Category Archives: controversy

Predicaments

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I have thought for many days about what would I have done

differently in an early February conversation during a break

at work.  So many times during my life I have stood up for a

situation or cause, only to find out later this alienated me from

a friend.

 

I was so excited and passionate about seeing the movie, “Selma.”

I have been taught that by being silent one is quietly accepting

another’s words or choices. This is not a good position to be in

when making friends. I feel that if my friends don’t think along

similar lines, it is not a strong friendship but one of convenience.

Over the past six years, I have built a close-knit group of people

who get along together, joke and lighten each other’s days at work.

 

 

My fellow coworkers, Tammy, Melvin, Felda and Mary Jane are

part of this group. We have enjoyed sharing weekend experiences

and expanding our minds in lively conversations. There are many

fringe friends who join in and stop by our table. I enjoy meeting

such a wide variety of people at my warehouse job. This is one of

the best positive aspects of my work.

 

It is not generally a good idea or tactful while in a work place,

to express controversial opinions. Yet, my table mates and I

have seen eye to eye on the subject of acceptance. Some of us

even voted in elections the same way. We started watching

some of the same t.v. shows to be able to share about these.

 

 

Little did I expect, someone I cared about would be making a

rather outrageous statement in response to a movie review.

Here are some quotations to lend support to my response.

 

 

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

~Eldridge Cleaver

 

A longer version, expanded from the above thought includes

the following words which are also true:

“. . . but the perpetual human predicament is that the answer

soon poses its own problems.”

~Sydney J. Harris

 

The old Latin rule of the law of acquiescence would apply here,

“Qui tacet consentire videtur” means one who is silent is seen

to have given consent. To acquiesce is to accept or to comply.

 

I was mentioning how many things about the Civil Rights period

despite being raised in a conscientious and active participant

family, I had missed. I was describing one of the early details of

a particularly disturbing scene where children in a church were

killed in a bombing in the film, “Selma.”

 

Out of nowhere, my ‘close’ friend,  Felda said,

 

 

“We, in our country, believe in love and cannot ever understand

people who are raised in a “culture of hate.”

 

I emphatically agreed with this, thinking she was talking about

bigoted people who are ‘taught’ to hate people from another

group from their own. In other words, I was thinking she

meant to be talking about ‘whites’ being part of the ‘haters’

specifically, in the Civil Rights movement.

 

As I nodded and said, “I agree,” I noticed a quiet pause in the

conversation. Tammy (Ohio country girl) and Melvin, (son of

immigrants from an island off of Portugal) did not join in.

 

Felda helped me to realize who she was talking about by adding,

in a most definite direction I would NEVER agree with,

 

“Why do blacks get taught to hate whites in America?  In the

Philippines, everyone loves others. We were ‘slaves’ in our own

history, but we ‘don’t hold it against you.'”

 

Okay, now I knew where silence would not be appropriate. I

had to dig myself out of a hole, so to speak. I said that she did

not understand the trials, tribulations and how people who were

slaves, or had slave ancestors, were affected by their treatment.

They may have possibly been taught to ‘mistrust’ white people.

 

Inside my head for a moment, I thought possibly only coming

here to live in the U.S. (and marrying Jason, an American) in

the 1990’s may have given Felda less understanding of the

long history, prevailing ways and practices which continue

going on from when the Civil War ended in the 1860’s, into

the present. The other two of  her friends have always been

less outspoken and didn’t try to contribute or interpret what

she meant by her hurtful words.

 

I added,  “This is not how this conversation was meant to go.”

 

I had hoped that by talking about “Selma,” to help everyone

at this table understand why fear and distrust could become

part of a familial pattern of handling people. The small town

in Mississippi had many people showing their prejudice against

the blacks. I had especially thought the Filipinos (what they

insist on being called at work) would have empathetic feelings

coming from their own personal experiences of prejudice.

 

I looked at Melvin, who is sophisticated and warm.  He had

served in the Army, traveled Europe and was raised in an open

minded, accepting and loving family. He would give the shirt off

his back and has often been found this brittle cold winter, under

the hood of a fellow employee’s car trying to fix or replace a part.

Actually, the speaker of this unfortunate point of view, had been

‘only charged for car parts’ when she had needed four brakes

replaced by Melvin and other repair assistance.

 

I wondered why Felda had said this about blacks, without any

clarification? Did she intend to hurt Melvin?

The rest of the people at the table were either Filipino or

white.

 

Melvin shrugged. He knew it was pointless to mention that

this person who arrived in America, married an American,

may not completely understand the racial issues, tensions

and dynamics here in the United States.

 

Melvin felt my eyes on him, urging him to ‘speak up.’ Finally,

he responded by saying,

“My people are not nor have ever been descendants of slaves,

but I feel a lot of sympathy for the blacks here. I get the same

kind of attitude from whites as they do, I get followed around

in jewelry stores, I have been shoved while at a peaceful protest

rally by a ‘white supremacist’ cop and have been taken aside to

be shouted at. I would ‘never measure up to the white people’

in my Army experiences. This came from more than one officer

in the Army.”

 

Melvin quietly expressed his thoughts on a tough issue,

“I will share this additional thought: black people raised in the

South are different from black people raised in the North. To

be honest, unfortunately their perspectives are not the same.”

 

I went on a limb and put my thoughts out there for friends

who had included me in christenings, birthday parties and

delicious meals at parties where we sang karaoke together,

 

“I need to study your islands’ history better of what you call

‘slavery.’ I am not sure that slavery there was the same as

slavery here. I have the misunderstanding that your culture

may have a history of servitude.  Sometimes smiling when you

were crying inside, but this is probably inaccurate. Meanwhile,

I would never agree with your statement about the black culture

being raised to hate whites.”

 

As far as research, there are considered to be 130,000 to as

many as 160,000 people in the Philippines who are part of

sex trafficking, indentured servitude and this is from an article

on October 9, 2013 from the newspaper called, “The Manila

Times.”

