Category Archives: prejudice

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.

 

Red Carpet Highlights and Quick Summaries of Oscars

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This is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is mine. I embrace award

ceremonies and enjoy seeing what the rich and famous are wearing.

This has been something that goes way back to my childhood. I

would ‘negotiate’ before I even went to kindergarten, to stay up

late to watch something.

 

It would go like this, “Mom and Dad, I would like to watch “The

Sound of Music” or “May I stay up and watch, the Miss America

Pageant?”

 

Then, my Dad would say, “Name your ‘points.'”

 

This meant using adult negotiating skills and debate ‘points.’

 

I would promise to set the table, take a nap before dinner and I

would not be grumpy in the morning on the way to the babysitter’s.

I raised my three children in this manner, which really did not work

whenever I married. They thought parenting was a monarchy, I felt

it was a democracy, each person’s ideas and thoughts equally valid.

 

 

The Red Carpet before the Oscars, February 22, 2015:

 

I watched, “E!” for awhile and then switched to “Ryan Secrest and

His Crew on the Carpet.”

 

On “E!” Gilliana (sorry, not sure about the spelling but they called

her, “G” for short) had on a red lacy dress with her light strawberry

blonde hair looking very glamorous and off the 50’s “Society Pages.”

 

America Ferrrara had a gorgeous emerald green glittery sleeveless

dress. She looked beautiful.

 

Anna Kendricks’ caught my eye, along with many who have given

their reviews. She wore a peach dress that had a halter with a slit

in the bodice, revealing skin but no cleavage. It was tasteful and she

looked radiant in this color and her hair was swept up on her head.

 

Gina Rodriguez wore a royal blue dress that is from a designer,

which I apologize you may research the name but it is eco-friendly

material made of an environmentally safe material. I am not sure

if this means it will bio-degrade? ha ha!

 

The low cut, bejewled peach dress on Jennifer Lopez, with its full

skirt and floating, flowing train behind was so beautiful. She is just

exquisite, in her taste and ability to not age a bit. She looked like a

Princess in this flesh-colored dress.

 

“Common” the rapper who joined musical forces in writing and

performing the song from the movie, “Selma” named “Glory,”

was on the Red Carpet in a white shirt, white bow tie and black

tuxedo. It had soft black velvet details on the tux’s lapels. Their

collaboration was an excellent way to make their song relevant

for the times.

 

Reese Witherspoon wore a white dress with a black satin sash-like

stripe across her shoulders about four inches wide. It made her

look like she was from Audrey Hepburn’s period of fashion, a

real class act. There was a narrow one to two inch belt of this

black satin fabric at her waist line. Reese wore her hair down and

looked very stunning.

 

Dakota Johnson, who just performed in “50 Shades of Grey,” came

with her famous mother and also, knowing her last name, you may

have guessed this but she is the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie

Griffith. She had a slicked back brunette pony tail and she wore a one

shoulder red dress with diamonds or crystals along the edge of this.

The red was a perfect compliment to her porcelain skin and dark hair.

 

 

Eddie Redmayne looked like a teenager, with his hair a little punked

or messed up. He is the actor I was rooting for from the movie, “The

Theory of Everything.” He played Stephen Hawking. Last night, he

looked handsome in a dark blue tuxedo with black details. The designer

was McQueen. His wife, Sophie, is expecting and looked radiant in her

white dress.

 

Benedict Cumberbatch (who played Alan Turing in the movie, “The

Imitation Game”) and Eddie were saying they would be having a big

British ‘bash’ or celebration after the Oscars, including wives, along

with Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley and Felicity Jones, who was Eddie’s

costar. Ben wore a white tuxedo and llooked debonair. Both the men

were saying they felt they had brought the rain to California. A joke

since it is ‘always raining in England.’

Benedict repeated what Eddie had said, “We will all hang together

later on.”

 

Felicity Jones wore a silver-almost pearl like eggshell colored dress.

I heard someone else call it eggshell. It had a bluish tone to it from

a distance and yet, in brighter light looked pink. She is an attractive

young woman and her dress was pretty, too.

 

Robert Duvall’s wife is younger than he, not sure how much but it

is noticeable. She wore a peach glittery dress with deep, low cut and

revealing cleavage displayed. He was up for his performance in the

film, “The Judge.”

 

Tim McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill looked stunning. Faith’s short

hair style and dress was beautiful. Tim looked like he was ready for

the military with his very short hair cut. Later, as he sang the great

song, “I’m Not Going to Miss You,” from the Glen Campbell docu-

mentary, he wore his traditional cowboy hat. This tribute filmed

Glen’s family and friends who traveled around the country giving

a final concert and tribute to Glen, before he totally forgets who he

is. It was to give recognition and public awareness of Alzheimer’s

Disease, which he has had for awhile. The film documents how his

temper and frustration comes and goes, too.

 

Terence Howard, who awhile ago performed  in an Academy Award

nominated movie, “Crash,” and is presently working in the t.v. series,

“Empire,” looked great and discussed with Ryan Secrest his interest

in getting the recently ‘kicked off’ American Idol singer Rachel to

sing on “Empire.” He was saying his character, “Lucius wants to have

Rachel as part of his group of new singers. Lucius would like to be her

producer.” I enjoyed this exchange, since I not only enjoy American

Idol, I do often watch, “Empire.” Ryan said, “That won’t be a problem,

I will see what I can do. . .”

