Archive for the 'football' Category

Thoughts from a Wednesday morning

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
Thoughts from a Wednesday morning

Wednesday – 03 February 2016

Drove to Millcreek in the snow
Nine-thirty on a Tuesday night,
Just to hang with the guys at the
Comic shop.
Call it impulsive
Call it compulsive,
Call it insane;
But when there’s trivia
We just can’t
Stop.

It’s a matter of instinct
It’s a matter of conditioning
It’s a matter of fact.

Call us geeks, nerds, or
Savants.
Ask us dates, names, or publishers,
We’ll answer like that
Lost track of time and I
Wound up losing two hours. Again.

Last night, I
Went to the gym
Got a midnight workout in
So I
Went to the gym
Got a midnight workout in.

With apologies to Barenaked Ladies, that about sums up last night, after Team DiVa went to bed. What was supposed to be a quick trip to the comic shop and the gym turned into a three-plus-hour excursion. But, I can at least take a modicum of comfort in the fact that I did make it to the gym.

On the other hand, I completely bollocksed my sleep schedule. Oh, well… sacrifices.

Stray Toasters

“Once more unto the breach…”

Monday, January 25th, 2016
"Once more unto the breach..."

Monday – 25 January 2016
Another work weeks begins. I woke up this morning with the first verse of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 playing on loop in my head. That was a little unexpected.

This past weekend was good and spent mostly around the house. After Team DiVa’s ballet and swim lessons, a lot of the time on Saturday was spent cleaning up. I actually located the rest of the floor in the train room. I should really figure out just “what” I want to call it, since it’s not just my train room, but also my gaming room, and comics-reading room, and home office. And I have a deep dislike for the term “man cave.” I have called similar incarnations of rooms in previous homes the “HALO Command Center,” but I play far more Destiny and Disney Infinity these days than HALO. Perhaps I’ll take a cue from Infinity and call it the “Toy Box.” We’ll see… Speaking of the train room: There are actual trains on the tracks!  I still need to power the inner loop, but trains have been run.

Saturday night, it began snowing in the valley. That continued, off and on, through Sunday. We were expecting company for brunch, so I got up and busted out the shovel. Snow was shoveled. Brunch was had. A good time was had by all.

Later, I watched the Broncos send the Patriots back to Foxboro. I am usually only that happy to see the Pats lose when it’s the Ravens on the field, but this was a suitable proxy. Then, I watched the Panthers take the Cardinals apart. As the Panthers are my #2 team, I was quite pleased with this outcome. Next stop, Super Bowl 50!

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Picture (c) NFL.com

Sunday night, we watched the return of The X-Files and wrapped up the evening with Fringe.

All-in-all, a good weekend.

Stray Toasters

  • I just learned of this version of the Spider-Man theme today. I like it.
    • A few days ago, Vanessa spontaneously started singing this:
      Spider-Man, Spider-Man
      Does whatever a spider can!
      Spins a web – any size
      Catches leaves just like flies…She then stopped and asked: “Mama, why does Spider-Man catch leaves?”
  • Thanks to my friends, Charity and Sean, for introducing me to Friendship is Witchcraft, a dark parody of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
  • I’ve made a few trips to the gym this year, so far. That’s better than the prior two-and-a-half months. I also re-learned that taking such an extended “vacation” causes you to lose a lot of progress. So, I’m finding where I can comfortably pick up and restart.
  • I had a couple of thoughts about the latest Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice teaser trailers.

That’s good for now.

Namaste.

Brimful of Asha on the… 45!

Monday, October 26th, 2015
Brimful of Asha on the... 45!

Monday – 26 October 2015
I was born forty-five years ago today; it was also a Monday.

My sixth birthday…

The past year has been a good one. I have been blessed and lucky enough to have spent it among some rather amazing people and had the opportunity to do a few cool things.

In celebration of what I’ve come to refer to as “International Robert Neal Day,” I took Friday and today off. For some reason, I thought that I’d have gotten a lot more rest out of it than I did. But, when I consider the reasons that it was so busy, I’m glad that I had the time available to do so.

Friday, Sara and I dropped Team DiVa at daycare and then took a drive up Emigration Canyon to Ruth’s Diner for breakfast; I hadn’t been there in at least a year or so. After a couple of other stops, Sara dropped me at home and went off to do other fun things. I worked on a Pinstripes and Polos post for a while, until it was time to pick up Amy, who was in town for an event that I’ll get to in a minute. It was her first time back here in a couple years, if I remember correctly. We hit a few stores including: The King’s English Bookshop, The Train Shoppe, and a couple other places before meeting back up with Sara and Team DiVa. That evening, we had dinner with Amy, Russ, Gala, and a few others, but wound up missing Clitorati.

Saturday, we got up, dressed, and headed to Bountiful for Galadriel and Russ’ wedding – the aforementioned event.

#TeamDiVa2011 and @saravictorious – before the #wedding. #GaladrielAndRuss

A photo posted by Rob (@shadorunr) on


Sara was Gala’s Matron of Honor, which put me in the role of “Crowd Control/Damage Control” with Team DiVa. This came to a head during the processional, when Vanessa decided, “I want Mommy…” and began crying and getting loud about the issue. Not wanting to be “that parent,” I got her under my arm and made a beeline for the nearest exit. This didn’t help matters much. A minute or so later, my friend, Leah, came out with Diana in tow.

Great.

The girls finally calmed down enough that we were able to go back and watch the remainder of the wedding. We got back just in time to hear Topher give THE BEST wedding sermon from the Book of Batman that I have ever heard. Seriously, it was fantastic. And very appropriate for the bride and groom. (I learned later that Gala had more than “a hand” in crafting it.) As Matron of Honor, Sara also gave a lovely and heartfelt speech during the reception. The rest of the reception was equally nice and the girls were decent through the rest of the event… and I ran into a number of people whom I hadn’t seen in a long time.

We came home for a little downtime, before heading to Russ’ parents’ home for Reception 2: Electric Boogaloo. Actually, Sara and the girls had some downtime, I went out and ran errands. The evening reception was a rather informal barbecue. It was nice to let the girls run around and play – and eat a bit – while Sara and I had the opportunity to chat with adults.

Yesterday, I woke up a bit after Sara, who was awakened by Diana, who had an irritiable stomach and needed to poop. (What?! I’m a parent of toddlers. Surely, you realize that at some point, I’m going to talk about poop at some level.) And poop, she did. A lot. And often. Fortunately, as she cleared her system, her stomach felt better. Hallelujah. Most of my day was spent watching football and cleaning the train room. I can actually see the floor in there, now. We went to the in-laws’ for family dinner and came home to get Team DiVa ready for bed and for us to get ready for The Walking Dead. While I won’t go into spoilers, I will say, “Wow…” Yeah, that’s pretty spoiler-free.

Today, I don’t know what manner of mischief I’ll get into. But, I’m sure I’ll think of something. CBS is giving me – and the rest of the country – the pilot for Supergirl for a present. That was nice of them. Hopefully, the Ravens can scrape together a win for me tonight, as well. I’d appreciate that, given how this season is going.

