Mothers’ Day 2022–rise up all you mothers

May 8, 2022

Since cave men allegedly conked a woman on the head and dragged her back to his cave, women have been treated as sex objects, slaves, non-persons except in their context of ‘mothers’. I believe that women rock this world in more ways besides with their hand on a cradle. Strong women are my sheros. From the VP of the United States Kamala Harris to the single mother who is raising her children to rise above any hardships–reminding them that they are loved and important human beings.

Heather Cox Richardson, a historian and writer of true, strong words in her post today: But “Mothers’ Day”—with the apostrophe not in the singular spot, but in the plural—actually started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mothers’ Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society.

Julia Ward Howe, the true originator or Mothers’ Day asks all women (mothers or not) “Arise, women!” Howe commanded. “Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.


Celebrate Black History Month by reading

February 4, 2022

Every February since 1976, Americans have been celebrating Black History Month. Black History Month is an extension of Negro History Week created in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Rev. Jesse E. Moorland to make all of us aware of the significant contributions of black people to our country and the world.

Way back in 1967, I took a sociology course entitled Black History. I was attending, what was then, Southwest Texas State College in San Marcos. It was a shit-kicker and future teachers school, so just the name of the class got the campus all lathered-up. The slightly-nutty professor–sometimes standing on his desk to make a point–opened our eyes, and minds, regarding black people in America. Included were black authors who brought forth their experiences as individuals and as a people. So to help celebrate Black History Month, I’d like to recommend a few books I was introduced to in that class.

Go Tell it on the Mountain A short, but powerful book, written by James Baldwin, a prominent voice in the civil rights movement. His partially auto-biographical novel echoes the struggles of the soul blended with the social struggles of being black in America. He expresses the role of the Christian church in the black community as both repressive and hypocritical.

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin So, Griffin, disguised as a ‘Negro’–he actually darkened his skin through medical treatment–traveled in the segregated South and journaled his observations. Even though I thought I knew the injustices perpetrated on racial minorities, this book took me to the depths of the crushing world of racism as Griffin aptly describes how he becomes filled with hopelessness and despair after only a few weeks of living as a black man.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Hailey). Malcolm X was big back then another rallying point in the civil right movement. His conversion to Nation of Islam, and association with leader Elijah Muhammad, directed his preaching the radical and controversial concepts of black pride and social justice.

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois Manning Marable says about this particularly intellectual book, yet moving book, “Few books make history and fewer still become foundational texts for the movements and struggles of an entire people. The Souls of Black Folk occupies this rare position. It helped to create the intellectual argument for the black freedom struggle in the twentieth century.”

And, most of all the poems of Langston Hughes. Sadly, this poem is still relevant today. We have not evolved much and even seem to be going backwards as a society and country.

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak. –excerpt from Let America be America again. 

So, why are these books important? Because they provide evidence to the racist attitudes and practices that are our history. In a recent study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, it seems the Texas State Board of Education is trying to erase the reality about segregation from the standard history/social studies curriculum at public schools. “Incredibly, segregation is not even mentioned except in a passing reference to the 1948 integration of the armed forces,” the study states. Even though we think “we’ve come a long way, baby” there is still work to be done to ensure everyone is treated as belonging to the same race–the human race.

“Always look for another point of view, always learn from people not like you.” Hey, I said that!


Happy New Year from an old hippie

January 2, 2022

When is it too late to say “Happy New Year”? My personal opinion is it’s appropriate all through January, then it becomes tiresome. Also, we forgot our black-eyed peas. I hope that does not forecast a calamitous year.

However… things aren’t looking too good in the USA right now. Most days, I open up Facebook, Twitter or news sites and go WTF! 

At my age, it’s hard to face the reality of our possible demise. My generation spent so much time and energy trying to create a place of equal opportunity for all genders, ethnicities, ages et. al. and for education, housing, healthcare, civil rights…

And, the saddest thing to me was when I told a group of 30-40ish women that ‘I was just an old hippie’ and that’s where my values and attitudes were born and raised, they just gave me a blank, puzzled stare. Suddenly, I felt my age a bit more. 

Our poor planet! Katharine Hayhoe’s TED Talk addresses the issue of climate change.  Her message “the most important thing you can do is just talk about it,” makes this talk essential viewing.

If you want to escape reality for a while, my suggestion, if you like science fiction, is to watch all five seasons of “The Expanse” on Amazon Prime. The sixth and last season is airing now. Best stuff out there! I confess to watching it three times–’cause I’m old and my mind wanders.

world peacePeace and love y’all,


2021–the year of the roller-coaster

December 29, 2021

2021 should have been better. Instead, it propelled our lives thru loop de loops, ups and downs.