 

Zoe Saldana, who I will always picture her from the movie, “Avatar,”

but is a beautiful woman without any blue makeup on. (In the film

she wears a prosthetic that alters her nasal appearance and her face

is a lovely shade of blue.) She wore a pink rose-colored dress and had

her thick hair in a loose up-do, with curling tendrils around her pretty

face.

 

Rosamund Pike, the actress from “Gone Girl,” wore a red dress that

was appropriate for her venomous character. In reality, she probably

is the sweetest person, as she portrayed in “Pride and Prejudice,” the

older sister to the main character, Elizabeth. The dress was a fantastic

one, which had a long slit and she posed with her one leg forward,

revealing a lovely leg. Her hair was up in a tight bun. She looked

very attractive with her smile making her whole face light up.

 

Sienna Miller, (another Brit), was wearing all black and glittery gown

with a train. She looked like a beautiful porcelain Barbie doll. Her hair

was golden. She was a presenter.

 

Keira Knightley, from the movie, “Begin Again,” (the last of the Brits)

wore a cream colored dress with sprinkles of pastel flowers, violets and

pink Spring Beauties among them.

 

Julianne Moore, from “Still Alice,” was wearing an off the shoulders

white dress. She looked beautiful with her hair up. I really loved the

way she looked in green with her auburn hair worn down at the Golden

Globes. She is a fabulous actress, who can perform many different parts.

She demonstrated classical beauty in her all white attire.

 

Viola Davis wore a pink satin gown and announced the four people

who were given lifetime achievement awards, shown on another day.

The one I recognized was, Harry Belafonte. I wished they had shown

more of this program but the time element always runs long, so they

have to ‘pick and choose’ which parts to show the audience. Another

famous woman/actress who I believe was in a wheelchair during the

awards, was Maureen O’Hara. My Mom really adored this actress of

the past. She was ‘feisty’ and showed ‘character,’ I can just hear her

saying.

 

Kevin Hart, the black comedian, wore a handsome black shirt and

tie, white tuxedo with black lapels. He made me smile, as he said the

person he wished he could get a “Selfie” with was Meryl Streep. It

is always nice to hear famous people being humble and not expecting

to be the center of attention. He cracks me up, whatever films he is

in. I realize describing him as a man of color, may be inappropriate,

but it is hard to tell you who he is, since he is in so many different

movies. He is usually a ‘side kick’ character…

 

Anna Faris and her husband, Chris Pratt, are in movies, but more

known for her role in the television show, “Mom.” Chris is known

more as his character in the television show, “Community.” They

were making jokes that they had a sitter or family member watching

their toddler and were going to use the chance of tonight’s plans to

carry on and have some partying later on, too. Anna had a silver dress

that clung to her in ‘all the right places,’ she is stunning while fixed up

in formal wear. Chris looks like the ‘leading man’ role he is growing

into. The two grew up and have been together for years, coming from

the state of Washington. He wore a traditional black tuxedo with a

white shirt and bow tie.

 

THE MAIN EVENT: THE OSCARS

 

This is a set of random observations along with the awards that

were given out, with some reactions included.

 

“Everything is Awesome,” song from the “Lego Movie,” had the

silly guys from the t.v. cop situation comedy, “Brooklyn 99” in

the huge production accompanying this repetitive song. It was

upbeat and I have heard from my oldest daughter and my two

grandsons that it has a great message about accepting everyone

as they are. It was a fun and funny song in a positive performance.

 

“Whiplash” is about a cruel and demanding musical director.

This was the first award given out,

**Best Supporting Actor to J.K. Simmons.

 

“American Sniper” won,

**Best Sound Editing” award.

 

Adam Levine with Maroon 5 sang a wonderful song,

“Lost Stars.”

He and his wife looked beautiful but nothing sticks

out in their wardrobe to note.

This did not win the award for “Best Song.”

 

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” won two awards right off the bat:

**Best Costume Design

**Best Make-Up

 

(My opinion was, to tell you the truth, shocked. I felt that “Into

the Woods” and/or the three historically accurate films should

have been given a ‘bone.’ (“Unbroken,” “The Theory of Everything,”

and “The Imitation Game.” I have not seen, but have heard the

film, “Mr. Turner,” has lavish costumes and I need to see this since

my artist brother says he is a fantastic artist of his time.)

 

Someone announced that 47 years ago, the Academy Awards were

postponed in honor and respect for the assasination of Martin Luther

King, Jr. It happened only four days before the program/awards

ceremony was scheduled. This set the tone for the song, “Glory,”

that had John Legend singing in a soulful and lovely tone, while

playing the piano. Then, Common came out and added his powerful

and staccato rapped words. I felt the idea of juxtapositioning Jim

Crow laws (preventing blacks from voting) with the bald eagle

in the lyrics was powerful. Every time I hear this song, it has been

on three awards ceremonies, I always find something ‘new’ to focus

in on.

 

“Glory” from the movie, “Selma” won,

** Best Song.

 

“Whiplash” won an award for,

**Best Picture (or Film) Editing.

 

Patricia Arquette gave a fantastic and inspiring speech as she

accepted the award for,

**Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Boyhood.”

 

(She spoke up about the need for Clean Water, she mentioned

a specific company that her family supports and also, exclaimed

about “Women who have stood up for so many other peoples’

rights, need to finally, once and for all, be given equal pay for

equal work.”)