Tuesday Musings

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015
Tuesday Musings

Tuesday – 25 August 2015
Today is my “Monday,” due to staying home with a sick little girl (and a non-sick one) yesterday. I thought that I might be able to squeeze in a bit of work, but opted to just hang out with them. And, in my humble opinion, that was the best call. We had a fun day. And, last night, we assembled a play castle for them.

The started decorating it last night. And resumed this morning, after breakfast.

Over the weekend, we also took them on their first visits to a trampoline park (for a friend’s birthday) and to the “planet museum,” as they have taken to calling the Clark Planetarium. Both were fairly big hits, although Vanessa was definitely not a fan of the “motion” in the movie – Perfect Little Planet – in the planetarium dome. To be fair, I don’t suffer from motion sickness, but I could easily understand how someone could succumb to it while watching that film.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Geek Conversations: Thanos and Ray Lewis

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015
Geek Conversations: Thanos and Ray Lewis

Tuesday – 04 August 2015
So, this just happened:

Keith: Envision, if you will, Thanos doing the Ray Lewis dance.
Me: I can totally see that. Right after winking half of the universe’s population out of existence.
InfinityGauntletSnap

ray-lewis-s-last-dance-o

Keith: WOO!

(Images added for those who don’t get the references.)

Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen…

Sunday, January 18th, 2015
Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen...

Saturday – 17 January 2015
Okay, three-for-one time…

Day 15: Come up with your own Cabinet of Invisible Counselors. There are innumerable great men from history who we can learn from today. When thinking about your life or pondering some question or problem, yes, go to actual mentors and friends, but also take in the advice of men of yore. Write out who you would have on your list and what you admire about them. Having trouble coming up with a list? The comments in the post should offer plenty of ideas.

I wasn’t sure how literally to take the “take in the advice of men of yore” when I first read this. I decided to take a more “interpretive” stand with it, and thus my list will include men and women.

My list would include:

  • My grandfathers – One died before I was born, the other before I was really old enough to go to him for advice.
  • Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart – It would be fascinating to talk with them about being pioneers, despite the cultural and societal changes they faced.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X – I would like to discuss the more mundane/day-to-day struggles they faced that we never hear about.
  • Sun-TzuThe Art of War is one of my favorite books. I would want to talk with him about how he devised the strategies in the book and whether he ever considered them as having viable applications beyond the battlefield.
  • Neil Armstrong – C’mon, who doesn’t want to know not only what was it like to walk on the moon!? And he’s the second Boilermaker (Ms. Earhart was the other) list. Win-Win. Also, the challenges of shooting a tin can into space, get it to orbit another astronomical body, LAND on said body, take off from said AND return to Earth have to be many and varied. That’s knowledge and background to which I’d love to have access.

Day 16: Imagine that someone has decided to write a book about your life, just up to this point. What would the cover blurb say? Be honest here. Is it kind of boring? Are you happy with it? Now imagine what you’d like that blurb to say at the end of your life. What changes need to made for that to happen?

Yeah. I’ve been pondering this one and I’m just not sure. I don’t think that it would necessarily be anything out of the ordinary. Would it be boring? Dunno. I think that I live a kind of mundane life, but to someone else, it might be kind of out there. Am I happy with my life? Yep. No matter what I’ve been through, it’s helped to get me where I am.

Day 17: Hop on the internet and search for the biggest news stories in the year you were born. Infoplease is a great resource for this. Think about how these news stories, or even statistics, may have shaped your childhood or who you are today. For example, the year I was born, it was discovered that 98% of American households had at least one television set. I could write about how television influenced my generation, and continues to do so today, either positively or negatively.

  • Prime time football ABC begins it’s long running Monday Night Football
    I came into watching football kind of late: In my early 20s. A friend of mine introduced me to John Madden on the Sega Genesis and fan of the Miami Dolphins. I kind of latched on to the Dolphins as my first football team, despite the fact that I had grown up in and around Baltimore. (This was after the Indianapolis Professional Football Club left Maryland…) It was around this point that I started watching Monday Night Football and started paying attention to games on Sunday.Fast forward twenty years, I’m a fan of the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers)… and the Dolphins still hold a special place in my heart. I watch Sunday games – and Monday Night Football – when I can (and when the Ravens’ games are on).
  • World Trade Center is completed

    This picture was taken in 1999. And two years later, the towers were gone. This is what I had to say on that day. I haven’t been to New York for more than a layover since then, but I would love to visit the site on my next visit.

  • First F-14 Tomcat Tested – Dec. 21, 1970: The first ever F-14 Tomcat was tested; This led to use by the NAVY for about 30 years.This was one of my favorite aircraft in my early model-building years. Top Gun didn’t hurt my love for it either. While my favorite planes today are the SR-71 and the P-51 Mustang, I still appreciate the Tomcat.

Namaste.

Hello, Monday.

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
Hello, Monday.

Monday – 22 September 2014
This past weekend was rather good.

I went into Friday thinking “Friday!” I came out of Friday “Blah.” We had a situation at work that lasted all day, meaning that I wasn’t really able to take care of any of the things that I had planned to tackle. By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was call it a day. Sara, the girls and I went out for dinner. By the time we got home and got the girls ready for bed, I was ready to decompress… but didn’t know what I wanted to do. Sara! to the rescue: She brought me a glass of Maker’s Mark, a bag of Doritos and suggested that I vent some frustration in Titanfall.

Best. Wife. Ever.

Knowing that I had a fairly atrocious night’s sleep, Sara let me sleep in on Saturday morning. When I got up, Team DiVa and I went downstairs to watch a couple episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and the second half of The LEGO Movie. After lunch, the girls went down for naps. I probably should have, as well. But, I didn’t. I did mow the lawn, though, so I’ll count that as a “win.” Saturday afternoon, we had a few friends over for a “Fall Cookie Extravaganza,” as Sara called it. It was nice to be able to hang out and just enjoy the company of friends… and cookies. The girls turned into quite the little hostesses, as well: They would ask everyone who showed up what drinks they want and would pour a small – VERY small – drink for them. (I really think that it was more a matter of them liking to use the lemonade and water dispensers.) We had dinner and then we watched a couple of episodes of Doctor Who – one with Twelve, one with Ten.

Sunday morning, we got up and got ready to go out for breakfast. Instead of heading to Millcreek Cafe, as is our usual Sunday morning routine, we drove up to Layton to meet our favorite Treasure Valley Rollergirl, Mia Wallups (a.k.a. Jen)! We surprised her by inviting Dave, Angy and Gala, as well. At Sara’s suggestion, we ate at Sill’s Cafe. And it was worth the drive.

Picture - (c) http://everydave.com

Angy and Jen (Picture courtesy of http://everydave.com)

I tried a scone (which was, literally, as big as my head!) and biscuits and gravy, which were fantastic. I’m not sure exactly what everyone else had, but the consensus was that everyone’s meals were good. It was also nice to catch up with Jen; life’s been busy for both of us and we’d kind of lost track of each other in the process.

We came back home, got the girls a light lunch, and then put them down for naps. Once they were safely asleep, I headed downstairs to catch what was left of the second half of the Ravens-Browns game. I’d been tracking the game’s progress and it had been a back-and-forth battle. But, in the end…

ravens-browns-week3-2014

Justin Tucker nailed an at-the-buzzer field goal to put the Ravens at 2-1 on the season.

