Happy 246th Birthday U.S.A. !
Celebrating our nation's Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776
Yankee Doodle (1991 Remastered)
The Robert Shaw Chorale -- Traditional Battle Cry of Freedom
Happy 246th Birthday U.S.A. !
Celebrating our nation's Declaration of Independence
July 4, 1776
Yankee Doodle (1991 Remastered)
The Robert Shaw Chorale -- Traditional Battle Cry of Freedom
UPDATE: United States Select House Committee on January 6th .......
Hearing Tuesday June 28th 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT)
There are a couple new-to-me blogs of interest I've discovered which you may appreciate, too. Coincidentally, both of these gentlemen bloggers live across the pond from the U.S. Take a dip, you may enjoy reading them as much as I have.
The first blog that came to my attention is written by a man with an interesting blogosphere history I learned about in a recent comment in case you missed reading it. Ian Bertram has started a new blog, "Ian's Jottings", featuring an intriguing variety of topics. You can visit Ian's blog HERE.
Ian's no stranger to the blogosphere since Ronni Bennett at "Time Goes By" (TGB) first introduced his "Panchromatica" blog years ago. Some of what she wrote included:
"He's a serious man with passion for world peace and human rights, but he also has a wicked sense of the absurd as demonstrated by ... this link I took from his site."
You can read what Ronni wrote May 4, 2004 HERE. (note: some links there may no longer be active.) She had been visiting Ian's site before starting her blog. Ian had discovered Ronni's early blogging efforts and they both regularly posted photos on "fotolog".
When Ronni concluded she needed to give up her beloved longtime Greenwich Village brownstone apartment on Bleecker Street making her first move to Portland, Maine, Ian responded to her request to be a TGB guest blogger during her moving days.
I've visited the new blog, "Ian's Jottings", and suggest you read his June 16th "welcome" post to gain information about his other blogs, art site, intended "jottings". Based on his writing I've read, I look forward to a variety of appealing subjects including his memoir, music featuring talented artists and much more. The alternate history topic such as "Dunkirk" is entertainingly thought provoking as is considering his unusual idea that is revealed in "Green Earth", given our world today.
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The second blog, "Tone Deaf", I discovered later which I sought after reading Roderick Robinson's comment on Sabine's blog "Interim Arrangements". When I visited Roderick's blog I learned he had written several books. I was fascinated when I read what he wrote about in one of his books, Opening Bars: "Everyone has a voice so why not sing -- but at eighty?" That's right, he became a singer at the ripe age of 80 years.
Exploring some of Roderick's blog writings I discovered he dabbles a bit in political commentary occasionally enhanced with a bit of poetry, has had a lifelong interest in aviation, is adapting to some significant medical issues and most recently has explored writing about everyday happiness. He asks a pertinent question about the life he's lived that we all might ask about our own life you can read HERE.
Roderick's humor emerges with a light-hearted touch in his writings to also blend into one blog discussion about bellybuttons. Subsequently, there's a description of perfection and then there is the account of his being insulted.
His novels are enticing especially since I note one is set in Arizona. His appealing self-assessment: "In my novels all women are heroines." Hm-m-m!
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Norah Jones with pianist Marian McPartland. Tanglewood Jazz Festival 8/30/2003
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United States Select House Committee on January 6th -- more hearings in July
"Donald Trump and his supporters are a clear and present danger to democracy."
Preserve our constitutional capitalistic democratic republic when you vote.
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SCOTUS recent warped political interpretations of our constitution defy common sense with serious ramifications:
Separation of church and state is now compromised based on a recent case ruling.
Regulations in numerous states to restrict gun proliferation have been invalidated per a ruling.
Women's rights retracted including making decisions affecting the health of her own body. (Women no longer equal with men who are permitted to make health decisions about their body.)
FATHER'S DAY I celebrate in tribute to my son, to my husband's memory, and to all those fathers who are uniquely special in the lives of their family.
SMILE -- Steven Tyler sings to his father; Chris Botti on trumpet, for your viewing at this link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=992496770834556
(That emotionally moving singular performance was originally slated to be embedded here but then became unavailable for use in that manner.)
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I'm not much in the mood for writing since I've learned what I really didn't want to know when I finally mustered the courage to conduct an internet search of a friend's name. The closest of my undergraduate college friends with whom we've kept in contact with each other all these years has died.
Jean has been writing she wanted to talk with me but preferred to call, so I waited for her to write a message advising that she was feeling up to talking and when she would phone. Her last email message to me included her saying she felt "like a slug." Now, I've discovered that two weeks later she died.
In the days before the internet, I might never have known about the death of some friends since family doesn't always make contact to convey that information. Most close friends long term have lived many miles distant from me for most of our years during our adult lives. Seldom, if ever, did we even see each other and in most instances hadn't even met each other's now adult children.
This close adult life-long friend, Jean, is the third in the past decade I've learned has died but only after I finally searched their name on the internet. I was hesitant about checking for the second person a few years later after that first loss experience. Though a letter and phone calls had elicited no response, I delayed further internet checking before finally searching only to once more find the result that I didn't want.
So, on this third occasion I finally acquired the courage to search a name once again on the internet. The screen instantly appeared and there Jean was, smiling directly at me, her face and name next to a column titled "Obituary".
I'm so glad I took a side trip stop-over to visit her and her husband as she urged I do on my flight home from visiting with my family several years ago. I wish now I had stayed longer. We could have enjoyed so much more time together. Now, there are only the memories. So much I could write, but as I said in the beginning, right now I just can't bring myself to immerse deeper into sorrow's moody pool. I will miss her!
In the decade before this current one when my friends' deaths began becoming more prevalent, some adult children never contacted me then, either, about their parent's death. One did, but not until a daughter wrote a year later, and another when a son wrote several months later.
One husband phoned me across the continent quite soon after his wife's death, then broke down on the phone and it was all I could do to emotionally keep it together as I felt I must for him. Days later the adult daughter called and after determinedly thinking I must keep my emotions under control for her, I could not.