 

I liked, Rita Ora’s song, “Grateful,” which was lovely and simple.

This song did not win any awards.

 

**I wrote a post about “Big Hero 6” and declaring it deserving to

win Best Animated Children’s Film and it did!

I had taken Skyler and Micah to see this when it first came out.

There is a special school in the movie, where young people or

teenagers can attend to work on future inventions. The big, white

puffy robot with the film’s name captures your heart. It is empathetic

and caring, there is a time when it has to have this amazing quality

‘turned off’ to help fight in a situation. In the end, everyone realizes

the gift and magic of a ‘feeling robot.’

 

Two who weren’t nominated in this Academy Awards Ceremony,

Jennifer Anniston who was nominated for a SAG and Golden

Globe for her work in “Cake.” And David Oyelolo who performed

the character of Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Selma” who had been

given nominations in the other awards shows, they got up to give

out an award together. Neil Patrick Harris pointed out more than

once about the controversy of ‘lack of color’ in the Oscars this year,

as well as saying something funny about the two ‘rejects’ giving out

awards. (Not using the word, ‘rejects,’ though but the meaning was

given, anyway.)

 

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” took another  two awards,

**Best Production and Set Design

**Best Cinematography

(Now, adding put to four awards.)

 

Lady Gaga was, for me, one of the major exciting highlights of the

whole entire evening. You may wish to google or find her on Youtube,

singing the songs from the 50th Anniversary of “Sound of Music.”

If you have not been watching her or listening to her singing in an

enchanting voice, accompanying Tony Bennett on their collaboration

album, you will be amazed. Simply amazed.

 

When Julie Andrews came out and thanked her enthusiastically and

with such praise, you know that Lady Gaga will never forget this night.

 

Meryl Streep was weeping, had a hard time keeping her voice from

faltering as she introduced the people in all aspects of entertainment

who had died in 2014. Here are the names I recognized and decided

to list for you to sample and you will be surprised at the few who may

have slipped by last year. Also, a few who were not recognized or

honored, too.

Mickey Rooney

Bob Hoskins

James Garner

Elizabeth Pena

Maya Angelou

Anita Ekberg

Edward Hermann

Mike Nichols

Ruby Dee

Louis Jourdan

Sam Goldwyn

Richard Attenborough

Robin Williams

Rod Taylor

Lauren Bacall, plus many more directors, animators, film editing and

makeup, costumes, along with movie reviewers from all around the world.

 

When the names were finished being listed and their painted in watercolor

faces displayed, Jennifer Hudson sang a beautiful song for those who have

gone on. It was, “I Cannot Let It Go, my forever love. . .”

 

“Selma” got only the Best Song Award.

“The Imitation Game” only got one award.

 

“The Theory of Everything” actor who portrayed Stephen Hawking,

Eddie Redmayne won,

**Best Actor

 

“Still Alice,” actress, Julianne Moore who portrayed a woman with

Alzheimer’s Disease won,

**Best Actress

 

“Birdman” won:

**Best Director

**Best Screenplay

**Best Picture of the Year

 

Funniest moments were Neil Patrick Harris pointing out the seat

keepers, while the ones were up accepting awards, going to use

the bathroom or at the bar, along with ones who were giving out

awards. Octavia Spencer was asked to ‘keep her eyes’ on a clear

box which had N. P. H’s predictions in it.  He also came out in

his ‘tidy whities’ to show solidarity for the “Birdman” cast,

who apparently one of them feels it is ‘lucky’ to wear them,

mentioned on another awards show or interview.  The most

funny moment that was to ‘fix’ the mistake John Travolta

made by mispronouncing Idina Menzel’s name on the awards

ceremony last year. She read John’s name in the most goofy

way, he came out and they hugged and were smiling at the joke.

I did not feel it was funny, but I hope he doesn’t get in trouble

for this comment, but Sean Penn mentioned something about

the Mexicans who directed, “Birdman” may need to get their

“Green Cards.” (Awkward moment, I felt.)

 

Did you see any of the awards, replayed or in actual real

performance and appearance time?

What was your favorite part or parts?

If you don’t watch, which film were you hoping to win,

did it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artistic Genius

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My young friend, Margaret, at a fun blog recommended I see this

movie, “Camille Claudel” which is a French movie about Rodin and

one of his many female apprentices, who became enraptured with

him, became an artist by her ‘own right,’ and ultimately finished her

life in a mental

institution for 30 years. This was another example of how being a

woman during a different time period created challenges for her

own ability to present her artwork, mainly sculptures, to the world.

 

Poor dear Camille Claudel.

While getting this movie, you may have to go through a rather

complicated ‘search,’ since mine took me on a nearly ‘wild goose

chase.’

 

This was not available in the state of Ohio, in DVD form?

How is this possible?

 

Anyway, Central Campus of Southern State Community College

sent Delaware County District Library the movie, “Camille Claudel”

in VHS form. Thank goodness, I have one of those tiny televisions

with a VHS ‘drawer’ installed in it. It is one that has accompanied

more than one of my own three children off to college in the late

90’s and early 2000’s.

 

The director is Bruno Nuytten and has the sense of darkness in

his scenes and perspective thrown into his filming close shots.

