Archive for the 'computers' Category

Friday’s interminable ramble…

Friday, June 12th, 2015
Friday's interminable ramble...

Friday – 12 June 2015
It’s the end of the (work) week. Amen.

It’s been a good, though tiring week, as Sara! spent Tuesday through Thursday at Altitude Summit… including being a panelist on Wednesday. This means that Team DiVa and I had to fend for ourselves on those days. We all survived the experience. And, we even managed to do an art project and make s’mores in the process. I’d call it an all-around “Win.”

Photo Jun 11, 7 47 58 PM

Photo Jun 10, 8 01 11 PM

I even made it to the gym five days this week; I haven’t done that in a few years.

Chew on This: Food for Thought
My news feeds have been full of articles about Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane Chapter of the NAACP and how it appears that she has lied about being Black. The story apparently came to the national spotlight after her mother outed her. It’s interesting to note that this story is not about someone adopting or borrowing from a culture, but rather has asserted, to no small degree, that she actually is a member of that culture.

What I find curious is that no one has talked about the historical precedent for the reverse of this: Light-skinned Blacks “passing” as White. For decades in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, people of mixed race and fair complexions lived among the general populace, identifying as White… or at least claiming to be, when it benefited them. For a fictional account of such “passing,” I highly recommend reading Mat Johnson‘s Incognegro (1, 2, 3).

incognegro_vertigo

I don’t know of any stipulation in the NAACP’s charter that requires members to be “of color.” Hint: There isn’t one. ANYONE is welcome to join.

From the items that I’ve read, no one is calling into question her right to be a member of – or to be president of – the Spokane chapter, which is good. The whole issue seems to stem from her racial identification.

I am most curious to see how this shakes out.

Workout
I should probably log these before I forget. Again.

Monday

  • Elliptical: 10 min/1.1 miles
  • Lat Pulldown (long bar): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Lat Pulldown (shortg grip): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Row: 3 x 8 x 80
  • Tricep Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 70
  • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 70

Tuesday

  • Squats: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs

Wednesday

  • Bench Press: 3 x 8 x 115 lbs
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Dumbbell Fly: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Dumbbell Curls: 3 x 8 x 25 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (fwd): 3 x 8 x 40 lbs
  • Wrist Curls (rev): 3 x 8 x 40 lbs

Thursday

  • Elliptical: 5 min/0.55 mi
  • Squats: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Press: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 100 lbs
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs

Friday

  • Lat Pulldown (long bar): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Lat Pulldown (shortg grip): 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Row: 3 x 8 x 80 lbs
  • Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extensions: 3 x 8 x 30 lbs
  • Tricep Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs

Stray Toasters

I think that’s good for now.

Namaste.

Mittwoch

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015
Mittwoch

Wednesday – 20 May 2015
I didn’t get up this morning to go to the gym. No, that’s not entirely correct. Let’s try that again: I woke up this morning, in time to go to the gym, but decided not to do so, thanks to a not-happy stomach and a headache. I regret nothing.

At work, I called into a meeting, had a couple of impromptu business-related talks with people and apparently spaced off another meeting altogether. Go, me! The later meeting was for a software upgrade – one that I didn’t have to do – and got pushed back a bit until I got to the office. It was further delayed by some VM issues, along with a side helping of someone needing a cluster of servers rebooted. The shutdowns were easy; the reboots were not, mostly because the servers were on a VMware host whose existence I was only tangentially aware of.

::: braincramp :::
“Drat these computers…”

But, I managed to get things resolved.

For lunch, Adam, Brad, Kelsey (!), and I went to Lucky 13. There was a pretty major wait for food, but it was worth it. I went with the Hot Pastrami and Swiss Burger; I was not let down.

Now, I’m tackling an issue that popped up this morning… as a side-effect of the software upgrade. We’ll see if that takes me until the end of the day to rectify.

Stray Toasters

  • David Letterman steps down from the late night stage tonight. I’ve been a fan of his since… 1985, I think. Possibly ’84. Either way, it’s the end of an era. I wish him well on the next leg of his journey.
  • I quite liked this series of strips from Sinfest:

    sinfest2015-05-13
    sinfest2015-05-14
    sinfest2015-05-15
    sinfest2015-05-16
  • Princes of the Apocalypse is D&D’s Killer App

.eof

Monday, Monday…

Monday, May 18th, 2015
Monday, Monday...

Monday – 18 May 2015
Happy Miracle Monday (1, 2).

superman_shield

Today finds me back in the office. I enjoyed last week’s class, but it was a LOT of information crammed into five days. I appreciated the time away from “work,” but there’s something to be said for being back in the swing of things.

Of course, I would have preferred to have gotten back to it this morning, rather than last night…

I got a call, just as Team DiVa was going to bed, that a server was down. By the time I was able to log in and start looking, I got another call, from a different user, saying that another server was down.

::: braincramp :::

Once I started looking, I noted that it wasn’t so much a “server” issue as it was a “virtual host” issue. And it was one that didn’t want to let me fix it remotely. So, into work I went. At 9:30 at night.

*grblsnrkx*

After banging on things for a while, I resorted to the time-honored IT tradition of: “Turn it off and then turn it back on.” That worked, for the most part. There was still one issue that didn’t resolve. I tinkered with a few settings and got that issue fixed… at least for the time being. There’s a long-term solution in the works, it’s just a matter of timing.

Workout
This morning, I also woke up a little before 6:30, chock full of the good intention of going to the gym. I actually got up and out of bed and – albeit a little more slowly than I should have – got ready to go. I had to abbreviate this morning’s routine due to time constraints, but the bottom line is: I got in a workout.

  • Elliptical: 7 min, 0.75 mile
  • Lat Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Short Grip Pulldowns: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Row: 3 x 8 x 70 lbs
  • Standing Rope Pulldown: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs
  • Standing Tricep Press: 3 x 8 x 60 lbs

Stray Toasters

  • Saturday night, Sara! and I watched Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. It’s been a while since I’d seen it. I celebrated the occasion by live-tweeting it… which entertained me nearly as much as the movie itself. I think we’re going to watch Return of the Jedi tonight. I may live-tweet that, too. Because… I can.
  • Kronkiwongi
  • Who were the Forty Elephants?
  • I hope to be as understanding and willing/able to let the girls explore their choices as this mom was: Mom’s dilemma: Should I let my 6-year-old daughter shave her head?
  • As I mentioned above, today is “Miracle Monday.” The story was written by Eliot S. Maggin, who also wrote Luthor’s Gift, a short story I just discovered today. Enjoy.

Okay, back to the grind.

Namaste.

Day Thirteen

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
Day Thirteen

Tuesday (with a little Wednesday thrown in…) – 13 January 2014
Day 13: Perform a mind dump of everything you’re worried about. From the leaky dishwasher to your family member’s poor health — get it all out. Dwight D. Eisenhower did it, and it significantly helped him manage his stress. Just as your body needs to…cleanse itself of waste, so does your mind every once in a while. Getting all your stressors on paper may alleviate some of that pressure. Use David Allen’s GTD trigger list to help you out.

