Monday, July 6, 2020

Need a laugh?


Advice from Bernice King

Bernice King, daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, shared a list of tips on Facebook that is preserved in this 2017 article.  What she said still makes a lot of sense:
Amended Post (especially related to #1 below):

Some Wise Advice Circulating:

1.  Use his name sparingly so as not to detract from the issues.  I believe that everyone, regardless of their beliefs, deserves the dignity of being called by their name.  However, this is a strategic tactic.  While we are so focused on him we are prone to neglect the questionable policies that threaten freedom, justice and fairness advanced by the administration.

2.  Remember this is a regime and he's not acting alone;

3.  Do not argue with those who support him and his policies — it doesn't work;

4.  Focus on his policies, not his appearance and mental state;

5.  Keep your message positive; those who oppose peace and justice want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow;

6.  No more helpless/hopeless talk;

7.  Support artists and the arts;

8.  Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it;

9.  Take care of yourselves; and

10.  Resist!

Keep demonstrations peaceful. In the words of John Lennon, "When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game.  The establishment will irritate you — pull your beard, flick your face — to make you fight!  Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you.  The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor."

When you post or talk about him, don't assign his actions to him, assign them to "The Republican Administration," or "The Republicans."  This will have several effects: the Republican legislators will either have to take responsibility for their association with him or stand up for what some of them don't like; he will not get the focus of attention he craves; Republican representatives will become very concerned about their re-elections.
I met Bernice King when she spoke in St. Louis in 2017 and wrote about it on this blog.  I'd forgotten how she and I just missed being students together at Emory University until I re-read my post just now.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Beginning ~ with her name

"I am Ana.  I was the wife of Jesus ben Joseph of Nazareth.  I called him Beloved and he, laughing, called me Little Thunder."

The Book of Longings ~ by Sue Monk Kidd, 2020, fiction (Israel, Egypt)
Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and imagines the story of a young woman named Ana.  Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit.  She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women.  Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her.  An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.

Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary.  Ana's pent-up longings intensify amid the very turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas.  She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret.  When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings.  This inspiring account shows one woman's struggle to realize her passion and potential, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.
Three of Sue Monk Kidd's books are among my ten/ten books that I couldn't put down ~ The Secret Life of Bees and The Dance of the Dissident Daughter and The Invention of Wings.  One became a group book discussion on Book Buddies ~ Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story.

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Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts
Book Beginnings on Fridays.
Click this link for book beginnings
shared by other readers.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Library Loot

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry ~ by Mildred D. Taylor, 1976, YA fiction
Winner of the Newbery Medal, this remarkably moving novel has impressed the hearts and minds of millions of readers.  Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family's struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice.  And it is also Cassie's story — Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.
All the Days Past, All the Days to Come ~ by Mildred D. Taylor, 2020, historical YA fiction
Generations of American schoolchildren have grown up with Cassie Logan and her brothers, Stacey, Christopher-John, and Clayton-Chester, otherwise known as Little Man, since the saga began in 1976 with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.  This novel is the conclusion of the award-winning Logan Family series.  Cassie is no longer a child in this volume, but now a college graduate embarking upon her life journey as she comes to appreciate her mission in life and courageously acts upon it, eventually becoming a lawyer active in the Civil Rights Movement.
Esperanza Rising ~ by Pam Muñoz Ryan, 2000, junior fiction
Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico.  She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her.  A sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp.  Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces.  When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances — because Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.
The Plague ~ by Albert Camus, 1947, fiction
The townspeople of Oran are in the grip of a deadly plague, which condemns its victims to a swift and horrifying death.  Fear, isolation and claustrophobia follow as they are forced into quarantine.  Each person responds in their own way to the lethal disease:  some resign themselves to fate, some seek blame, and a few, like Dr. Rieux, resist the terror.  The Plague is in part an allegory of France's suffering under the Nazi occupation, and a timeless story of bravery and determination against the precariousness of human existence.
Year of Wonders ~ by Geraldine Brooks, 2001, fiction (England)
An English village quarantines itself to arrest the spread of the plague after an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London.  A housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition in the fateful year of 1666.  As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love.  As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead a "year of wonders" (annus mirabilis).  This novel was inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England.
The two books by Mildred D. Taylor are in a series, so I need to read the older one first.  I'm reading them to continue learning about racism and social injustice.  Esperanza Rising seems to also be about fighting injustice.  The last two are re-reads that came to mind because of our current Coronavirus plague.  I discovered, while looking for a picture of the book's cover, that Nancy of Bookfoolery read and reviewed The Plague three years ago.  I want to see what she said, after I re-read this one.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Snoopy is my favorite philosopher ~ and punster

A year or so ago, I posted this picture of a "branch manager" with his assistant on the bulletin board at the elevators on my floor.  Snoopy, my favorite punster, has a slight variation on that joke.

It's so frustrating when our friends just don't get it.  Last week, I posted this cartoon on Facebook and on the bulletin board by the elevator, so you may have seen it already.  But I want to "use" this cartoon to segue into a bit of philosophy because Snoopy is also my favorite philosopher.  Bear with me here, as you scan these four logical fallacies.