The main actor, portraying Rodin, is Gerard Depardieu who was

in the American movie, “Green Card” and is well know for his

Academy Award nominated role in, “Jean de Florette.” The

female character is played beautifully by Isabelle Adjani. She

may be recognized for several roles but more famous, at least to

me while playing in, “Ishtar.” She was nominated for her portrayal

of  a character she played in, “Story of Adelett.”

 

This fine French film, “Camille Claudel, fascinated me. It was truly a

disturbing masterpiece. It  was nominated for “Best Foreign Language

Film” in 1989. (Gerard Depardieu was thin and muscular in this film.)

The story begins with a young, lithe woman in an alley in Paris, where

she is digging into a cliff of what looks like mud.  This must have some

amount of ‘clay’ in it.  She is gathering clumps of this, being muddy

from head to foot, and flinging it into her large container; like a bucket.

 

The brutal cold scene depicts snow on the ground.

It is February, 1885.

 

Camille’s story is full of  harrowing and intensely dramatic moments.

I hope you may look up her fantastic sculptures.  One which has the

name of “The Chatterboxes.” In the film, the piece looks like it is

carved from black coal, in its raw material state.

The beautiful sculptures may be viewed at the Musee D’Orsay in

Paris, France. Or much closer, you may look Camille Claudel on

the Internet.

 

Another, called, “Age of Maturity,” a neighbor child named Robert

asks such a sweet and insightful question of Camille of a gorgeous

sculpture:

“How did you know there were people inside the big rock?”

As if she had chiseled them Micah said,

“Out of their hiding place, like in a cave.”

 

My grandson, age 5 1/2 mentioned when I had him come across the

room where I sat at the dining table watching this film.

Micah was over by the living room section of my apartment watching

Saturday morning “Sponge Bob Square Pants” episodes and eating

pancakes he had helped make.

 

Later, he took a “cartoon break” to wash the dishes, taking his shirt off

and standing on my step stool. He rushed out to see a particularly

dramatic scene where the noise caught his attention.

 

Sadly, Camille Claudel was used and debased in every way.

She became a model, muse and an original artist and sculptor,

under the tutelage of Rodin.

 

She lost touch with her father, mother, brother and reality by

becoming immersed and having a long-lasting affair with Rodin.

Rodin’s wife who lives apart from Rodin, while he is ensconced

in his huge studio, calls Camille loudly on the streets, “Whore”

and many obscenities.

 

I felt it was most depressing that her husband is still given his

wife’s adoring attention, not disparaging HIM with the same

kind of swearing in other scenes. She persuades him after many

years of his intimate relationship with Camille, to move away.

When Camille is eventually thrown out of Rodin’s studio, having

served her time with him for almost 28 years, I cried. It is such

a tragedy, but you cannot help wanting to see more. . .

 

Camille writes long letters to the Court and Magistrate, asking

and pleading for her own sculptures and art pieces, ones she

designed to be given back. She independently had created lovely

marble sculptures with fine detailed hands, arched backs and

her brother finds her living in the upstairs of an abandoned

building, wishing to use his fame as a poet, along with his good

friend, “Blot,” who wishes to be her ‘benefactor.’ He is meaning

by helping financially and wonderfully is not asking her to give

her still beautiful body to him.

 

There is a point when the Court says she was ‘paid’ for her donations

of her artwork. (They were stolen and kept by Rodin.)

Camille defiantly declares,

“I burned the check!”

 

Her anger at her inability to get her own art back leads her to yell

about “Rodin’s gang.” She feels that France calling her sculptures,

“Property of the State,” are wrong but cannot find anyone at any

level to listen to her pleas. Her friend and lawyer, “Dr. Michaux,”

tried his best to defend her. The cops who haul her each time out

of the courtroom seem to show a more sympathetic view, as they

take her away.

 

When her father is dying, Camille goes to see him, she listens but

cries as he says she ‘disappointed him,’ but he ‘still loves her.’

There is something hurtful and touching in her studying the

Her brother, after the one singularly amazing gallery opening,

describes her pieces as lighting the inner beauty and qualities

of people through her sculptures. They have such delicate and

sensitive details, but she later while they are transported back

to where she is ‘squatting,’ is told not one piece was sold. Her

appearance in finery at the opening, with rouge and red lips

made her appear scandalous, unfortunately.

 

Camille destroyed many of her pieces, her madness in these

scenes of devastation is understandable. I would have gone

mad, under the circumstances.

The authorities never jail her in prison.

 

It was her own brother who ultimately, ‘betrayed her,’ and using

the ‘excuse’ of preventing her from hurting herself, placed her in

the mental institution.

 

Camille Claudel was put into a mental institution in March, 1913.

She lived, ‘imprisoned’ there, until 1943.

 

Camille never did any more artwork after she was placed there.

This was her own way of rebelling and refusing to ‘buckle under

authority.’

 

Thank so much for recommending this, Margaret! Your comment,

after reading my post about Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna Mozart

led me to watch this. You were so right in your choice of this movie,

another example where because of her gender, along with her

choice to become involved with a famous sculptor and artist,

she lost herself.

You may find Margaret who has a clever and funny video of

herself recently on a post at:

http://verybangled.com

 

 

The best question I feel needs to be asked,

“Where does creative passion separate from insanity?”

 

 

Onward later tonight, I will be watching, “Amadeus,” which I had

seen so many years before. . .