After the game, I went to the Big Shiny Robot & Bohemian Brewery’s Nerd Swap Meet. I came home with a couple of finds:

When I got home, the girls wanted me to go for a ride in their “rocket ship.” I love their imaginations. I’m going to have to find them either astronaut costumes or, at least, a couple of astronaut helmets. Sara reminded me that we’d promised them a trip to “the Slurpee store,” so we returned to Earth and headed to the local 7-Eleven. Then, back home for dinner, kids’ showers, a show (and a few Schoolhouse Rock! videos) before putting the ladies down for the night.

We wound up the night with glasses of wine and The Strain.

All-in-all, a good weekend.

Stray Toasters

  • Sunday would have been my friend, Jess’, 40th birthday.
  • While watching the score of the Ravens’ game, I thought about how much I would have enjoyed watching the game with Brad and our late friend Dave, a Browns fan.
  • I picked up Destiny last week. I have yet to play it, as I discovered that I need to get a new hard drive for my Xbox.
  • I’m still forming an opinion about the new Doctor. But, at this point, I’m liking him.

That’s good for now.

Namaste.

“In brightest day, in drunkest night..”

Sunday, March 17th, 2013
"In brightest day, in drunkest night.."

Sunday – 17 March 2013
Happy (what’s left of) Green Lantern Day!

…or, as some people refer to it: St. Patrick’s Day.

This post actually started on Friday, but between bouts of laziness, keeping up with Team DiVa, going to the opera, and life (in a nutshell), I haven’t been able to get back to it until now. Better late than never.

Friday morning, Sara! flew down to Las Vegas to attend the wedding of a friend. This meant that Friday night, it was just Team DiVa and me. Suffice it to say that we all survived the experience. Saturday was a mostly stay-at-home day. Team DiVa and I did venture out around 4:30 for a bit; we stopped in at SteamHead Cafe to visit Melissa… who had left shortly before we arrived. Oh, well. The Toddler Titans had fun running around and exploring.

Saturday evening, Bonne came over to watch the girls while I went to the airport to pick up Sara and head to the opera. We attended opening night of The Magic Flute:

themagicflute

IMG_0002

Outfits for a night at the opera…

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The stage

I’d never seen The Magic Flute before, nor was I familiar with the story. I wasn’t expecting there to be asides in English, but there were. After the shock of that wore off, I sat back and enjoyed the show. It was fun. The leads were quite well-suited to their roles. The costumes were also good. If you have an opportunity to see it, I highly suggest it.

Today, Sara!, Team DiVa and I headed to Millcreek Cafe and Eggworks for breakfast. A little later, I headed to Home Depot with Dave, to pick up the last of the drywall needed to complete the train room closet. Later, it was off to the in-laws’ for St. Patrick’s Day dinner:

  • Corned beef
  • Cabbage (with carrots)
  • Potatoes

…and some RubySnap Noelles for dessert.

And then, it was home for Team DiVa’s bedtime, a little clean-up and tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead.

Stray Toasters

  • “Beware the Ides of March!”
    As I mentioned above, this post started out on Friday, known as “The Ides of March.” I had a really geeky moment at one point in which I realized that I want to create an RPG character named “Ides” and have him or her come from a land called “March.” Go figure.
  • DC’s Women Know How to Spend Ladies’ Night
  • Speaking of DC Comics and animation: I’m also watching the last episodes of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice.
  • rl_20130315_2999
  • The last time I checked, the Ravens were down a net of six players. I have faith in management’s decisions, but I’m definitely curious to see how this shakes out in the long run.
  • Sinestropotamus and The Green Lamprey. Ha. Thank you, DC Nation Shorts. Nice way to end things.

Yeah, that’s good enough for now.

Namaste.

 

Good day, Monday…

Monday, February 11th, 2013
Good day, Monday...

Monday – 11 January 2013
A new week is upon us. ‘Nuff said.

This past weekend has been a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s also been quite fantastic. Friday night, I had a classmate from high school spend the evening with Sara!, Team DiVa and me:

IMG_0014

James (above) came  to town a couple of months ago for a conference. Of course, his schedule was ever-so-slightly full, but he was due to come back to town this past week. We determined that we’d try to arrange our schedules so that we could see each other for a while. And we did. And, it was absolutely fantastic to see him.

I did some mental gymnastics and realized that before Friday, I hadn’t seen an of my classmates since graduation. Many. Many. Seasons. Past.

Saturday, Sara! had brunch with a friend, so Team DiVa and I spent the morning hanging out. It was a pretty quiet day around the homestead. After the little ladies went to bed, Sara! and I watched Juan of the Dead for Action Movie Saturday:

juanofthedead

Sara! had mentioned wanting to see this movie a few months ago, as this was apparently the first Cuban zombie film, , but it had fallen off my radar. It showed up in a Netflix envelope a few nights ago and we watched it. And it was worth it.

I’ll be honest, I drew more than one comparison to Shaun of the Dead while watching it. There were a number of things that were, indeed, similar. But, there was something that really set the movie apart: The Cuban point of view. That was something that I hadn’t expected, for some reason. And that’s a shame. Because it framed many/most of the sensibilities of the movie. As Sara! put it:

If you were going to get some of your friends together and make a movie, this is totally the movie that you would make.

And, she’s right. And with that recommendation, I recommend it, as well.

Sunday, I had a early morning: I had to be at work at 7:30 for a scheduled server maintenance window. 7:30. AM. On a Sunday. Yeah. And, what made it even better: It snowed Saturday. For the most part, UDoT did a decent job of plowing I-215; I just wish that they had done as solid a job on I-15. But, I made it to work. And the maintenance project went rather hitch-free. And I made it back home without incident. And, on the plus side: My work week is already 5 hours old. That’s going to be nice come Friday.

We spent the afternoon in, but had dinner with Sara!’s parents and Uncle Mike, who was in town for the day. Back home to put Team DiVa to bed and then it was time for the new episode of The Walking Dead. And, we even caught some of the Grammy Awards.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Here are three more people of note:

  • Judith Jamison – Dancer, choreographer, artistic director.
    Judith-Jamison_Photo-by-Andrew-Eccles-2010_690x389
    Born Judith Ann Jamison on May 10, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She trained early in dance and music and attended the Philadelphia Dance Academy before performing with American Ballet Theatre in 1964. A year later, she moved to New York City to join the Alvin Ailey company and quickly became a principal dancer. Jamison stayed with Alvin Ailey until 1980 and during that time gave several notable performances, including 1967’s The Prodigal Prince, 1969’s Masekela Language and 1971’s Cry, which was a 15-minute solo piece. Audiences also remember 1976’s Pas de Duke, a duet with Mikhail Baryshnikov set to the music of Duke Ellington.

    After leaving the company to appear in the Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies, Jamison began choreographing her own works and started the Jamison Project in 1988. A year later, shortly after Ailey’s death, Jamison became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

    Jamison has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 and the National Medal of Arts in 2001. Her autobiography, Dancing Spirit, was published in 1993.

