Friday, November 7, 2014

Centenarians


If you live approximately 36,500 days you've reached automatic inclusion in the special group
 called- centenarians.

When you reach this milestone, your birthday cake has to be big enough to support 100 candles.


Photo credit: jdurham from morguefile.com

Just think. A centenarian has rights to say they were alive at the time the majority of 20th century happenings. and also the first part of this 21st century. 

They are living historical witnesses!
 
I sure would like to sit and talk or interview a centenarian.

I know I would learn a lot.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Ferguson fiasco- who and what can change the entire situation

The tension is thick in Ferguson, Missouri. A shooting resulted in the death of Michael Brown by the hand of police officer Darren Wilson.





There were peaceful protests because the person shot was unarmed, and Black. Then riots and
looting took place in Ferguson by those wanting officer Wilson charged with murder. Then
full-armored police/crowd control was sent in to disburse those looting and rioting.  One thing lead to another and the situation was pretty chaotic for a while.

There's been an investigation and evidence showed there was a struggle between the two men. Officer Wilson had his face badly beaten and Michael Brown was first shot multiple times in his arm and then fatally in the head.

I would think anyone being beaten in the face by a big, tall,  angry, muscular man, would think their life is in danger. Officer Wilson shot to save his life or he very well could have been strangled, beaten, or even shot with his own gun by Michael Brown.

We don't know the history of these two people. They may have even had prior confrontation?

I question the motive of a person reaching into a police vehicle and attacking a police officer

Why was there a need for so many shots to be fired?
Here's a photo of what Michael Brown looked like, showing he was not a puny 18 year old.

His arm muscles and bulk along with his 'no-respect for authority' attitude are weapons.



Michael Brown's parents are involving the United Nations to overstep the legal process for officer Wilson to be arrested. 



I was not an eye-witness to what happened on August 9, 2014,  but these are some of my thoughts.


Years ago, Black men were not given fair trials and many were hung.
Today, Blacks in Ferguson gathered in mob fashion looting businesses (who had nothing to do with the shooting), and are voicing that they'll gather for more of the same if Mr. Wilson is not arrested.
 I dare say if these angry folks could get their hands on Mr. Wilson right now, they'd hang him without any trial. (I hope not)

Could these demands be a form of pay back, retribution, and/or retaliation by the Blacks for crimes subjected to their forefathers by White men who are all long gone?

Had Michael Brown not violated the law, he would have gone on his way without any need for a police officer to be called and both men and their families and friends would all have been spared the horrible grief of the past few weeks.

But it did happen, the policeman was called and Mr. Wilson was doing his job, but Michael Brown exhibited defiance towards authority. There could have been words, or Mr. Wilson discovered a possible robbery suspect (cigars) and things escalated quickly to a physical fight in which blood was shed and a life was cut short.
The situation didn't have to happen but when a strong, defiant man charges a trained officer with a gun, and there's a struggle for the gun, more than likely someone is going to be shot.

Nothing can change what happened.  Will this tragic incident incite more of the same? Will be see a repeat of the 60's?
 There are other policemen and women right now wondering what would they have done? Will they be next to get into a racial confrontation?
 There are other Black men wondering what would they have done? Will they be next to get into a confrontation with the police?

Policemen have a dangerous job. People are unpredictable. Police are people and get emotional and have to be even more careful when a person on the street wants to challenge them.
Black men know they're watched closely because they've grown up with the mentality that they are the first ones targeted when a crime occurs.

Have Black men done anything to bring this upon themselves? Stop challenging the police.
And hadn't Mr. Brown just robbed a convenience store?

Why not aim to NOT have dealings in situations that would pose a change of any police being called out? The police don't come around unless there's a reason for them to be around. Give them no reason and there will be no confrontation what-so-ever. No more racial tension. No more police brutality. No more Black and White hatred.

Why not immediately do what the police say to do which would snuff out any misunderstandings which would evoke hostility on either end?

I might add that not all policemen are White and not all men who disrespect the police are Black.

I wonder if Michael Brown was taught stealing wrong and disrespecting police authority will most likely get you arrested, detained or worse?
I wonder if he learned or was taught that acting tough and getting arrested (numerous times he'd been in trouble with the law) was looked upon as something desirable to have experienced?

Listen to Charles Barkley explains 'the dirty, dark secret' thugs and unintelligent Blacks go by.

The parents of Michael Brown are demanding justice for the death of their son, which any parent should. It's devastating for any parent to have to bury a child.

 Why was Michael Brown shot?

What happened in Ferguson is one more entanglement involving a figure of authority (police) and
an unarmed Black male.
We all have our opinions made up of bits and pieces of info,  but until we know all the details, (and there are a lot of details yet to be revealed to the public) we have to be patient because 
it's never easy determining motives, reasoning or reactions which occur in a split second between people. The detectives assigned to this case have a lot of evidence to piece over and consider eye-witness testimonies and recording of the guns shots, before drawing any conclusions.  