I don't know why with other friends who died I never heard from family, especially in one specific instance. But I can appreciate simple contact delays as I guess there's really no longer any rush for any reason.
I know from my own experience there can be complications after a loved one dies, plus family members personal lives may have extra-demands, too. There's usually a rush of attention, followed by diminishing concern at some future point in time directed at the deceased's immediate family. Then that all ends and the remaining significant family member is truly alone.
All the grieving, adapting, coping can be overwhelming, giving way to the never-ending sense of loss for family and some friends. On reflection, after my husband's unexpected sudden death, I have been aware of not handling some matters in the manner which I intended or did so only part-way from what I expected to do.
Age differences between friends seem to matter little, especially since I've been older. I often think of one older-than-me long gone friend who wrote me once, "There are no friends like old friends." New friends, not always easily acquired when we're older, but who can become dear, rarely have the depth the history of time with shared life experiences and changes provides.
I note also, when an older friend dies there can be a different way of thinking about losing them than when a younger-than-me person departs. The older person is often said to have had a long life versus the younger one said to have died too young. When someone my same age dies, as was Jean, the loss resonates in a uniquely personal identification way.
I've written here before that I've found one of the most difficult aspects of ageing is the longer I live the more friends and family die before me, the fewer who remain living. My old friends and family once quite expansive in number are now down to less than I can count on one hand for the former, two hands for the latter. Memories can be cherished though they're not as rich as future personal interactions. No matter how many of those for whom I care deeply depart this earth, incorporating their loss into my life never becomes easier.
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"Donald Trump and his supporters are a clear and present danger to democracy."
Judge Luttig quote from the third House Hearing held on June 16, 2022.
Planning how I can landscape my front yard to adapt to the mandated water allocations outdoor watering restrictions due to our SoCal drought (described in my previous post) occupies my thoughts. Other matters do not go unnoticed.
Gasoline price regularly -- every night -- goes up overnight here in SoCal -- anywhere from 1 cent to 5 cents a gallon. We're well over $6 a gallon and going up every day. Is gasoline going up in price like this where you live?
Toilet Paper -- I've noticed for some time when I put the new tissue roll on my holder how it seems to slide back and forth further and further. I took a closer look the other day, pushing the new tissue roll clear to one side. There was a whole inch of open space on the opposite side. I remember when I used to put a new tissue roll on the roller and the tissue filled the whole roller side to side. So, the tissue rolls are skinnier now then they used to be for ..... I don't know how long that's been the case. The tissue is diminishing in size., I guess. Is each perforated tissue section still a square or a rectangle, instead of being the square now, too -- I didn't check that tissue width dimension --- are there also fewer sections?
Apparently, a lot of products are getting smaller in various ways to allow for the producer's increased costs as a way to avoid raising the item's price to consumers. Is it greedy profiteering or should we be pleased, given inflation's impact, that they're trying to keep customer's costs down with this adjustment?
Have you noticed changes in sizes, quantities of any products you use, and what about the cost of that gasoline.....? * * *
The United States has been hosting the Ninth Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles with a theme "Building a Sustainable, Resilient, and Equitable Future" for our hemisphere. The summit brings together the heads of government for North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
We certainly could benefit from positive relationships with all our neighbors including Canada on this continent. Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua were not invited. This met with disapproval by some other nation's leaders including Mexico's President who did not attend in protest though an official representative was present. Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and several other nations were also absent.
Some Summit achievements: in "...the Los Angeles Declaration a nonbinding migration blueprint established legal pathways to enter the countries and set new parameters around aid". Politico also reports: "The Biden administration has committed to a three-fold increase in resettling 20,000 refugees from the Americas over the next year. Other pacts revolved around addressing climate change and driving clean energy, advancing food security, mobilizing new investments in the region and incentivizing increased trade, though they lacked major funding and many specifics."
I hope we're able to create a feeling of goodwill with all and Latin American countries strive to make their homeland more invitingly livable for their citizens. Most would like to stay home and not trek to our borders seeking to immigrate. Usually those with autocratic forms of government/dictators typically don't place a priority on what their citizens need. Surely not a form of government we would want in the U.S. * * *
Our U.S. citizens need to consider how much survival of our democratic republic depends on our voting to elect to office only those candidates (including judges) dedicated to supporting our form of government. Our primary election completed recently with only 20% or less voting in our state -- such an important time to weed out unsuitable candidates before a November general election to keep in mind before next time. * * *
Mass shootings continue, I see reported in the news..... like most of you, I'm impatiently awaiting our legislators to take some action on gun control. Weapons intended for warfare, as so many mass shooters and others have used seem unlikely to be banned. I suppose it's necessary for those who want to keep those AK-47s and others readily and easily available for purchase here in the U.S. -- especially for all those eager to engage in seditious activities to overthrow our government, rid us of our oppressive democratic republic so we can enjoy the freedoms of one-person authoritarian dictatorship rule -- she said sarcastically.
I'm sure that would be much better as I look around the world at Putin in Russia, leadership in China, and North Korea. Or maybe we could have a mix with theocratic leadership like Iran. Doubtless a touch of return to days of yore like the Taliban offers Afghans would be very foreword thinking, but our Supreme Court may already be working to make that a reality.
SCOTUS seems to think interpretations of our constitution must not adapt to changes in the world in the centuries since our founders established our nation. Never mind that the vast majority of American citizens believe otherwise, and I'll bet our forefathers who wrote that constitution would agree.
Mentioning sedition as I was earlier, reminds me of the televised House Committee Hearing I viewed this past week investigating the January 6th U.S. Capitol event.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. presented this timeline of events leading to the attack on the Capitol in the first hearing June 9th.
Our local Claremont Courier newspaper features a front-page photo taken by freelance photojournalist Amanda Andrade-Rhoades who grew up here, later returned to intern at the Courier. She covered the January 6th event for the Washington Post where she lives now. She was included with their staff to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage. (I think the Post must have her Jan. 6th photos as I only saw one on her internet web site; none will be available to appear in this post.)