 

I wished to re-emphasize my opening remarks to them.  I didn’t

realize the total impact on everyday activities of black people from

those who felt ‘superior’ to an entire race until recently. I heard

‘snippets of history’ in school. Like not being allowed to ride in

the middle or front of a bus, Rosa Parks ‘took a stand’ for freedom.

I saw firsthand the water fountains, restaurants and other public

buildings in the 1960’s. They were labeled, “For Colored People.”

I knew this must have been hard or rough on anyone living in

their skin color. We read together my kids and I about the

Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman.

 

I just finished a great book by Tara Conklin, considered historical

fiction called, “The House Girl.” It has the legal aspects of the

reparation act for families of slaves.  Every other chapter is about

a young woman called “Josephine” who worked in a slave owner’s

house. She learned how to paint from her ‘mistress.’ Later, the

‘house girl’s’ art work is given credit to her owner. Learning is

ongoing.

 

I was truly interested and asked,

“How long ago in Philippines’ history were there slaves?”

 

“Selma” brought back memories of partial lessons for me.

It depicted Ku Klux Klan members, cruelty and ‘hate crimes.’

Who could ever wish to bomb churches and not allow people

to gather in protest?

It is hard to imagine but not right to brush uncomfortable

subjects under the table. Seeing these violent acts on film,

brought back how recently this had happened. It made me

wish to promote this movie, as I did last year when I saw the

fine film, ’12 Years a Slave.’

 

Felda, Mary Jane and May have not looked me in the eyes

since this happened. I continue to say, “Good Morning” and

ask how their family members are, ask how their weekends

went, etc. They give me short answers and have been sitting

at their own table, talking in their own language. I don’t regret

my words, but was sincerely meaning to defend Melvin, along

with my own grandchild’s heritage.

 

My oldest daughter’s son, Micah is 1/4 black. His father’s Dad

plays an integral link to his life and comes to family gatherings.

 

Micah has overheard their complaints about prejudice. We

talk openly about how his own father has been pulled aside

roughly by teachers, coaches and strangers. When he shows

his ‘independence’ it is sometimes considered ‘an attitude.’

This happened with my coworker and friend, Cheryl (who

recently lost her grandson to illness). She has been told, she

says that she “has a chip on her shoulder.”

 

Micah was in preschool when a fellow  4 year old asked him,

“Is your Daddy a terrorist?”

 

This fills my eyes with tears, my heart with sadness and my

mind with fear for Micah, too. It is ‘still out there.’ Even in the

minds of immigrants who feel that black culture is ‘filled with

hatred.’

 

Here is an update on getting an ‘excuse’ written for my eyesight

and concerns for safety while driving heavy equipment. My phone

call with my ophthalmologist left me without anything promised

in writing and another appointment made in April.

 

I visited the optometrist who seemed more interested in helping

me. She wrote a well thought out letter, including the reasons I

would not be a safe candidate for ‘heavy bulk’ at the warehouse.

 

She wrote about my lack of depth perception, my monovision

while wearing a close distance contact to read fine print and a

far distant contact to see far away. She mentioned my not being

able to judge distances, especially in the narrow passages while

driving backwards with the double pallet riding equipment.

 

Her professionalism and need to be clear, may have included

details which won’t help my cause:

“Robin’s peripheral vision and depth perception would be

greatly improved by wearing single vision distance only

spectacles instead of contact lenses. Obviously, if the patient

is in a warehouse, she should be wearing safety spectacles.”

 

I have been wearing contact lenses throughout my six years

at Advance Auto Distribution Center. I am most confident

while reading the tiny UPC codes, picking the correct items

to place into bins, hampers or gaylords. (Containers which

are actually huge cardboard boxes for Open Stock and used

in heavy bulk on top of a wooden pallet and plastic pallet.)

 

I won’t change to regular glasses to carry out my job nor to

bifocals. I am not sure I would be as confident in performing

my job with single vision glasses. The reason I chose contacts

was because I used to have to take off my glasses to read the

fine print, use the RF’s (tablet computers) and now, new piece

of equipment,  a Bluetooth computer on my arm.

 

As my good friend, Jenny, honestly suggested work may try

to force me to use glasses and go to work in heavy bulk.

I am ‘screwed.’

 

My ophthalmologist who had told me he could not write a letter

until I came in for another appointment. I will hold out for Hope.

An April letter request will hopefully include all the parts that

Dr. Wagner wrote without the details suggesting I switch to

glasses or ‘safety spectacles.’

 

Thanks for your concern about my work situation with my

vision and cross training into heavy bulk work once again.

When I tried this for eight weeks of a summer, I managed

to run into metal racks, back into a pallet on the shipping

floor knocking the products over and wearing my nerves

into a frazzle.

 

I need to find a way out of this physically demanding area

without leaving my job. I have a much better salary than

other positions listed in the newspaper and have finally

earned three weeks’ vacation this year. If necessary, as many

have mentioned, my being fired for refusing to go to heavy

bulk may be my ‘release’ to a better solution. There were such

great and positive suggestions from all of you. Thank you.

 

 

If you have had a stressful or awkward situation at work

please feel free to comment and add to the conversation.

 

Humor Comes in All Sorts of Packages

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Sometimes there are things you may “think,” but you would never

put into words. You may even admire the one who seems to have

listened to that impudent ‘voice in your head.’ You may, on the other

hand, cringe and think, “Oh no! That is way too blunt!”

 

Comedy is often built around those ‘cringe-worthy’ moments.  I

laugh at movies, which if someone were to actually DO the things

which are depicted in the movies, I may actually display a face

full of horror.  I may be outwardly ‘aghast’ but I also might be

laughing on the inside, too.

 

In Shakespeare’s time, his plays often added humor sometimes

displaying a bit of ‘sauciness.’ While taking a high school English

‘mini-course,’ we studied Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” The school

administration encouraged our teacher, Mr. Billman, to send home

parents’ permission slips before we read and discussed this rather

controversial book. It makes me smile a little to think we needed

permission to read this bawdy collection of tales. They are considered

‘classics.’ This book has been on some lists for ‘book-burning,’ too.