From my outside perspective, I have a strong feeling not everyone is going to be happy when the investigation is all said and done.

 Until then, I believe forgiveness is going to have to be extended from both sides for any healing to begin. No one can undo what was done, so might as well go forward and learn from this situation.

Will the final investigation results or a hearing bring about an end to the tension in Ferguson and to our country, which obviously in 2014 is still not over the hurt of one group of people wronged by another group, even though the means to advance out of the ghettos or poverty is available to one and all. You just have to want it.

For starters, young Black boys and men need positive role models and more encouragement to help them strive to attain to do better in life than settle to be stuck with selling drugs, listening to rap music most of the day, wearing pants that sag, and getting in trouble with the police.

What do you say, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr, the great unifier and with your commitment to youth, and Rev. Al Sharpton- you're both in influential positions.
Rather than stoking racism fire, how about inciting an internal fire to the youth to make a change from within. There is so much room for positive personal improvement to be made which would lead to different treatment of Blacks.
Blacks can better themselves by getting a higher education, refraining from illegal activities, and choosing to dress more respectfully rather than 'thuggishly', These would be a good starting points which would do so much more than continually being angry about being mistreated for your skin color. It's it getting old to keep playing that old race card? It's time now to own up to choices of
 action may be the cause of most of the hostility Blacks bring onto themselves.

Sadly, there are still too many holding onto the mindset to keep doing the same old things because they prefer the 'woe is me' attitude so they can keep being bitter about their life situation.

But there is a way out of the projects and the ghetto, and if you continue to believe skin color is holding you back, then your beliefs are holding you back and you will never get to know the
extent of your capabilities and just how high you can advance or just how much you can be a positive
contributor to society.  Just how personally rewarding is it to remain in the welfare line and get your
government hand-outs? 

These people started poor and failed prior to reaching success. (and this is a very incomplete list).If any one of these people had not tried, or had quit, they would have never attained success and we wouldn't know anything about them.

The best way is to get an education or learn a skill and steadily get very good at it. Learn to mentally have confidence in yourself and stop believing the excuse that someone else is knocking you 'down'.  In reality, the only person or persons knocking you down are those who are themselves 'down' and don't want you to succeed either. Prove them wrong.

To succeed, you have to want it; you have to go for it, even if it means leaving your 'thug buddies,' or anyone talking your out of pursuing your dreams; you have to work or get an education, and clean up your act and quit allowing excuses hold you back.
To make success happen, the formula is you have to decide it's what you want and then go into action and work your plan to succeed.
The pay-off and pride of succeeding is so personally rewarding. 

Do it and have some pride in self in your life.  Don't settle for being part of the crowd that likes to be angry because someone is mistreating you. Get away and rise above that and leave all that behind in the dust. Prove them all wrong.

It's all up to YOU, each individual to put yourself in a much better place in life.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What was missing from my 'Big Apple' visit

A recent article on graffiti in NYC made me think back to my one-and-only trip to NYC.

It was late 1994 and I was excited I had an invitation to accompany a friend to NYC. She was going to see a medical specialist and she asked if I would travel with her.
I thought the trip would be fun with some sightseeing and shopping. I was in need of a change of pace and something fun and different to do, so off we flew to JFK.

Our taxi from the airport was driven by a man wearing a turban. We gave him the address to our hotel and we held on in the back seat during the exciting, fast drive from the airport to the heart of Manhattan.  I don't remember seeing a checker cab, but there's a sea of taxi cabs on duty in the city.



And I'm glad I had bought a new coat with a liner. It was November and people were wearing fur
and leather coats and jackets.

The air was brisk. Christmas decorations were on display. The neon lights and taxis were never still, even during the early morning hours.  I know because I gazed out our window in the wee hours of the morning. There were maybe a dozen less taxi cabs but delivery trucks and people galore were moving about on the streets.

From our hotel room near the Rockefeller Center, we walked along 5th Avenue, Park Avenue and visited the top floor of the Empire State Building. We peeked into the foyer of Trump Tower and went into Macy's and took the wooden escalators up and down a few floors. At Times Square I watched Brandy perform. Her debut album was out that year. She was cute singing and dancing in her winter white hat, vest, leggings and  boots. We even took a short carriage ride through Central Park, browsed in FAO Schwarz. We decided to not go in the glitzy Plaza Hotel.

We rode past the old World Trade Center buildings in a double-decker bus. I remember thinking those buildings were a solid city block massive at their bases. The support under those building had to be strong and steady for all that mass that reached way up into the sky.