"Eye of the Storm" photos, and the Courier's Andrew Alonzo's interview with Amanda describing her first-hand experience in the midst all day long of the insurrection notes what every community resident might wisely consider based on what she saw:
"What gets me is that the people who were there, they are not backwater hicks. They are your neighbors. ... I think it is a big mistake to think our neighbors are incapable of being extremists ... and incapable of attempting to perform a coup at the U.S. Capitol."
(This interview with photos may be available on the Courier website after their June 10th issue is archived should you want to read the entire content.)
Not everyone recognizes the seriousness of what occurred January 6th, if they even paid attention to the events. One very sensitive sportsperson referred to that Jan. 6th atrocity as a "dustup at the Capitol" He later apologized, but subsequently was fired from his defensive football coaching job in D.C.
The worrisome days that followed my seeing those protesting people -- what a relief when I learned they were just vacationers visiting Washington and government offices, very friendly people, who I guess just got a little exuberant in their actions. "The love I've seen, I've never seen anything like it." our ex-President said. I could see how those people might have been filled with the spirit of love.
Sometimes, I guess some people just get so excited when visiting government buildings they like/love, that they have so much energy coursing through their body that they break windows, kick in doors, attack law enforcement officers, are motivated to want to lynch a government leader and shout obscenities. Doesn't everybody?
Viewing that hearing last week really mind-jolted me back to reality. They showed so much film coverage that demonstrated to me that what I originally thought I had seen January 6th, I really did see. Those people weren't being friendly. They were physically hurting people, some even died. How could I have doubted what my own eyes had seen and how I perceived what I saw?
How could our former President have misunderstood what happened January 6th? He was there in the beginning and talked to those people. Didn't he tell them to go to the Capitol, using words intimating he was going to walk there with them? Why didn't he go? Instead, he went to the White House, watching on TV what transpired. Did he really believe they were all just friendly tourists?
I'm really concerned that if that's how he interpreted what he saw he either has vision and hearing problems, or he must have slipped a brain cog. The only other explanation I can think of is that he was lying about what those people were doing. Surely, our former President wouldn't lie about something like that, would he?
That question prompted me to see what the internet might show about this "lying" business. I was overwhelmed with so many links documenting the ex-President's lying -- incredibly, over 30,000 lies that the ex-President has been telling from when he assumed office, continuing even after his term expired and now. Wow! How could anyone want to be associated with him, much less defend his actions? This is just all too much to think about presently.
Oh, one other matter ..... Curiously, Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV was the only network that didn't broadcast that hearing. In fact, Fox didn't even interrupt with commercials for a couple hours or so whatever programming they broadcast. I guess that's not all too surprising that Fox wouldn't want viewers tempted to be exposed to reality and facts when we consider the problems Fox News Department/network has had from time to time with reporting accuracy.
I keep remembering the sight on TV of our ex-President soon after his election meeting in Scotland with Murdoch. I would think those who profess to be advocates of freedom, individual liberties, and proponents of real truth would have no qualms about their viewers seeing these hearings.
There are more hearings to come. The next one, the only one televised in non-prime time, on Monday, June 13th at 10 a.m. ET (that will be 7 a.m. PT where I live). Check the broadcast time where you live. You may read the coming hearings schedule with expected content and where you may view them on television or the internet HERE.
May Gray ... June Gloom ... but no rain.
SPIRIT FLEDGED..... the Bald Eaglet flew early the morning of May 31st in a video you can view on my previous blog post in case you missed the update. She continues to return to the nest periodically but will gradually hone more skills, then ultimately fly away to live independently.
WATER ..... WHERE?
Our persistent drought caused by little rain and meagre mountain snowfall resulting in water reserves depletion has necessitated restricted water use regulations in California. SoCal where I live the restriction specifics vary from county to county, city to city. Los Angeles, for example, has a different water company than my city so large swaths there are restricted to watering 2 days a week while further inland we are allowed to water only 1 day a week.
I'm sharing what mandatory water conservation and rationing presently looks like, at least in my city, with details for any who might be interested. Possibly in years to come water shortages will affect more communities in other states, countries, besides those already affected. So, you may consider what some of you might experience in the future.
Our lakes, reservoirs, even mighty rivers like the Colorado feeding southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico have had declining reserves these past several years. Read how our southern border neighbor Mexico challenged also is coping in this azcentral article HERE.
The U.S. share of the Colorado river waters is divided among four upper basin states (Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico) and three lower basin states (Arizona, Nevada, and California).
The past year, 2021, California had to institute a Stage 1 voluntary 15% water reduction that regrettably wasn't met in too many communities. My property was allocated to use 2 to 4 gallons less water monthly than I used the previous year. I haven't reviewed every month's record but think I readily met my allocation, even using less water.
June 1st this year, 2022, our water company conservation plan had to move us into a mandatory Stage 2.
(I can't help wondering if all those individuals so opposed to government prescribed "mandatory" actions i.e., wearing a mask, getting vaccinated will refuse to cooperate for the good of the community on water conservation, too?)
Here's a summary provided on the City of Claremont's web site:
[Water use is most commonly discussed in CCF (centum cubic feet) and gallons].
. . .Water usage -- 1 CCF = 748 gallons.
My allocation varies each month. (20% of my 2020 water usage.)
(The result is I am allocated 2 to 4 gallons less in all but one month I've determined.)
For example: I'm allocated 17 CCF for June. (Rest of the year will be between 17-19, one mo. 20 CCF)
April shows I used 6 CCF; previous month 11 CCF; April prior year 17 CCF.
My current bill dated 5/23 (only 29 days) shows: I used 11 CCF well under my allocation.
[The yearly differences probably are due to the amount of rain we received allowing me to turn sprinklers off for a day, a week, or however long, or decrease the time water sprinkles in each of my 3 zones in front yard and 3 zones in back yard. (The 4th zone to my parkway in the front yard I turned off several years ago). Rain, temperature, and other factors affect how much water is used which is quite variable from year to year.]
There is a $2.50 emergency surcharge per CCF assessment if a customer uses more than their water allocation.
Repetitive water usage above allocation, then ignoring notices to cease will result in expensive installation of devices to decrease water emitted in addition to more expensive dollar fines.
