They don’t speak for me.

American nazi white supremacists declare themselves patriots. I am an American. I am white. I am a patriot. I am a Christian. Make no mistake. They do not speak for me.

A former wizard declares, “When you’re under attack … you panic and you do things that are stupid and you do things that are wrong.” He does not speak for me.

No. If you are not a racist, when you are under attack…you defend yourself and the oppressed. You have no need to wait for darkness to intimidate with hellfire and you do not fear the light. You desire to expose a culture that forced humans into bondage and mistreated those separated and declared as “other.”

Knowing that the past cannot be undone you work to correct, for future generations, those icons, monuments and mementos that obscure reality however brutal or distasteful.

I am a Christian. I always believed in the teaching of Luke 6:31 to “treat others as we wish to be treated,” yet I left the church among other compelling reasons, because the far right sufficiently created the broad perception that all Christians believe what they believe. I no longer wish to associate myself with the lunacy. They do not speak for me.

According to ADL, “One central tenet [of Christian Identity of the far right] is the belief that non-whites were created by God not at the time that God made “man,” but rather when he created the “beasts of the field.” This does not speak for me.

The American president claims business acumen, but alienates top business leaders who flee in conscientious objection while in desperation, he vomits late and hollow condemnations into a microphone. Meanwhile, he pokes at a madman holding Oppenheimer’s recipe, fearless as a child who has not yet grasped the concept of consequence. He does not speak for me.

In education, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor at Princeton said today in a New York Times Op-Ed piece, “In the coming school years, those who are quick to defend the rights of white nationalists and neo-Nazis to speak on campuses must be just as vigilant about protecting the rights of faculty and students to speak out against them — or risk revealing their hypocrisy.”

Exclusions of names and use of lower case are deliberate. They do not speak for me.

The Answers to Everything

Today I found this list of Golden Age truths from my friend Ray who had his friend Carla to thank for it. I had the urge to respond thus.

  1. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still do not know what time it is.
    This presumes that with or without glasses, I can actually read it.
  2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong. I’ll be the first to admit, I was wrong once.
  3.  I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger. Except for the day that I spent practicing how to tie my shoes and finally nailed it. Excited, I went outside to tell my mom who was hanging laundry on the line and she said, “That’s nice, now go take your shoes off and go back in your room. It’s nap time.”
  4. There is great need for a sarcasm font. That and a b.s. detector.
  5. How are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? Two words: plastic bins. Now I just shove the sheets in and close the lid. Fits in the closet perfectly. Problem solved.
  6. Was learning cursive really necessary? It was, because in my school, you weren’t allowed to write in ink unless you had perfected cursive, which begs the question, are pens really necessary?
  7. MapQuest or Google Maps really need to start their directions on #5.  I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood. It’s that “pretty sure” part that keeps 1 through 4 cranking.
  8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died. Like the guy killed by a bouncy house became airborne in a sudden windstorm or when Nana wrecked her Harley at Sturgis? (Probably a lot like the funeral home that has the slogan, Keeping the Fun in Funerals since 1952)
  9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired. Except when I drove through the hood. (see #16)
  10. Bad decisions make good stories. Oh, how we laughed.
  11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day. 10 a.m. like clockwork all week.
  12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu-Ray?  I don’t want to have to restart my collection… again. Or can we just start over with three channels that sign off at midnight and no way to record?
  13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to. But not as terrified as when I “Open Recent Files,” click on my ten-page technical report and  this message appears: File Not Found
  14. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call. Preach.
  15. I disagree with Kay Jewelers.  I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Light than Kay. Although, craft beers are all the rage now.
  16. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option. Right next to the “Does Not Suffer Fools Gladly” option.
  17. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. Lest ye become hangry.
  18. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said? Three. (See Tootsie Pop Licks rule.)
  19. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front.  Stay strong, brothers and sisters! AKA Your failure to plan is not our problem.
  20. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time. Nothing a hand-held rocket launcher cannot solve.
  21. The first testicular guard, the “Cup,” was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important. Allowances made for some who are still learning.
  22. I was in a Starbucks Coffee recently when my stomach started rumbling and I realized that I desperately needed to fart.  The place was packed, but the music was really loud so to get relief and reduce embarrassment I timed my farts to the beat of the music.  After a couple of songs, I started to feel much better.  I finished my coffee and noticed that everyone was staring at me.  I suddenly remembered that I was listening to my iPod (with ear piece) – and how was your day?  You win.

Terror: Old School

While digging for recipes, I discovered a booklet published in 1945 by Sealtest, a company known best in the Philadelphia region for its ice cream. Its forward illustrates an American perspective just after World War II that declares the end of terror on the world stage.  It implores communities, parents in particular, to take stock of its children’s health as an important part of citizenship.  What’s your take?

Sealtest forward20170804_11550928

Note the zip code for New York City.

Missing the Point of Living

We’ve become a visual lot with our media—social and otherwise.

Lately I’ve thought about how, before the advent of photography, we humans managed to appreciate the beauty of life. If we’re honest, we’ll admit that there are certain places too vast and human experiences too fraught with emotion to make capturing them photographically pale when compared to the feeling inspired by living the moment.

The lack of tools needed to capture one’s likeness might have left the more self-absorbed feeling impotent unless wealth afforded them the ability to hire a portraitist.

Conversely, those less fortunate or living in rural places, set apart from civilization excepting the occasional itinerant salesman or traveler, probably owned few instruments of self-indulgence such as these; forced instead to focus upon things without.

I envision a homesteader spending a lifetime tending to land, animals and family, who when rare opportunity to break arose, did not pause to consider looks for his own sake. Rather others may have insisted that he or she gather the instruments of grooming and couture for the purpose of looking the part by which they would be judged.

I take photos. Lots and lots of them. Several recent changes have become apparent to me when I am holding a camera.

Though I work hard to remain discreet it’s intensely difficult to capture candid photos. The instant people notice me, they pose. Worse, they give me that kissy-faced selfie expression that only works for Betty Boop.

Notably, it has become implausible to capture a photo of any group of people wherein at least one person is not fixated on his or her phone rather than upon the people and happenings that surround them.

If I shoot using my phone, no one cares, few people notice and no one asks on what website the pictures will appear.

I enjoy watching people even if through a lens. Lately, I’m just less sure of exactly what I am seeing.

Children possess an innocence that I most love to capture.  I lament that even those as young as one year old understand that the phone with its camera is the object for which they need to “act” and they, encouraged by well-meaning parents, respond by becoming an actor in its presence.

If there are children present in a public space, regardless of whether I say I am an amateur or professional photographer (and I have chosen to say one or the other depending upon the occasion) I get asked who I am and my purpose for taking photos. I don’t have to respond at all though I usually do. In public spaces, a person has no “expected right to privacy;” on the whole people seem to think that they do. This despite that they are likely being recorded whether I choose to press the shutter button or not.

Maybe the answer is in the words. By “taking photos” maybe people have come to believe that I am “taking” a part which inherently belongs to them. Still, I react with sadness when people become suspicious of my intentions. These are often the same ones who load their social media with photos of their children, friends, co-workers, the places they frequent, the insides of their homes, schools, places of work, worship and recreation.

I love photographing people at public events but I also make time to put down the lens and live in the moment.