One WTC construction is in progress. Totally amazing on the construction engineering of such tall, huge buildings. I bet none of the workers are afraid of heights. I wonder what their hourly pay is? View this special beam installation.

We ate at the famous  Stage Deli, now closed, where I got hooked on NY cheesecake. We had breakfast at some small joint. Food was served fast. Leisure eating is frowned upon. In
the Big Apple there's no such thing as leisurely eating. In a New York minute you're served, you eat, you pay and be on your way so the next customers in line can be seated.
I did go back to the Stage Deli for a cheese cake to bring home.

I saw only one grocery store and it had a parking lot in front of it.

There were street vendors selling all sorts of merchandise and food. Just about every block there were small grocery stores you walked into to pick up enough groceries or necessities to carry or put in a cart. In front of many of these stores were beautiful cut flower displays which added to still multiple bursts of color along the street accompanied by the moving bursts of vehicles and people.

The city had a vibration I could feel. It's alive with palpable, tangible, visible and smellable energy. There's lots of concrete and little natural growing greenery other than in Central Park and maybe a very small plot of green grass with a few trees here and there. In between all the buildings one after another, with no space in between, I caught a glimpse or two of the sky. Good thing the island has a strong underlying bedrock to support all the man-made structures.

Construction is going under the street level.

What I didn't see was graffiti.

I wanted to see the sights of NYC to say I've seen them, and one of the sights I wanted to see was graffiti.

When it was time to take the subway to get to my friend's doctor's office, I remember being a bit apprehensive going underground. At first I didn't spot where the subway entrances were. At ground level you see these inconspicuous rails over to the side on sidewalks. When I went up to them, there were steps descending down below the street. I had never been underground, so I was a little nervous.
I had seen movies about gangs and muggings on subway cars. I wasn't into experiencing any of that but I did want to see subway graffiti.

This is how I envisioned but also a bit afraid of how the inside of a subway car might look.
I  wanted to see the graffiti art.

I imagine Manhattan was kept graffiti-free for the tourists, so I was hoping the subway would be my chance to see up close and personal some real NYC graffiti.

The closest I'd been to seeing graffiti looks like a big blur on railway cars going too fast for me to gaze at the words and art.

The underground subway station surprisingly was well lit, bright, open and clean. No graffiti on the walls. There were turnstiles and lots of people. It was quiet and I my nervousness was eased. My friend had been to NYC before so she knew her way around. Our subway came, we got on and sat down.

On the subway train, people were quiet. There is no eye contact, no chit chat, no smiling, just other people going about their business. Nothing exciting to see. We came back the same way. My subway adventure was uneventful and graffiti-free.

I saw no graffiti. This article explains what happened to graffiti and graffiti artists.
Today, subway car windows are scratch-proof and the walls of the cars are replaceable.

Painting on subway cars is a crime.

Spray can art is bright and vivid. No paint brushes needed. I wish I'd seen this artist in action. He doesn't spray on public buildings or subway cars. Considering all the spray paint he has to buy and the canvas, he sells his art at a very reasonable price.




NYC is crammed like sardines with buildings, taxi cabs, vehicles and people. There's plenty of good food to be eaten fast. I don't think any chef would have any difficult time finding employment. I wonder if people do a lot of cooking at home or is the norm to stop for a quick bite to eat and keep moving?  I didn't see any who looked overweight. I did hear a lot of foreign language being spoken that I almost thought I was in a foreign country. There are plenty of places of spend your money just walking along the streets in Manhattan and be entertained for free by looking at the people and sights as it's in constant motion 24 hours a day.

I asked our taxi driver if he'd drive through Harlem on the way back to the airport. He seemed puzzled why I'd want to go there. I thought he could drive by the Apollo Theater. He granted my request and drove one block into Harlem and one block out. 

We were gone almost three days and I'd go back to the Big Apple just for the food. It was all marvelous and scrumptious! Generous portions, tasty and served quickly. My pretzel from a street vendor was big and warm. I want one right now. And I'd go back to visit more sights. There was so much I didn't get to see, e.g., museums, Brooklyn, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station, and more).

Perhaps I'll be fortunate and get another chance for an adventure to visit the sights in and around NYC in this lifetime. With a pass I could tour some underground tunnels, (since I'm now okay to be underground ) and other interesting sights.

And, one of these days I've got to catch American Graffiti.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Surprise Salad

I made a salad today using what I had on hand.
It looks good and tastes very good. The mixture is quite pleasant.

I call it Surprise Salad because it was a surprise to me how well it turned out.

If you like what you see, try making it yourself, then invite me over.

