things to wonder about on Thursday…

During the early footage of yesterday’s bomb threats against Democrats, there was included on FOX News a long, long segment of wide footage of New York City when tracing the ominous looking “bomb truck” and showing detailed highway intersections, neighborhoods, buildings, trees and various other features.   Fascinating to watch, but it begs the question:  Is this a good idea to provide detailed lengthy close-ups of the heart of the city for anyone in the world who wants a view of the key to New York City traffic terrain?     What a great strategic tool for surveillance.   Beats a sketch on the back of an envelope any day for culprits with evil intent who need to understand the lay of the land.

Why was I watching FOX News?    Easy answer, switching back and forth between FOX and the “others” like CNN  and MSNBC is always fascinating…observing the contrast of coverage tailored to the Trump fans who will believe almost anything, and the opposition like CNN that can serve as a sort of control group for comparison. 

Another thing, which may or may not be related: has anyone considered the possibility that the “mysterious” detonation mechanisms might actually be the computerized “bots” which might activate the explosives from afar?   Is that even possible?   To paraphrase Alice of Wonderland, who  once said, it is possible to believe six impossible things at once…

What would happen if the networks just boycotted the Trump rallies?   Air-heads and bully-boys cavorting in silly hats is not an attractive sight, especially accompanied by the “CHEER” and “CHANT” signs telling the rally-ers how to respond to the mostly false Trumpisms.      I always wonder if these people are for-real fans and fanatics, or just folks that turn out for a good show?    Some of these rally-ers look familiar…could they be stock photos cropped shots of some of the most picturesque or outrageous local usual-suspects that can be counted on by the local Republican party to turn out?

…just wondering.

U.S. Business as usual in Latin America the age of Trumpism

Ever wonder what is going on down South…way down the continent?

No matter what havoc the US wreaks in the world, it is the same method of operation in Latin America…Imperialism is alive and well.      Our current leadership in Washington is fully involved in the often-nefarious goings-on, not missing a step in the affairs of the Central and South American countries.    The Latin American policies of former administrations: Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, etc., etc. back to the dark ages of U.S. history… are intact under Trump.

TeleSur is a Venezuela news site that daily features news of a myriad of developments from an other-than-Washington point of view.    As some of my blogging pals know, my education and background in Latin American History makes me keenly interested in that area of the world.

https://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/NicaraguaVenezuela-One-Enemy-One-Fight-For-Democracy-20180526-0024.html

[NOTE:  This particular link is to an opinion piece written for Telesur.   While it is <ahem…opinionated> I recommend it as informative and knowledgeable.]

 

 

ambiguity about volcano

CNN this morning had some breathtaking coverage of the erupting volcano in Hawaii.   The headline or titles on the screen read something like this:

Hawaiian Residents prepare to evacuate

Hawaiian Residents listen for eruptions and dodge lava bombs.

Hmmm, this just begs the question… is it only Residents of Hawaii that are worried about the Volcano?   What about tourists and non-residents that live there?   Non-Hawaiian residents?

 

 

 

The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan…revisited (re-posted)

The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan

I have to hand it to Paul Ryan
the man just doesn’t quit trying!
Caught in a den of experts at lying,
and vying for votes by begging or buying.
Speaking loudly above all the jeering and swearing,
off this way or that…slipping and veering.
Poor Speaker Ryan, his smile running thin
against all the prying and querying…
wearying, not crying, he’s plying his wiles
and biding his time…working at herding his cats…
while trying to stay INSIDE the frying pan!
© Sometimes, 2016

Stranger than Fiction: again

This is one of my personal favorite assignments from writing class last year…in response to rules that the work be a limerick and contain certain other attributes of writing poetry.    I had great fun writing it—

THE DONALD’S MARCH TO INFAMY

There once was a boy named Donald
Who wanted to be rich, and grow up to be President
ha ha! said the people as he started to
stump
but he knew what he was doing and had all the cards he needed to
trump,
and win the game
opponents screamed like angry cat matrons
and picked on his hair and his noisy patrons
but Donald just said they should “lump it!”

“You haven’t a chance, you’re not one of us,” they wailed
“is that so?” said Donald as he placed a standing order for tea and crumpets
to serve to his fans to keep them from starving on the campaign trail
His crowd of the faithful grew and grew
’til they filled the land
so they bought him a very big trumpet.