  • Simmie Knox – Artist
    simmie_knox
    Born on August 18, 1935, in Aliceville, Alabama, leading African American portrait artist Simmie Knox has created vivid, lifelike renderings of such luminaries as President Bill Clinton and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Knox is the son of a carpenter and mechanic. But he spent many of his childhood years in the care of other family members after his parents divorced. Knox grew up poor with most of his family working as sharecroppers, and he himself took to the fields when he was old enough. Later Knox went to live with his father and stepmother in Mobile, Alabama. There he loved to make little sketches and to play baseball. One of his childhood friends was baseball legend Hank Aaron. At the age of 13, Knox was struck in the eye with a baseball. With encouragement from his teachers at his Catholic school, he started drawing as a way to help his eye recover from the injury. The nuns who educated him recognized his talent and arranged for him to have lessons from a local postal worker. No formal art education was available at his segregated school.

    After graduating from Central High School in Mobile, Alabama, in 1956, Knox spent several years serving in the military. He then attended Delaware State College as a biology major. While he didn’t excel at science, Knox did some wonderful sketches of microorganisms. One of his professors recommended that he take some art classes. While at Delaware State, Knox completed a full-sized self-portrait, one of his notable early art works. After completing his studies at the University of Delaware in 1967, Knox enrolled at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. There, he earned a bachelor degree in fine arts in 1970 and a master’s degree in fine arts two years later. At the time, abstract art was all the rage. Knox painted in this style for a time and even got the chance to display his works at a prominent Washington, D.C. gallery. His paintings hung alongside Roy Lichtenstein and other leading artists in this show.

    Still Knox wasn’t completely satisfied with his abstract work. He painted a portrait of freed slave and prominent abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1976, which now part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution. In addition to painting, Knox worked extensively in art education. He held many teaching positions, including being an instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts from 1975 to 1980.

    By the early 1980s, Knox had devoted himself to realistic portrait work. He explained to The New York Times, “With abstract painting, I didn’t feel the challenge. The face is the most complicated thing there is. The challenge is finding that thing, that makes it different from another face.” Knox found a famous patron in 1986 when he met comedian Bill Cosby. Cosby became an ardent supporter of Knox’s work, hiring for portraits of himself and his family. He also encouraged friends to commission Knox for paintings as well.

    Knox soon landed an important assignment: to capture the image of legendary U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Marshall “could tell I was nervous,” Knox told American Artist magazine, adding, “But he told jokes; he told stories about his life. I came away feeling so good about the man.” He completed Marshall’s portrait in 1989 and continued to receive new commissions. Over the years, Knox painted the likeness of baseball great Hank Aaron, former New York City mayor David Dinkins, historian John Hope Franklin and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg among other famous names.

    In 2000, Knox received his most famous assignment to date. He was selected to paint the official White House portraits of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton. With this commission, Knox made history. “I realize there has never been an African American to paint a portrait of a president and, being the first, that’s quite an honor and quite a challenge,” he told ABC News. Knox and Bill Clinton bonded over a shared love of jazz.

    Knox’s paintings of the Clintons were revealed to the public in a special ceremony at the White House in 2004.Knox works out of his studio—a former garage—at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland. He and his wife Roberta have two children together, Amelia and Zachary. Knox also has a daughter, Sheri, from his first marriage.

  • Alain Locke Writer, philosopher, educator

    alain-locke

    Alain Locke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1885 to Pliny Ishmael Locke (1850–1892) and Mary Hawkins Locke (1853–1922). In 1902, he graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, second in his class. 

    In 1907, Locke graduated from Harvard University with degrees in English and philosophy. He was the first African-American Rhodes Scholar. He formed part of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Locke was denied admission to several Oxford colleges because of his race before finally being admitted to Hertford College, where he studied literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin, from 1907–1910. In 1910, he attended the University of Berlin, where he studied philosophy.

    Locke received an assistant professorship in English at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. While at Howard University, he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

    Locke returned to Harvard in 1916 to work on his doctoral dissertation, The Problem of Classification in the Theory of Value. In his thesis, he discusses the causes of opinions and social biases, and that these are not objectively true or false, and therefore not universal. Locke received his PhD in philosophy in 1918. Locke returned to Howard University as the chair of the department of philosophy, a position he held until his retirement in 1953.

    Locke promoted African-American artists, writers, and musicians, encouraging them to look to Africa as an inspiration for their works. He encouraged them to depict African and African-American subjects, and to draw on their history for subject material. Locke edited the March 1925 issue of the periodical Survey Graphic, a special on Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance, which helped educate white readers about its flourishing culture. Later that year, he expanded the issue into The New Negro, a collection of writings by African Americans, which would become one of his best known works. His philosophy of the New Negro was grounded in the concept of race-building. Its most important component is overall awareness of the potential black equality; no longer would blacks allow themselves to adjust themselves or comply with unreasonable white requests. This idea was based on self-confidence and political awareness. Although in the past the laws regarding equality had been ignored without consequence, Locke’s philosophical idea of The New Negro allowed for fair treatment. Because this was an idea and not alaw, its power was held in the people. If they wanted this idea to flourish, they were the ones who would need to “enforce” it through their actions and overall points of view. Locke has been said to have greatly influenced and encouraged Zora Neale Hurston.

Stray Toasters

I should probably post this before I forget. Again. For another two hours.

Namaste.

Thursday in the valley

Thursday, February 7th, 2013
Thursday in the valley

Thursday – 07 February 2013
It’s No Bad News Thursday.  ‘Nuff said.

There was fog in the valley, at least in the central/north part. The trees around here are coated with ice crystals, but not as much sheen as after an ice storm.

Last night, Sara! and I watched The Rescuers.

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It’s her favorite Disney movie. For her, the movie holds fun childhood memories in much the same way that Superman: the Movie does for me and is my favorite movie. Somehow, I’d never seen this movie before. It was a little darker than I would have expected… especially from Disney. I was also pleasantly surprised to see hear Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor in the starring roles. And I can’t imagine anyone else in those roles. All told, it was a fun movie and I enjoyed it.

After the movie, and after flipping channels for a bit, I landed on The Science Channel. We watched Dark Matters: Twisted But True. Interesting show, but it’s made better by being hosted by John Noble (Walter Bishop on Fringe).

Chew on This – Food for Thought: Black History Month
Today’s person of note is: Marvin Gaye

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Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. (he added the “e” to his last name alter in life) was born in Washington, D.C. on April 2, 1939. Gaye was raised under the strict control of his father, Rev. Marvin Gay Sr., the minister at a local church, against a bleak backdrop of widespread violence in his neighborhood.

Throughout his childhood, Marvin Gaye often found peace in music, mastering the piano and drums at a young age. Until high school, his singing experience was limited to church revivals, but soon he developed a love for R&B and doo-wop that would set the foundation for his career. In the late 1950s, Gaye joined a vocal group called The New Moonglows. The talented singer had a phenomenal range that spanned three vocal styles and he soon impressed the group’s founder, Harvey Fuqua. It wasn’t long before Gaye and Fuqua both came to the attention of Detroit music impresario Berry Gordy and were signed to Gordy’s legendary Motown Records.