Surprise Salad
 Surprise Salad
    (fruit and veggies are sliced thin and/or narrow with all seeds removed)
  2      Roma tomatoes
 1/2    onion, white or red
  1      cucumber
 1/2 c. mushrooms
  2      stalks of celery.  sliced
  1     Granny Smith apple
  1      Papaya
  1      small can ripe sliced olives
 1/2 c. walnut pieces
 1/2 c. chopped parsley
  Balsamic and Basil vinaigrette dressing- with EEVO. The kind I use has 4g fat per 2 Tbsps.

Combine all fruit and vegetables in a bowl. Drizzle 1/2 c. Balsamic and Basil vinaigrette dressing. Toss well to distribute the dressing. Cover and chill in refrigerator 1 hour. Toss again before serving.

This salad will satisfy all your taste buds and then some.

If I had a banana and some raisins on hand, they would've been added.

Feel free to embellish or change the amounts as you wish and make this salad your own surprise.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Code Talkers

I've been meaning to write about a group of men who helped us win WWII. The Navajo Code Talkers they were called.

Here is the Navajo Code Talker's dictionary  having been declassified, we can now see what this unbreakable code looked like.

It was a genius idea to devise a code that was partly based upon the alphabet and word association.

Here's more info on how this code came about using the complex Navajo language where tone of voice can have a different meaning of the same word.


The following are interviews of just eight of the Code Talkers.


Peter MacDonald, Navajo Code Talker.  It was destiny he do something great for his country, after dropping out of school after the 5th grade and joining the Marine Corps.




The Navajo language was not written down so of the 400 recruited to use this code by memory only was one of the reasons it was undecipherable by the Japanese during the war and proved very valuable by the Marines.


Here is Samuel Tso, another proud Navajo Code Talker who didn't want to be called a draft dodger. He tells of the 'First 29' and how he volunteered to run across Death Valley to locate machine guns and how he knew he would survive that mission.






John Kinsel, Navajo Code Talker, tells of the meaning of the colors and symbols and how the Japanese almost got one letter of the code and how he got sick with malaria in South America, and he tells about receiving the Purple Heart which he had to prove he was in the service.





Keith Little was orphaned. Listen to his story hearing of the 'sneak attack' on Pearl Harbor and hearing President Roosevelt say this is a day of infamy. Listen to how he volunteered for the Marines at age 17 and went on to be a Navajo Code Talker.




Kee Etsicitty, a Navajo Code Talker, tells how code talkers had to have a good memory in
order to translate into code.  He tells of why he had short sleeves in uniform and a little about
 enemy conversations on the radio and more.





Joe Vandever, Navajo Code Talker, tells of how it was in war and how he got word from a bird that
he would return home and he speaks of being brave.





Samuel Tom Holiday, Navajo Code Talker, tell of his early years and more.





Chester Nav, Navajo Code Talker, who as of April 2014, is the last of the First 29 Code Talkers.
He speaks of raising sheep when he was young, the livestock massacre, and the hard life living
on the reservation. He explains he was raised as a warrior to protect what he loves and he had to
join the Marines to protect the United States. He tells that until the code was declassified in 1968, he could only speak of his work in the service of just talking on the radio. In 2001 the Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.




These men volunteered and bravely served during a time of war so we could live in the land of the free. I would say they served us well.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bikers on an awesome mission

Recently I learned about an awesome biker organization.
Their mission is nothing less than what I would describe as AWESOME!
 These black leather wearing guys and gals are truly angels on wheels.

Bikers Against Child Abuse. BACA, they're called, are they're doing some mighty good works for kids who've been abused.
Am I the only one who wishes any adults thinking about abusing an innocent child have to face BACA?

Any child would feel safer with BACA around. Take a look.



They are serious because their cause is serious. 

A child should not have to grow up in fear. Bless each of them.

Ride on BACA!



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Disability overcome

The Paralympic Games are held following the regular Olympic Games every four years, and give athletes with a physical disability who qualify to compete just like 'non-disabled' athletes to go for the gold.

All athletes have a competitive spirit to win

Photo credit: dtcreations from morguefile.com

Trisha Zorn,  blind from birth, has won 41 gold medals in various swimming competitions.  I believe she holds the record for gold metal wins in any Olympic Games.
 Michael Phelps won 14 gold metals for his swimming wins in the regular Olympic Games.

The Special Olympics are for those athletes with intellectual disabilities.

The Deaflympics are for those athletes with hearing disabilities.

All of these athletes had to start some where and practice, train, practice, train,   the win local,  regional and national sporting events in order to advance and quality to be eligible for the Olympic Game.

Regardless, all competing in any of the Olympic Games have to prepare and face stresses associated with the pressure of these Games.

 The fact that they made it to the Games, means they had to overcome physical, mental and/or emotional challenges. 

 Even with their disabilities, they've accomplished more in the realm of physical endurance and strength than most of us even desire to even try.

They're all winners in my book.