When I ran across these four logical fallacies on Facebook (red herring fallacy. ad hominem fallacy, anecdotal evidence fallacy, and straw man fallacy), I felt like I was back in my college logic class.  My textbook was by Copi, and I still think his is the best.  Following my train of thought, I looked up Copi and found a Wikipedia article about him.  Hmm, I see that his text is now in its 14th edition, so I must not be alone in thinking it was excellent.
Linus and Snoopy
"Copi studied under Bertrand Russell while at the University of Chicago."
Ha!  I didn't know that.  While studying for my first degree, maybe even the same year I took logic, I imagined Bertrand Russell in a homework paper/story I wrote.  Bertrand Russell called something in that story "claptrap," and I had Linus retort, "Well, you're in this claptrap with us."

Word of the Day
se·gue / ˈseɡwā,ˈsā- / verb / past tense: segued / past participle: segued = move or shift from one role, state, or condition to another.  Example:  I used the Snoopy cartoon to segue into a bit of philosophy.
Bookish Puzzle #3
  1. What Comes Before a Fall and Preconceived Judgment Towards a Group
  2. Mitt-wearing Home Plate Squatter Enclosed by Reuben Sandwich Bread
  3. An Au Revoir for Everything Inside the Shirt Sleeves
  4. Y2K Minus Number of Candles on Molly Ringwald's Cake
  5. That Audio and That Rage
  6. Toward What Person or Persons a Recess-is-Over Sound Is Directed
Can you come up with the names of these famous books whose "titles" have been vastly re-worded?  Have fun grappling with this batch.  I've share other Bookish Puzzles here and here.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Don't forget

Don't forget to wear your mask.  Those of us living at the Crown Center are required to wear our masks whenever we are outside of our own apartments, as you can see by this sign.

Sandy has her mask hung on the lock of her door to the hallway.  I had mine NEAR my door, but this makes so much sense that I've followed Sandy's example.  Do you always wear a mask when you go out?

Someone in a Facebook group I'm in saw a woman take OFF her mask to cough.  Another person asked, "Why would she DO that?"  A nurse responded with a very helpful explanation:
"It's an instinctive response.  Way back when, when I was in nursing school, they taught us that we would experience this and they even had us practice coughing with a mask on to get used to it.  I went to a very thorough nursing school.

"When you cough, it's because your airway is feeling blocked, so you inhale a bit more deeply in preparartion to try to cough out the blockage.  Grabbing at the mask that is 'blocking' your airway is an instinct."
And then we have those who insist it's a free country, and they choose NOT to wear a mask.  I recently ran across a perfect analogy.  Imagine a whole bunch of people during the London Blitz of World War Two saying, "I'll turn on my lights if I feel like it."  Yes, people would have died for their stubborn "freedom" to do whatever they like.  And the point is — WEAR YOUR MASK TO PROTECT EVERYONE, not just yourself.  And please be sure that BOTH your nose and your mouth are covered.

Bookish Puzzle #2
  1. Scoliosis Sufferer at the Fighting Irish School
  2. Pirate Loot / Counter in the Center of a Kitchen
  3. A Story of a Duo of Municipalities
  4. About Little White Rodents and Grown Boys
  5. Ruby-Covered Nametag Indicating Bravery
  6. The Star in Our Solar System Comes Up, Too
Can you figure out the actual names of these famous books?  The "titles" have been slightly re-worded, as you can see.  Have fun grappling with these.  I posted another Bookish Puzzle here.

It's been ten years

The last service at East Lake United Methodist Church on June 27th.  Betty Madewell (on the second row in the photo below) was present at that closing service and told me she had been christened at the first service in this building on Easter Sunday, April 8, 1928, when the sermon by the Rev. Jack Anderson was entitled "A House Not Made with Hands."  River Setliffe noticed that Mildred Setliffe had been ten years old when she attended that first service in this building.  River, who is Mildred's great-granddaughter, was then ten years old herself, when she came to the church's last service.  She's almost hidden between her father and her brother, far to the left in the first row, in the picture below).

This photo, taken by John Shearer, shows some of the worshipers inside East Lake United Methodist Church before the service started).
First pew (left to right):  Jimmy Setliffe, River Setliffe, Sam Setliffe, Jim Setliffe, Carol Setliffe, and Charles Moses.
Second pew:  Henry Mason, Charlotte Mason, Jane Helton, Betty Madewell, Ed Madewell, and Ken Smith.
Third pew:  John Paul Williams and Martha Morgan Gardin.
Fourth pew:  (I can't tell who they are).
Fifth pew:  couple visiting from First-Centenary UMC and June Rollins Tant.
Those who contributed to the service that day:
  • The Rev. John Paul Williams sang "My Tribute"
  • Laura and Richard Young, John Coniglio, and Nell Williams were the musicians who played and sang for us.
  • River and Sam Setliffe were the acolytes who lit the candles.
  • Jim and Jimmy Setliffe were the ushers.
  • The Rev. Bonnie Setliffe Jacobs preached the church's final sermon, using the same scripture that the Rev. Jack Anderson had chosen for the FIRST sermon after that building was constructed.  (The point I wanted to make was that we who comprise the church take the spirit of love with us, wherever we go.  It isn't about buildings, but about love.)
  • John Shearer wrote about the closing service for Chattanoogan.com.
Nobody could have guessed that exactly ten years later (on June 27, 2020, a Saturday) I would be attending Virtual Annual Conference at noon in St. Louis (1:00 pm Eastern Time).  The church is indeed not the building, but the people, however we gather together.