18 Oct 2017 Craving cake and Rainbow baby (poem and drawing)

Hello to you.  How are you?  There isn’t much of me these days…..just mostly mush going on upstairs as of late.  Oh and there is the most dreaded of human conditions…my reoccurring craving for white cake with lots of frosting!   This happens to me every once and awhile!   I resisted the great temptation of going to our bakery called Cakes down the street while Kyle was sleeping today to get some.  One time I had such a craving while were still living in Delaware.  What did Kyle do?  He brought me home a gigantic, multi-layered German chocolate cake that cured me for several months for want of cake!

(this is a white cake I baked earlier this year after finally succumbing to one of my white cake craving attacks lol!)

What the cake looked like after I baked it.

So my creativity flow has been about a sputter since we started with the night shift endeavor but I did manage to draw this strange little being this evening.  I started out with a big pink blob for a head and then it came to me this would be a person with blue butterfly wings for ears and things just went from there lol.

18 Oct 2017 – the drawing started with the silly thought of a baby with ears of a blue butterfly and I just went with it!

Then as I was sitting down to write tonight and share this drawing,  the term rainbow baby came to my mind.  The first time I heard this term was when Kyle and I went to Parkway Park here in town on Memorial Day this year.  When we got to the park that day, there was a older woman in the parking lot with a baby dressed in rainbow colors….her name was Ariel Era.  She said Ariel was a rainbow baby.  I didn’t know what that meant at the time but I thought it must be beautiful.  Ariel certainly was!  I was wearing a bracelet I had made with a rainbow theme and as is customary for me, I took it off my wrist and gave it to Ariel’s Grandma and asked her if she would give it to Ariel someday.   Kyle said to me, “Sometimes someone has to watch the baby.”  Which resonated with me very deeply.  My Grandma used to take care of me when I was Ariel’s age too!

I never chose to have human children, but I know from being a “pet mom”, how much loss of this kind can hurt!

So what exactly is a rainbow baby?

A rainbow baby is a baby born after a couple experiences miscarriage or still birth. It’s called that because you can’t have a rainbow without a storm. And after the storm of pregnancy loss, a beautiful rainbow (child) breaks through the clouds to bring happiness.

28 April 2017 – My Little Pony Rainbow Dash as seen through a faceted glass “eye”.

A little poem from me for babies like Ariel:

Baby after the storm

Brings multi-colored light

And Mother’s heart is made again warm

Tears of sorrow no more, now only joy

Be it the glowing bundle

A girl or a boy

Clouds give way to sun and laughter

Mommy, Daddy and babies

Live happily ever after!

 

 

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16 Oct 2017 Detour to Keene

Hello to you, how are you doing? I have been feeling disconnected the past couple of days and it’s probably just the difficulty I am having synchronizing to Kyle working night shift. I really had hoped he wouldn’t get this shift again. He’s the infamous “low man on the totem pole” and one of the youngest people they have there, so he gets night shift.

Yesterday we took advantage of our time together to make a trip to Burleson. We wanted to see if Half Price Books had anything for me and to pick up an inexpensive pair of slip on shoes for Kyle to wear at work. Since we’ve been here, Burleson has become our favorite town. Pretty much everything we ever need is there and we don’t venture much further unless I have an appointment or we absolutely have to! Driving here in our part of the state is one word – awful. Thank you Burleson for being wonderful!

So I dug around in Half Price Books for quite awhile to try and find something to read. I almost bought a book called The Particle Zoo (https://www.amazon.com/Particle-Zoo-Search-Fundamental-Reality/dp/1784298670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1508160429&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Particle+Zoo)  but decided to put it back.  I may return to get that one at some point. There were several other books that caught my interest, as if often the case when you go into a treasury of a store like this. I ended up with two. A book of children’s poems, “Favorite Poems Old and New” Selected by Helen Ferris and Illustrated by Leonard Wisegard and “Inferno” by Dan Brown.

I had sent Kyle into Academy Sports to find the shoes but all he found was either way too expensive, uncomfortable or a decent price but none in his size. We tried Kohl’s and it was the same story. Ultimately we found what we wanted in the new 5 and Below Store lol. What we have figured out when it comes to buying shoes, it really doesn’t matter where you buy them, they are all the same. They are not made to last. The price for them seems to be driven by the cost of the name of the store selling…or how much they are paying for rent lol! We have paid $60 for shoes that last less than a year and $5 for shoes we are still wearing. Shoes are definitely one of the things in our world made with planned obsolescence. It’s been so long since I’ve had a great pair of shoes!

After standing in line at yet another store that has 5 checkout lanes but only one or two people to run an entire store (comic Sebastian pops in my head, “Has there ever been 5 cashiers at this store?!!), our “public meter” was pinged. We headed home. We seemed to be well on our way until all the sudden break lights happened and the inevitable crawl and lane changing crap people do with their impatience at being obstructed by some sort of inconvenience.