Gaye’s first certified hit under his own name wouldn’t come until 1962, but his early years at Motown were full of behind-the-scenes successes. He was a session drummer for Motown legends such as Little Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, The Marvelettes, and Martha and the Vandellas. Showing his stripes as Motown’s renaissance man, Gaye went on to break into the Top 40 for the first time on his own in 1962 with his solo single “Hitch Hike.” Throughout the 1960s, Gaye would show his immense range, churning out solo dance hits and romantic duets with hit-makers like Diana Ross and Mary Wells. “Can I Get a Witness” and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (vide0) were some of Gaye’s biggest hits of the period, the latter achieving its place as Motown’s bestselling single of the 1960s. For three high-flying years, Gaye and Tammi Terrell wowed the country with their soaring duet performances of songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (video) and “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You”. Unfortunately, their reign as the Royal Couple of R&B ended when Terrell succumbed to a brain tumor in 1970. His beloved partner’s death ushered in a dark period for the singer, who swore never to partner with another female vocalist and threatened to abandon the stage for good.

In 1970, inspired by escalating violence and political unrest over the Vietnam War, Gaye wrote the landmark song “What’s Going On.” (video) Despite clashes with Motown over the song’s creative direction, the single was released in 1971 and became an instant smash. Its success prompted Gaye to take even more risks, both musically and politically. When it was released in the spring of 1971, the What’s Going On album served to open Gaye up to new audiences while maintaining his Motown following.

Departing from the tried and true Motown formula, Gaye went out on his own artistically, paving the way for other Motown artists like Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson to branch out in later years. Beyond influencing his peers, the album garnered widespread critical acclaim, winning the Rolling Stone Album of the Year award.

In 1972, Gaye moved to Los Angeles and soon met Janis Hunter,who would later become his second wife. Inspired in part by his newfound independence, Gaye recorded one of the most revered love anthems of all time, “Let’s Get It On.” (video) The song became his second number one Billboard hit, cementing his crossover appeal once and for all. Shortly afterwards, Motown pushed Gaye into touring to capitalize on his most recent success; reluctantly the singer-songwriter returned to the stage.

In 1975, Gaye’s wife Anna Gordy — Barry Gordy’s daughter — filed for divorce, and two years later Gaye married Hunter, who had by then given birth to their daughter, Nona (born September 4, 1974) and their son Frankie (born November 16, 1975). Gaye also had an adopted son (Marvin Pentz Gaye III) from his previous marriage. The singer’s marriage to Hunter proved short lived and tumultuous, ending in divorce in 1981.

Through most of the mid-1970s, Gaye was touring, collaborating or producing. Working with Diana Ross and The Miracles, he would put off releasing another solo album until 1976. He continued touring after the release of I Want You (1976) and released his last album for Motown Records (Here, My Dear) in 1978. After two decades at Motown, Gaye signed with CBS’s Columbia Records in 1982 and began to work on his last album, Midnight Love. The lead single from that album, “Sexual Healing,” (video) became a huge comeback hit for the R&B star and earned him his first two Grammy Awards and an American Music Award for Favorite Soul Single.

Despite his successful comeback in the early 1980s, Gaye struggled badly with the substance abuse and bouts of depression that had plagued him for most of his life. After his last tour, he moved into his parents’ house. There he and his father fell into a pattern of violent fights and quarrels that recalled conflicts that had haunted the family for decades. On April 1, 1984, Marvin Gaye Sr. shot and killed his son after a physical altercation; the father claimed he acted in self-defense but would later be convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Three years after his death, Marvin Gaye Jr. was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Creating beautiful art from a troubled life, Gaye again and again brought his vision, range, and artistry to the world stage. At the end of his career, he admitted he no longer made music for pleasure; instead, he said, “I record so that I can feed people what they need, what they feel. Hopefully, I record so that I can help someone overcome a bad time.”

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Back on the air

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
Back on the air

Wednesday – 06 February 2013
Not only is it midweek…
Nor is it just new comics day…
Or even Movie Date Night with Sara!…

Today is my niece, Grace’s, fifth birthday:

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Grace at Sara and my wedding

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Grace (2011)

I first met Grace about a week after she was born. Since then (and mostly through the marvels of modern technology), I have watched as she’s grown into a lovely, fun, and very precocious little girl:

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Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Since I’m a few days behind, it’s time to play “catch up” with our people of interest:

  • George Washington Carver00v/49/arve/G1905/031George Washington Carver (by January 1864 – January 5, 1943), was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor.Carver was born into slavery in Diamond Grove, Newton County, near Crystal Place, now known as Diamond, Missouri, possibly in 1864 or 1865, though the exact date is not known. His master, Moses Carver, was a German American immigrant. Carver had 10 sisters and a brother, all of whom died prematurely.
    After slavery was abolished, Moses Carver and his wife Susan raised George and his older brother James as their own children. They encouraged George to continue his intellectual pursuits, and “Aunt Susan” taught him the basics of reading and writing.

    Black people were not allowed at the public school in Diamond Grove. Learning there was a school for black children 10 miles (16 km) south in Neosho, George decided to go there. When he reached the town, he found the school closed for the night. He slept in a nearby barn. By his own account, the next morning he met a kind woman, Mariah Watkins, from whom he wished to rent a room. When he identified himself as “Carver’s George,” as he had done his whole life, she replied that from now on his name was “George Carver”. George liked this lady very much, and her words, “You must learn all you can, then go back out into the world and give your learning back to the people”, made a great impression on him. At the age of thirteen, due to his desire to attend the academy there, he relocated to the home of another foster family in Fort Scott, Kansas. After witnessing a black man killed by a group of whites, Carver left the city. He attended a series of schools before earning his diploma at Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis, Kansas.

    Carver applied to several colleges before being accepted at Highland College in Highland, Kansas. When he arrived, however, they rejected him because of his race. In 1890, Carver started studying art and piano at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. His art teacher, Etta Budd, recognized Carver’s talent for painting flowers and plants; she encouraged him to study botany at Iowa State Agricultural College in Ames. When he began in 1891, he was the first black student, and later taught as the first black faculty member.

    When he completed his B.S., professors Joseph Budd and Louis Pammel convinced Carver to continue at Iowa State for his master’s degree. Carver did research at the Iowa Experiment Station under Pammel during the next two years. His work at the experiment station in plant pathology and mycology first gained him national recognition and respect as a botanist.

    Booker T. Washington, the principal of the African-American Tuskegee Institute, hired Carver to run the school’s agricultural department in 1896. Washington lured the promising young botanist to the institute with a hefty salary and the promise of two rooms on campus, while most faculty members lived with a roommate. Carver’s special status stemmed from his accomplishments and reputation, as well as his degree from a prominent institution not normally open to black students. One of Carver’s duties was to administer the Agricultural Experiment Station farms. He had to manage the production and sale of farm products to generate revenue for the Institute. He soon proved to be a poor administrator. In 1900, Carver complained that the physical work and the letter-writing required were too much.

    Carver’s research and innovative educational extension programs were aimed at inducing farmers to utilize available resources to replace expensive commodities. He published bulletins and gave demonstrations on such topics as using native clays for paints, increasing soil fertility without commercial fertilizers, and growing alternative crops along with the ubiquitous cotton. To enhance the attractiveness of such crops as cow peas, sweet potatoes, and peanuts, Carver developed a variety of uses for each. Peanuts especially appealed to him as an inexpensive source of protein that did not deplete the soil as much as cotton did.