© Sometimes, 2015

Politics – do we really care? Re-blogged from Meeka’s Mind

This excellent post from friend acflory on her blog MEEKA’S MIND is the best thing I’ve read about the coming Year 2018 and Australian voters in particular and all Voters in general. Thanks for the re-blog!

Meeka's Mind

I’ve always had a problem with ‘-isms’ – communism, socialism, facism, capitalism, republicanism, you name it – because they all seem to miss the point about people. Homo Sapiens doesn’t give a flying fruit bat about politics until things go wrong.

I was a kid in the late Menzies era of Australia [1949-1966], and I remember hearing some adults moan about elections while others moaned about the general apathy of the Australian voter. You see, in Australia, we have compulsory voting…and the times were good.

In fact, by the early 60’s, the populations of the Western world were better off, generally, than they had ever been before. Not quite the age of surplus envisioned by Marx, but close, and some of us really were able to live ‘…from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’ That’s what the Age of Aquarius, Flower Power and Free…

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Quoting Flip Wilson & a Post from Gronda Morin.

 

As comedian Flip Wilson once said in his “Ruby Begonia” monologue: “The King said: Those who have nothing, shall have less—and that which they have shall be taken from them.” And the people cheered, “Yay King, Yay King…”

 

 

Gronda Morin

It is bad enough that the republicans in the US Congress are hard at work to pass their 2017 Donor/ Corporation tax cut bill around December 19, 2016, which does little to grow the economy; where the economy is on an upswing and unemployment numbers are low, where at least 1 trillion dollars will be added to the deficit; where a major blow will be dealt to Obamacare with the ending of its mandate; and where it is very unpopular with Americans (about 26-29%), but it will please their donor base by which some lawmakers have been honest enough to admit this. If a corporation was acting on this bill, it is so bad that the executives would be guilty of malfeasance and for not honoring their fiduciary duties to their clients.

With this bill, we taxpayers who pay their wages are being shortchanged. Every tax break for the middle/…

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Betrayal in Utah—a Sad Poem

Bears Ears—Listening in Pain

Sacred are the lands once protected
by more honorable men…
betrayal stings by smiling lies

Navaho gods are weeping,
for the fork-tongued leader
has betrayed their hearts

Let thunder crash as the deed
becomes known in shameful terms—
greed and deceit are the law of the land

Drums echo in the desert valleys,
vibrating the monuments of the ages
now damp with tears of the betrayed.

As the horrors and heartbreak meet
where arrows once flew…perhaps again?
Fate twists the work of Evil… to wreak revenge.

©Sometimes, 2017

 

Caribbean geography lesson…

Every now and then I like to get out a map and reassure myself that when not knowing the location of Yemen, or Utah, or Antiqua (for example) all I have to do is look it up on a map. A paper map, preferably, but sometimes even an online map will do.

So I wanted to see if Puerto Rico was really far out in the middle of the ocean someplace, or, as I suspected…in the Caribbean. So I did a search “Puerto Rico” and Bing zeroed in on a nice map of the island, in great detail of cities and even roads and topographical details like mountains. Zooming out to get the big picture…including the Pacific Ocean and all of Russia…the exact location of Puerto Rico became instantly remembered.

Looking Southward, from Florida, the island is sort of beyond Cuba, north of Venezuela, and in a line with other islands and chains of islands in the Caribbean, forming a line of defense reinforced by territories possessed by friendly allies: the French, Dutch, and British. This was perfect—especially back in the days of the conquest by Spain of the New World.

Actually the United States was interested in keeping the Spanish at bay as much as possible, while maintaining a strategic position of buffering between the British (our best friends forever) and “other” European or South American nations from getting any ideas. Or Japan…or anyone else.

The last good-size war the U.S. had with Spain was the Spanish-American War, which effectively booted the Spanish out of the area and declared US hegemony in the close-in islands, including Puerto Rico. It is true that the U.S. had a good line of defense in the Caribbean, and although U.S.-Cuban relations suffered during the Cold War…to the point where until the Cubans would acquiesce in being beaten by the U.S. Embargo, which effectively put Cuba and the Castro Dictatorship in its place as an oppressed and bullied island which “refused to straighten out” and endured sixty years or so of hardship and political hassles because of it.

At the end of the Spanish-American War in 1899, part of the spoils agreed on by the two nations was the prize of Puerto Rico…ceded to the U.S. by Spain. One of the results was that the Spanish-speaking citizens were required to speak and use English-only.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory, and thus Puerto Rican citizens are citizens of the United States, and are entitled to vote in U.S. elections…except for the office of President. They elect representatives to the U.S. Congress, who are on the same basis as reps and Senators from the 50 other states.

