Remembering the Everyday Heroes of September 11th

The thing I remember most about that Warm and Beautiful Day in September is people’s unconditional willingness to help one another.

I spent most of the day today trying to come up with something brilliant as a tribute to the memory of the many lives lost in, and those affected by, the 2001 terrorist attacks. I wanted to say something about America’s resilience. But looking back at the past four years of childish political posturing, and the increasing frequency of racist violence perpetrated by those entrusted to protect and serve, it’s hard to imagine that we ever all stood together as one United States.

But we did! I saw it with my own two eyes. People with absolutely nothing offered total strangers food to eat, a place to get cleaned up and rest, or just a safe place to sleep for the night. In my own city, which was not directly affected, everyday people did whatever they could. Some traveled to affected areas to join the rescue effort. These were everyday heroes.

Then on September 13th, just Two Days Later, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson appeared on The 700 Club and claimed that God smote America because of all the “Pagans, Abortionists, Atheists, Feminists, Gays, and Lesbians, the ACLU, and People for the American Way”. What a vile, evil thing for two purported men of God to say.

Why must Americans be so ugly to one another every chance we get?

For a few months following the September 11th attacks, most of us stood together and pitched in where we could. We did it because we cared. We did it to help heal the open wound. We did it because it was the right thing to do.

But why does it have to take a tragedy for us to treat each other like human beings?

Bubbling Anger, a plea for sanity.

Everyone is angry.

I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Angrier than usual

these days.

We’re all talking.

Loudly.

No one

is listening.

Eyes

glaze over.

The volume increases.

The cacophony fades

like static

into the background

as we scream

and shout

desperately

seeking

to be heard.

But still

no one

is listening.

It’s almost like

we’re living

in some alternate

reality

created by Springer

and populated

almost entirely

with Mamma Grizzlies

and gun crazy Hee Haws.

Self centered

righteous indignation

leads to anger.

Anger

breeds more

anger.

No one

is immune.

Even I

have become angry.

It’s scary.

Sometimes I can’t identify the source of my anger. It makes me uncomfortable because, if I can’t determine the cause, I risk taking it out on innocent bystanders.

And that

is just not right.

So I

withdraw

from life

from social interaction

just

so I don’t

inadvertently

unleash my aggression

on some

poor

unsuspecting soul.

Fresh air helps.

…a little.

Music helps.

…a little.

The political climate doesn’t

help.

…at all.

Everything

is blown out of proportion.

Everything

is a scandal.

Everything

is an emergency.

How

are we to identify

real crises?

News

is no longer balanced.

Facts

are twisted.

No one reads

beyond the headlines.

Everyone

has an opinion,

often

based on assumptions.

Never mind

discourse.

Never mind

expending the effort

to understand

another

point of view,

another

person’s experience

accepting

another

person’s existence.

There’s little common courtesy.

It’s my way

or the highway.

If your

opinion differs,

then you

are the enemy.

And every day

we get more angry.

So stop!

Please.

Clear you mind.

Breathe.

Turn off the TV.

Put the phone away.

Power down the electronics.

And Listen.

Carefully.

Before

it’s too late.

What’s Going On?

Four decades and Marvin Gaye’s classic is as relevant today, if not more so, as it was on it’s release in 1971.

What happened to the Hippies, the “Peace and Love” generation that was supposed to save the world? Oh, right. Hippies became Yuppies.

I’ll never forget that night. The air was electric with excitement! We had done it. We had achieved something that I never, in my lifetime, thought was achievable. The one image that sticks in my mind is the close up of Jesse Jackson with tears in his eyes. It was what Oprah would have called my “Aha Moment”. It was an instant when suddenly everything clicked into place and I got it. I understood the idea of representation. Here were people who had worked all their lives just to have a seat at the table. Their moment had come. There was a feeling that things were about to change, that everything was possible. We were dancing in the streets!

How could I have been so naive?

If anything, things got worse. I might have guessed that the first black president of the United States would face some difficulty but never in my life did I expect such a deluge of hateful, un-American, bullshit! From Donald Trump’s “Show me your birth certificate” to Mitch McConnell’s famous, “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” to Eric Cantor’s government shutdown, no president in the history of these United States has had to put up with the level of disrespect and outright condemnation as this one has.

But this post isn’t about politics. …well, maybe not.

You don’t know how many times I’ve sat down to write something about race in America. It’s been on my mind for a very long time. But what can I, a middle aged white male, add to the conversation that hasn’t already be said by people more intelligent and better qualified than me?