With apologies to Monty Python, “I’m so worried about…”

  • Being a good husband and dad.
  • Keeping in touch with my family – here and “back home.”
  • Making time for friends.
  • Making time for me.
  • Staying on top of my health.
  • Whether or not I’ll be able to fit some travel in this year.
  • Projects around the house, now that I don’t have the Train Room as an excuse.
  • Becoming more aware of and informed about issues in the community.
  • What the Hell is still “not as right as it could be” with my car?!
  • Keeping all of the balls that I’m juggling for work in the air.
    • This one isn’t horrible, but there’s just been a lot going on over the past two weeks.
  • A proposed project (that’s actually kind of up my alley) – I just want it to go well.
  • Cleaning up my queue of work requests.
  • Managing to get – and do well in – upcoming training.
  • “…the baggage retrieval system they’ve got at Heathrow.”

Namaste.

“America. It’s Beautiful.”

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
"America. It's Beautiful."

Tuesday – 04 February 2014

black_history_banner

I was at a bit of a quandary about what to choose for today’s Black History Month entry.

Until yesterday morning.

There are many fine options for choosing an “A” entry for my first post of the month:

  • Abolition
  • Achievements
  • Africa
  • African Americans in the Civil War
  • Art

…to name a few, not to mention the names of the famous and the not-so-famous. But none of those struck the chord in me that today’s topic did. What is it? You already know. Or at least, you know if you were paying attention earlier.

Today’s topic is: America. More specifically, it’s “America. It’s Beautiful,” But, I’ll get back to that in just a moment. First, I’d like you to take a few minutes to enjoy this:

That was the late Ray Charles performing what my brother-in-law, John, has deemed the finest rendition of the song America the Beautiful. I’m inclined to agree with him.

As I said above, my topic for today’s post is “America. It’s Beautiful.” And it is, in many ways – ways that I think that this attempted to demonstrate:

The Coca-Cola Corporation attempted to show that America is more than just a world superpower, it’s a country that is made up of a diverse collection of people. In a sixty-second spot, they showed people living out their lives and dreams. (Many of the images featured a Coca-Cola product or logo in them, but it’s a commercial, after all.)

America is full of many great things. It has been called “The Land of Opportunity” for hundreds of years. One of the first sights that greeted immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries was the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island in the New York Harbor. In the statue’s base is a plate inscribed with the poem The New Colossus, which includes the following lines:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

What better way to welcome people to their new home?

So why is it that nearly 150 years after those words were written, it seems that we are no longer a country that welcomes those yearning for something more or tolerant of those who are different? There was a great uproar on the Internet (I know, I know…) over Coke’s interpretation of America The Beautiful, mostly because it dared to present the song in languages other than English. If you’re curious as to some of the things said, please take a look at Speak English!: Racist Revolt As Coca-Cola Airs Multilingual ‘America the Beautiful’ Super Bowl Ad. There, you can see a handful of examples of the dark undercurrent of what America has to offer.

I asked a few people what their thoughts on the commercial were1.
(NOTE – Some comments include language that some may find offensive)

  • My brother, Adam (African-Amercian male, married to a white woman, with two biracial children), had this to say:

    Oh sweet fucking mercy. Xenophobic cock monkeys who are so insulated in their own little world of white picket fences and car pooling need to get a life. America is – and always will be – a land of many colors and creeds. Lest we forget: the Pilgrims and every other blonde-haired blue-eyed [person] was an illegal alien at one time, just ask the Native Americans they disenfranchised.

    I wear a uniform of a country that practices stop-and-frisk in its major cities and wear it with other men and women that John Q. Sixpack would call a “terrorist,” because they pray to a different God. Don’t be shined when people say we need to return to old-fashioned values, what they mean by that is when whites had their own schools and people of color were subjugated and lived in slums at the expense of the white elite.

    I can’t walk down the street holding my wife’s hand in Fort Collins, CO without some white women grabbing her purse. Women, please, do you know how much I make?! But if she saw me in my flight suit, she would shower me with thanks and praise. Sometimes, I just want to smack people for being so repulsive. What… you can’t be a Jew, Muslim, or any other religion and love this country?

    I hope that answers your question.

  • My brother-in-law, John (Greek-American, married to my sister, with three biracial children) offered up this about the Coke commercial, as well as the Cheerios commercial that preceded it:

    My first thought on the Cheerios commercial was “kid was cute. Commercial was boring.”

    My first thought on the Coke commercial was, no joke: “OK, how many nanoseconds is it going to take for the morons on the Twittersphere to lose their minds with collective grammatically incorrect diarrhea?”

    I liked the commercial. I thought it was sweet, well done, benign, and forgettable. But sadly I knew there would be the usual willfully ignorant vocal minority who use the ‘net as a megaphone for their stupidity.

    So here’s the deal — I’m not sure why folks choose to focus on a friggin’ commercial for bubbly sugar water (or before that, a cereal that nobody eats after the age of 9) as a vehicle for their imagined grievances.

    I like to think the younger generation is more tolerant — or at least, don’t see any of this as more than the side show it is. This thought is probably true…but again, the internet is a grand megaphone for the stupid.

    Ironically, nobody seemed to notice the Coke ad also had a gay couple in it. They were too busy bitching about ‘Murca and how it apparently is going down the tubes because someone had the nerve to sing in another language

    Overall — much ado about nothing. It’s what we do best as a country. But for the record, oh ye willfully ignorant — and yes, I’ll continue to refer to them as willfully ignorant, because that’s exactly what they are — not stupid, not ignorant, but proudly and willfully ignorant — America the Beautiful is NOT our #$(&ing national anthem. Our national anthem is the one about bombs and war. So there’s that.

    And one last thought — you remember the old Chris Rock routine about blacks vs. n****s?He goes off on an epic rant about how n****s love to NOT know. How do you think these same ignorant idiots would react if black folk went off on these similar rants? Pretty sure we’d hear the word “thug” and some blather about race cards, some epithets, etc. Because…well…BLACK people. YOU know.

  • My friend, Chris (White male, married to a Brazilian woman, with one biracial child) had this to say:

    Seriously, I liked it. I like that song more than most of the blind patriotism songs, and I thought it was well done, but not surprising for a professionally made commercial. But didn’t think it was all that memorable. And now I really think the screaming was the point, to MAKE it memorable.

    I saw something today on a friend’s FB feed, that the song was originally called, O Mother dear, Jerusalem, and the songwriter was a lesbian. So the “tradition” card is trumped, right at the start.

    I think that it demonstrates very well just how much racism is still around, and how comfortable the racists are about being very vocal about it. No shame at all.

    It seems to have really overshadowed the screaming over the mixed-race family in the Cheerios commercial, although that’s happening as well, of course.

    I went on to ask him a few related questions and got very candid responses in return:

    Rob: Did you catch any blowback when you announced that you and your wife were getting married?

    Chris: None at all, but mainly because my mom was NOT a raging bigot, and she and my brother were really the only family I had at the time.

    My grandmother was senile and living with relatives in Brigham City (north Utah) who probably would have disapproved, had I said anything to them. But I had cut all ties with the Mormons years earlier.

    Rob: What’s it like being a mixed family in the (top part of) The South? Do you find difficulties in dealing with some/many neighbors?  And how about raising a mixed-raced kid in the south? 