No customers are being asked to reduce their water usage below 8 CCF per month. Based on an average four-person household, the 8 CCF minimum accounts for daily indoor usage of 50 gallons per person.
[Interestingly, when I researched average at-home water usage I found a wide variation in the estimated gallons used from 60 gallons per person according to Water Footprint Calculator. The U.S.Geological Survey reports 80-100 gallons average per person.
The Environmental Protection Agency 75 gallons per person based on average family use of 300 gallons per month. Obviously, individuals' habits determine actual usage.]
Consult the EPA site for much more specific estimates on actual water usage in gallons for various functions, for example like the one item using the most water in households, the toilet -- using 3-4 gallons per flush with older toilets; 1-2 gallons per flush with newer toilets.
There are indoor water conservation measures encouraged I've followed for many years with my washing machine, dish washer. We're urged to operate them only when we have full loads which I always did anyway.
Electric energy savings have been encouraged for some time here in So Cal. We are urged to not use our electric appliances between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Now, we integrate our water mandates with our voluntary energy conservation measures.
Fortunately, what could be considered conservation measurers have been common sense behaviors becoming second nature from childhood for me. They simply continued being almost automatic throughout my adulthood. Not much was ever wasted, including electricity and water, though I've never had water formally rationed like this before.
The EPA link features an interesting pie chart of water usage items, also simple instructions for how to determine how much water you use.
If you receive a water bill, it will provide a monthly CCF total. Follow the example provided in the EPA link to determine your water usage.
I haven't yet figured out how to water special areas more than once a week since my gardeners who typically cut the grass only come once a week and likely won't need to mow grass that often. Unfortunately, I'm currently not able to hand water myself and no teens in the area I could hire. I need to obtain some of the special adapters described. I had a hose shut off nozzle purchased some years ago but it seems to have grown legs and walked away. I have a short soaker hose for one tree. The longer one I had for years disintegrated. As you can see I'm not well-prepared for this so have to make time to figure it all out.
I'm not really interested in incurring the expense of installing a drip irrigation system so I'll have to see what I can conjure.
I'm concerned about various hedges, bushes, and several trees in my yard. I hope my one remaining Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow bush I rooted that had grown so wonderfully survives. The lovely petite white and lavender bloom was spectacular this spring. I fully intended to photograph the scene beginning years earlier for permanent embedding on my blog given the connection which prompted my blog's name but obviously I've not done so.
Two young city trees in the parkway I'm responsible for watering but I capped the sprinklers to that area several years ago before the city even planted them. The city did recently announce they will be surveying our city trees and provide extra water for any they deem in need. "City of Trees" is our town's awarded designation based on the many quite lovely and majestic trees around town.
I'm prepared my grass will likely die. Unfortunately, I'm no longer able to perform yard work to gradually transition my landscaping. Years earlier long before any yards in our area had converted their grassy areas I had obtained a landscaping proposal I rejected since the whole approach which also contributed to excessive cost was not what I wanted. I'll see when fall arrives what growth has survived and consider what is needed.
The climate changes affecting water availability we are experiencing vary within our country and around the world. Drought, warmer temperatures, vulnerability for forest fires once mostly occurring only a few months a year are now a year 'round concern primarily here and in our western U.S. states. Other areas of our country's residents do not experience water limitations and, in fact, have an over-abundance with flooding, more fierce storms. Other countries experience this, too.
What sort of climate changes, if any, have you noticed where you live?
Has your community had to make any adjustments, or have you had to make any personal adaptations?
MEMORIAL DAY COMMEMORATING ALWAYS .....
THOSE WHO SACRIFICED FOR OUR FREEDOMS.
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"May Gray" has greeted us many mornings with an overcast sky here in SoCal but one morning this past week the world darkened with the loss of children's innocent lives once again -- this time in Texas.
School shootings -- 27 this year -- NPR reports HERE. That's right, shootings in schools 27 times so far ... with seven more months left in the year! You've all heard and read by now about this "unspeakable tragedy" in Uvalde, Texas.
We hear all the same platitudes we've heard with every one of these indefensible human tragedies since 2012. Prayer isn't enough.
Weapons of war do not belong in the hands of civilians, those mentally ill, perhaps not even with teens whose judgement has not yet matured until well into their twenties as summarized by NPR HERE.
Our U.S. Senate has done nothing to correct the gun problem despite the fact the vast majority of the American people have called for reform for years.
"Australia, Britain, Canada, and other countries have enacted reforms ..." How they did it described in John Cassidy's New Yorker article "HOW TO PREVENT GUN MASSACRES? LOOK AROUND THE WORLD" you can read HERE.
In the Senate, legislative bills to address the issue passed by the House of Representatives, forwarded to the Senate, are not even allowed to come up for a vote. Aren't these legislators supposed to reflect the will of the people? Or is it only a few minority views that take precedence?
Those who misinterpret our constitution as to gun ownership rights to politicize the issue serve only to mislead our citizens that all guns will be taken from them. This falsehood couldn't be further from the truth.
I hope when election time rolls around that all those politicians stonewalling firearm ownership reform ... they certainly aren't leaders ... are voted out of office.
Jimmy Kimmel on Elementary School Shooting in Uvalde, Texas
Ten years ago Ronni Bennett wrote about the Connecticut Sandy Hook atrocity on "Time Goes By" HERE. Just substitute Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas for her words which apply to this recent massacre. This time 21 people -- 19 children killed -- an 18-year-old shooter.
Here's a taste of what Ronni wrote:
"No matter the gazillion words that have and will continue to pour forth the bottom line is that this is a gun crime. Got that? A person who was barely an adult himself shot 27 people with a lot of guns."
"...we must do something ... yeah, yeah, yeah ...
"... the NRA, its lobbyists and Congress members who readily accept that organization's campaign contributions will continue to make it easier to buy and own guns."
"...there will be a lot of calls for more armed guards in schools and no useful changes to gun laws."
Ronni hoped she would be wrong a decade ago when she wrote those words as I do now.