 

When the history of ‘drag queens’ is studied, you learn that the

ones who were “dressed as girls” became called, “drags.” While

those who were wearing men’s (otherwise known as ‘boys’)

clothing were named, “drabs.”

 

Women dressed as men, sometimes in the most interesting

situations. In the movie, “The Year of Living Dangerously,”

Kevin Costner’s character has a ‘male’ friend, a photographer.

Linda Hunt won Best Supporting Actress in her male role.

 

In the movie, “Yentl” Barbara Streisand portrayed a young man

in this Jewish story. It was unusual in that it was considered to be

a “romantic musical drama comedy” movie released in 1983.

 

In the more recent 2012 movie, Glenn Close depicted the main

character and title role in, “Albert Nobbs.” She was nominated for

Best Actress in this movie, along with Golden Globe and SAG’s

but did not win in her fascinating portrayal of a man.

 

Women were not often ‘allowed’  in stage productions, due to the

impropriety.  So, the original ‘drag’ performers were considered

‘normal,’ while performing in traditional plays. Their wardrobe

choice would fit the role they were playing. This made men wearing

women’s clothes, considered ‘appropriately attired.’

 

In the making of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s life, in the movie,

“Amadeus,” there are several scenes where the fine, classical and

renowned musician is carrying on with people of questionable

sexual orientation.

 

Funny. how when the black and white movie, with Tony Curtis,

Jack Lemmon and the gorgeous, Marilyn Monroe cane out in 1959,

no one made a big deal about men hiding in women’s clothing,

from the Mob. The same theme came into play, in the television

series, “Bosom Buddies.” This resulted in giving us the famous,

funny and talented actor, Tom Hanks.

 

There are many other examples of men dressing up like women

which makes the audience laugh.

 

Why does it bother some people then, to go and see a Drag Queen

or a comedy performance with men dressed as women? I guess

this is up to each person’s level of Comfort Zone.

 

There may be some of Mary Nolan’s humorous comments listed

in this post which you may not like. You may even consider them

‘distasteful.’ I hope you will laugh instead. But, at least I gave you

‘fair warning’ of the content in the remainder of this post.

 

I edited out a few of this transgender Columbus native’s raunchy

descriptions of famous people and left the more ‘palatable’ ones

here.

 

There is something to be said about bluntness and edginess. I am

one who doesn’t believe in censorship. What I hear in a comedy

sketch or stand up routine performed in a local tavern, bar, film or

comedy club is usually off-color but comical, one way or another.

 

I have to admit, I may like ‘shocking’  or ‘bawdy’ content. Now, be

honest: Have you ever laughed at “Bridesmaids,” “American Pie”

or “There’s Something about Mary?”

 

This is not “R-rated”nor even “PG 13,” so hope you find something

to laugh out loud about. But if not, this is fine. Humor is like food

and other ‘tastes:’ To each his own!

 

Each of these comments were published in the January, 2015,

“Outlook” magazine.  These are taken from Mary Nolan’s column,

“Reading is Fundamental.” The main readership of this monthly

publication  comes from  the culture of Ohio’s  LGBT  and  Ally

community. You can find this in the lobby of our Delaware County

District Library and other central Ohio locations. It is free to all.

 

1. About John Boehner-

 

“Hey John, skin cancer called and it doesn’t want you either!”

 

2. About Taylor Swift- (appearing with the Victoria Secret models

in her own white outfit, circlet of white feathers on her head and

angel wings):

 

“It’s like the cast of “Glee” gang-banged a bag of sugar-coated

rainbows and the offspring was the most nauseating collection

of happy teen angst.”

 

3. About Kim Kardashian-

 

“I’m all for big (“a- – – -“) behinds, but this girl makes Ohio

bottoms look slightly less hungry.”

 

4. About Nick Jonas- (appearing in a photo without a shirt on):

“Nope, not gonna try to read this one except to say that he was

talentless in the group, Hanson.”

 

5. About Johnny Manziel-

“Nice work in that first start. Helen Keller did a better job of

finding the mark.”

 

6. About Mike DeWine- (on the subject of legalizing same sex

marriage):

“Fiscal responsibility apparently stops when it comes to a couple

of queens getting hitched.”

 

7. About Sherri Dribblelipz-

“I’m all for French broads and their hairy bodies, but for Christ’s

sake, would it kill you to take a weed whacker to them pasty white

airplane pillows? It’s like this: whatever happened to Baby Jane?

I don’t care!”

 

8. About Rosie O’Donnell-

“She’ll huff, she’ll puff and she’ll blow all of your interest in her

out the window.”

 

9. About Suze Ormon- (financial advisor)

“I’d rather get stock advice from the guy who sells drugs in a gay

bar bathroom stall.”

 

10. About Jesse Tyler Ferguson-

(From “Modern Family,” where he is the thinner man in the gay

couple and has red hair):

“For the love of everything unholy, flesh colored beards have never

been and never will be attractive!”

 

11. About Bianca Del Rio-

“Bianca calls her bit the “Rolodex of Hate.” It’s more like the

“Rolodex of Repeat.” She’s had the same material for her entire

40-year career! Speaking of which, Bianca, what were the 70’s

like?”

 

I used to listen to RuPaul, a famous Drag Queen, actress and

author. She made the rounds on talk shows and often appeared

in comedy skits. You can see him in such family movies as,

“The Brady Bunch Movie” and “Brady Bunch Sequel.”

His two books were published and had good sales.

RuPaul’s two books are called,

“Letting It All Hang Out” (an autobiography)

and “Workin’ It.”

 

Here are three RuPaul quotes for you to read:

 

~”When you become the image of your imagination,

it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.”

 

~”If you don’t love yourself, how the H- – – you gonna

love someone else?”

 

~”We all come into this world naked.  The rest is all drag.”

 

Viva le difference!

