The writing exercise, in which Dad’s paintings appear

painting
Back in May, I participated in this ninety-minute writing class from a woman named http://www.dianecameron.info/ Diane Cameron. Among many other things, she’s a freelance writer who appears in the local newspaper regularly.

The directive was to think of three doors that were important in your life. Then you write about one of them for four minutes. And by “writing,” this means not taking the pen off the paper, not editing, just letting the words take us where they would.

The first door was the outside door Continue reading

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June Rambling: Hal Holbrook; Marimba Queens

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) voted for marriage equality at its General Assembly this month. “Ministers will be allowed to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal.”

On the other hand, Freedom and Faith Coalition’s Road to Majority conference had an Obama figurine in the urinal.

CBS News Sunday Morning did a piece, Born this way: Stories of young transgender children. The ever-interesting Dustbury on Gender Confirmation Surgery.

Writer Jay Lake worked closely with Lynne Thomas, an Illinois-based librarian… to ensure that all his blog posts and essays would be saved for posterity. “Though this is a relatively uncomplicated task for his blog content, which he unambiguously owned, it gets problematic when you wade into the legal rights of preserving your social media presence. ‘You can’t just download Facebook content into an archive.’”

A cartoon from 2008, and still apt: A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The United States.

Mark Evanier on O.J. Simpson trial nostalgia.
Continue reading

Marvin Gaye, 1939-1984

MarvinGayeThe absurd death of Marvin Gaye, at the hands of his father, a day shy of his 45th birthday, always saddens me in early April. He would have been 75 today, but instead was killed 30 years ago yesterday.

Here are twenty-one songs, all linked here, some multiple times, and with different spellings. My list is more or less in preference order, though I’m sure I left off something obvious. The citations refer to its Billboard pop charts zenith, and the year:

21. The Star-Spangled Banner – a controversial version performed at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game
20. Yesterday – WAY too many covers of this Beatles song, yet this is one I like
19. Let’s Get It On (1, 1973) Continue reading

When does life end, and begin?

lifeanddeathI had this very good friend in college named Lynn, who I started thinking about recently after I read two disturbing news stories. We met in the autumn of 1975, and within a year of that, she and I had made a pact that if either of us were seriously injured or ill to the point where the quality of life was gone, then the other would pull the plug, literally, if necessary. This was at a time before living wills and health care proxies and the like were common.

I was reading this terrible story about 13-year-old Jahi McMath in Oakland, CA, who has been brain dead since December 12, “three days after she underwent a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.” She’s been moved to a facility in New York.

As the article notes:

While laymen tend to use the words “coma” and “brain dead” interchangeably, in medicine they mean very different things.

“Coma” is the broader term used to describe a prolonged state of unconsciousness Continue reading

JiFKa: the 50th anniversary of the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy

A couple years back, I asked What was the first public trauma – as opposed to a personal trauma, such as a death or divorce in the family – that you recall? And while not my first event, the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, when I was ten years old and didn’t understand what happened next – I was not yet seeped in Presidential succession law – was terrifying. The death itself was already scary enough.

It certainly didn’t help that Miss Oberlik, our fifth grade teacher, told us the news, LEFT THE ROOM, for some reason Continue reading

Grandmother Agatha Green, found at last

When my parents moved downstairs at 5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY, my paternal grandparents, McKinley and Agatha (nee Walker) Green moved upstairs. Her name, BTW, was pronounced a-GATH-a, not AG-a-tha. Yes, it is I who she is holding.

Grandma Green was almost certainly my first Sunday school teacher at Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church, only a couple short blocks from our home. She had a certain refinement and bearing. While my maternal grandmother would nag me, this grandma gave me the parameters she expected, and I pretty much did it.
It’s rather like some Bill Cosby routine Continue reading

D is for Death


When someone significant in my life dies, I like to mention him or her in this blog. They don’t have to be people I actually met, but are usually people who inspired me in one way or another. The late Roger Ebert’s birthday was June 18, and I had a passing recollection of how well he wrote about issues other than movies in the latter stages of his life.

Paul McCartney, who shared a birthday with Ebert – both were born in 1942 Continue reading