Law enforcement, school guard, with all their guns did not protect those children and 2 teachers from being murdered in Texas. The husband of one teacher died with a heart attack a few days later.
How many more slaughters over how many more decades must pass before we reform gun laws?
Maybe this time no one will allow this assault to fade out of consciousness, moving on to the next story. Instead, holding all those legislators feet to the fire until they act to resolve this.
Maybe this time the people will keep the pressure on all those spewing the same ol' rhetoric so we can begin to end these horrors ...
"June Gloom", not just in the weather sense, has regrettably arrived early in a most unwelcome form.
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Eaglet Spirit was to be the focus of this blog post and then there was the unexpected tragedy above.
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I had to take a break once again from all that's happened here and elsewhere in our world to retain my sanity, so I visited the birds -- the Bald Eagle birds and their eaglet. I hope you take similar breaks for whatever gives you pleasure for your own mental health.
I don't forget what's happening, but viewing these eagles, especially any eaglets, or listening to music, and instances prompting lots of laughter offer positive health stimulation and healing to offset incessant brooding and worrying violence-laden events can trigger.
I will keep the pressure on for meaningful change in every way I can, however limited, but certainly by how I vote for all federal government offices -- legislators especially. Focus on local offices, also -- school boards, sheriffs, city councils, mayors, board of supervisors, state offices, and judges at all levels of government. I hope you and others will too.
Big Bear Bald Eagle couple, Jackie and Shadow, live in a nearby Southern California picturesque popular mountain resort area in a large twig and limb-filled nest 145 feet high up in a Jeffrey Pine tree. Their nest overlooking a scenic fish-filled lake of bluish water at lowered level now due to our drought is where they've raised their family each season. Their daily lives have been of ongoing interest on this blog for a number of years.
There's a live camera focused 24/7 directly on their nest, and a second wide angle camera focused on the tree area to cover eagle flights from a distance. This year only one of two eggs hatched an eaglet thought to be a female that local area school children named Spirit.
I checked in on the bald eagle family earlier one night this past week, heard coyotes howling in the distance. Then I saw Spirit awaken, to sit and scratch her baby fluff away from new adult feathers growing in while Mother Jackie continued her watch close by perched on the nest's edge.
Spirit is on fledge watch, could make her first flight from the nest any time now. She periodically jumps up and down, twists and turns, hops about from her nest's front porch to back porch, spreads and rapidly flaps those massive wings at an increasing rate to strengthen all her muscles, but just hasn't risked leaving the nest yet to soar in the sky. If you want to check in on Spirit, the link is HERE.
One afternoon mother Jackie and father Shadow were both at the nest with daughter Spirit. After eating the fish delivered and partially fed to Spirit she demonstrated all her flight preparation moves flitting from the front porch to the back porch. She bombarded her parents with lots of vocal "squees" communicating who knows what which they seem to understand but gave no sound response.
I peeked in on the nest later that night. Shadow had departed, probably to a nearby tree where he positioned himself as a security monitor. Jackie remained on the front porch with Spirit close by. A couple times mother with intense gazes joined her responding daughter as their bodies appeared to press close to each other.
I was startled twice when Jackie after glaring at something out of camera range suddenly leapt forward with slapping wing flaps in attack mode. It may have been the notorious flying squirrel, Fiona, or cohort Fast Freddy as these strictly nocturnal creatures attempt to invade the nest disturbing everyone's sleep.
Big Bear Eagles Fiona Proves That She is Indeed A FLYING Squirrel
(Thanks to Cali Condor and Friends of Big Bear Valley for this 2021-04-06 video)
"Upon seeing spread eagle Shadow, Fiona launches ... into the air .... Hopefully the landing was successful"... since "Flying Squirrels can't really fly".
Having expressed I may occasionally share here excerpts with links to pertinent writings from "Time Goes By" (TGB) blog of deceased Ronni Bennett (RB), I feel compelled to share some related thoughts I've had.
If you wonder why I plan to sometimes reference TGB, this is why. I think the content in some of Ronni Bennett's writings coupled with the comments on those topics are pertinent today and for the future. I also want to make others aware TGB remains accessible on the internet even though new blog posts there are no longer being added and comments are closed. Ronni had responded to her followers wish TGB remain available on the internet after she learned she would soon die. She arranged for TGB to remain active with a friend becoming the new blogger, but unfortunately, the blog became inactive for unknown reasons as some of you know and I've previously mentioned -- in case you think I'm repeating because I'm old and forgetful.
Occasionally, I will reintroduce RB's writing on topics just as I did in my previous blog post about women controlling their body's health by adding TGB blog excerpts with links. Please note I said, occasionally, which may be infrequently, subject to my recollections or research of some of what Ronni wrote. On a light note, here's
John Lennon singing "Grow Old With Me" (Version 2003)
"New version of the unfinished song" reported to be John's last recording. Arrangement and backing vocals were added to the demo of John (July 1980) in 2003."
Before Ronni was "old", in her early years, prior to TGB, you might be interested in this link to her 2005 post with a photo from her 1970 radio days with her husband then, Alex, also John and Yoko.
Ronni's concisely worded writing is a talent in evidence on TGB. She had name recognition and credits aiding her in developing new timely information sources forged over the years from her TV appearances, radio interviews, writing for major print media. RB had the ear of some tech people to whom she advocated for functional digital device design features to best enable older people using computers. She encouraged and promoted older people becoming computer literate from the early digital days.
She had influential professional and personal contacts with many who respected her, to name just a few means that informed her and promoted what she said and wrote. Quite possibly some of those many references and sources would have been provided to the friend she expected to continue her blog, but that's not known, and I don't have access to any of that information.
Some of what RB wrote stimulates thoughts of expansion on certain subjects, updating information, adding new ideas and more. These are all writing possibilities in exploring what it's like to get old, exposing ageism, examining issues impacting our aging population like preserving Social Security for future generations, insuring health care at reasonable cost or discussing universal health care as Ronni strongly promoted. She championed women's rights noting imposed political challenges that have become more pronounced today. She urged one and all to actively engage in our political process, by knowing our candidates, voting to preserve this democratic republic, rejecting those who might give us a theocratic autocracy.
