Old

I have wept for some doors that have been shut.

For the remembrance of circling crows, the slightly ajar iron gates that house the long ago, dead.

For the remembrance of four legged siblings…true to themselves and unabashed. I relive their memory…everyday.

Oh, the wonder years, living among loose chickens and lazy llamas.

The dead end dirty and dusky roads that had lay before me.

Those lanes with promise of green, glistering, fields.

I have wept for the Shakers, the dance, the waves of neighbors passing, as time grows old.

Love Letters by Zelda

There’s nothing in all the world I want but you and your precious love. All the material things are nothing. I’d just hate to live a sordid, colorless existence because you’d soon love me less and less and I’d do anything — anything — to keep your heart for my own. I don’t want to live—I want to love first, and live incidentally… Don’t—don’t ever think of the things you can’t give me. You’ve trusted me with the dearest heart of all—and it’s so damn much more than anybody else in all the world has ever had. From Zelda Fitzgerald to F. Scott Fitzgerald

Perhaps, Zelda could be best understood as…misdiagnosed with schizophrenia. When it is obvious she suffered from neglect and abuse. Even further than the lackadaisical diagnosis…is the belief that F.Scott Fitzgerald stole much of Zelda’s writings to further his own career! Both intrusions only hindered what the world could have benefited from her talents.

Zelda Fitzgerald was an icon of the Roaring Twenties. A socialite, painter, novelist, and the wife of American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald’s audacious spirit captivated those around her and she was a muse for much of her husband’s literary work. Their famously turbulent marriage was fraught with alcoholism, violence, financial ups and downs, and Zelda’s battle with mental health issues. Her own artistic endeavors include a semi-autobiographical novel, Save Me the Waltz, a play entitled Scandalabra, as well as numerous magazine articles, short stories and paintings. She died tragically on March 10, 1948 in a fire at Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina.

Wide Open Spaces

Wide open spaces, looking at the trace of distant faces.

I sit in wait for moments to awaken.

Lonely, as I confront myself to be…

on a warmed summer’s bench.

There is only mystery.

Counting numbers, enlisting letters…

listening more than I think…

in wide open spaces.

Say, no to paper tigers!

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.

Amelia Earhart

8 Cool Facts About Amelia Earhart
JULY 24, 2019

Amelia Earhart, the first woman to travel across the Atlantic by plane
Amelia Earhart
July 24th is Amelia Earhart Day! An aviation pioneer who broke numerous records, Amelia Earhart is a beloved figure in American history and an inspiration to adventurous boys and girls everywhere. Celebrate her day with your kids this summer, and discover ten cool facts about Amelia Earhart.

  1. Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897.
    Her mother disagreed with society’s emphasis on raising quiet, prim little girls; she encouraged her daughters to engage in fun and activity.
  2. Amelia Earhart’s childhood nickname was Meelie.
    Meelie was an adventurous child and often had her little sister Grace (nicknamed Pidge) following her around as she climbed trees, hunted rats, and collected insects.
  3. Amelia Earhart built her own roller coaster.
    With her uncle’s help, Amelia built a wooden ramp, similar to a roller coaster she remembered from a St. Louis vacation. She zoomed off the homemade ramp in a wooden box, crashed, and got up bruised but excited, exclaiming to her little sister, “Oh, Pidge, it’s just like flying!
  4. Amelia Earhart was the sixteenth woman to get her pilot’s license.
    When she was just twenty-three, Amelia Earhart took her first airplane ride. It was just a few hundred feet, but from then on she was determined to learn to fly.
  5. Amelia Earhart was the first woman to travel across the Atlantic by plane.
    On June 17, 1928, she and a couple of male pilots flew from Newfoundland, Canada, all the way over to Wales, which took about 21 hours. Since Amelia had no experience in using plane instruments, she was simply a passenger on this flight. The pilots did give her the added task of keeping the flight log. This still proved historic and brought Amelia a hero’s welcome at home and a visit to the White House.
  6. Amelia Earhart was the second person and the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic.
    Charles Lindbergh was the only one who had flown across the Atlantic Ocean solo, but Amelia Earhart proved herself equal to the task. Powerful winds battered her little plane during this flight, which lasted fourteen hours and fifty-six minutes. She also contended with mechanical issues before finally making it to a pasture in Northern Ireland.
  7. Amelia Earhart flew solo halfway across the Pacific.
    Breaking yet another record, Amelia was the first pilot to fly alone from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California. Near the end of the uneventful flight, she listened to the radio broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera.
  8. Amelia Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean.
    In 1937, Amelia attempted to fly around the globe with one crew member, Fred Noonan. She completed most of the global journey, a distance of twenty-two thousand miles, and had just seven thousand to go.

Strange Fruit by Abel Meeropol

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

Strange Fruit is the first documentary exploring the history and legacy of the Billie Holiday classic. The song’s evolution tells a dramatic story of America’s radical past using one of the most influential protest songs ever written as its epicenter. The saga brings viewers face-to-face with the terror of lynching even as it spotlights the courage and heroism of those who fought for racial justice when to do so was to risk ostracism and livelihood if white – and death if Black. It examines the history of lynching, and the interplay of race, labor and the left, and popular culture as forces that would give rise to the Civil Rights Movement.

While many people assume Strange Fruit was written by Billie Holiday herself, it actually began as a poem by a Jewish schoolteacher and union activist from the Bronx who later set it to music. Disturbed by a photograph of a lynching, the teacher wrote the stark verse and brooding melody about the horror of lynching under the pseudonym Lewis Allan in 1938. It was first performed at a New York teachers’ union rally and was brought to the attention of the manager of Cafe Society, a popular Greenwich Village nightclub, who introduced Billy Holiday to the writer.

https://www.kanopy.com/wayf/product/strange-fruit-biography-song

The documentary includes a moving recitation of the lyric by Abbey Lincoln and a powerful musical performance by Cassandra Wilson. But it’s the footage of Lady Day herself performing her bitter and heart-wrenching signature song that stands at the center of the film. Holiday sang it until her death in 1959.

Malingering

The streets that I stray…

dusty with emerald mystery.

Still they call my name.

All thoughts and fears…

pebbled with blind trust.

To be a wild winged bird…

I would not know where to start.

To whisper into the wind…

I would not know where to begin.

Drifting has become a part of my woolen and woodsy need to be there.

With every nesting squirrel.

With all wild lingerers…

I roam just to be.

I am a liberal because…

This is how I feel.

I’m a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does. Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:

  1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.
  2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as “I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.” This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes “let people die because they can’t afford healthcare” a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.
  3. I believe education should be affordable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.
  4. I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.
  5. I don’t throw around “I’m willing to pay higher taxes” lightly. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.
  6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live.
  7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; compulsory prayer in school is – and should be – illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognize my right to live according to my beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not “offended by Christianity” — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine.
  8. I don’t believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the same rights as you.
  9. I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re “stealing” your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc).
  10. I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.
  11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.
  12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalized.
  13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is the enforcement of present laws and enacting new, common sense gun regulations. Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine.
  14. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?
  15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else.
  16. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.

Author Unknown