January began in fine San Antonio tradition, with a plethora of fireworks in every neighborhood. Though illegal within city limits, that never stops anyone from lighting up the sky with bottle rockets and gunfire.

https://www.ksat.com/news/local/2021/01/01/watch-san-antonio-celebrates-the-end-of-2020-with-hundreds-of-illegal-fireworks/

In the same skyward excitement in December 2021, the James Wolf Space Telescope went into space and beyond. Not science fiction, but real-life science. One of my twitter friends @starstrickenSF tweeted “Lift off. Let’s go! 13 billion years back in time to the edge of the universe.”

This so much better than the “let’s go Brandon” brouhaha which is some kind of lame attempt to say ‘F**K Joe Biden. This comes from the same type of idiots who refuse to get vaccinated (non-scientific); participated as traitors and insurrectionists in an assault on the Capitol on January 2021. Oh, yes and let’s not forget the book culling and rioting at school board meetings throughout the year.

Speaking of the outer space… keeping us entertained is the best sci-fi show, maybe ever. In anticipation of the last and best season. the hubby and I watched all episodes and are now waiting eagerly for the last three episodes of season six.

All I have to say to the Evangelicals at this point is “Jesus ain’t say that”. In case you have any doubts here is a Christmas card from Republican Congressman Thomas Massie and his family.

The CDC offered a whiplashing amount of guidelines for every new variant i.e. Delta and Omicron The world became hopeful with every positive statistic on new vaccines and downward infection trends, we went crashing down with mega-growth of spreads. Congress had its ups and downs as well. P.S. Democrats are the ups and Republicans are the downs.

‘A few weeks into the pandemic, some people even began to use the word “apocalyptic” to describe what was taking place. Often, this word is used to scare people into some kind of fearful, exclusive, or reactionary behavior, all in expectation of the “end times.” But the word “apocalyptic,” from the Greek apokálupsis, really just means “unveiling.” ‘ said Father Richard Rohr

Such glorious words which meant for us an unveiling of sorts. A reuniting with a daughter and her family in April was probably the year’s highlight! A misunderstanding had kept us apart for way too long. I did write about it. Between outbreaks, we actually got a group vacation!

Great Wolf Lodge in Minnesota. We were all vaccinated and boosted in case you’re wondering.

To add to that Susie Dent, a lexicographer and etymologist shared this. ‘ “Respair” has just one record next to it in the Oxford English Dictionary, from 1525, but its definition is sublime. Respair is fresh hope; a recovery from despair. May 2022 finally be its moment. to add to that. Her latest book is Word Perfect: Etymological Entertainment for Every Day of the Year.”

“Do your little bit of good where you are; Its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu, recently deceased.


Could things get any more weird?

October 15, 2021

Every week I get an e-newsletter from Jason Stanford. He always has something pithy and inspiring to say. This week he spares us no false hope that things could return to ‘normal.’ “The end of this pandemic will not mean that whatever follows will be the raw, unfiltered honey of good times.” As my Bulgarian friend George used to say “You should know this!”

Every day the good, bad and the ugly on social media get weirder and weirder. I’d like to quit scrolling, but I’m drawn like a moth to a flame. A flame it seems that is setting our tempers on fire and tempts us to indulge in stating our opinions ad infinitum. Today, Lindsay Graham, you know Lindsay, the old guy that’s continues to fawn over the former guy, said ‘40,000 Brazilian immigrants are headed to Connecticut wearing designer clothes and Gucci.’ If that were true it would mean they are more affluent than most of the citizens of this floundering nation.

Gucci Bag only $1K. I want this one!!

Also, “a school administrator in Southlake, Texas has advised teachers that if they have a book about the Holocaust in their classroom, they should also have a book with an “opposing” perspective.” (per @NBCNews) WTF is an opposing perspective but and out and out lies!

It’s hard for me to understand how families, especially with school aged kiddos at home are coping with the flip-flop mask mandates, the crazy anti-vaxxers and zoom, no zoom, zoom again school policies. Not to mention the teachers!

Post Office backlog from the LA Times

Oh, and now we’re back to the Democrats are trying to screw up Christmas. Will the Post Office deliver our presents on time? Fox–not really the news–mentions ‘Christmas’ 106 times in it’s broadcasts on Thursday. In their bubble of bullshit they never acknowledge many families in America are facing homelessness, hunger and unemployment.