    Chris: I was a bit worried, but no problems that I’ve experienced. My son looks like a little Aryan (genetics are weird), and we’re in a fairly liberal spot anyway, just north of Chapel Hill. Lelia has run into some anti-Hispanic stuff at some of the stores, when she was there alone.

    Neighbors – our neighborhood is really damned diverse. We moved in partially because there was another Brasillian woman living in the neighborhood, and we met a couple who were African-American and African-Panamanian, and they introduced us to all of THEIR friends…

    About raising a mixed-race kid – I think I WOULD be concerned about it if Marcus looked more Brasillian. I’d certainly feel like I had to warn him to be careful. Even in an area this relatively-liberal, there are a lot of Tea Party types. As it is, though, I’m more worried about him looking so typically white-American when he visits Brasil. Huge kidnapping risk, in some ways.

  • And, what was quite possibly the most expressive – and tongue-in-cheek comment – on the commercial came from my friend, Maddox:

    FUCK YOU, COCA-COLA! I want all the singing in my commercials to be done in English while I watch African-Americans play a game that evolved from Rugby on my Japanese TV!

    Those familiar with his website know that Maddox has a keen eye for the goings-on in American culture and is unafraid to challenge them head-on. While his commentary is often acerbic and brusque (and usually humorous), he doesn’t pulls his punches when skewering those things that he finds absurd and ridiculous.

America really is beautiful, despite the thoughts – or possibly the unthinking, knee-jerk reactions – of some of its citizens. Take time to explore it and the documents that were created to make this the country that we call “home.”

Also, take time to reflect on the fact that we’re not just making Black History.
Or White History.
Or Asian-American History.
Or Hispanic-American History.
Or Arabic-American History.

We’re making our collective history; let’s make sure that it’s a story worthy of being told.

Namaste.

1 – Opinions expressed in the comments above were those of the commenters and do not necessarily represent their employers or any other agency.

Back again…

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Back again...

Thursday – 12 December 2013
It’s another No Bad News Thursday.  (At least it was when I started this…)
It’s also 13 days to Christmas. (12)

Now, it’s Friday the 13th. *cue ominous music*

This has been a less-than-stellar week, primarily because I’ve been sick. Fortunately, I don’t usually get much worse than a head or chest cold, but whatever I had was bad enough to make me leave work Tuesday and crawl into bed. Yeah, many levels of double-plus ungood “fun.” On top of that, Team DiVa has been feverish, as well… which means they’ve been a bit clingy for the past few days. But, the three of us are feeling better. And the Lady SaraRules? Not only did she not get sick, but she managed to nurse us all back to health. Single-handedly. In a snowstorm. Uphill. Both ways. (Okay, there may have been a few medicines here and there that helped, but she did a great job of looking after us.

Speaking of Team DiVa, here are a few shots from the past few weeks:

"We're spreading out our library books so we can figure out what to read first!"

“We’re spreading out our library books so we can figure out what to read first!”

Christmas cookies!!!

Christmas cookies!!!

Team DiVa: Snow Bunny Edition

Team DiVa: Snow Bunny Edition

"Can we stop taking pictures and go outside now?"

“Can we stop taking pictures and go outside now?”

Reading time with Mommy

Reading time with Mommy

Vanessa, trying out the new coat Grammy G got her... and a pirate hat!

Vanessa, trying out the new coat Grammy G got her… and a pirate hat!

Diana, trying out the new coat Grammy G got her... and a pirate hat!

Diana, trying out the new coat Grammy G got her… and a pirate hat!

Stray Toasters

That’s good for now.

Namaste.

So many things…

Monday, May 20th, 2013
So many things...

Monday – 20 May 2013
So, it’s been slightly longer than I’d intended since the last non-Team DiVa post. Time somehow manages to just slip away.

It’s been a good couple of weeks, for the most part. Home life has been good and, aside from spending far too many Saturdays in the office – it’s the best opportunity for server maintenance in a couple of cases – work’s been good. This past weekend was something of an exception since the maintenance that I requested and called back to verify on fell through. The service company shipped the wrong part AND didn’t review the error report I sent. Monkeys.

After the failed maintenance window, I headed back home. Sara! and I, thanks to the help of our friends, Dave and Angy, managed to put another nail in the coffin of a landscaping project that’s been long talked about and a tad slow to come to fruition: We got rid of the shrubs in the front yard. Dave and Angy brought over a stump grinder and, after about 75 minutes, the stumps of the shrubs were turned into mulch.

The girls have been doing well, for the most part; Diana had a brief bout of some food not agreeing with her over the weekend, but seems to back to her usual form again.

Reeling by on Celluloid
Over the past two weeks, I’ve seen four movies:

Four very different, but very entertaining movies. So let’s dive in:

  • The Cabin in the Woods
    cabininthewoods
    This movie was made between the time that Chris Hemsworth got on Hollywood’s radar as George Kirk in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek and was bulking up to play the God of Thunder in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor.I was recommended to watch this by a coworker. The only thing that he told me about it was that it was a horror movie. Okay, fair enough. Or so I thought.

    Yes, this was a horror movie, but it’s also something… else. Something different. The first few scenes of the movie don’t, at first, give you a sense of what’s to come. I was quite confused when the movie started — to the point of wondering if I had the right disc in the player. Just as the confusion was peaking, the opening credits came on-screen. But it still left a little bit of a disjointed feeling.

    The rest of the movie was entertaining. And strange. Very strange. But, I have to say that the strangeness only added to the movie’s appeal.
    bloody_knifebloody_knifebloody_knifebloody_knifebloody_knifebloody_knifebloody_knife

  • Star Trek Into Darkness
    star_trek_into_darkness-HD
    As just about anyone who knows me is aware: I’m a Star Trek fan and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is one of my all-time favorite movies. I think that it’s not just a great Star Trek movie, but a great movie in general. In fact, I usually refer to it as “…a great movie, with Star Trek trappings,” because it’s so well-done. When  rumors first started appearing that Into Darkness was possibly going to feature a variation on that story, I was pretty much ready to line up and tell the ticket seller, “Take my money!”Then, word broke that it wasn’t going to be a take on the original ST II. Okay. Fine. I can live with that. When I started watching the trailers, I caught hints of something else. Something familiar. But I was a little hesitant to think that Mr. Abrams and company would pull that particular trigger. Why? A couple of reasons:

    1) As much as I’m a fan of Star Trek: TOS, I’m an even bigger fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And the inkling that I was getting was something that was first seen on DS9.

    2) Abrams’ movies have reset the timeline, effectively, meaning that everything I knew about [REDACTED] never happened… or at least never existed in the way I knew.

    So, I went into the movie with as open a mind as my Trek-loving self could allow. Turns out, I could allow a lot. Abrams did a good job of expanding upon the story he started in the first movie. This movie was very upfront about showing young Captain Kirk’s penchant for flouting – or just outright ignoring – regulations. And, it was no less upfront about showing the consequences of those actions.

    We were then introduced to the movie’s antagonist, John Harrison. A man who is not what he originally appears to be; there’s something about him that just rang a little “off.”