One difficult hang-over from the early 20th Century is THE JONES LAW, which forbids Puerto Rico to receive shipments of any materials or products from any sources except on officially sanctioned United States registered Ships. The result of this is that now that Hurricane Maria has devastated the Puerto Rican island, the Jones Law limits what foreign aid they can receive. The U.S. Congress has the power to rescind or modify the law…but has so far declined. It may be nteresting to note that the Jones Law has been suspended in other U.S. ports under emergencies created by Hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida, as well as other U.S. controlled islands in the Caribbean.

The U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Comfort has, as of this Wednesday morning, been sent to Puerto Rico. The reasons for the delay apparently have been worked out, especially the excuse of the ship being “too big to park in the harbor…” and the hospital ship will anchor off-shore and apparently transfer patients from the mainland of the island by helicopter.

https://www.bing.com/maps?&ty=18&q=Puerto%20Rico&vdpid=202&mb=19.029888040912922~-69.22080993652341~17.464867724672842~-64.03526306152341&ppois=18.2491397857666_-66.6280364990234_Puerto%20Rico_~&cp=18.2491397857666~-66.6280364990234&v=2&sV=1&style=r&trfc=&lvl=7

Sticks and Stones and “Dotards”

Re the sticks-and-stones contest, following the old adage that “sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”      Remember when some kid would spew off a string of bad words and mean but innocuous insults, and Mom or Grandma would sooth hurt feelings with the little rhyme…which in effect meant “if some kid hits you let me know, but if he calls you a bad name just laugh it off.”   Now like as not she might look around for someone to sue.

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il  has resurrected a good old  English word to toss at Donald Trump in insult: “dotard,” an Old-English word from the 14th Century. This cool new word, according to the excited media,  spurred linguists and English teachers all over the world to research the word—dotard.

Not that the word “dotard” is especially archaic, not to disappoint media writers that want to insinuate that Kim Jong-Il may be more knowledgeable than Donald Trump.  Within arms reach I find a variety of dictionaries, including a nifty little volume called New Oxford Spelling Dictionary:  The Writers’ and Editors’ Guide to Spelling and Word Division.  Edited by Maurice Waite, published by Oxford University Press, 2014.*

There, right in alphabetical order between the words “dotage” and “dot-com” is— “dotard,”   pronounced to rhyme with soldered, watered.    The etymology is from the same as:  doting,  one-who-dotes…as in a doting-grandfather.

It was a fun image to imagine the North Korean leader poring over his archaic English dictionaries searching for insults.

  • The most recent Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2004) also features the word “dotard” right in proper order.

 

 

Let’s not all jump to conclusions about Venezuela….wagging the dog

Desperate for red herrings and issues to change the subject of our president’s involvement with Russia, the pending sword swinging over the heads at the White House wielded by special investigators, and last but not least the raging chaos over racism and white supremacy—now the administration has raised the good old topic of raiding South America.

Venezuela has long been a target for United States attention…OIL…is the reason.  Human rights and that kind of stuff is always secondary.

The Venezuelan government has the support of Bolivia, Cuba, China and Russia, among others.       Colombia…no.    This is not an exhaustive list….

The main reason these countries do not want us down there snooping around (as if the CIA et al have been ignoring the southern hemisphere.

Here’s a couple of research points:

Organization of American States (OAS)
Council of the Americas
Summit of the Americas

It appears that the same old-same old — favorite whipping-boy is any country in Latin America— and Venezuela has been the target of our government for years through several administrations.    Trump didn’t invent the problem, but his administration obviously intends to make Venezuela  a very good target to get attention off of the Russians et al, and the pending explosion in our government.

Please don’t everybody jump on the bandwagon.   Misinformation is the bread-n-butter of foreign relations.

There will be floods of misinformation coming out of Venezuela!

(…to be continued)

 

 

 

 

Time Cat Band…Akron, Ohio Porchrokr Music Festival at Will Christy Park

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This is shameless promotion!    I admit it.    The Band is TIME CAT, a local Akron, Ohio band which happens to be my granddaughter as vocalist, guitarist.

Time Cat was the headliner band at this event, which was sponsored by the Highland Square Neighborhood Association.   Included were up to 130 area bands, which performed on front porches of various Highland homeowners.

I am also including a video which I made during the performance.  This is my first attempt at video making, so it is obviously an amateur production.    The footage could benefit from some editing/trimming, but that would cut out the audio/music portions, which I want to leave uncut.