TGB topics are ongoing, surfacing periodically with some warranting attention to what our government is or isn't doing. Resurrected TGB excerpts will enrich the conversation which RB would likely welcome, I think. She often wrote, "Talk among yourselves." encouraging more dialogue when she wasn't able to participate. New generations thoughts would certainly be welcomed since if they live long enough, everybody gets old. We seem to have evolved into an even more troubling world from when she departed only some 18 months or so ago.
I think RB would welcome having links on blogs and references to her TGB writings elsewhere. She demanded civility in comments so would likely want that to continue on any writings that included her words. I interpret that civility to be maintaining a level of respectfulness with the intent of fostering tolerance of differences in a pleasant communication environment.
RB was a strong advocate for free speech but had some common sense expectations for reasonable behavior. Snarkiness was rejected on TGB, as those commenters could quickly be banned from her blog if they disregarded her warnings. Criticizing someone with whom there is disagreement in a way to hurt their feelings or to be rudely disrespectful was not acceptable. Satire, RB appreciated. She did express her views on some political and social issues to which a few of her readers objected, threatening to abandon TGB.
Truth was RB's requirement for her TGB writings, so she included links documenting the verifiable facts, following the best ethical and journalistic standards. Opinions were clearly differentiated as such and she disapproved of so-called news sources who violated that basic standard.
(Click on American Press Institute's description of the ethics and journalistic standards which mentions bloggers. Note: RB never referred to that site or any source on these matters of which I know. I've added this link as just one on the subject to which readers here can refer if interested.)
TGB was created to talk about aging as it really is, but eventually included the final stage of death in a way neither she nor any of her blog followers expected. Life must have become quite a challenge for her when she suddenly had to cope with the knowledge her days were numbered. Her own death was coming much sooner than she might have anticipated though she selected the option of choosing precisely when her life would end. Legal, safe and possible medical benefits of cannabis for pain, anxiety, sleep, other self-medications or experiences to address fear of death, as well as Right to Die issues were all topics for further exploration and discussion.
RB wanted to write the truth about aging years. She stressed what she wrote was her experience, that we all age differently but may have some commonalities. In her youthful fifties she said so much of what she saw in the media -- broadcasting, print, and then internet, characterized older people's years as doom and gloom, filled with disease, debility, and decline. She noted some, but not all, may unpredictably have varying degrees of those experiences. She wondered what becoming old would really be like for herself, or if those days and years might have more desirable aspects. Surely not all was negative.
Her alter ego, Crabby Old Lady, took over TGB on occasion grousing, griping, and grumping-about to complain about one thing or another. After all, isn't that one of the stereotypical descriptions attributed to old people? Guess what! Old people aren't any more one dimensional than any other age group. On TGB it was okay to feel angry, disgusted, discouraged for a little while, but just don't get stuck in that mode.
A good dose of humor was frequently injected into TGB as were regular musical offerings from all genres magically conjured by Australia's Peter Tibbles with Assistant Musicologist Norma.
TGB's aging bloggers over the years reveal much happiness and contentment as most adjust and adapt to whatever their circumstances. More focus has occurred in recent decades on the significance of leading a healthy life for longevity which has been increasing. A recent setback shortening U.S. lifespan due to the Corona virus plus greater recognition of detrimental environmental concerns impact us as we age. Existing and new topics needing our perspective are ever-changing and never-ending.
For any who do not know of Ronni Bennett's professional background, many of her years were spent in several major cities, before working in various broadcast venues in New York City radio and network television, beginning before cable TV and the internet came into prominence. In addition to being the first editor of cbsnews.com when the network finally decided the internet was here to stay, she had occasion to travel around the world meeting many national figures, celebrities, and others when she became producer on several television programs including with Barbara Walters, Dick Cavett, Whoopi Goldberg to name a few of her credits.
"Time Goes By" is a significant part of whatever may be Ronni Bennett's legacy. No individual can ever be fully replaced by another so won't occur for Ronni either. No new blog would be a replica of "Time Goes By."
Meanwhile, we can extract from TGB ideas and thoughts resonating today that are especially meaningful to all who read here.
What are your thoughts about this and any current topics that are of interest to you now, even into the future for our aging population?
The U. S. Supreme Court Dobbs vs Jackson pending legal case is one demanding significant attention. This case decision will have profound consequences in our nation for women and men due to ramifications for Roe vs Wade that legalized abortion in 1973.
Reading CNN's account of Politico that first published leaked Justice Alito's proposed 1st draft majority opinion (98 pgs)* suggests to me an ideologically obsessed Court. The majority judges appear to have gone to great lengths citing as a basis for their convolutional interpretation of our constitution justification to overturn a fifty-year precedent rule recognizing a woman has a right to decision-making about the health of her own body. The Court's final decision is expected to be announced in late June or early July.
*(Note: click on emphasized content items to link with source.)
What I'm writing here is not about discussing the religious and moral question of abortion though those are signifiant issues individual women consider for themselves based on what they believe, also in consultation with their health care provider(s)/physician. Current reality and history through the ages is that some women will look for ways to end pregnancies as has always happened whatever one's belief and whatever the law.
NPR's fact checks include: the majority of U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in most or all cases; the rate of abortions has decreased since 1973; more than 60% who get abortions have a religious affiliation.
The issue of abortion with questionable issues about life has been so politicized which is reprehensible since the matter is one that should be between a woman and her doctor much less have a court of law injected into the matter. But that's what has happened.
What is really at stake with this currently pending case decision is: does the U. S Constitution guarantee equality for women?
Abortion is the current issue chosen to answer this question. There may be even more issues introduced later with rights of privacy and other fundamental rights also threatened if Roe vs Wade is overturned.
One such right to consider, a friend wrote me recently: "...the right granted in HIPAA should apply to women's reproductive rights. It's nobody's business but patient/doctor."
"HIPAA: The health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge."