    And, with that, the chase was on. Abrams took viewers on an action-packed, explosion-filled ride.

    star_trek_insigniastar_trek_insigniastar_trek_insigniastar_trek_insigniastar_trek_insigniastar_trek_insigniastar_trek_insigniastar_trek_insigniastar_trek_insignia

  • Crazy, Stupid, Love
    crazy-stupid-love-poster_90839-1600x1200
    This was another coworker recommendation. To be honest, I didn’t have an interest in this movie when it was out and wouldn’t have given it a second thought had he not suggested it. Having watched it, I must admit: It was a lot of fun. More so than I would have expected.Steve Carell portrays a Cal Weaver, a man who finds that his wife wants a divorce. He accepts it, as best he can, and tries to get on with his life.

    Enter Jacob, a young man who seems to have it all and seems to have no problem meeting attractive young ladies. Jacob then becomes Cal’s mentor and the two begin a journey to get Cal back in the proverbial game.

    Bittersweet hilarity ensues.
    rocks-glassrocks-glassrocks-glassrocks-glassrocks-glassrocks-glassrocks-glass

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    The_Hobbit-_An_Unexpected_Journey_74

    I never read The Hobbit nor the Lord of the Rings Trilogy growing up. I own the Trilogy; it was given to me as a gift a few years ago, but I haven’t made the time to read them. So, when this movie was announced, I was interested in seeing it, but had no idea what to expect.It was a beautifully rendered film. Peter Jackson once again brought the world of Middle Earth to lush life. Again, having not read the books, I was surprised to see some familiar faces in the film.
    One_RingOne_RingOne_RingOne_RingOne_RingOne_RingOne_RingOne_RingOne_Ring

And there you have it.

Stray Toasters

  • I’ve been reading and listening to The Sword of Truth series. One of the recent books focused not on the usual characters, but on a couple of supporting characters. It was set basically between a couple of books that I’d already read; it was a little disconcerting to try and figure out the sequence/time frame. It also took me until about two-thirds of the way through the book to really warm to the new characters. But it wasn’t a necessarily “bad” book. I’m just glad to be back with characters I’ve been reading about for the prior six books.
  • By way of Sara!: 100 Films | 100 Behind the Scenes Photos
  • Looks like we’ll be getting a new Blink ‘Clix. Finally.
  • Pixel art from obscure video games
  • Bans on Same-Sex Marriages Can Take a Psychological Toll
  • One of my coworkers’ sons did a report on The Battle of Antietam for school. He not only did a report, but he made a stop-motion LEGO video to go along with it. I just saw this video and was duly impressed by it. I asked how old he was, just for reference. He’s 14.

Namaste.

New week. New post.

Monday, April 22nd, 2013
New week. New post.

Monday – 22 April 2013 It’s been a bit and I have some time (at least I did last night), so I figured that I should get in a new post. Today is Earth Day. Last week, Sara! and I finally got around to watching Django Unchained.

Django-Unchained

It was a very Tarantino take on a “historical movie” in the same way that Inglorious Basterds was a “historical movie.” (With this in mind, I’m not really sure what everyone’s beef with it was. It’s not Roots, but it’s not trying to be Roots, either.) I found it to be a fun – and funny – movie. It entertained. It told a story. And it didn’t take itself overly seriously in doing so. cowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hatcowboy-hat This weekend was a good one. Saturday morning, Sara!, Team DiVa and I had breakfast with our friend Steve, who was in town with the touring production of West Side Story. We went to The Other Place, not just because it’s a good place for breakfast – and was close both to where Steve was staying and the theatre – but also because it’s a kid-friendly place. As an added bonus, I was able to scheme with our friend, Josh, to get him (and his wife, Aly and their very cute five-month-old daughter) to surprise Sara and Steve. Sara suspected that something was afoot, but Steve was surprised. I’ll still take that as a “Win.” After breakfast, we came back home and I played with Team DiVa for a bit before heading out for a ‘Clix event: Month Five of the WizKids’ “No Man’s Land” event. It was a sealed booster draft – buy two booster packs and build a team – and my packs were not really full of “awesome.” But, I built a team and I played. I wound up going 1-4, but since I normally don’t get to play (and I already had the prize support for the event), I was just there to have fun. And I did. After the game and dinner, Sara! went to see West Side Story; I stayed home with Team DiVa. We watched some Team Umizoomi. We read Moo, Baa, La La La and Barnyard Dance. We put money in their banks. We got them ready for bed. All things considered, they took great mercy on me. After post-bedtime cleaning, I played a bit of DC Universe Online and then watched my first episode of David Tennant’s Doctor Who. I liked it. I look forward to seeing more of his Doctor. Sunday was a fairly low-key day. Breakfast. Shopping. Hanging out at home. I also mowed the lawn for the first time this season. Hell, the first time this year. Sara’s parent’s came over for dinner. Sara! and I also watched Disney’s Tarzan; I haven’t seen it in years, but Sara! had never seen it. It’s not necessarily the best movie ever, but I enjoy it. I also watched my second Tennant Who episode. Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“…one day, they will join you in the sun.”

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
"...one day, they will join you in the sun."

Wednesday – 17 April 2013
Midweek.
Movie Date Night.
NBN Thursday Eve.

Sunday, Sara! suggested that we take Team DiVa to Wheeler Farm to see the animals. The girls had fun looking at and identifying them. After we walked through the “farm” part, we went to the playground area. They even went down the big kids’ slide… on our laps. But that’s not the point. They – and we – had fun.

Speaking of the ladies: The girls’ vocabulary is growing, as well. And they are starting to put two- and three-word phrases together. It’s been neat listening to them express themselves.

Monday, I finally got around to mudding and taping the last two corners of the train room closet. It still needs sanding. And there’s a chance that I’ll have to go over things with a second coat of joint compound before putting on the topping compound, but it’s that much closer to being done.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen…”

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen..."

Tuesday – 19 February 2013
It’s been a busy past few days around here. But, they’ve also been good days on the whole, so, like the one-legged man: I can’t kick.

Saturday, I had the pleasure of going to work to kick a server back into… um… service. It had decided to go belly-up around mid-morning and needed something just this side of percussive maintenance to get it back in gear. The rest of Saturday was, thankfully uneventful. Sunday, Sara!, Team DiVa and I went out for brunch and a trip to The Garden of Sweden. (We went for ONE THING… and left with about eight or nine things. None of which were the one we were after.) Monday, we took the girls for their first trip to Utah’s Hogle Zoo:

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Umm, Daddy… why are we just sitting here?

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Sara! and Vanessa

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Rob and Diana

The trip was a BIG hit. The girls went nuts for the elephants, although seeing the giraffes was a little disconcerting for Vanessa. By the time we were done, they didn’t want to leave, despite the fact that it was lunch time AND the fact that they didn’t have morning naps. There were parts of the zoo that were closed for construction, but that didn’t stop us from seeing a good number of animals. And the girls kept demanding “More! More!” I can see many more trips to the zoo in the not-distant future.