 

We Need Mary Travers’ Message

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It has been five years since Mary Travers passed away. There was a

replay of her famous people-populated memorial service on PBS

over last weekend. I was weeping and laughing throughout this special

moment in time. The memories of the group “Peter, Paul and Mary”

will always be there, ingrained into my emotional well being.

 

Mary was 72 years old,  living from November 9, 1936 until she passed

away on September 16, 2009. She was born in Kentucky and at age two,

moved to New York with her family. This is where she eventually got

connected with music. Mary died in Connecticut, after fiercely battling

leukemia. She had endured bone marrow transplants, in the hopes of

living longer. I have to add, ‘fighting until the end,’ since Mary was not

one to be afraid or back down on Life or any important issues.

 

The families of the three close and dear friends still gather to this day.

They play music and continue peaceful activities giving tribute to her

memory. There were montages (photographs and film) shown through-

out the special program. Picnics with families sitting on their blankets,

children running around while Peter and Paul’s, along with Mary’s,

families all gather and rejoice in their loving connections.

 

At the Memorial Service shown on PBS, I was impressed with the ones

who came to give their respects. I hope it may be of interest to you, to

remember the members of the musical group along with hearing what

the prominent guests shared about Mary Travers. Each time I tried to

listen to the words being said, but paraphrased and encapsulated them.

 

“The Guests”

George McGovern gave a serious pronouncement declaring that Mary

‘would not stand for bigotry or racism,’  and said her life was devoted to

opening people’s hearts and allowing love to come inside.

John Kerry said in a kindly, folksy tone, ‘All the ones who support

people’s rights are here and present. Carrying on the message will be

her legacy.’

Bill Moyers was emotional and said for everyone to keep singing and

believing, passing the Peace around.

Whoopie Goldberg talked about Mary’s impact on people’s lives by

saying Mary had an incredible way of ‘touching people’s lives and

changing them for the better.’

There was a song video tribute replaying a concert that Pete Seeger

sang with Peter, Paul and Mary.

The way that the two men spoke of Mary got me crying, something

about Mary “lives in their cells.” Something about Mary is part of the

“fabric of our country.” She lives on in so many different ways. Not

sure if this was Paul, but my notes say,

“Love ties us together. The vibration of Peter, Paul and Mary, I believe,

made the world a better place to live.”

 

Gloria Steinem spoke about how Mary believed everyone should be

treated the same wherever they came from and whoever they were.

She mentioned, Mary Travers stood up for  “Peace, Justice and

Equality,” supporting all people. This also included the Women’s

Rights Movement and the Civil Right’s Movement. I had forgotten

that they were there at the March on Washington and were in the

Selma and other southern cities singing about peaceful protesting.

 

“Messages”

The meaningful and moving song called,  “We Shall Not Be Moved,”

(written and has been performed by Mavis Staples) was played at

Mary’s Memorial Service. The audience and choir sang along with

this one.

 

A beautiful poem with inspiring words (that were metaphors for

branches of humanity) started with its words about there being

one world, many forests. Then many forests, many trees. As it

went, many trees, many branches, many branches, one branch,

and many leaves.” (The person who explained this as multiple

faiths, one God, made it very spiritual. They mentioned that

God is for everyone. . .) I have to admit, I cannot seem to track

this one down. Sorry, but it was lovely, wished to share its

message and it made me wonder who wrote it, too.

 

The funny parts of the tribute to Mary Travers were about how

her blonde hair and good looks brought more mail and men to

the concerts. Also, there were references about her being sexy

and rocking back and forth, moving with lots of energy during

their concerts. Peter and Paul took turns sometimes interjecting

the funny, comic relief moments.

 

Many people repeated throughout the PBS special, the music of

Peter, Paul and Mary was more than just for one period of time,

it is ‘for all times.’ It was not written with definitive beginnings and

endings, it was meant to be “Music for Change.”

 

“The Music”

Of course, the wisdom and message about Peace is found within

the words of, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” (Which was written and sung

by Bob Dylan,  permission given to be sung by P, P and Mary over

the years.)

The words about loving your country and being part of the world,

“This Land Is Your Land,” is another recognizable song. This fine

song was written by Woody Guthrie, before WWII, in 1940. The

long lasting message resonates with me, doesn’t it with you?

I like all versions of it, but am most familiar with the way Peter,

Paul and Mary sang this anthem. It makes me proud to be an

American.

 

John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” continues to be affiliated

with the group, Peter, Paul and Mary, too. (John has been gone

for seven years, having accidentally crashed his ultra light plane

in 1997.)

There are possibly millions of weddings where they included the

loving words of the song, “Wedding Song/There is Love.”

So many children loved the words to, “Puff the Magic Dragon”

that when they grew up to be parents they taught their own kids

to love the words, too.

Two love songs I ‘slow danced to’ were, “Like the First Time” and

“Such is Love.” Another one which my parents liked, “Kisses Are

Sweeter than Wine.”

A new Rally Call is being made to this new or next generation and

there is a program called, “Operation Respect.” This is being done in

Mary’s name. 22 different countries, including Israel, have people

who have joined together and are following this project.

 

Do you have a favorite Peter, Paul and Mary memory or song?

 

The two remaining members, Peter and Paul, continue to spread

or sow seeds of love and understanding around the world. After

all, we still need the message.

 

 

Musical Eclectic Tastes: A Quartet of Choices

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When you hear this comment, “Life is sweet,” I bet you would not have pictured it

coming from Billy Idol. He showed gratitude for his family, roots and his fans. I was

in awe of the interview, felt I finally understood him. I remember when I first saw him,

on MTV, seeing his punk hair style and his sneer. I never was repelled by his appearance

and every one of his 14 major hits were beloved by me. I did not see him as ‘sinister’ or

mean looking but saw him as confident and defiant.

I am grateful that Billy Idol lived to reach age 58, which is what I am for another month.

I am so happy he is exploring a ‘comeback,’ which is not quite true, since he never left

the musical scene totally.