    Carver’s work with peanuts drew the attention of a national growers’ association, which invited him to testify at congressional tariff hearings in 1921. That testimony as well as several honors brought national publicity to the “Peanut Man.” A wide variety of groups adopted the professor as a symbol of their causes, including religious groups, New South boosters, segregationists, and those working to improve race relations.

    From 1933 to 1935, Carver worked to develop peanut oil massages to treat infantile paralysis (polio). Ultimately researchers found that the massages, not the peanut oil, provided the benefits of maintaining some mobility to paralyzed limbs. From 1935 to 1937, Carver participated in the USDA Disease Survey. Carver had specialized in plant diseases and mycology for his master’s degree.

    In 1937, Carver attended two chemurgy conferences, an emerging field in the 1930s, during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, concerned with developing new products from crops. He was invited by Henry Ford to speak at the conference held in Dearborn, Michigan, and they developed a friendship. That year Carver’s health declined, and Ford later installed an elevator at the Tuskegee dormitory where Carver lived, so that the elderly man would not have to climb stairs.

    Carver had been frugal in his life, and in his seventies established a legacy by creating a museum on his work and the George Washington Carver Foundation at Tuskegee in 1938 to continue agricultural research. He donated nearly $60,000 in his savings to create the foundation.

    Carver took a bad fall down a flight of stairs; he was found unconscious by a maid who took him to a hospital. Carver died January 5, 1943, at the age of 78 from complications (anemia) resulting from this fall. He was buried next to Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee University.

  • Angela Davisangela-davis
    Writer, activist, educator. Born on January 26, 1944, in Birmingham, Alabama. Angela Davis is best known as a radical African American educator and activist for civil rights and other social issues. She knew about racial prejudice from her experiences with discrimination growing up in Alabama. As a teenager, Davis organized interracial study groups, which were broken up by the police. She also knew several of the young African American girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing of 1963.Angela Davis later moved north and went to Brandeis University in Massachusetts where she studied philosophy with Herbert Marcuse. As a graduate student at the University of California, San Diego, in the late 1960s, she joined several groups, including the Black Panthers. But she spent most of her time working with the Che-Lumumba Club, which was all-black branch of the Communist Party.Hired to teach at the University of California, Los Angeles, Angela Davis ran into trouble with the school’s administration because of her association with communism. They fired her, but she fought them in court and got her job back. Davis still ended up leaving when her contract expired in 1970.

    Outside of academia, Angela Davis had become a strong supporter of three prison inmates of Soledad Prison known as the Soledad brothers (they were not related). These three men—John W. Cluchette, Fleeta Drumgo, and George Lester Jackson—were accused of killing a prison guard after several African American inmates had been killed in a fight by another guard. Some thought these prisoners were being used as scapegoats because of the political work within the prison.

    During Jackson’s trial in August 1970, an escape attempt was made and several people in the courtroom were killed. Angela Davis was brought up on several charges, including murder, for her alleged part in the event. There were two main pieces of evidence used at trial: the guns used were registered to her, and she was reportedly in love with Jackson. After spending roughly 18 months in jail, Davis was acquitted in June 1972.

    After spending time traveling and lecturing, Angela Davis returned to teaching. Today, she is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she teaches courses on the history of consciousness. Davis is the author of several books, includingWomen, Race, and Class (1980) and Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003).

  • Billy EckstineBilly Eckstine
    William Clarence Eckstine (July 8, 1914 – March 8, 1993) was an American singer of ballads and a bandleader of the swing era. Eckstine’s smooth baritone and distinctive vibrato broke down barriers throughout the 1940s, first as leader of the original bop big-band, then as the first romantic black male in popular music. Eckstine’s recording of “I Apologize” (MGM Pop Single, 1948) was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.
    Eckstine was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a State Historical Marker is placed at 5913 Bryant St, Highland Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to mark the house where he grew up. Later moving to Washington, D.C., Eckstine began singing at the age of seven and entered many amateur talent shows. He attended Armstrong High School, St. Paul Normal and Industrial School, and Howard University. He left Howard in 1933, after winning first place in an amateur talent contest. 
    After working his way west to Chicago, Eckstine joined Earl Hines’ Grand Terrace Orchestra in 1939, staying with the band as vocalist and, occasionally, trumpeter, until 1943. By that time, he had begun to make a name for himself through the Hines band’s radio shows with such juke-box hits as “Stormy Monday Blues” and his own “Jelly Jelly.”In 1944, Eckstine formed his own big band and made it a fountainhead for young musicians who would reshape jazz by the end of the decade, including Dizzy GillespieDexter GordonMiles DavisArt BlakeyCharlie Parker, and Fats NavarroTadd Dameron and Gil Fuller were among the band’s arrangers, and Sarah Vaughan gave the vocals a contemporary air. The Billy Eckstine Orchestra was the first bop big-band, and its leader reflected bop innovations by stretching his vocal harmonics into his normal ballads. Despite the group’s modernist slant, Eckstine hit the charts often during the mid 1940s, with Top Ten entries including “A Cottage for Sale” and “Prisoner of Love”. On the group’s frequent European and American tours, Eckstine, popularly known as Mr. B, also played trumpet, valve trombone and guitar.

    Dizzy Gillespie, in reflecting on the band in his 1979 autobiography To Be or Not to Bop, gives this perspective: “There was no band that sounded like Billy Eckstine’s. Our attack was strong, and we were playing bebop, the modern style. No other band like this one existed in the world.”

    After a few years of touring with road-hardened be-boppers, Eckstine became a solo performer in 1947, and seamlessly made the transition to string-filled balladry. He recorded more than a dozen hits during the late 1940s, including “My Foolish Heart” and “I Apologize.” He was one of the first artists to sign with the newly-established MGM Records, and had immediate hits with revivals of “Everything I Have Is Yours” (1947), Richard Rodgers’ and Lorenz Hart’s “Blue Moon” (1948), and Juan Tizol’s “Caravan” (1949).

    Eckstine had further success in 1950 with Victor Young’s theme song to “My Foolish Heart” and a revival of the 1931 Bing Crosby hit, “I Apologize”. However, unlike Nat “King” Cole (who followed him into the pop charts), Eckstine’s singing, especially his exaggerated vibrato, sounded increasingly mannered and he was unable to sustain his recording success throughout the decade.

    While enjoying success in the middle-of-the-road and pop fields, Eckstine occasionally returned to his jazz roots, recording with Vaughan, Count Basie and Quincy Jones for separate LPs, and he regularly topped the Metronome and Down Beat polls in the Top Male Vocalist category: He won Esquire magazine’s New Star Award in 1946; the Down Beat magazine Readers Polls from 1948 to 1952; and the Metronome magazine award as “Top Male Vocalist” from 1949 to 1954.

    Eckstine was a style leader and noted sharp dresser. He designed and patented a high roll collar that formed a “B” over a Windsor-knotted tie, which became known as a “Mr. B. Collar”. The collars were worn by many a hipster in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Legend has it that his refined appearance even had an effect on trumpeter Miles Davis. Once, when Eckstine came across a disheveled Davis in the depths of his heroin excess, his remark “Looking sharp, Miles” served as a wake-up call for Davis, who promptly returned to his father’s farm in the winter of 1953 and finally kicked the habit.