Chew on This – Food for Thought: Black History Month
Once again, playing catch-up for the days I’ve missed.  There’s a lot of information here, so let’s get to it:

  • Eleanor Holmes Norton – Civil rights activist, politician490px-Eleanorholmesnorton
    Born June 13, 1937 in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Antioch College, Yale University and Yale University Law School, Norton worked in private practice before becoming assistant director of the American Civil Liberties Union (1965–70) where she defended both Julian Bond‘s and George Wallace‘s freedom-of-speech rights.As Chairman of the New York Human Rights Commission (1970–7), Norton championed women’s rights and anti-block-busting legislation. She then went to Washington to chair the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (1977–83), and in 1982 became a law professor at Georgetown University.In 1990, Norton was elected as a Democratic non-voting delegate to the House from the District of Columbia. Currently under scrutiny, the DC Fair and Equal House Voting Rights Act (or DC Vote) would give one vote to the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives, but not the Senate. Norton is a regular panelist on the PBS women’s news program To the Contrary.
  • Floyd Patterson – Boxerfloyd_pattersonFloyd Patterson (January 4, 1935 – May 11, 2006) was an American professional boxer and former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. At 21, Patterson became the youngest man to win the world heavyweight title. He was also the first heavyweight boxer to regain the title. He had a record of 55 wins, 8 losses and 1 draw, with 40 wins by knockout. He won the gold medal at the 1952 Olympic Games as a middleweight.Born into a poor family in Waco, North Carolina, Patterson was the youngest of eleven children and experienced an insular and troubled childhood. His family moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Floyd was a truant and petty thief. At age ten, he was sent to the Wiltwyck School for Boys, a reform school in upstate New York, which he credited with turning his life around. He stayed there for almost 2 years. He attended high school in New Paltz, NY where he succeeded in all sports.(to this day the New Paltz football field is named in his honor) At age fourteen, he started to box, trained by Cus D’Amato at his Gramercy Gym.

    Aged just 17, Patterson won the Gold medal in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics as a middleweight. 1952 turned out to be a good year for the young Patterson; in addition to Olympic gold Patterson won the National Amateur Middleweight Championship and New York Golden Gloves Middleweight Championship. Patterson turned pro and steadily rose through the ranks, his only early defeat being an eight-round decision to former Light Heavyweight Champion Joey Maxim on June 7, 1954, at the Eastern Parkway Arena in Brooklyn, New York. Most people think Patterson did enough to win, and Maxim’s greater fame at the time helped to sway the judges.

    Although Patterson fought around the light heavyweight limit for much of his early career, he and manager Cus D’Amato always had plans to fight for the Heavyweight Championship. In fact, D’Amato made these plans clear as early as 1954, when he told the press that Patterson was aiming for the heavyweight title. However, after Rocky Marciano announced his retirement as World Heavyweight Champion on April 27, 1956, Patterson was ranked by The Ring magazine as the top light heavyweight contender. After Marciano’s announcement, Jim Norris of the International Boxing Club stated that Patterson was one of the six fighters who would take part in an elimination tournament to crown Marciano’s successor. The Ring then moved Patterson into the heavyweight rankings, at number five.

    Following a series of defeats, Patterson went through a depression. However, he eventually recovered and began winning fights again, including top victories over Eddie Machen and George Chuvalo. Patterson was now the number one challenger for the title held by Muhammad Ali. On November 22, 1965, in yet another attempt to be the first to win the World Heavyweight title three times, Patterson lost by technical knockout at the end of the 12th round, going into the fight with an injured sacro-iliac joint in a bout in which Ali was clearly dominant. Ali called Patterson an “Uncle Tom” for refusing to call him Muhammad Ali (Patterson continued to call him Cassius Clay) and for this outspokenness against black Muslims. Instead of scoring a quick knockout, Ali mocked, humiliated and punished Patterson throughout the fight.
    Patterson was still a legitimate contender. In 1966 he traveled to England and knocked out British boxer Henry Cooper in just four rounds at Wembley Stadium. In comparison, Ali never scored a knockdown against Cooper in their two bouts and was nearly knocked out by Cooper in their first fight after he was knocked down near the end of the fourth round, but recovered after his corner used smelling salts on him (which was against British rules) at the end of that round. Ali would go on to score a TKO over Cooper after Cooper was severely cut in the fifth round.

    In September 1969 he divorced his first wife, Sandra Hicks Patterson, who wanted him to quit boxing, while he still had hopes for another title shot.

    When Ali was stripped of his title for refusing induction into the military, the World Boxing Association staged an eight-man tournament to determine his successor. Patterson fought Jerry Quarry to a draw in 1967. In a rematch four months later, Patterson lost a controversial 12-round decision to Quarry. Subsequently, in a third and final attempt at winning the title a third time, Patterson lost a controversial 15-round referee’s decision to Jimmy Ellis in Sweden, despite breaking Ellis’ nose and scoring a disputed knockdown.

    Patterson continued on, defeating Oscar Bonavena in a close fight over ten rounds in early 1972.

    At age 37, Patterson was stopped in the seventh round in a rematch with Muhammad Ali for the NABF Heavyweight title on September 20, 1972. The defeat proved to be Patterson’s last fight, although there was never an announcement of retirement.

    Floyd Patterson suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer and had been hospitalized for a week prior to his death. He died at home in New Paltz in 2006 at age 71.

  • Queen Latifah – Actress, entrepreneur, music producer, rapper, singerQueen-Latifah-Covergirl-561x700
    Queen Latifah was born Dana Elaine Owens on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. The second child of Lance and Rita Owens, Latifah is best known for her social politics, acting skills and gift for rhyme. When she was 8 years old, a Muslim cousin gave her the nickname Latifah, meaning “delicate and sensitive” in Arabic. Latifah began singing in the choir of Shiloh Baptist Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and had her first public performance when she sang a version of “Home” as one of the two Dorothys in a production of The Wizard of Oz at St. Anne’s parochial school.

In her first year of high school, Latifah began informal singing and rapping in the restrooms and locker rooms. In her junior year, she formed a rap group, Ladies Fresh, with her friends Tangy B and Landy D in response to the formation of another young women’s group. Soon the group was making appearances wherever they could. Latifah’s mother was a catalyst; she was in touch with the students and the music. She invited Mark James, a local disc jockey known as D.J. Mark the 45 King, to appear at a school dance. The basement of James’s parents’ house in East Orange, which was equipped with electronic and recording equipment, became the hangout of Latifah and her friends. They began to call themselves “Flavor Unit.”James was beginning a career as a producer and made a demo record of Queen Latifah’s rap Princess of the Posse. He gave the demo to the host of Yo! MTV Raps, Fred Braithwaite (professionally known as “Fab 5 Freddy“). The recording captured the attention of Tommy Boy Music employee Dante Ross, who immediately signed Latifah, and in 1988 issued her first single, “Wrath of My Madness.” The track met with a positive response and afforded her the opportunity to launch a European tour, and to perform at the Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater. The next year Latifah released her first album, All Hail to the Queen, which went on to sell more than 1 million copies.As she began to earn money, Latifah displayed an interest in investment, putting money into a delicatessen and a video store on the ground floor of the apartment in which she was living. She came to realize that she had a knack for business, and realized that there was an opening for her in record production. In 1991, Latifah organized and became chief executive officer of the Flavor Unit Records and Management Company, headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. By late 1993, the company had signed 17 rap groups, including the very successful Naughty by Nature. In 1993, Latifah recorded a jazz- and reggae-influenced album titled Black Reign. While the album sold more than 500,000 copies, the single “U.N.I.T.Y.” earned Latifah her first Grammy Award in 1995.