"Abortions: Past, Present and Future" with an unsettling photo referencing Handmaid Tale-like laws is written by Jean you can view by clicking on her blog: "Misadventures of Widowhood". She has advocated "keeping abortions safe, legal and rare."
"Handmaid's Tale" references Margaret Atwood's book to which she referred in a current Atlantic article. She wrote: "I invented Gilead. The Supreme Court is making it real. I thought I was writing fiction". She went on to write, should this Supreme Court adopt Judge Alito's majority opinion to overturn Roe vs Wade the United States would be "...turned into a theocratic dictatorship based on 17th-century NewEngland Puritan religious tenets and jurisprudence." She asks, "Is this where we want to live?"
Margaret Atwood's 'Handmaid's Tale' Is Inspiring A New Generation
Some of you may recall Ronni Bennettt's blog, "Time Goes By" (TGB), you can still access by clicking on that link. Some of what she wrote over the years is current even now as you will see.
(Ronni's writings with comments are still available on her internet site which she made significant effort to ensure would be available for a period after her expected death just as many fellow bloggers said they wanted. Since her blog's continuation by a friend as Ronni wrote she had arranged has not occurred and no explanation after 2018 has been provided as to when or whether if ever will, I'm taking the liberty of linking for you to some of Ronni's blog posts to share here.)
Ronni hoped blog conversations would continue many timely topics she introduced that are not outdated today. She documented what she wrote, identified thoughts as her opinions when she expressed them and sometimes offered suggestions about how to resolve some issues. She often cited examples of the subjects about which she wrote to bring to others attention. Ronni hoped other bloggers would also note examples they encountered in their lives writing about them, too, perhaps attracting additional bloggers to do the same since many doing so might influence desired change. One such topic was Roe vs Wade and issues concerning a woman's health.
"The Supreme Court Abortion Decision" Ronni published first at Blogher, then on TGB in April 2007 questioned the Court's ruling on a case "...banning late-term abortion with no provision for the health of the mother". In lieu of the strong words I think Ronni would be writing today I recommend you read what she wrote then that is still pertinent.
Ronni felt so strongly about the matter that in her forthright honest manner she revealed in that article her own personal harrowing experience as an example of what women were and can be subjected to if Roe vs Wade is overturned by the Court.
Ronni also wrote: Until a man is capable of giving birth and/or every man is forced by law to both financially support and participate in the gestation and raising of every child he fathers, and such law is enforced without exception (a permanent ankle tracking device for those who run comes to mind) no man has a right to discuss abortion, let alone to vote on it.
In September 2018 Ronni shared in another post "The Penis Legislation Act" during now Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh's Senate hearings for that appointment. He was questioned about his views on a woman's right to choose.
Read Associated Press News for what Kavanaugh and other judges said in their nomination hearings about Roe to the Senate panel.
Devorah Blachor's satirical article, "Why Are Men Getting So Hysterical About the Penis Legislation Act?" prompted Ronni's post which is a must read. Just imagine if men's bodies and sexual organ/function was subjected to legislation, much less judicial judgement as this "Act" describes.
The point of all this I want to make is the simplicity of the issue -- it's not complicated.
Our Supreme Court's decision should affirm in the case before them now upholding the 50-year precedent Roe vs Wade rule ensuring women's right to make health decisions for their own bodies as the Piedtype blogger notes in "It's About Equality" with excerpts below:
"From 'America Is Not Ready for the End of Roe v. Wade' by the New York Times editorial board on May 6:
The principle is clear:
Women and men should have equal control over their own bodies ...
Even more fundamental than our religious and/or unscientific differences about when human life begins is that simple statement: Women and men should have equal control over their own bodies. To deny women the right to abortion is to deny them equality with men. Period.
Gender equality in the United States either is, or it isn't."
Thousands gather for pro-abortion rights rally in Los Angeles and across the nation/ABC-TV 7
Remembering my mother with much love and affection this Mothers Day!
Tributes to my mother have been written here previously that may be read in the archives.
Increasingly I experience a desire to share my thoughts with Mother the older I become.
She always listened when I wanted to talk.
If only Mother was alive today.
Mother, having become a single parent and the sole support of our family saw that there were funds available so I could have the requisite uniforms as a Brownie then, when I "flew up" those of a full-fledged Girl Scout. Maybe this Scout song was added later as our troop never knew it. After mother wed again, then later when my family moved to the country scouting was no longer an available activity for me.
GIRL SCOUT SONG "MAKE NEW FRIENDS'
Thinking of the people at varying levels of acquaintanceship/friendship I've known during my lifetime they have likely affected my life. I've previously written of some of them here. A few others come to mind.
Early in my life, my fifth-grade teacher, Miss Barroway, who a week before had wrapped my knuckles hurtfully with a wooden ruler for exchanging written notes with my boyfriend is one such person. This day I was staring at a pulsing throbbing on her neck as she sat behind her desk at the front of the room. Staring intently back at me as our eyes locked, she suddenly called to me to come up front causing me to quickly gasp wondering what had I done now?
I was immediately relieved when she announced I would read the spelling words to the class as she arose and departed the room. Later, our principal, Miss Broome, entered the room to tell us our teacher had a heart attack. I must have seen the carotid artery on the left side of her neck pulsating.
Then there was the Jr. High boy and girl enraptured with each other whose names I don't recall now who were the only classmates that befriended me, a new student at this third of new schools in different states I was in that year. A fourth school soon followed with a much more friendly student body.
I remember my high school English teacher who introduced me to important mind-expanding literature including Shakespeare via Hamlet. Nor can I forget she had us memorize the last stanza of 19th century poet William Cullen Bryant's poem, "Thanatopsis", that is encouraging and reveres life, but notes death is part of the life experience. This poem assumed increasing meaning to me as I became older.
"So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
People we've known and admired can disappoint us but we can still respect their more positive qualities I remind myself now when I think of her.
This disappointment with her for me is because during my high school years, a classmate, Jim, rejecting his father's unknown KKK racism to me then had written a final paper for our English class supporting school integration. I never knew of his paper's subject matter which I didn't learn about until recent years. That was in the early fifties of the 20th century.