Climate change is also a bugaboo subject. There are several views out there, many of them are doomsday projections. Here is a good article from ‘Wired Magazine’ on why companies may come around. Even the Queen is an advocate of actions to fully address the issues of climate change.

Antivaxxers, flat-earthers, members of Congress who can’t spell, parents against masking in schools… As my friend George also said many times “some people are stupid like chickens.”

I think about so many things every day and sometimes in the middle of the night. What will happen to us when our $$ runs out before we do? What will become of our country if the states are able to keep hobbling our voting rights? What of all my family and friends who are facing loss of loved ones and other obstacles? I know we are not guaranteed happiness in this life. But there is much happiness and joy amid the sorrow. And, I am grateful for that joy. It’s just the way life is. God loves us, but sometimes shit happens.

I don’t know what really, really happens at the end of the road
I don’t know what really, really happens at the end of the road
I don’t know what really, really happens at the end of the road
(Maybe nothing)
But my trip is mad
I ain’t finished, I got loads
(from ‘The Experiment’)


A Star Trek Future

August 1, 2021

Star Trek the series, first premiered on September 8, 1966. I was a college sophomore living in a dorm. Somehow I found Star Trek on the TV in the common room and it became a life-long favorite. I’ve seen everything, sometimes twice!

If you’re a fan of Star Trek, what the appeal for you? For me it was being science fiction–a glimpse into the possibilities of the universe. Also, the characters. But most of all, the message.

This is it, my Sunday Sermon. The way I always longed for life to be. I don’t trust humanity enough to see it happen, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Picture from CNET

Peace and Love and get vaccinated.


Freedom and Fireworks

July 4, 2021

On this particular July 4th 2021, I get a feeling that America is on shaky ground. Voting rights are being hobbled in many states. White supremist are becoming bolder. ‘Freedom fighters’ and faux patriots are ramping up their militia to do harm in many ways. Democracy is being challenged even in the halls of Congress where insurrectionists smeared feces on the walls during the January 6th invasion.

Meanwhile one-third of the population refuse to get inoculated against the COVID virus. Climate change is here to stay with extreme heat, cold and wet. Power grids are failing, buildings are collapsing and the ocean is on fire.

This is not negative b***s***, it’s the truth!

A friend of mine posted this Langston Hughes poem today. I read Langston Hughes way back in college in 1967. It’s hard hitting and poignant. Fits my mood today perfectly. Yes, it’s long. Just give yourself a minute of enlightenment and read it.

Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain

Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

When the fireworks in your neighborhood wake you in the middle of the night tonight, say a prayer for our nation. Then decide what you can do to help make America be a place for the good of all it’s citizens.


Facebook is not real life-or is it?

May 30, 2021

Have you ever seen a Facebook post where none of the little emoticons fit how it makes you feel? Or expresses the comments rolling around in your head? Of course you have!

A friend of mine posted this graphic today, and because it’s Sunday, my usual blog post writing day, I decided to comment.

Let’s see… not funny; angry doesn’t fit exactly. Not loving it for sure or even liking. Sad and caring, maybe. But it’s more like a fearful, disgusted and demoralized. Why aren’t there choices for ‘immediately sick to my soul’, ‘anxious and unsettled’?

What about this one? Texas lawmakers poised to pass sweeping voting bill to restrict voting hours and change election rules read more and tell me it’s not frightening .

Seriously, this poll… I tend to believe it could be true: 23 Percent of Republicans Agree ‘Satan-Worshipping Pedophiles’ Run Government only they are the Republicans.

Or this: I get rather tired of all the “investigations” “impeachments” that result in nothing except money wasted,,, Specifically, “attack on the capital on Jan 6”. what is the purpose of a “special commission investigation?” It was illegal trespassing with intent to destroy property and possibly harm individuals. AND then Pres Trump encouraged this….just like his still complaining that the election was “stolen” from him…..Reasonably intelligent people already know what was going on and is continuing to go on. To me it is just an excuse for political individuals and others to pontificate. Yup, I’m getting older and crankier. Look to the future and do things that actually can accomplish something. I.E. Situations of homeless peoples, care of homeless veterans and medical care of all veterans, attacks on specific groups, Jews Asians etc My personal opinion. You may state yours. I will not engage in arguing with anyone.

I don’t know this person IRL but I tend to agree with her and someone needed to say it.

All we can do is hope to live long enough to see these anti-democratic/racist movements (cults) cease and desist, and democracy–real equality for all–thrive. This has been my dream since I was about 12 years old and started understanding what was really going on.