In the 1990s, Latifah branched out into acting. She made her big screen debut in Spike Lee’s interracial romance drama Jungle Fever (1991). The following year, Latifah appeared in the crime thriller Juice with Omar Epps and Tupac Shakur. She soon landed a leading role on the small screen, appearing in the sitcom Living Single from 1993 to ’98. The comedy, which also starred Kim Coles, Kim Fields and Erika Alexander, proved to be a ground-breaking show. It remains one of the few sitcoms to focus on a group of African-American women.

A talented performer, Latifah continued to tackle both comedic and dramatic parts. She co-starred in 1996’s Set It Off with Jada Pinkett Smith and Vivica A. Fox, playing as a lesbian bank robber. Two years later, Latifah teamed up with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito for the comedy Living Out Loud (1998). She also appeared withDenzel Washington and Angelina Jolie in The Bone Collector.

Perhaps Latifah’s most acclaimed film role to date came in the 2002 hit musical Chicago, starring Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jonesand Renee Zellweger. Her portrayal of prison matron Mama Morton gave her a chance to show off both her singing talents and acting skills. For her work in the film, Latifah earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress. She lost to Chicago co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Latifah went on to receive strong reviews for 2003’s romantic comedy Bringing Down the House co-starring with Steve Martin. The following year, she experienced some disappointment withTaxi, which co-starred Jimmy Fallon. The comedy proved to be a critical and commercial dud. She fared better with Beauty Shop(2005) and her voice-over work in the hit animated film Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006).

In 2007, Queen Latifah again delighted movie-goers with her musical talents. She appeared as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspraywith John Travolta. Her crime caper Mad Money (2008) with Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes received much colder reception. Returning to drama, Latifah gave a strong performance in The Secret Life of Bees (2008).

On the small screen, Latifah has made a number of guest television appearances over the years, including on the shows 30 Rock and Single Ladies. She also co-starred in the 2012 TV remake of Steel Magnolias with Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad and Jill Scott. Latifah branched out in a new direction the following year. She will enter the daytime television market with a new talk show. The Queen Latifah Show will debut in the fall of 2013. The program promises to be a mix of interviews and comedic and musical performances, according to BET.com.

In addition to acting, Queen Latifah serves as a spokesperson for CoverGirl cosmetics. She even has her own line with the company: The Queen Collection.

  • Diana Ross – Actress, singer

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    Diana Ross was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 26, 1944. The second-eldest child of Ernestine (née Moten) (January 27, 1916 – October 9, 1984), a schoolteacher, and Fred Ross, Sr. (July 4, 1920 – November 21, 2007), a former United States Army soldier, Ross would later say that she didn’t see much of her father until he had returned from service following World War II.

    Ross and her family originally lived at Belmont Road in the North End section of Detroit, near Highland Park, Michigan, where she was neighbors with Smokey Robinson, who first met Ross when she was eight. Despite her early life as a “tomboy”, upon her teenage years, Ross had dreams of being a fashion designer. She studied design, millinery, pattern-making and seamstress skills while attending Cass Technical High School, a four-year college preparatory magnet school, in downtown Detroit. In her late teens, Ross worked at Hudson’s Department Store where, it was claimed in biographies, that she was the first black employee “allowed outside the kitchen”. Ross graduated in January 1962, one semester earlier than her classmates. Around this same time, Ross was turned on by the emerging rock and roll music scene, and her early influences included Frankie Lymon and Etta James.

    At fifteen, Ross was brought to the attention of music impresario Milton Jenkins, manager of the local doo-wop group the Primes, by Mary Wilson. Paul Williams, then member of The Primes, convinced Jenkins to include Ross in the Primettes, considered a “sister group” of the Primes. Ross was part of a lineup that included Wilson,Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown, who completed the lineup. In 1960, following their win at a singing contest in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, the group auditioned for a spot on Motown Records after Smokey Robinson introduced the young group to Berry Gordy. Upon learning of their ages, Gordy advised them to come back after graduation. Undeterred, the quartet stayed around Motown’s Hitsville U.S.A. headquarters, offering to provide extra help for Motown’s recordings, often including hand-claps and background vocals.

    In January 1961, Berry Gordy agreed to sign the young act under the condition they change their name. Each member picked out various names from friends. Eventually they settled on The Supremes, though Ross initially had apprehensions toward the name – she felt the name would mistake them for a male vocal group. But Gordy agreed with the new name and signed them on January 15 of that year. During the group’s early years, there was no designated lead vocalist for the group as they had agreed to split lead vocals between their choice of song material; Ross favoring the uptempo pop songs. That changed in 1963 when Gordy assigned Ross, who had already sung lead on the majority of their early singles, as the main lead vocalist, considering that her vocals had potential to reach Gordy’s dreams of crossover success. Between August 1964 and May 1967, Ross, Wilson and Ballard sang on ten number-one hit singles, all of which also made the UK top forty. The group had also become a hit with audiences both domestically and abroad, going on to become Motown’s most successful vocal act throughout the sixties.

    In 1968, Ross started performing as a solo artist mainly on television specials, including The Supremes’ own specials such as TCB and G.I.T. on Broadway. In mid-1969, Gordy decided to have Ross leave the group by the end of the year and Ross began sessions for her own solo work that July. One of the first plans for Ross to establish her own solo career was to bring in a new Motown recording act. Though she herself didn’t claim discovery, Motown pinned Ross as having discovered The Jackson 5. In November, Ross confirmed a split from the Supremes on Billboard. Ross’ presumed first solo recording, “Someday We’ll Be Together”, was eventually released as a Supremes recording and became the group’s final number-one hit on the Hot 100. Ross made her final appearance with the Supremes at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas on January 14, 1970.

    After her obligations with the Supremes were fulfilled, Ross signed a new contract as a solo artist in March 1970. Two months later, Motown released her eponymous solo debut, which included the hits, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” the latter song becoming her first number-one single as a solo artist on the pop and R&B charts, also becoming an international hit reaching the UK top ten, and winning Ross her first Grammy nomination. Ross only released one solo recording in 1972. She reemerged in 1973 with “Touch Me in the Morning,” which became her first single to reach number-one in three years. The album of the same name became Ross’s first non-soundtrack studio album to reach the top ten, peaking at #5. Later that year, the Diana & Marvin album, her duet album with Gaye, was released, and spawned five hit singles, including three released in the United States and two in Europe, gaining an international hit with their cover of The Stylistics’ “You Are Everything.” In 1973, Ross began giving out concerts overseas where she immediately sold out at every concert venue she performed at. That year, Ross became the first entertainer in Japan’s history to receive an invitation to the Imperial Palace for a private audience with the Empress Nagako, wife of Emperor Hirohito.

    Ross’s follow-up albums, 1977’s Baby It’s Me and 1978’s Ross, however, both faltered on the charts, mainly due to lack of promotion and a period of growing tension between Ross and Gordy, stemming from an incident in 1975 after Ross struck him after the two engaged in an argument on the set of Ross’s film, Mahogany. In 1977, Ross starred in her own one-woman show at Broadway, titled An Evening with Diana Ross. Her performance later resulted in her winning a Tony Award.