    In 1984 Billy recorded his final album I Am a Singer. Eckstine died on March 8, 1993, aged 78.

  • Mary Fieldsstagecoach mary fieldsMary Fields, also known as Stagecoach Mary, was the first African-American woman employed as a mail carrier in the United States, and just the second American woman to work for the United States Postal Service.
    Born a slave circa 1832 in Hickman County, Tennessee, Fields was freed when American slavery was outlawed in 1865. She then worked in the home of Judge Edmund Dunne. When Dunne’s wife died, Fields took the family’s five children to their aunt, Mother Mary Amadeus, a nun at an Ursuline convent in Toledo. Mother Amadeus was sent to Montana Territory to establish St. Peter’s Mission, a school for Native American girls. Word came back that Amadeus was ill, and Fields hurried to Montana to nurse her. After Amadeus recovered, Fields stayed at St. Peter’s hauling freight, doing laundry, growing vegetables, tending chickens, repairing buildings, and eventually becoming the forewoman.
    The Native Americans called Fields “White Crow” because “she acts like a white woman but has black skin.” Local whites didn’t know what to make of her. One schoolgirl wrote an essay saying “she drinks whiskey, and she swears, and she is a republican, which makes her a low, foul creature.” In 1894, after several complaints, the bishop ordered her to leave the convent.

    Mother Amadeus helped her open a restaurant in nearby Cascade. Fields would serve food to anyone, whether they could pay or not, and the restaurant went broke in about ten months.

    In 1895, although approximately 60 years old, Fields was hired as a mail carrier because she was the fastest applicant to hitch a team of six horses. She drove the route with horses and a mule named Moses. She never missed a day, and her reliability earned her the nickname “Stagecoach.” If the snow was too deep for her horses, Fields delivered the mail on snowshoes, carrying the sacks on her shoulders.

    Fields was a respected public figure in Cascade, and on her birthday each year the town closed its schools to celebrate. When Montana passed a law forbidding women to enter saloons, the mayor of Cascade granted her an exception.

    Mary Fields died of liver failure in 1914. In 1959, actor and Montana native Gary Cooper wrote an article for Ebony in which he said, “Born a slave somewhere in Tennessee, Mary lived to become one of the freest souls ever to draw a breath, or a .38.”

    Of course, this entry from Badass of the Week is where I first heard of Stagecoach Mary – and knew that she’d be filling the “F” slot in this year’s Black History Month list.

Stray Toasters

Back to it.

Namaste.

Groundhog Day: The Day of Shadows

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Groundhog Day: The Day of Shadows

Saturday – 02 February 2013
It’s Groundhog Day.
(Just so you know, there won’t be a guest post by Bill Murray or Andie MacDowell. Sorry.)

It’s the weekend. Hallelujah. It hasn’t been a bad week, but with Team DiVa not sleeping well (due to their colds), Sara! and I haven’t been sleeping well. Or, rather, our sleep has been broken and not as restful as it could be.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Today’s person: Julian Bond

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Horace Julian Bond (born January 14, 1940), known as Julian Bond, is an American social activist and leader in the American civil rights movement, politician, professor, and writer. Bond was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to the former Julia Agnes Washington and Horace Mann Bond.

In 1960, Bond was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and served as its communications director from 1961 to 1966. From 1960 to 1963, he led student protests against segregation in public facilities in Georgia. Bond left Morehouse College in 1961 and returned to complete his BA in English in 1971 at age 31. With Morris Dees, Bond helped found the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a public-interest law firm based in Montgomery, Alabama. He served as its president from 1971 to 1979. Bond continues on the board of directors of the SPLC.

In 1965, Bond was one of eight African Americans elected to the Georgia House of Representatives after passage of civil rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965. On January 10, 1966, however, Georgia state representatives voted 184-12 not to seat him because he publicly endorsed SNCC’s policy regarding opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. They disliked Bond’s stated sympathy for persons who were “unwilling to respond to a military draft”. A federal District Court panel ruled 2-1 that the Georgia House had not violated any of Bond’s federal constitutional rights. In 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in the case of Bond v. Floyd (385 U.S. 116) that the Georgia House of Representatives had denied Bond his freedom of speech and was required to seat him. From 1967 to 1975, Bond was elected for four terms as a Democratic member in the Georgia House. There he organized the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus.

In January 1967, Bond was among eleven House members who refused to vote when the legislature elected segregationist Lester Maddox of Atlanta as governor of Georgia over the Republican Howard Callaway, who had led in the 1966 general election by some three thousand votes. The choice fell on state lawmakers under the Georgia Constitution of 1824 because neither major party candidate had polled a majority in the general election. Former Governor Ellis Arnall polled more than fifty thousand votes as a write-in cadidate, a factor which led to the impasse. Bond would not support either Maddox or Callaway though he was ordered to vote by lame duck Lieutenant Governor Peter Zack Geer.

He went on to be elected for six terms in the Georgia Senate in which he served from 1975 to 1987.

During the 1968 presidential election, Bond led an alternate delegation from Georgia to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. There, unexpectedly and contrary to his intention, he became the first African American to be proposed as a major-party candidate for Vice President of the United States. While expressing gratitude for the honor, the 28-year-old Bond quickly declined, citing the constitutional requirement that one must be at least 35 years of age to serve in that office.

Bond resigned from the Georgia Senate in 1987 to run for the United States House of Representatives from Georgia’s 5th congressional district. He lost the Democratic nomination in a runoff to rival civil rights leader John Lewis in a bitter contest, in which Bond was accused of using cocaine and other drugs. As the 5th district had a huge Democratic majority, the nomination delivered the seat to Lewis, who still serves as congressman.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Bond taught at several universities in major cities of the North and South, including American, Drexel, Harvard, and the University of Virginia.

In 1998, Bond was selected as chairman of the NAACP. In November 2008, he announced that he would not seek another term as chairman. Bond agreed to stay on in the position through 2009 as the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary. Roslyn M. Brock was chosen as Bond’s successor on February 20, 2010.

He continues to write and lecture about the history of the civil rights movement and the condition of African Americans and the poor. He is President Emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

From 1980 to 1997 he hosted America’s Black Forum. He remains a commentator for the Forum, for radio’s Byline, and for NBC’s The Today Show. He authored thenationally syndicated newspaper column Viewpoint. He narrated the critically acclaimed PBS series Eyes on the Prize in 1987 and 1990.

Bond has been an outspoken supporter of the rights of gays and lesbians. He has publicly stated his support for same-sex marriage. Most notably he boycotted the funeral services for Coretta Scott King on the grounds that the King children had chosen an anti-gay megachurch. This was in contradiction to their mother’s longstanding support for the rights of gay and lesbian people. In a 2005 speech in Richmond, VA, Bond stated:

African Americans … were the only Americans who were enslaved for two centuries, but we were far from the only Americans suffering discrimination then and now. … Sexual disposition parallels race. I was born this way. I have no choice. I wouldn’t change it if I could. Sexuality is unchangeable.

In a 2007 speech on the Martin Luther King Day Celebration at Clayton State University in Morrow, GA, Bond said, “If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married.” His positions have pitted elements of the NAACP against religious groups in the Black Civil Rights movement who oppose gay marriage mostly within the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) who was blamed partly for the success of the recent gay marriage ban amendment in California.