When Michael Brown was shot and killed I couldn’t believe it. Another one!? It seems every time I turn on the news I see a story of a black male being killed at the hands of a police officer or, as in Trayvon Martin’s case, a representative of a neighborhood watch organization. — Seriously, why is George Zimmerman still walking the streets? Every town watch I have ever been part of forbade us from carrying guns. AND… He was told not to follow Trayvon! What the hell, man?  When the shoplifting video came out I thought, so what? Even if Michael Brown was the shoplifter in the leaked surveillance video, he did not deserve to be shot and killed. At worse, Michael made the mistake of struggling with the officer, but that is NOT reason to shoot him to death!

Of course people are angry. I’m angry! But at least I have the luxury, the privilege if you will, to turn off the news and go about my boring life.

And don’t you dare whine to me about “Well… not ALL white people“! I hate that sentence. It’s a lie! Each and every one of us is to blame. We’ve so surrounded ourselves with like minded people that we’ve forgotten that this racist bullshit still runs rampant throughout our community.

So how do we prevent this from continuing?

First,  shut up and listen. And while you’re listening, try not to take everything personally. Us white folks need to remember that it’s not always about us. Just because someone is telling you their truth doesn’t mean they are tearing you down. Unless someone is addressing you directly, they aren’t necessarily blaming you. So brush the chip off your shoulder.

Next, When talking with family and friends, don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right. When someone says or does something offensive, tell them. Otherwise, how else are they gonna know what they’re doing is wrong?

If you still feel helpless, check out 12 Things White People Can Do Now Because Ferguson by Janee Woods

Personally, I don’t understand why people find it so difficult to treat others the way they wish to be treated. It’s such a simple concept. :\

Save the Phantom Stage! Hollywood Landmark Reportedly Slated for Oblivion

Originally posted on Nitrate Diva:

phantomUniversal Studios’ Stage 28 holds a lot of memories. Some of the most iconic American films, including The Bride of FrankensteinPsycho, and The Sting were shot there, to name only a few.

Built in 1924 for the silent Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney, the vast soundstage still houses the 90-year-old opera house set. Designed by Ben Carré, this recreation of the Paris original practically deserves its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, having appeared in movies ranging from Dracula to The Muppets.

Throughout the years, the so-called “Phantom Stage,” nicknamed for the first film made there, has earned its title in another sense. Legend has it that the soundstage is haunted. However, those ghosts might be homeless soon.

The website Inside Universal recently broke the news that the studio would close Stage 28 and probably demolish it. According to their article, “

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Google Maps Has Been Tracking Your Every Move, and There’s a Website to Prove It

adignorantium:

iPhone does it too. It’s part of theft prevention and phone recovery. (Find My Phone, Device Manager, etc.) You can opt out of these services. For Android, turn off “Location” in settings.
You can delete your location history at any time by going to the Google website provided.
Also, Location services are needed for GPS. If you use your phone for navigation, your phone will track your location.
EVERY GPS device, TomTom, Garmin, Magellan, etc., tracks and records your location. That’s why they tell you to enter a nearby intersection or landmark instead of your real address as “home”.
It’s up to consumers to decide how much of this information that are comfortable with sharing.

Originally posted on Starship Earth: The Big Picture:

Thanks to Ed Komarek at Extraterrestrial Cultural Center on Facebook.

This is slick, isn’t it? Try it!

Was there any doubt? Big Brother is EVERYWHERE. 

It’s a cool place to get a snapshot of your life, but that little anomaly the writer shares… curious indeed.

When I go to the website it shows my gmail address at the top right, but tells me I have no location history. I am EVER SO GLAD I don’t have a smart phone, and ignored all those not-so-subtle little pushes by Google to get me to provide my cell number.

The rest of you—have at ‘er! ~ BP

map2

August 15, 2014

Remember that scene in Minority Report, where Tom Cruise is on the run from the law, but is unable to avoid detection because everywhere he goes there are constant retina scans feeding his location back to a central database? That’s tomorrow. Today…

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It’s Been A Rough Week, So…

I thought I’d share a cute video by Steve J Boyle called “I Hit Send, or Modern Meltdown“. It’s a poetry reading about Steven’s first crush, post-coming-out.

Some of the language may not be appropriate for all audiences, but it’s adorably funny.

I figured a little light humor would be good thing after such an unbelievably bad week.

Enjoy!

RIP Lauren Bacall

 

I just heard that Lauren Bacall died today at age 89

In my mind, Bogart has been waiting patiently since 1957 to reunite with the love of his life, so when Betty (Lauren) showed up in Heaven it must have looked something like this scene from Dark Passage (1947).