Billy Idol was born to middle class roots, in England. He respected his parents but he

could not follow their paths of being a professional, his mother was a nurse nor a

businessman selling power tools, like his father. Instead he decided to chase his dream

of being in a rock band. His comment, which is a little ‘explicit,’ but true of his tastes

goes like this, “If you cross rock and roll with punk rock, you get a cross-pollination

bastard type of music: mine!”

Bill Broad, Senior died in August, they had made peace and there was no animosity

between them. He had not financially supported his son, Billy, but he did love him.

It was mutual respect, shown in the interview, which captured my interest. Also, his

mentioning the power of what a teacher said to him, negatively, that impacted his

famous name, “Billy, why do you have to be so idle?” He just changed the spelling,

with a positive twist, becoming an ‘Idol’ in more than name only.

My favorite song is, “Eyes Without a Face,” since I could slow dance to this, while

thinking about its meaning. The other ones you will recognize, include:

“Rebel Yell”

“White Wedding”

“Dancing with Myself”

Re-make of “Money, Money” which he made his own a great rendition.

What happened to him during the 90’s?

He had a serious motorcycle accident in 1990.

This brought him down. Far down.

In 1994, he overdosed at a night club. This bad action on his part, saved his life, ultimately.

It brought him back on the path to recovery. It made him want to have purpose.

I will look forward to hearing new songs, since Billy Idol has always been in my eyes,

a True Showman.

 

 

Another person who has caught my interest lately, is Jenny Lewis. She is age 38, many of

you have already heard of her, let alone heard her unaware it was she delivering the music.

She has a fun style, light-hearted style of singing. She is familiar in many ways, since she

has been around for awhile. One recent radio song, “Just One of the Guys,” makes me smile.

It became a big hit almost instantly, according to a DJ on my way to Cleveland over Labor

Day weekend.

Her life has been all about music, being a ‘backstage daughter’ to a group that performed

in Las Vegas, “The Voyagers.”

When she was young, she was the cute, attractive girl who had her first kiss in a movie

called, “Wizard,” with Fred Savage. She admits, they were just kids and grew up together.

 

When you used to hear the song  for Toys-R-Us, there was a popular upbeat lift to the song,

with Jenny Lewis singing that she was a Toys-R-Us ‘kid.’

In her live shows, she likes to build rapport, she has a lyrical tone to her voice, reminiscent

to some of my all-time favorites like Carly Simon, Carole King and Joni Mitchell.

Jenny sings like popular and current,  beautiful voices found in Colbie Caillat and Ingrid

Michaelson.

In Jenny Lewis’ ‘wheelhouse,’ there will be one you will relate to. I liked “She’s Easy, But

She’s Not Me.” It is not the way you think of ‘easy,’ she is defining it as not very deep.

So Jenny is saying in her lyrics, ‘I may not be easy to understand but I am worth it.

The other girl may be easier to figure out; but she’s not Jenny.’

Her album, “The Voyager,” is worth a peek. Here are the two rcent girls

I recommend, “Colbie Caillat’s songs, “Bubbly” and “Try.”

I recommend, “Girls Chase Boys” and “The Way I Am.”

 

With the name of “Keb’ Mo,” you could possibly mistakenly picture a rapper or a

younger man, but this man is a three time Grammy winner who plays the Blues!

What inspired his newest album, at the age of 62? Marriage counseling! He and his

wife were going to therapy and he realized, while thinking on the way home from

a heavy session, how love is a struggle and you have to keep putting work into it.

In his deep thought, you can find his heartfelt passion for his wife. He feels that

love is important after all to fight for, continue but it is typical blues material,

when you hear that “Love hurts.” Marriage has been a ‘battle field’ subject matter

before but this man’s interpretation was ‘new’ and interesting to me.

Keb’ Mo and his wife, Robbie Brooks Moore live in Nashville. They participated

in an intense weekend of counseling. This became the theme for his new album,

“BLUESAmericana.”

He addresses commitment, love, pain, changes, and forgiveness. Relationship

‘stuff’ that he admits they had avoided for years, in an “AARP Magazine” article.

When Keb’ Mo started out singing, he used the name of Kevin Moore. He adopted

his bluesy stage name in his early 40’s to allow listeners to see his dedication to

the subject of the Blues. He is not changing hit style, just created a whole new

batch of songs with, “If Somebody Hurt You,” a gospel-driven tune with zappy

sound and divulging roots of pain.

In “Move” and “I’m Gonna Be Your Man,” you will see how love made him a

renewed and changed man, with upbeat tempo, good lyrics. These songs

include Moore playing a variety of guitars and includes some organ ‘grooves.’

Sam Chamon’s song, “That’s Alright,” will be familiar to you. The rest are all

new and exciting. I have to laugh at his attitude, when his wife worried what

“people might think.” He said so aptly, “Honey, this is not a business for caring

what people think!” Humor, gospel, upbeat, sad and you have Keb’ Mo’s music.

 

If you don’t know Patty Griffin, you need to listen to her! She has a relatively

new album called, “American Kid,” on New West Records. She is one you can

easily listen to again and again. I am confident, if you are like me, who embraces

a wide variety of musical tastes, you will enjoy this one! Patty is bluegrass and

country, a combination that is a pleasure to listen to.

You also have heard of her long-time boyfriend, Robert Plant. He is embracing

his “mountain roots,” while accompanying Patty Griffin on this album. Plant

co-wrote, “Highway Song” and added musical touches and arrangements to

“Ohio.” This is a great combination of two musical talents. (If you wish to

listen to Robert Plant check his popular songs, “Net Worth” and “Rainbow.”)

If you want to know a song that is unique and has a lot of character, try:

“Wild Old Dog.” It is about the sad story of someone dropping off a mangy

old dog on the side of the road. If he had turned around and looked at the

car leaving him behind, it may have reminded you of “Old Yeller,” Chuck

Yarborough, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, music critic fame says. No,

instead there is a different way of taking this song:

“He tore off running

Like we’d set him free

And just disappeared right in front of me.