My grandson, Micah, is with me, while playing Teenage Mutant

Ninja Turtle ‘free games,’  I will try to check a few posts out.

Symbolic Bridges

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Oprah and thousands join her as she crosses the bridge in Selma.

She and the cast for the movie, “Selma,” took several takes in

their arm in arm walk together. It could not have been without

some impact on their lives. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Day, I was going to write about the anniversary of the bridge walk.

 

On January 8, 2015, some who chose to walk across the Edmund

Pettus Bridge located in Selma, Alabama. There is a photograph

of this recent bridge crossing. It is a small gathering but the post

has many who wish to view this. It is such a big deal that every

year, not always on the exact days of the peaceful marches, people

go to Selma to cross the bridge. To allow the freedom to soak into

their weary bones. It has not been an easy battle, even to this day.

 

The 50th “Golden” celebration of this famous event will be called

the “Bridge Crossing Jubilee,” held  March 5-9th, 2015. There is

still time to join this annual event for its anniversary.

 

Its kick off  Gospel church music concert will be on March 1, 2015

in Selma, Alabama. The memory of the deceased little girl innocents

will be shining their angelic glow upon the listeners.

 

This all is in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and of those who

walked across that bridge, some who died or were severely injured.

It is also in triumph, progress made and the way one huge step can

make an equally large impact on a country or world.  After all, our

President Obama may never had made it as far as he did, had not

those everyday men and women walkers had chosen to stay home,

out of fear.

 

The ending of the movie, “Selma,” lists several people whose lives had

changed due to their bridge walk. They include someone who had lived

over 80 years, a black man, never getting a chance to vote. There was

the white woman, first name Viola, (I did not take notes in the darkened

and hushed movie theater) who had chosen to join forces and cross the

bridge on the third time. She died when she drove a black person home

being given the hateful epithet, possibly real or imagined, by a storyteller

of “white nigger.”  The one who rose to be a senator, one who wrote for

a paper and others, all had found and felt the tremendous impact that

came out of one day to remember.

 

I learned one thing, that I did not know since most of the story has

been retold and covered. This is still a powerful movie to watch.

I did not know about the three times the walk across the bridge

was carried out nor how each one ended.

 

This will not ‘spoil’ your viewing of “Selma,” but may make you pay

more close attention:

First time across the bridge, it appears to be one hundred walkers who

have decided to gather and try to make an attempt to rock the country.

There is a place where the leaders of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s close-

knit group gather, enjoy a hearty breakfast and there is joviality and

a sense of brotherhood. Then, sadly, there has to be choice to pick straws

who will be in the ‘front line.’ The details of who got the short straw will

not be revealed here.

 

This walk for the first time is filled with trepidation, since the sheriff of

Selma is extremely bigoted and even there are scenes with the governor,

George Wallace fearing what may happen. When they get to the precipice

of the bridge, a curved bridge where you must walk upwards and then

head downwards, you can see the footsteps slowing down.

 

The next time the group goes up the hill of the bridge, there is a much

larger group and there are reinforcements from priests, ministers and

others who are Caucasian. Their presence buoys the inner sanctum of

MLK, Jr.’s group, they feel vindicated for any wrongdoings and deaths

that have gone on in between. There is a tremendous surge of energy, as

they get to the crest of the bridge. MLK, Jr. stops, he kneels and he prays

silently. The rest of the thousands gathered arm in arm who are behind

him kneel and wait.  Again, I won’t reveal what transpires.

 

History is being made. I felt the emotions in the audience, the bated

communal intake of breaths.

The third time the group gathers, it is in full preparation for the walk

across the bridge. Martin Sheen portrayed the judge who allowed the

sanction of crossing the Selma bridge. The governor and the sheriff,

with his ignorant band of white supremacists, are not going to get this

group to stop their crossing. It is going to happen, there is a broad

expanse and larger numbers than any of the first two attempts, there

are 2/3rds of the group white, according to one of the sources I read.

 

I had not intended to see another emotional upheaval movie. The first

three Academy Award nominated films, were all tear-jerkers. I had felt

‘spent’ and looking forward to meeting my good friend, Gary, who is a

sports writer at the Columbus Dispatch. I had agreed on either going to

“Birdman” or “Grand Budapest Hotel.” The first is with Michael Keaton

and since I felt he was a sensitive past actor who played “Batman,” I

could count on not dropping any tears. I also was amused by the trailer

and write-ups of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” with the funny actors in it.

 

We arrived at the Columbus Gateway Film Center on High Street, to

find a long line of young people chattering and bunched in a thick

group going into the building and up the stairs. Gary and I asked about

the line, it was for the multiple theaters showing, “American Sniper.”

We skipped around this, while Gary whispered to me, “We can use the

old people’s card, should someone try to stop us.” We went up the busy

escalator and when we got to the top saw the huge and bustling area of

the ticket sellers in front of crowded lanes. I was not sure what was going

on but since I assumed Gary may be like many guys I know, I left the line

and went to ask the guard. He said the line on the stairs was coming up

to join the group here, but they were all going to the “American Sniper”

film. So, being a little pushy, Gary took me through the melee and we

got to the front, only to find out that the two easy going movies, one

with a super hero and the other with a group of wacky hotel employees,

were:  “Sold Out.”

 

I did not hesitate to say to Gary, “Let’s go see the movie, ‘Selma!'”