The teacher had given Jim's written thoughts to school administration, who possibly ultimately referred them to the retro-thinking school board. He was actually expelled from school though I hadn't known all that then.
My classmate was ahead of his times. A few years later integration did occur after I moved away from that southern state, though only after the federal government had to bring in troops for the integrating students' protection and to prevent violence.
Having previously been following in his father's footsteps, Jim had altered course. He went on to a university, then studied to become a minister, was active in the 1960's integration movement, continued his dedication to include assisting those seeking citizenship and asylum in the US. as he presently does. Now he's also active in the long term care facility where he and his wife reside in Illinois.
After my undergraduate college graduation, having returned to my northern home state I was distressed to discover racism was present there, too, but just less obvious. Unexpectedly, a situation arose necessitating friends there and I take action to circumvent and bypass a racist exclusionary effort by an organization to which most of us belonged toward a new member of our group of friends.
Such protest and resistance is precisely what I believe each of us must do in everyday living if we're ever to truly integrate to fulfill America's and democracy's promise of equality for all. This does not occur with that population minority striving toward converting our nation to an autocracy contrary to their occasional words.
Undergrad college in my early years brought lifelong friends as did the university in Southern California where I returned for post graduate study many decades later. In between those years were relationships formed as a consequence of my various employment settings. There were also neighbors who became friends wherever I lived around the country through the years. Everyone impacted my life in one way or another contributing to the person I've become.
The harrowing circumstances in Ukraine, refugees fleeing to Poland, Russia's Nazi-like behavior in the war-like invasion of their neighboring country, threat to other nations, prompts me think of a Holocaust survivor, Isabelle Teresa Huber.
I had the privilege of knowing her in recent years during the short time she was part of our writing group. She had been a professional classical music pianist among her talents. When she joined our group she was in the process of writing her first book recounting her life experience as only one of three children to live and escape her Poland city during WWII at age three. She and her mother were separated for a time but ultimately reunited, eventually coming to the United States.
Isabelle's mother came to live with her and son-in-law doctor husband. He painstakingly regularly engaged her mother in periodic conversation about the early years his wife didn't fully recall. He took notes of the unraveling of his wife's family's comfortable life then disintegration when the Nazis arrived, her father's departure, how she and her mother escaped, the countries where they lived, how they survived. All this storytelling became part of her book a regular member of our writing group and longtime personal friend of Isabelle, Nan Miller, was facilitating and editing.
Her book, "Isabelle's Attic", was originally published in 2013 which I reviewed on Amazon. I looked forward to her next book but her life and that of her friend, Nan, aiding her took quite a different turn. Isabelle's highly respected orthopedic surgeon husband who had retired, sold his practice, later coped with Alzheimer's Disease, and had to be institutionalized, then died in July 2020. Meanwhile, Isabelle developed a terminal illness and died in November 2020 -- click on her Claremont Courier obituary with her photograph. Her second book never could be completed for Nan's editing.
Meanwhile, Nan's husband and later she also coped with serious medical conditions that prevented their further writing and publishing plans following up on Nan's first published book in 2013, "Girl 44", about her early life as a foster child known by her number 44.
There have been so many more people at a different level of friendship whose names are prominent in my memory but I won't attempt to write about them now.
Each of you have interesting stories of those individuals entering your life and the varying levels of friendships you have formed, I'm sure. Perhaps you are prompted to recall some of them to share?
2022 INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY ALL-STAR GLOBAL CONCERT
LIVE AT 2 PM PDT today -- SATURDAY APRIL 30
VIEW ON YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK or .....
On April 30th AT 5 PM US EDT, watch the International Jazz Day 2022 All-Star Global Concert, streamed live from the UN General Assembly Hall in New York, featuring dozens of acclaimed artists affirming the importance of jazz as a means of achieving unity and peace through dialogue and diplomacy.
"Paris and New York -- UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock ... announced the program for the 2022 celebration of International Jazz Day, with events taking place in more than 180 countries.
The flagship Jazz Day event, a spectacular All-Star Global Concert, will be staged in the UN General Assembly Hall, in NewYork, emphasizing the importance of jazz as a means of achieving unity and peace through dialogue and diplomacy. With Herbie Hancock serving as Host and Artistic Director and John Beasley as Musical Director, the program is set to feature performances by some of the world's most accomplished jazz artists..."
The jazz day web site continues ...
"This concert will be webcast worldwide today on April 30th at 5 pm EDT/2 pm PDT/11 pm CET on jazzday.com, unesco.org, hancockinstitute.org, the International Jazz Day YouTube and Facebook channels, UN Web TV and US State Department outlets.
Jazz carries a universal message with the power to strengthen dialogue, our understanding of each other, and our mutual respect. As the world is affected by multiple crises and conflicts, this international day highlights how much music and culture can contribute to peace," said Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, who co-chairs International Jazz Day with the Director-General of UNESCO."
There have been a number of exciting jazz artists I've heard in recent decades including vocalists, instrumentalists. bands. Jazz is very alive, thriving and exciting as performed by creative and talented musicians in countries around the world even though less prominent to many in our country in recent decades.
*. *. *
Did you view Michael Douglas introducing on PBS-TV Saturday 30th International Jazz Day I first viewed Friday night the 29th as I write this. Unforgettable performances were featured by Herbie Hancock, Andra Day, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller and many more.
This introductory program closes with various artists with Sean Lennon, son of composer John, joining to sing his father's memorable "Imagine" so poignant for our world today.
Check your Public Television Station (PBS-TV) for the airdate and time you can access!
Upcoming Airdates on our local Los Angeles Southern California PBS-TV stations:
Saturday. April 30 3 am PDT on PBS SOCAL TV 50
Wednesday, May. 4 10 pm PDT on KCET TV 28
Thursday, May. 5. 2 am PDT on KCET TV 28
Click on this website's "EXTRAS" for videos of many jazz artists performances including "Manteca" featuring an unforgettable performance at the historic Gran Teatro de La Habana -- Latin America's oldest theater.