    After catching the group Chic at a concert where she attended with her daughters, Ross advised to the leaders of the band, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards to work with them in New York on her next album. They agreed and, in 1980, Ross released the Diana album. The album became her highest-charting solo album and her most successful, featuring hits including the number-one hit, “Upside Down,” her first song to reach the top position in four years. Another song, “I’m Coming Out,” became equally successful; its hook would later be sampled for “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.” Diana would become Ross’s final studio album under her Motown contract. She would later work on four songs to complete her contractual obligations for the compilation album, To Love Again, which would be released in May 1981. Though Ross had sought to leave Motown in 1980 shortly after the release of Diana, she discovered, just as she was planning to leave Motown, that she only had up to $150,000 in her name despite helping Motown to earn millions of dollars with her recordings in the twenty years she had been signed to the label. Ross signed with RCA on May 20, 1981, and her $20 million deal in 1981 became then the most lucrative contract of any recording artist at the time. After leaving, Ross achieved her sixth and final number-one hit with Lionel Richie on the ballad “Endless Love” around the same time Ross left the label.

    In 1971, Diana Ross began working on her first film, Lady Sings the Blues, which was a loosely based biography on music legend Billie Holiday. Some critics lambasted the idea of the singer playing Holiday considering how “miles apart” their styles were. At one point, Ross began talking with several of Holiday’s acquaintances and listened to her recordings to get into character. During an audition to acquire the role, Ross would act on cue to the film’s producers’s commands, helping Ross to win her part. When Berry Gordy heard Ross perform covers of Holiday’s material, he felt Ross had put “a little too much” Holiday in her vocal range, advising Ross to “put a little Diana back into it.”

    Ross also talked with doctors at drug clinics in research of the film, as Holiday had been a known drug addict. Ross would later make a crucial decision when it came to interpreting Holiday’s music: instead of flatly imitating Holiday, she only focused on Holiday’s vocal phrasing. “Lady Sings the Blues” opened in theaters in October 1972, becoming a major success in Ross’s career. Ross’s role in the film won her Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. Alongside Cicely Tyson, who was nominated for her role in the film, Sounder, they were the first Black actresses to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress since Dorothy Dandridge. The soundtrack to “Lady Sings the Blues” became just as successful, reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 staying there for two weeks and breaking then-industry records by shipping 300,000 copies during the first eight days of its release. At nearly two million in sales, it is one of Ross’s best-selling albums to date.

    After the film, Ross returned to her music career, reemerging with another film in 1975 with Mahogany, her second film, in which she starred alongside Billy Dee Williams and whose costumes she designed. The story of an aspiring fashion designer who becomes a runway model and the toast of the industry, Mahogany was a troubled production from its inception. The film’s original director, Tony Richardson, was fired during production, and Berry Gordy assumed the director’s chair himself. In addition, Gordy and Ross clashed during filming, with Ross leaving the production before shooting was completed, forcing Gordy to use secretary Edna Anderson as a body double for Ross. While a box office success, the film was not well received by the critics: Time magazine’s review of the film chastised Gordy for “squandering one of America’s most natural resources: Diana Ross.”

    In 1977, Motown acquired the film rights to the Broadway play The Wiz, an African-American reinterpretation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The film initially was to include the stage actors who had performed on the play. However, the role of Dorothy, which had been performed onstage by Stephanie Mills, would be given to Ross after she convinced film producer Rob Cohen to cast her in the role of Dorothy. This decision eventually led to a change in the film’s script in which Dorothy went from a schoolgirl to a schoolteacher. The role of the Scarecrow, also performed by someone else onstage, was eventually given to Ross’s former Motown label mate, Michael Jackson. The film adaptation of The Wiz had been a $24 million production, but upon its October 1978 release, it earned only $21,049,053 at the box office. Though pre-release television broadcast rights had been sold to CBS for over $10 million, the film produced a net loss of $10.4 million for Motown and Universal. At the time, it was the most expensive film musical ever made. The film’s failure ended Ross’s short career on the big screen and contributed to the Hollywood studios’s reluctance to produce the all-black film projects which had become popular during the blaxploitation era of the early to mid-1970s for several years. The Wiz was Ross’s final film for Motown.

    Ross had success with movie-themed songs. While her version of Holiday’s “Good Morning Heartache” only performed modestly well in early 1973, her recording of “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” gave Ross her third number-one hit, in late 1975. Three years later, Ross and Michael Jackson had a modest dance hit with their recording of “Ease on Down the Road.” Their second duet, actually as part of the ensemble of The Wiz, “Brand New Day,” found some success overseas. Ross scored a Top 10 hit in late 1980 with the theme song to the 1980 film It’s My Turn. The following year, she collaborated with former Commodores singer-songwriter Lionel Richie on the theme song for the film Endless Love. The Academy Award-nominated title single became her final hit on Motown Records, and the number one record of the year. Several years later, in 1988, Ross recorded the theme song to The Land Before Time. “If We Hold On Together” became an international hit, reaching number-one in Japan.

    In 1984, Ross’s career spiked yet again with the release of the million-selling Swept Away. This featured a duet with Julio Iglesias, “All Of You,” which was featured on both the albums they had then released—his 1100 Bel Air Place as well as her Swept Away. It and the title selection both became international hits, as did the chart-topping ballad, “Missing You,” which was a tribute to Marvin Gaye, who had died earlier that year. Her 1985 album, Eaten Alive, found major success overseas with the title track and “Chain Reaction,” although neither of the songs became the best-sellers she was once accustomed to in America. Earlier in 1985, she appeared as part of the supergroup USA for Africa on the ‘”We Are the World“‘ charity single, which sold over 20 million copies worldwide. Ross’s 1987 follow up to Eaten Alive, Red Hot Rhythm & Blues, found less success than the prior album. In 1988, Ross chose to not renew her RCA contract. Around this same time, Ross had been in talks with her former mentor Berry Gordy to return to Motown. When she learned of Gordy’s plans to sell Motown, Ross tried advising him against the decision though he sold it to MCA Records in 1988. Following this decision, Gordy offered Ross a new contract to return to Motown with the condition that she have shares in the company as a part-owner. Ross accepted the offer.

    Despite its heavy promotion, Diana’s next album, Workin’ Overtime, was a critical and commercial failure. Subsequent follow-ups such as The Force Behind the Power(1991), Take Me Higher (1995), and Every Day Is a New Day (1999) produced similarly disappointing sales. Ross had more success overseas with the albums than she did in America. In 1994, Ross performed at the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup, hosted in the USA. Her performance has become a running joke in football circles due to her obvious miming and for missing the goal from close range. On January 28, 1996, Ross performed the Halftime Show at Super Bowl XXX.

    In 1999, she was named the most successful female singer in the history of the United Kingdom charts, based upon a tally of her career hits. Madonna would eventually succeed Ross as the most successful female artist in the UK.

    In 2004, after spending several years away from the spotlight and after a stint in jail for committing a DUI, Ross returned to live touring, first in Europe and then in the United States all within the same year. In 2005, she participated in Rod Stewart‘s Thanks for the Memory: The Great American Songbook, Volume IV recording a duet version of the Gershwin standard, “I’ve Got a Crush on You“. The song was released as promotion for the album and later reached number 19 on the Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary chart, marking her first Billboard chart entry since 2000. Ross was featured in another hit duet, this time with Westlife, on a cover of Ross’ 1991 hit, “When You Tell Me You Love Me”, which repeated the same chart success of the original just fourteen years before.