We got into the theater only to find it half full. We each said to the other,

this is sad. We both agreed we had not wished to see an emotional film,

but it may have ‘meant to be.’  I am so glad the karma had the other

two films packed and not allowing us to see this fine film.

 

I will say there are magnificent performances, the director and David

Oyelowo should have been given Academy Award nominations. I

won’t go into the whole debacle about why there is less diversity in

this awards competition, but I am just going to say I am happy that

People’s Choice and Golden Globes nominated this film,

since “Selma” is worthy.

 

The song “Glory,” sung with John Legend and the rapper, Common,

is very beautiful.  Remember, I have seen three of the other contender

movies and will tell you their songs are not as ‘rich’ in sound and

meaning.

 

Some thoughts to share about real and symbolic bridges:

~ We can choose to find our own private bridge to cross.

~ Peaceful choices make a difference.

~ Touching just one life, and changing it, is enough.

~ To be able to reach more lives proceed forward.

 

~ One action or kindness contributes to another producing:

a.  Domino effect

b. Ripple effect

c. Paying forward

 

~ However you label your decision to help someone, it is still help.

~ Emotions and feelings spread easily.

~ Take courage in expressing positive choices.

~ Sharing emotions is instinctive, shown in these two examples.

a. Babies in a nursery cry together. The first one sets off the rest of them.

b. Toddlers in a sandbox see or hear someone else cry, reaching for a toy.

One may hand theirs over, without concern or need for praise.

 

~Giving in and letting go of prejudices and preconceptions is elevating.

~ Love has no boundaries once this happens.

 

Written by Robin O. Cochran

(Not taken from any sources, other than my own feelings about Selma’s bridge.)

 

“The Breakthroughs Issue” of December, 2014 “Preventions” magazine is

a great source of news about health and healthy food choices.

 

A man making a profound difference in prosthetic equipment is featured

in an article called, “Out on a Limb.”

This man, Eythor Bender, is using the ‘bridge’ I listed above to use a “kind

action” to create these wonderful and more natural replacements for arms

and legs. Frustrated by the medical breakthroughs available only to the

“elite” in our society, those who are wealthy, he came up with a program.

“Unyq” is a San Francisco based company which uses 3-D printers to create

symmetrical body parts to the user’s healthy limb. This alone is remarkable,

since in the past they did not often ‘match’ the size or shape to the original

on the other side of the body.

 

Bender was recognized internationally during the New York Fashion Week,

2014. His bionics were on a model walking the runway. Sure this should

make him proud or feel good about himself, but this quote from Eythor B.

says it ‘all:’

 

“People tell me it feels like they’ve got their legs back for the first time

in their lives. That’s really something!”

 

Bender expressed happiness that the new Unyq program is being covered,

since he has made the prices low enough, by many insurance providers.

Keeping the price down, will meet the needs of most of the patients who

need realistic and comfortable prosthetics.

 

This article was uplifting and made me feel it met the ‘requirements’ of

crossing a ‘bridge’ in medicine, with its ripple effect going into all areas

of society and hopefully, the world.

 

Another creative health program which is still in the newer stage and not

necessarily FDA approved is, Immuno-Therapy. This is to fight cancer

through immune system injections. There are three stories, one man and

two women, who participated in this trial program who have seen their

melanoma disappear. This is another ‘bridge’ to cross, hopefully the first

start will be like MLK, Jr.’s first attempt to cross the Selma bridge, one

that will be followed repeatedly,  with more and more positive results.

 

 

 

Native American View on “Two-Spirits”

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An article by Cecelia LaPointe, who refers to “Two-Spirit”

which addresses and rekindles awareness of Native Gender

identity, was in the Ohio “Outlook” magazine. This was my

resource which I used finding great Christmas music lists

and an article about Bette Midler in December.

 

In November, Cecelia came to OSU campus to host a poetry

workshop and speak on racial identity and the “Two-Spirit”

existence. Ms. LaPointe has also visited Columbus during

both Native American Heritage Month and Trans-gender

Awareness Week. (Two opportunities I missed last year to

feature in my monthly calendar.)

 

Indigenous communities of Native Americans use the “Two-

Spirit” label to denote gender variations within their people.

In the world, they consider Europe and American cultures

“binary” genders. “Two-Spirits” become a third or even fourth

gender among native societies.

 

“Two-Spirits” are denoted or designated from birth, through

a ritual. This belief of a person embodying masculine and

feminine spirits, two ‘identities inhabiting a single body’ is

not considered ‘weird,’ ‘strange’ or ‘inappropriate.’ Instead

the Native Americans ’embrace’ the different way of life.

 

Two things mentioned in this essay about Cecelia and her

tribe’s belief in what sets these particular people known as

“Two-Spirits” apart:

1.) They dress and change their choice of who they are from

day to day. They are not all ‘one way’ in their feminine or

masculine clothing.

2.) They may choose to carry out tasks or labor, not dependent

on their outward appearance. Gender roles are not delineated

or dictated in the “Two-Spirit” existence.

For example: A person could go out on a hunt or go to war, but

at other times may dress in women’s clothing and carry out

domestic chores. Women could become  ‘warriors’ or chiefs

over their native tribes.

 

Interestingly, according to Ms. LaPointe,  “Two-Spirits” were

not only tolerated, but they were ‘revered.’  For instance, they

were well respected and considered, ‘powerful.’ They often were

given special roles such as healers, mediators and counselors.