In defense of Facebook, it has been helpful and sometimes entertaining to connect with friends and family, especially over the past year and a half. I’ve been fairly good at unfollowing or blocking the anti-anything folks. Plus, exercises you can do in bed from Silver Sneakers!

Have a good week!


Dreaming of the Rolling Stones

May 16, 2021

Have a little dream on me!

Last night, I dreamed of my geriatric self. I was one of several older folks, lying in a row of hospital beds on one of those long screened-in porches you sometimes see at rest homes. We were all watching TV, waiting for Mick Jagger to come on and perform. Well, it could happen! After all, Keith Richards is still alive and kicking, and still smoking cigarettes.

I was fortunate to be living in Austin during the heydays of the Vulcan Gas Company and Armadillo Word Headquarters. I personally knew some really great musicians during that time. But, I never saw the Rolling Stones live. I finally saw Joan Baez in person last year right before Covid-19 shut us all down. Some people got up and left when she got political on stage. I’m not sure what they were thinking if they didn’t expect that. She did sing my favorite song!

I watched this horribly cheesy movie last night about an alternate universe. When one of the heroes was asked ‘did he sign on to go thru the portal and fight?’ He said “Sure, I live my life half-assed and random.” My motto is ‘everything we’ve gone thru brings us to this point’. I also say I have no regrets, though I do own up to my mistakes.

What worries me now is what is going on with all the irrationally skewed, nonsensical information which seems to have originated thru the ‘looking glass.’ Like Alice we are trying to make sense of how about 40% of our population can be that stupid to believe all the unreliable news and down-right lying. This misinformation curdles the brain and makes it a mushy rancid organ. How can we get past it? Suggestions are welcome.

This post is all over the place, kind of like my rambling mind today. But that’s OK, at least I’m still here to write about it.


A letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 21, 2019

Dear Dr. King,

The day you were assassinated I was on the campus of Prairie View A&M, which in 1968 was still an all-black college located just west of Houston, Texas. I was in a group of white students participating in an ‘exchange program’ in collaboration with the college I was attending.

In those days, Southwest Texas State College students mostly came from small Texas towns. The guys were shit-kickers i.e. studying agriculture; the women aspiring to become teachers, nurses and wives. There were no African Americans on campus. There was one beatnik who became my boyfriend–but that’s another story.

Dr. Clyde Bullion, our very liberal and a tad kooky sociology professor, spent several years opening minds and hearts, encouraging everyone to embrace racial and social justice. He held the first class on Black History and introduced us to African American writers and poets.  Bullion would stand on his desk and holler out readings from Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Dubois. Quite impressive–even though Bullion was white. We thought the visit to Prairie View made perfect sense for us.

During our two day visit, we were treated respectfully by the students and staff of the college. We attended classes, plays and social events. I remember sitting with a group of black students in an off-campus bar and asking, rather naively, the question surely stolen from me by Rodney King (whose beating and related consequences are attributed to the 1992 Los Angeles race riots) “I don’t know why we all can’t just get along?” Later, stunned and disheartened to the core to hear you were assassinated, we visitors were immediately sent home to “avoid any problems.”

I think you would agree, it seemed to have gotten much better. We even elected our first black president! Then, sadly, we are reminded of how deeply racism runs in our country with shootings of unarmed black children and men. #blacklivesmatter, the statistics regarding racial profiling by the police, voter repression tactics in some states, and the appalling racist behaviors of some citizens toward our very own President Obama. These incidences have us facing realities we may not wish to admit.

The statistics also prove inequality still exists.  Here are a few stats from Black Demographics website.

Blacks make up 14.1% of the population in the US.

Percentage in poverty: Blacks 24.2%           All races 11.8%

Percentage in poverty under 18: Blacks 39.6%      All races 22.6% (Appalling so many children of any ‘color’ are living in poverty.)

Graduation rate: Blacks 63.6%              All races 80.6% (Which seems rather low as a whole.)

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), African Americans constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population, and have nearly six times the rate of whites.

Black Median Household income: $33,460

(all races $50,502)

All Black Workers 2012 weekly earnings:$606

(all races $765)

Black Men weekly earnings: $633

(White men $854)

Black Women weekly earnings: $590

(White women $712)

MLK-2014-2

So, Dr. King, there seems still much work to be done. Annually, on a federally instituted day to celebrate you, people in cities around the US march to keep your spirit and desire for social justice alive.  I still hope someday we can all get along.

Peace and love y’all,

Laura

Right here in San Antonio, we have one of the largest marches of any city. For more information on this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day San Antonio March, click here, or find one in your city.