Hey…it’s a rock concert…that means it’s good old rock n roll.    Here’s a link to my video… I hope.       oops…malfunction…I don’t know how to do the file type and all that tech stuff…I’ll post it separately…maybe. 🙂

In the event you don’t want to suffer through my videos…here’s a link to the Time Cat site.      https://timecatmusic.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 

Of Statues and Soldiers…

Why are angry mobs allowed to destroy Civil War statues?      If they have to be taken down, properly and carefully by local government authorities—why not store them temporarily at a museum or some other place appropriate.     Smashing them to rubble is foolish…no, let me say stupid…and knee-jerk reactions to political correctness.   Gratuitous pandering, perhaps.

Except for one thing—there seems to be NO thought or reasoning to these actions, only public showing-off.       This kind of destruction of public property is against the law, for one thing, and morally wrong for a few hot-heads to decide for entire communities that historic statues need to be not only removed…but demolished.

Most villages and towns have a statue of a civil war soldier in its town park, or round-about in the highway, or city hall.     The statue stands proudly with his rifle, standing vigil of pride and gratitude to the soldiers who died fighting for their side in the Civil War.     North of the Mason-Dixon Line, approximate borders between states (Ohio and Pennsylvania in the North, Kentucky and West Virginia, etc. in the South.

It boggles the mind thinking about the problems involved in removing Southern statues…and by extension perhaps Northern statues as well?   That action would likely cause great unrest, being that the Union troops were on the winning side, therefore perceived to be the “right” side.     The fact is that the Civil War, was fought over state’s rights to maintain slavery….simplified, but that’s how it was…hyperbole and “regional history” aside.

The Generals and other high-ranking bigshots are usually the ones mortalized in statues:  the southern generals Robert E. Lee,  Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson,  James Longstreet…etc., etc., etc.     But the rank-n-file soldiers were young volunteers, then draftees, pressed into service by their respective sides, especially in the latter years of the war.  They had    little choice, and high-minded rhetoric about noble causes and patriotic duty hardly affected the lowest level Johnny Reb…who went to war because he had to.

 

 

Johnson’s Island, Confederate officers prison on Lake Erie, Ohio (Part Two)

(all photos on this page © Sometimes, 2017)   These photos were taken in May 1981 by Bob Dreger, my late husband.

The island prison housed Confederate military officers who were originally  captured during Civil War battles, and imprisoned  at Camp Chase, Columbus Ohio.   The object was to separate the officers from the rank-and-file soldiers and house them in the Northern prison where they remained until the end of the Civil War in 1865, or their death, which ever came first.    Over two hundred of them remain there, in their graves, to this day.

There is more to come from SOMETIMES, so please check back for more information about Johnson’s Island.     (I would continue now, but I have a lunch date with my best friend where we will fight the Civil War again.   We are on the same side…North, anti-Slavery, but present upheaval over Civil War statues opens up new debate across our nation—as if we don’t have plenty to debate! 🙂   For what it’s worth, this on-going perennial battle never dies.

 

 

Johnson’s Island confederate cemetery on Lake Erie, Ohio….photos of Southern soldier statue (Part One)

Here are two photos of the statue at Johnson’s Island, Ohio, taken by Bob Dreger in 1981.   The cemetery is a protected U.S. site, where more than two hundred Confederate military officers are buried.    I do need to clarify that Bob Dreger was the photographer, in 1981.  The copyright  is ©Sometimes, 2017.

This island is far North, half way to Canada.   It was important because all of the prisoners were Confederate military officers (Lieutenant and higher) who were separated from the rank-and-file soldiers incarcerated at Camp Chase, Ohio, and transferred to Johnson’s Island.

Later today I will try to post several more photos from this same batch.

This is the first part of this post on SOMETIMES, photos of the statue itself, including the pedestal, or base, which clearly explains the presence of a Southern monument this far North.   Johnson’s Island is located off of Sandusky, Ohio, in Lake Erie.   The island itself is privately owned, with controlled access.     Visitors to the federal cemetery do have access to the cemetery grounds, however.

PICT0021.JPG close good statue
U.S.Civil War. Statue of Confederate Soldier, at Johnson’s Island, Ohio. Photo by Bob Dreger, ©Sometimes, 2017
PICT0011.JPG base good
Base of Confederate Soldier statue on Johnson’s Island, Ohio, Civil War Prison. ©photo by Bob Dreger, Sometimes 2017)