Today, Bond is a Distinguished Professor in Residence at American University in Washington, D.C. He also is a faculty member in the history department at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, where he teaches history of the Civil Rights Movement.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Another Pleasant Valley Snow Day

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013
Another Pleasant Valley Snow Day

Wednesday – 30 January 2013
More of Mother Nature’s frozen mocking laughter is falling on the Salt Lake valley this morning.

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The roads were actually in decent condition; the drivers, however… *shakes head* There was a roughly 6-mile stretch where the average speed dropped from 45 MPH all the way down to 15 MPH. For no apparent reason that I could see.

On the “plus” side, it’s new comics day as well as Movie Date Night. Double-plus win.

TeamDiVa Tuesday pictures were cancelled yesterday, as the little ladies have colds and aren’t quite up for taking pictures. They have coughs and runny noses, but they seem to be getting over the rough parts of it.  They’ve been rather clingy, understandably… not that I need excuses for kid cuddles.

Stray Toasters

Yeah, that’s good for now.

Namaste.

‘Clix, Opera and the AFC

Monday, January 21st, 2013
'Clix, Opera and the AFC

Monday – 20 January 2013
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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This past weekend was a good weekend.

Saturday, I judged a HeroClix tournament. I set up an event for my friend, Keith, who is in town on vacation. Keith was the judge for ‘Clix tournaments when I first started playing, so I was happy to do it. There was a good turn out for the game – we wound up with 12 players.

After the game, Sara! and I headed out for the evening.

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That’s right, time to break out the tuxedo..

It was the opening night for Utah Opera’s staging of Florencia En El Amazonas:

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This is a fairly “new” opera, first staged in 1996. The set design also included a projected background, which changed over the course of the opera, making it appear that the boat (the main piece of scenery) was traveling on the Amazon River.

The Utah Opera costume shop also did an outstanding job of outfitting the cast. There was also a big of… whimsy in some of the ladies’ dress designs. I was particularly taken with the costuming of one of the male leads, to the point of wanting a couple of the pieces for my own wardrobe.

The music for the opera was well-suited to the story. It wasn’t oppressive or heavy; on the contrary, it was lively and, quite frankly, beautiful.

Something else that I enjoyed was that the libretto was amazingly well done. The stories in many operas are fanciful and often rely on some “magical thing” to happen to wrap things up by the coda. That wasn’t the case in this opera. Far from it, in fact. It was easily one of the – if not THE – most realistic bit of storytelling I’ve seen in an opera. The characters were… human, not just characters and far from being caricatures. Their motivations and reactions were incredibly well-grounded.

I haven’t determined exactly where it falls, but this is definitely on my favorite opera list. I highly recommend  seeing it to any and every one.

Sunday, or at least the early part of it, was mostly spent around the house. The afternoon, however, was dedicated to football. Brad and Keith came over to watch the AFC Championship Game…

Instant Replay: Football

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
28 – 13
The Ravens headed to Foxboro, Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship:

  1. The Patriots beat the Ravens in last year’s matchup.
  2. The Ravens beat the Patriots in Week 3 of the regular season.
  3. Coming into today’s game, Tom Brady was 5-2, all-time, against the Ravens.
  4. The Pats were 9-point favorites.

There was a lot of expectation that tonight’s game would turn out like last year’s…

…but the Ravens and their fans knew that they didn’t want Ray Lewis’ “Last Ride” to end in New England.

The game was close in the first half, with New England drawing first blood with a field goal. Baltimore answered with a touchdown in the second quarter. New England put up another FG in the 2nd and the teams went into halftime with the Pats up 13-7.

The second half belonged to the Ravens. They put up another 21 points while keeping the Pats out of the end zone and out of field goal range.

On the Pats’ last drive, Brady was moving his team downfield well. It looked like they were about to put 6 points on the board until Cary Williams picked off a pass.

Joe Flacco was able to take a knee and send the Ravens to their first Super Bowl in 12 years.

ravens_afc_champs

Congratulations to the Ravens on a fantastic and well-played game.

On to New Orleans, where the Ravens and Head Coach John Harbaugh will face the San Francisco 49ers, coached by former Ravens QB Jim Harbaugh… John’s brother.

20_FinalStop_home

Stray Toasters

Yeah, my team is going to the Super Bowl. Boom!

Namaste.

“This mornin’, I shot six holes in my freezer…”

Monday, January 14th, 2013
"This mornin', I shot six holes in my freezer..."

Monday – 14 January 2013
It’s cold here in the Land Behind the Zion Curtain.

How cold? Well, this is what greeted me when I checked the weather before getting out of bed:

What?! I was reading on my iPad before going to sleep; it was right there. Don’t judge.

This was the difference between my car and outside as I got ready to head into the office:

Yes, that is a nearly 70°F difference. So, like I said: It’s cold.

Reeling By On Celluloid: Tomb Raider
As of last Saturday, Sara! and I finished our run of Bond’s movies… since Amazon wanted me to buy Die Another Day. Yeah, that was not going to happen. We decided to start a new run of movies; we just had to decide on a theme. We wound up going with “Action Movies with Strong Female Leads.” That, in turn, lead us to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

lara_croft_tomb_raider

We’d both seen the movie before and knew that it was light on brainpower and fairly full of action. Win. Win. And something that we’d forgotten: Daniel Craig was in the movie. That’s right. James “Double Oh Seven” Bond. Well, five years before he was Bond. And who could forget that Ms. Jolie’s father, Jim Phelps, I mean Jon Voight was in the movie, as well.

And, in the final analysis: It was fun.

Instant Replay: Football
Saturday afternoon, the Ravens took on the Denver Broncos:

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos
38 – 35
The Ravens traveled to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Number 1 in the AFC Denver Broncos for the AFC Divisonal Game. Going into the game, the odds were stacked against the Ravens:

  1. The Broncos gave the Ravens a thorough trouncing in Week 15, just four weeks prior.
  2. The Ravens were playing on a short week – having played in an AFC Wild Card game on Sunday.
  3. Peyton Manning was 8-2, all-time, against the Ravens.
  4. The Broncos were 9-point favorites.
  5. Playing in Denver meant that the Ravens would not only have to travel across the country, but they would also have to acclimatize (quickly) to the thinner air at the higher altitude.

And, there was also this gem, as tweeted by the Ravens’ own Terrell Suggs:

ESPN_RavensNation

But, as Han Solo once told C-3P0: “Never tell me the odds.”

Because the Ravens went to Denver to make like Big Daddy Kane and Get the Job Done.

The game was close all the way through; the score wound up being tied a total of five (5) times! There were amazing plays on both sides

At the end of regulation, the score was tied 35-35.

Then came overtime.
Then came the second overtime.

Then, Peyton Manning threw a pass… that was picked off by Corey Graham.  That set up a game-winning Justin Tucker 49-yard field goal, sending the Ravens to the AFC Championship game.

After the game, two future Hall of Famers met at mid-field for the last time as competitors.

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 10.10.16 PM

Congratulations to the Ravens on a great game.

Hey, Joe…?! How does it feel to go into Denver and handle business like you did on Saturday?

Flacco_Denver

Next stop: New England.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.