God is a wild old dog.”

(Which reminds me of an English high school teacher, weirdly enough, who

had us write a poem about dogs and God.)

Can you believe this prolific artist, Patty Griffin, probably already has another

album out called, “Silver Bell?”

 

Dave Mason played with the group, Traffic. In 1967, the band was formed with

Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. Dave is a songwriter/artist whose

song, “Only You Know and I Know,” for his newest album. In the old days, he

had written, “Feelin’ Alright” for Joe Cocker. What a great song that was!

He has played with Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix, among many other

legendary musician icons.

His group while recently featured on a talk show includes first name basis

singers, he introduced simply as, “Debby, Bonnie and Friends.”

Check out the songs, “Sad and Deep As You” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy.”

I enjoyed this philosophical perspective in his saying, (I did not use a tape

recorder, so this is the ‘essence’ of what I heard him say):

Quite simply, the songs are about human relations and that’s never going to

change. Colors change, seasons change, clothing styles and time passes.

This changes, that changes.

But leave that shirt in the closet long enough, it’ll become fashionable again.”

 

What are you listening to, lately?

 

Grown-Ups Here

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We are all “grown ups” here, I hope! I realize there are occasional young

people that are part of the blogging community that may wander in and

read one of my posts. There are ones who are as young as high school or

college who may stop by. I believe anyone who is logged into wordpress

or have their own blog are able to hear about a wide variety of subject

matters, or make the choice to ‘move on.’ I also think everyone should

read other posts, just in case the first one is just not your ‘cup of tea.’

Today, I am not trying to ‘start something,’ nor wishing to add too much

controversy in your lives. I don’t wish to shake you up or create drama

that you aren’t interested in.

I am hoping for a conversation about relationships.

The working relationship between the characters of Boothe and Temperance,

in the television series, “Bones,” had a great quotation that I will try to paraphrase

to give its essence:

(Boothe to Bones)

“Our perceptions are always colored by what we want to believe and hope for.”

I will share just some recent things that have caused me to ‘draw conclusions’

on the subject of couples.

Everyone has read or seen the subject, “Signs You Need to Break-up,” on the

television, in articles and on talk shows. Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, all have

their opinions and judgments.

I always hope you (my friends and family) will know and make that choice on

your own.

There are times, though, that you may feel as a good friend or family member,

that you have a right to express your opinion. You are my ‘family’ of sorts and

I wish to share reasons I would ‘give up’ rather than ‘fight’ to stay in a rocky

relationship.

You sometimes know, instinctively, when you have heard a person tell you about

someone who seems a little bit “off” or “wrong” for that friend.

Here are some strange and real examples observed or told to me by friends.  .  .

When You Know Things Are Going Wrong or

When You Need to Dis-Connect:

1. Calling one of the members of your ‘couple’ (spouse/partner) “Selfish.”

This is something that I could not believe someone said recently around me.

In this case, I would need to find out why that person was being considered

‘selfish’ and tend to think the one who is ‘name-calling,’ may not be meeting

that other person’s needs.

2. Using derogatory comments, with possible swear words, in a group or

family setting.

In this time, I was at a play area, where the person said this to the other one,

in a loud voice, while children were playing near by.

This would be, truly, a cause for leaving someone. Sorry, I don’t play around

with ‘maybe’s!!’

3. When you walk into a home, where the people are not great-grandparents,

and there are two Lazy-Boy’s, side by side, with an end table in between.

I am wondering how long have these people been living on parallel chairs,

with no bodies touching?

4. One participant in a relationship, who is not open for any counseling nor

discussions about improvements. There is a big, final door shutting on this

couple, I hear about at work.

5. Shorter version, not open to friendly (not nagging) suggestions and gets

hurt and insulted ‘easily’ by the other member in the couple.

6. One excuse after another, even when there is no financial nor scheduling

challenges, for having a ‘date night’ and time away from children.

7. One excuse after another, for months on end, with no physical or emotional

reasons behind these excuses, (unfounded excuses) for refusing any kind of

intimacy.

I would recommend the frank and explicit film, “The Sessions.” Our library has

it, it is about a man who is a parapalegic who has sexual healing sessions with a

physical intimacy counselor, played by Helen Hunt. It is very touching, I cried. I

felt that someone who is fully capable of having romance, will realize that it is a

gift to be able to do so.

This was brought up in a painfully honest, step by step movie, on how to get the

‘spark’ back into your marriage, in “Hope Springs.” It is not, in any way, funny.

But so honest and brutally true of some couples with their lives on hold, for

whatever reason. (Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep and Steve Carrell, in a

serious role as a counselor.)

8. In a shorter version of #6 and #7, one person ‘putting distance’ into a

relationship. There is something wrong, this needs to be fixed before it is

irreparably repaired or broken.

9. No ‘big’ secrets kept between members of a family.

10. There is an uneven distribution of ‘power’ or ‘control’ in the couple.

This can be quite upsetting, when you see one or both covering up this

but other times, the truth slips out. Control and abuse are both forgivable

situations for separation or divorce, in my mind.

(Not going to worry about the Bible, since there are not any passages to

support this. It is okay to leave if your partner leaves ‘first’ and you don’t

need to follow. This is the only example of infidelity being a reason for

leaving, that the Bible addresses. No words about if the person is being

abused, emotionally or physically.)

They fester, rot and eventually tear apart the foundation of trust and love.

There are many ways to have a wonderful relationship and it is no one’s

business but the two of you, unless it is a confidential, impartial member of

the clergy, physician, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist or member of the

medical field.

My friend, Melvin, is not embarrassed to talk about how his girlfriend has

undergone different surgeries, outcomes of having cancer in her internal

‘private’ areas. He doesn’t broadcast them, but when she had a colostomy

bag, due to her having colon cancer, she and he dealt with this. When she

had an ileostomy, due to having something go seriously wrong with her

urinary tract, they managed to get through this, too. She has improved her

health, taken steps to have both chemo and radiation, so now the “stoma’s”

are the only physical remainders of her having both urine and fecal ‘bags.’