    In June 2006, Universal released Ross’ shelved 1972 Blue album. It peaked at #2 on Billboard’s jazz albums chart. Later in 2006, Ross released her first studio album in seven years with I Love You. It would be released on EMI/Manhattan Records in the United States in January 2007. EMI Inside later reported the album had sold more than 622,000 copies worldwide. Ross later ventured on a world tour to promote I Love You which garnered rave reviews. In 2007, she was honored twice, first with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BET Awards and later was one of the honorees at the Kennedy Center Honors.

    In 2010, Ross embarked on her first headlining tour in three years titled the More Today Than Yesterday: The Greatest Hits Tour. She dedicated the entire concert tour to her late friend, Michael Jackson, who died in June 2009. Ross has garnered critical success as well as commercial success from the now two-year tour. In February 2012, Diana Ross received her first ever Grammy Award, for Lifetime Achievement, and announced the nominees for the Album of the Year. In May, a DVD of Ross’ Central Park concert performances, “For One & For All”, was released and featured commentary from Steve Binder, who directed the special.

  • Dred Scott – Civil rights activistdredscottDred Scott was born in sometime around the turn of the century, often fixed at 1795, in Southampton County, Virginia. Legend has it that his name was Sam, but when his elder brother died, he adopted his name instead. His parents were slaves, but it is uncertain whether the Blow family owned them at his birth or thereafter. Peter Blow and his family relocated first to Huntsville, Alabama, and then to St. Louis Missouri. After Peter Blow’s death, in the early 1830s, Scott was sold to a U.S. Army doctor, John Emerson.In 1836, Scott fell in love with a slave of another army doctor, 19-year-old Harriett Robinson, and her ownership was transferred over to Dr. Emerson when they were wed. In the ensuing years, Dr. Emerson traveled to Illinois and the Wisconsin Territories, both of which prohibited slavery. When Emerson died in 1846, Scott tried to buy freedom for himself and his family from Emerson’s widow, but she refused. Dred Scott made history by launching a legal battle to gain his freedom. That he had lived with Dr. Emerson in free territories become the basis for his case.

    The process began in 1846: Scott lost in his initial suit in a local St. Louis district court, but he won in a second trial, only to have that decision overturned by the Missouri State Supreme Court. With support from local abolitionists, Scott filed another suit in federal court in 1854, against John Sanford, the widow Emerson’s brother and executor of his estate. When that case was decided in favor of Sanford, that Scott turned to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In December 1856, Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech, foreshadowing the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, examining the constitutional implications of the Dred Scott Case.

    On March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford was issued, 11 long years after the initial suits. Seven of the nine judges agreed with the outcome delivered by Chief Justice Roger Taney, who announced that slaves were not citizens of the United States and therefore had no rights to sue in Federal courts: “… They had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The decision also declared that the Missouri Compromise (which had allowed Scott to sample freedom in Illinois and Wisconsin) was unconstitutional, and that Congress did not have the authority to prohibit slavery.

    The Dred Scott decision sparked outrage in the northern states and glee in the south—the growing schism made civil war inevitable.

    Too controversial to retain the Scotts as slaves after the trial, Mrs. Emerson remarried and returned Dred Scott and his family to the Blows who granted them their freedom in May 1857. That same month, Frederick Douglassdelivered a speech discussing the Dred Scott decision on the anniversary of the American Abolition Society.

    Eventually, the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution overrode this Supreme Court ruling.

 

Stray Toasters

And, with that, what has to be the post with the longest gestation time comes to an end.

Namaste.

Respond Vibrate Feedback Resonate

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Respond Vibrate Feedback Resonate

Wednesday  – 13 February 2013
New comics day? Yep
Movie Date Night with Sara!? Yep.

And, it’s my sister, Rana’s, birthday:

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Last night, Sara! fixed jambalaya for dinner, in honor of Fat Tuesday. As always, it was very good.

This morning, I arrived in the office to find out that I had three meetings scheduled back-to-overlapping-back to slightly-more-breathing-room back. Yay. Fortunately, the first meeting was rescheduled for tomorrow.

As I mentioned above, tonight is Movie Date Night. It’s also my pick for a movie… and I have no idea what tonight’s selection will be.

Chew on This – Food for Thought: Black History Month
Today’s item is: Negro Romance Comics

negro romance

Negro Romance was a romance comic book published in the 1950s by Fawcett Comics (which through a series of sales and acquisitions, is now part of Warner Communications, which owns  DC Comics). It is remarkable in eschewing African-American stereotypes, telling stories interchangeable with those told about white characters. The comic even mentions college, which was relatively uncommon in the 1950s, even moreso among African-Americans. Negro Romance ran for only three issues.

It was developed as an experiment in expanding into the romance market, conceived by editor Roy Ald, who was European-American, and written by him without credit. It was illustrated by Alvin Hollingsworth, the first African-American artist hired by Fawcett.

Because of their obscurity and rarity, the Negro Romance issues sell for hundreds of dollars each.

The PBS series History Detectives also did a feature on African-American Comic Books:

References:

Stray Toasters

Yeah, that’s it.

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

Grace_2011

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:

grace_halloween2012

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

Julian-Bond-37971-1-402

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.

It’s almost February…

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
It's almost February...

Thursday – 31 January 2013
I woke up this morning to this:

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Yeah, waking up to a warmer temperature than most days’ highs over the past few weeks is a good thing. Even with a 30% chance of snow.

I know that there were no Team DiVa Tuesday photos, but Sara! was quick enough – and kind enough – to snap a picture last night before the ladies went to bed, so that there’s a Team DiVa No Bad News Thursday picture:

Story time!  Diana (l), Vanessa (r)

Story time! Diana (l), Vanessa (r)

Reeling By On Celluloid
Last night, Sara! and I watched Seven Psychopaths:

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This was an odd movie. This is not to say that it wasn’t a very enjoyable movie, though. It was riotously funny at points. It was poignant at points. And, to be honest: There were a fair number of “What.. just.. happened…?” moments, too. In many ways, it reminded me of Pulp Fiction or Go, in the way that it combined a number of seemingly disparate arcs into one story. (And, like Pulp Fiction, this movie had Christopher Walken. Win-Win.)

Sara! brought up the point that she’d want to watch it again, as there were a couple of things early on – before she grokked the rhythm of the movie – that she’d like to see, with the understanding of how things unfold. I’d gladly be down for watching it again. And, I happily recommend this movie.

red_legored_legored_legored_legored_legored_legored_legored_lego
(I would have given it seven bricks – to keep with the “Seven Psychopaths” theme, but it was an eight-brick movie.)

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

 

And then there was Friday.

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Friday – 11 January 2013
Today has been a good day. Even with all the snow.

The morning commute was about a half-hour long, give or take. The drive was made a little better with the addition of two fifty-pound bags of salt to the trunk. (I have a rear-wheel drive car that apparently puts out A LOT of torque at low speed.) But, on the whole, it was uneventful.

The evening commute was slower than expected, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as last night’s two-hour journey. I made it home in about 45 minutes.

Stray Toasters

And that’s a wrap.

Namaste.