 

There are instances where bigotry of “Two-Spirits” has been

carried out. When historians bring up the arguments of their

contributions and respected positions it is to counterbalance

those who say Native Americans are “transphobic.”

 

Sometimes, Natives would bring up “tradition” as a reason to

exclude people who chose to carry out their ‘birthright’ as

“Two-Spirit” people.  They would be acting close-minded to

the long history of the revered members of their tribes.

Ancestors of Native Americans were not against “Two-Spirit”

people, elders were often of this delineation.

 

Ms. LaPointe brings up Spanish missionaries as those who

planted the ‘bad seeds’ which germinated prejudice against

“Two-Spirited” people. “They (Two-Spirit) were essentially

the first victim in the campaign of colonial violence against

the native population of the Americas.”

 

Ms. LaPointe considers herself of  ‘mixed descent’ and feels

she is part of “both cultures, both worlds.” She grew up in a

Detroit suburb and lives in the northern town of Manistee.

She travels to her reservation in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula)

regularly. She is a descendant of the Anishinaabekwe Tribe,

native of the Great Lakes region.

 

Cecelia LaPointe says her reservation is very small yet it is her

“home.” This is where she goes to be with family members. Some

of her own family members hold leadership positions within her

tribe. It is part of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Being

located far from the city means it is a positive place for her to

retreat. It is also good since. . .

‘There is less influence from the dominant culture there.’

 

Ms. LaPointe reaches out to others, through her writing

and public speaking. By going to college campuses, she

can share her poetry and also, her viewpoint where the

students may be encouraged to be ‘themselves.’ She hopes

to reverse the history of discrimination against both the

Native Americans and also, those who are filled with what

they call, “Two-Spirit.”

 

There was a wonderful piece of artwork that accompanied

this article in “Outlook,” November issue. It has the artist,

George Catlin’s (1796-1872) painting called, “Dance to the

Berdache.” This was drawn while the Sac and Fox people

of the Great Plains were engaging in a ceremonial dance to

celebrate the “Two-Spirit” person.

 

Here is a part of a poem that talks of her emotions,

“Poem: Ajijaak Dodem Anokil

It is so precious,

Those tears on my hands,

Covering my face,

This grieving is beautiful,

You see we had felt those knives turned inward

On ourselves,

On our family. . .”

 

You may wish to check out Cecelia Rose LaPointe’s poetry

or speaking schedule and other special events at:

http://www.anishinaabekwe.com

 

My youngest daughter and I recently saw, “The Imitation Game,”

which depicts an underlying sadness within the main character.

It is a true story about Alan Turing, a genius. He was the inventor

of a de-coding machine that ‘beat’ Germany’s war coding machine,

“The Enigma.” This British machine helped the Allies win World

War II against the Germans.

 

Apparently, Alan Turing was a man who faced accusations and

there were parts of the film which eluded to his sexual preferences.

This movie brought up the problems that people historically have

faced (and are still overcoming).  The end of the movie has details

about large numbers, unfortunately, of people who were thrown in

British prisons, due to their homosexuality.

 

The actor is one I enjoy as “Sherlock” on PBS and also, has been

in the “Dr. Who” British television series. His name is Benedict

Cumberbatch. You can see him in more than one 2013 Academy

Award nominated movie, since he played in “12 Years a Slave”

and “August: Osage County.”

 

The woman who befriends him and who is very talented in

decoding and helping with the Turing Machine, is played by the

wonderful actress, Keira Knightley. My favorite role she has

played was in, “Pride and Prejudice,” but there are many more

films to see her in.

 

After the movie, when I talked with my youngest daughter who had

cried (as I did, too) during some of the tender and intense parts of the

film, we both agreed upon deep emotions we have in common.

We also share values my parents and siblings embrace.

It is hard to understand why anyone would be so offended by

someone’s personal choices.

 

Sadly, the United States has had many different areas where

numbers of people who chose to be ‘different’ from what some

may perceive as ‘normal’ or ‘mainstream.’ Obviously, numerous

people are still either bullied or face judges in court rooms.

 

Persecutions in the United States have been appalling and we

talked about our abhorrence of this.

 

No country is totally ‘innocent’ of negative practices of prejudice

and persecution. “Racial profiling” has been a problem within our

extended family.  (My oldest daughter’s father of little Micah is

bi-racial. Mainly, since 9/11/2001, he has had taunts and threats

due to his outward appearance. In his younger years, he says at

least in Delaware, Ohio, he found people wanting to be his friend

throughout his schooling and working years.)

 

The numbers of those imprisoned, at the end of the movie, were

such that we just shook our head and looked at each other through

teary eyes, in disbelief. Felicia asked me, “How can anyone feel

they have the right to judge someone else?”

 

This article about Native Americans and “Two Spirit” individuals

was saved in my WordPress drafts.  It helped me to feel that there

is a positive force to include gays and lesbians within the Native

tribes. Their ‘explanation’ or interesting philosophy towards people

who choose to follow two different genders created new thoughts

in my mind. Mother Nature has some unique qualities which I

embrace, sometimes intuitively.

 

Of course, I have mentioned before. . . I have hope for our future

in the possibility that all peoples can accept and embrace our

differences.