Melvin once confided in me, that he and his girlfriend have found ‘ways

around the different complications’ to ‘express their love for each other.’

After 15 years together, that is wonderful and admirable, that they realized

that they still needed to feel physically connected.

We have had a few comments back and forth, last summer when I brought

up that I was contemplating intimacy with a man I had dated for over a month.

I was hesitant, I gave a few humorous examples of how three women plus

myself had told on our more embarrassing parts of ‘growing older.’ That post,

with different stimulants, varied physical challenges ended with one of the

women sharing a strange and uncomfortable position. Anyway, hope that it

is okay to tell you that I agree with Melvin.

There should be ‘no limits’ to the ways you would engage in closeness, with

another person. As long as Both Parties are comfortable and agree. If there

are parts that are not satisfying, then being open to changing the parts but

adding something else to enhance the happy feelings and connectedness

one feels while engaged in romantic activities. When there are physical

challenges, “there are always alternatives for both parties involved,” my

friend Melvin shared with me.

After we talked out in the parking lot, Melvin asked me if I felt like we

should not have ‘stepped into this area of discussion,’ being friends and

coworkers. I felt very blessed and happy by knowing them. Melvin’s girl

friend and he were able to overcome their obstacles, working like a ‘team.’

I told him I had high hopes to have someone who treated me with the

same respect and consideration that the two of them expressed for

each other. They were ‘blessed’ for this union of lives together. I am so

happy that Melvin kept with Diane, despite these physical challenges.

Melvin then reminded me Diane no longer has them, since they hung

on, through it. He said,

“We may be not married, but we treat our feelings like ‘vows,’ and the

one about ‘for better or worse,’ continues to apply to us.”

 

I ended the ‘personal space’ dialogue by saying,

“Of all the things my parents talked about and what I learned from their

own personal lives, sex is not the weirdest topic covered!”

He burst out laughing and we got into our own separate cars. Happy to

have an open-minded friend to share some personal moments with, once

in awhile.

Revolutionary Music Found in Movie

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While thoroughly laughing at some of the outrageous comedic complications

to be found in the British movie, “Pirate Radio,” I wondered why this movie,

was ‘panned’ and didn’t make it. Originally released as, “The Boat that Rocked,”

it was a fictitious story about the BBC being rather rigid in the choices of music,

they promoted and allowed on their channel. The ones who were ‘forced’ into

the ships floating in the Sound, have the music British teenagers really wanted

to hear! There are scenes where nurses and doctors are listening in, on their

‘night shifts,’ along with parents who had strictly forbidden their youth to listen

to this ‘trash’ and other derogatory labels given to ‘rock and roll.’

Kenneth Brannaugh portrays a very strict BBC broadcasting boss, who is trying

to use his authority to promote censorship over the ‘air waves.’ While the crazy

characters on board the ship, are sending radio ‘shock waves’ of rock and roll

music out into the English atmosphere. They  look like they are having a ball!

The gorgeous January Jones, is in a short part of the movie, as the “Duchess,”

while the main character is Tom Sturgess’ young teen, sent off to his godfather’s

domain, as a so-called “punishment” for being too wild in school.

After the movie, my Mom told my brother and I that she never could get why

parents were so upset over the lyrics, rhythm and movement that washed

over the musical industry during the period that this movie takes place in.

She mentioned the literary period where there was revolutionary thoughts,

along with the 50’s less serious musical and expressionary embodiment of

the “Beatniks.” She summed this up, coherently in this thought:

“Every generation has its rebels, who think they are totally original. While

their deterrents are ones who feel that their oppositional views will create

revolution.”

I have to remind you of why Mom is so open-minded, just in case you are

a ‘new’ reader or visitor to my blog. My Mom taught 30 years of high school.

She found the students that were repressed by authoritarian parents were

the first ones that showed rebellion, like the age old views on “P.K.’s” or

Preacher’s Kids.

My brother, Randy, while discussing the soundtrack, somehow got on to

the subject of how there are main stream artists, bands and singing groups

that go beyond their ‘comfort zones.’

His examples were eclectic and unexpected. An example of a vegetable song,

which may not have been drug-induced but sounds like it was:

“Smiley Smile,” by the Beach Boys! It is part of that same driving and catchy

album, “Good Vibrations” is on. I had never heard it! Loved it, due to its quite

unique sound.

Using synthesizers, combined with real instruments led us to YouTube, to

also pursue a group with a “genius,” in Randy’s mind and ‘ears.’ Have you ever

listened to the group, Craftwork? Gary Anderson’s “Heroes and Villains,” is

plain awesome!

The intriguing movie, that inspired a musical conversation about the “Beatniks”

by my Mom and my brother, Randy’s random musings, has great performances

from some ‘quirky’ actors, including the late, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and one

of my favorites, (from “Love Actually” and other British films) Bill Nighy. The

screenwriter is the one who came up with, “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

If you haven’t time to watch the movie, please check out the soundtrack. Lots of

popular songs can be found here, along with the sixties and seventies connection.

I enjoyed the way England received the harder styled rock and roll, showing

young people gathered in front of televisions there on the “Other side of the

Pond,” teen-aged girls shrieking and teen boys, hiding below their blankets,

trying to listen to the ‘pirated’ songs played on a boat.

A true page out of history that is enjoyable from beginning to the end! You may

need to include a brew, ale or wine to get in the humorous proper frame of mind.

If you are not a drinker, be prepared for absolute silliness, some rather risqué

scenes, included.

You may enjoy actual footage of DJ Robbie Dale, who was aboard the “Mi Amigo”

boat, captured by the film makers, Mike Hodges and Paddy Searle.

I cannot imagine a time when the Hollies and the Rolling Stones, among others

were considered so inflammatory and controversial!

Who would have imagined these ‘renegades’ would most of them have been

‘knighted’ by the Queen?!

 

Do you know a band who sang something you normally would not hear them sing?

They may have ‘stretched’ to encompass a different musical genre and out of their

“comfort zone?”

Were there any songs(or groups) your parents ‘forbade’ you to listen to?

 

Moral Dilemma

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One of my coworkers was rushing out of work, last Friday, after our

longer day than usual. She was on her cell phone, with her husband

who has a serious form of cancer, has been nearly fatally attacked from

within his body. My coworker’s name is Tina and her husband is Mike.

Sadly, Tina did not slow down as she approached the guard shack. She

saw a truck in the outbound ‘lane’ and went around to the inbound ‘lane.’

Sometimes, if we wait behind our company’s trucks, the security guard

will motion you on past to the left.

Usually, we wait an interminable amount of time, while the guard checks

the paper work, walks with the truck driver to the truck and there is a

procedure that includes looking at the rear latch on the truck, too.

There is a certain process or ‘protocol’ to be followed. I am sympathetic

with Tina, who was in a hurry to get home.

When you hear what action she chose, you may not be so understanding.

Maybe I am too judgmental?

You will have to let me know what you think about what she did. . .

While swerving to the left of the guard shack, without any signal or eye

contact given by the guard, (since an eye witness reported Tina’s actions),

we know that she proceeded to speed past the shack. . .

Just as the guard who had been looking down at the papers, chose

to step out of the little building on the left side!

Tina’s car struck the guard, who shouted (screamed out) in pain!

Tina continued on, heading down our driveway and exited onto the

roads leading towards her home.

Tina has shared with some people at work, that her husband had had

a seizure, that she was very traumatized while on the phone with him.

On this recent Monday, (7/14/14), I was walking towards the break

room, for a much needed respite from work, during our 1/2 hour lunch.

I was following one of our higher up’s, Ted, who was walking with two

police officers. He was leaning into them, quietly talking with them.

When I entered the break room, I looked through the glass, to see Ted

lead the police officers into the conference room, directly across the

hall from where I sit, facing a wall of glass windows. Our table faces

this direction, to watch “our”  daily show, Drew Carey’s “The Price

is Right” show. There are about half the group who face this way, while

the other large screen television presents a sports channel with its

own audience.

For only 20-30 seconds while the door to the conference opened and

then immediately shut as the men passed into the room; I saw Tina

sitting at the conference table.

I had heard different variations of the so-called “accident.”

I had also heard that we were not to discuss this at work, from one of

the uninjured guards. But he whispered the name of the guard who

was hurt, (Joe.) Along with the fact that the guard had called over to

the building’s security guard. Heresay was, he said they would get as

soon as possible a ‘substitute guard,’ to replace him. The warehouse

indoors) security guard was also advising that injured guard to go to

the Emergency Room, as soon as the ‘substitute guard’ arrived.

According to reports passed around, he did go to the Emergency Room,

got X-rays of his torso and hip, prescription for painkillers and he took

the rest of Friday evening through until Tuesday, off on ‘sick leave.’

When my good friends, who have more than a sandwich, sometimes

using the microwaves (not facing the glass window and hallway),

arrived at the table, I told them I saw policeman go into the conference

room, also, Ted and Tina were also inside that room.

Note: There is a back’ door to the conference room, which leads out past

the front of the building which would be a direct exit for the officers and

Tina to leave, if this were to occur. Later in the day, at our second break

on Monday, we agreed that she must have had to go down to the police

station.

We were talking about the situation and 4 of the 6 of my table-mates were

all very sympathetic towards Tina’s mental state and her home situation,

along with the pressure she has endured over the past 12 months.

I and one other ‘parent’ and concerned person for the security guard’s

position were saying we thought immediately of how we would feel so

much differently, if it were our own sons that got hit. Also, how wrong we

felt that Tina left the situation, without finding out how hurt or injured

the man, named Joe, was.

I am not trying to take a poll, nor was I really trying to play “Devil’s

Advocate,” but when I realized that everyone felt strongly in favor of

Tina, regardless of her actions, I held my tongue. The other person,

Jean, who has a son, and I quietly talked after work on Tuesday, when

there were no other people around.

The main reason why Jean and I brought up the subject again, was that

at the morning meeting, we were kind of surprised (shocked!) that Tina

was still among the employed. We have big meetings about Safety. We

are every month evaluated on a ten question or points system ‘review.’

If we have an accident, we are given less points for our review. If we

don’t eventually serve on the Safety Committee, we may never get a

Perfect Points’ evaluation for that criteria.

Our managers, two bosses, (heavy bulk and bins order fillers) did not

say a word. They did not say, “We should not discuss, during work

hours, anything about a legal situation, that is not in our realm of

employment subjects.” (Or some such ‘mumbo-jumbo.’)

My good friends, Tammy and Melvin, were saying during our Tues.

lunch, that they had offered to be ‘character witnesses’ to Tina,

should she be taken to court over her “Hit and Run” situation.

Since this was on our work site, before she had passed out of the

area where the security guard stays in the ‘shack,’ I was expecting

that she would be suspended. But, financially, I do understand that

she and her husband are dependent on her insurance and income.

He has not been employed since over a year ago.

On the other hand, the poor man who was ‘hit’ by the side of her

car, did have bruises and he feels pain in his side, hip and was

limping for the past few days. (I did not see him over the weekend)

Joe did come back to work on Tuesday, to sit inside at the desk,

wave the metal detector “wand” across us, while we pass through

the arch which also detects metal.

Joe, is a retired police officer, who chose to continue working after

62 years of age. He normally greets us, if he is stationed indoors,

with a jovial, “Good Morning!” He has been rather downcast,

depressed and when asked how he is, “Okay,” is his brief reply.

This reminds me of an Ethics course.  Also, most companies include

an ethics test in their employment process. . .

I have presented to you a ‘case.’ If you should wish to ‘weigh in’ on the

‘right’ or ‘wrong’ of this situation or maybe throw your ‘two cents in,’

please feel free to do so!

I like to discuss “moral dilemmas” and values, too, when gathered with

close friends or family.  Do you?