 

Written in Memoriam of Alan Turing, scientist, original computer

inventor and mathematician who committed suicide at age 41, a

few weeks before his 42nd birthday in  June, 1954.

Queen Elizabeth II gave Alan Turing a post-humous “pardon” in

2013 for his criminal charges and offenses.

 

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 Legend: Mavis Staples

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Wishing an early “Happy Birthday to Mavis Staples!” Her birthday will be

July 10, 1939. Wow! In her 75th year of singing a rich and still fresh

combination of blues, soul, folksong anthems, and Gospel music, she

just put out another album in 2013!

Way to go, Mavis Staples!

Mavis’ newest album is titled, “One True Vine.” I learned more about

her personal journey through her life and also, a definite proposal

and romance I had no idea existed! You may not guess which famous

singer asked her “Pop’s” for permission to have her hand in marriage!

Mavis’ “Pop” put together the family singing act called, “The Staple

Singers” long ago, while she was at the tender, young age of 8 years

old! While the Peace Movement and Civil Rights Movement were the

ones who ‘took her there,’ the popular song, “I’ll Take You There,” was

what got the group on the top of music charts!

Listening to the lyrics, knowing it was originally a gospel song that

was intended for the listener to believe in going to a place called

“Heaven,” makes it even more spiritual and inspiring.

During the sixties, being on stage with Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King,

Jr. made her inspired and gave her so much encouragement for the

world. Her life was spent traveling around to big cities, performing and

feeling the wave of love and hope rising amongst African Americans.

On an interview with CBS Saturday Morning, (5/17/14), Mavis said that

being around MLK, Jr. was to feel ‘unbelievable joy.’ To be in his ‘presence’

brought her so much meaning to her life.

During this timely period in the United States, there was another

young ‘mover and shaker’ in the music industry. Mavis spent a lot of

time with that curly haired, good looking Bob Dylan.

There came a time, Mavis recounted that,

“Bobby told my Pops, ‘I want to marry Mavis.'”

Pops responded,

“‘Don’t tell me, tell Mavis!'”

While grinning happily, telling the interviewer this love story,

he asked with some excitement,

“What did you say to Bob?”

She reflected, smiling and said,

Well, remember I was very young, so I told him, ‘Let’s wait awhile.'”

She went on to say (the essence of this moment being the real meaning

in her words, paraphrased here):

She wondered what changes her life would have had, how marrying Bob

Dylan would have impacted her life and then used a phrase that I will

tell you the interviewer had to ask her to repeat and explain.

Mavis wondered what it would have been like to make ‘chrome-crushers’

with Bobby.

The words meant, children or babies with him. She was pondering this

and looking happy, still. She felt that she had been attractive, I

forget if she called herself a ‘fox’ or what, but he was definitely

someone she had love for and a huge crush on, too!

Mavis says that her life was spent ‘coming at it with her heart.’

When Mavis Staples won her first Grammy, she remembered that her

Pops had said not to worry about that but they were (basically)

singing for the Lord and “to reach people.” It was a great piece

of philosophy, not to worry about your awards in life, just what

actions you do and how it effects people.

At the 55th Grammy Award ceremony in February, 2013, Mavis Staples

won the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, looking very

stunning and vibrant. If you punch in her name and Grammy 2013, you

will see her the way she still looks. So beautiful inside and out!

She performed, by the way, in a tribute to Levon Helm, with the ‘likes’

of Elton John, Zac Brown Band and Mumford and Sons that fantastic

evening show to remember!

Mavis laughed, saying that she did, “Buy a stand for that Grammy,”

though!

The upbeat tone in her speaking and singing voice wins you over,

despite her vocal range not being as wide as I am sure it was in her

‘heyday!’ She has two songs that were very special to me.

I have sometimes, like many people do, worried about my appearance

and this song, “I Like the Things About Me,” including her comments

in the song disparaging her hair and her lips. She uses this verse,

“I like the things about me, that I once despised…”

“There was a time I wished my hair was fine…”

“There was a time I wished my lips were thin…”

In the end, the message was similar to today’s artist, Lady Gaga’s.

Mavis’ lifetime of having racial hurdles to overcome, make her

simple songs even more powerful. And timeless…

“Love yourself.”

(The essence of the lyrics was she came to the point in her life,

when she could accept ‘the me that I am.’)

The lively and pretty song, “Freedom’s Highway,” still has a world

wide application. As she mentioned the children (girls who were

kidnapped in Nigeria) and ‘everywhere looking at America to see what

we will do.’

“March each and every day,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around,

Made up my mind and won’t turn around.

There is just one thing,

I can’t understand, my friend.

Why some folk think freedom

Was not designed for all men,

Yes, I think I voted for the right man,

Said we would overcome.”

She repeated that ‘the whole world is wondering why America

is not stepping in to help those girls.’

Mavis Staples’ songs to look up on Youtube and listen to are:

“You Are Not Alone,” (2010)

“Eyes on the Prize,” (2007)

“One True Vine” (2013).

I was uplifted by Mavis’ energy and her loving nature shown in the

interview this Saturday morning. I needed only to see her face, to

remember that, not too long ago, Grammy Awards Show.

Where I had really listened to Mavis Staples’ singing and messages.

Adding to everyone’s loving voices raised in tribute to Levon Helm.

(If you were a fan of “The Band,” you were listening to his drumming

and percussion skills.)

Now go out, sing dance and march to the music!