We decided to get off I-35 and take a detour through Keene.

It was a much more scenic and peaceful drive going this way. We enjoyed the more relaxed pace, talking to each other about random things and taking in the fallish looking trees on either side of the road. This is Texas, so we don’t get a real fall. The kind with brilliantly colored leaves and all that – the fall I miss from childhood or from when we lived on the east coast.

It wasn’t until we got into Keene and Kyle mentioned it, that I fully realized what we went through in this town 3 years ago. It was almost a week to the day (19 Oct 2014), my friend Suzan Michelle Mize Sullivan died at the Town Hall Estates (http://www.americanreligious.org/town_hall_estates_keene.html).

As we drove by the building, so many memories flashed through my mind! Kyle and I had never been through something like this – losing our friend the way we did! We both felt so utterly and completely powerless to stop what happened to her! What we experienced of her life and death has become for us a prime example to us of how awful the “system” can be.

It’s not all tears for our friend Suzan, (we called her Michelle) though.

As I look across the street these days, at the house she and Carroll shared, I think she’d be so happy! People she loved so much (her oldest son, his wife and grandkids), gave her entire life for, are living there now and continuing to make the place home. I don’t see her in my minds eye or dreams like I used to. I am hoping this year will be free of any broken glassware or other strange occurrences in our house as the anniversary of her death nears.  I hope she is at peace wherever she decided her heaven was to be!  I will always miss her.

https://saymber.com/2015/10/19/19-oct-2015-the-last-blue-bowl-a-visit-from-a-lost-friend/ – a bit about what I’m referring to with strange happenings when the anniversary of Suzan’s leaving us nears.

Sometimes detours aren’t simply detours…..are you paying attention?  Is the traffic jam and your choice to find a path around it just mere coincidence?  

A sampling of poems from the poetry book:

 

A Book – poem by Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book

To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

Of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of toil;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!

 

Fireflies – poem by Carolyn Hall

Little lamps of the dusk,

You fly low and gold

When the summer evening

Start to unfold.

So that all the insects,

Now, before you pass,

Will have light to see by,

Undressing in the grass.

But when the night has flowered,

Little lamps agleam,

You fly over treetops

Following a dream.

Men wonder from their windows

That a firefly goes so far –

They do not know your longing

To be a shooting star.

 

 

 

13 Oct 2017 Friday

Hello to you, how are you doing wherever and whenever you are as you visit me here?  I hope you are well.  It’s Friday the 13th!  For the suspicious it is a worry but not for Kyle and I.  We were both born on a 13th day and sometimes our birthdays fall on Fridays and we just celebrate the day.  Whatever you believe, doesn’t assure but certainly increases the likelihood of it occurring!

I had some interesting dreaming last night.  The part I remembered just before waking was about agreeing to guide people through a meditation so they could go to sleep.  Basically do what I do for myself to try and fall asleep for other people.  So what was funny about this is I was actually doing this in the dream and it became much like a lucid dream experience.  When I woke up this morning I felt great lol!  Too funny.

I made the mistake, and I am trying to get better about it, of looking at the headlines.  Yeah, it’s like an addiction for me.  I wish I could just wave my hand, like we wave them over our Smartphones these days, and just make all the devastation, hurt feelings, fear, sorrow all that stuff filling so many just change to something else.  Silence the drums playing louder and louder war songs.  Alas the only special powers that I have, that are within all of us, can’t work all alone.  We lived in a shared reality.  Our thoughts, hopes and dreams whether they are positive or negative visions, all overlapping each other.  I truly feel that unless we figure out a path to unity,  define a unified vision of peace, the world will never truly advance beyond these times.

It will always be two steps forward and sometimes ten steps back.

We are taught from when we are very young that this is the law of nature.  This is how “balance” works.  If we don’t suffer then we can’t know what happiness is and vise versa.  I get it!  I guess this concept wouldn’t be so awful if there seemed to be some kind balance in our world between the suffering and happiness parts!  In my opinion, I think a lot of this imbalance is being driven by global media.  Not to jump on President Trump’s “Fake News” bandwagon, and he certainly hasn’t helped with all the stunt he’s been pulling since January, but there is definitely something going on.

To look at or watch the news, it feels to me, more times than not,  like everybody is out to destroy each other and the world!  I know a big part of that is because of how I’m getting news now versus when I was younger.  It was easier to avoid it when I was younger…just don’t read the papers and turn off the television.  Now that I live in a world where I do most everything using a computer connected to the internet…it’s almost impossible to avoid some snippet or another of news be it positive or negative!  Think about how long it took for people to find out about the sinking of the Titantic versus how quickly we found out what was going on during the Vegas shooting earlier this month!

Newspapers and news media outlets are having to work harder and harder to grab our attention to stay afloat and I think it is doing great harm.  I realize by reflecting on the direction my blog here has taken sometimes that I do the same thing!  I am constantly having to remind myself and Kyle reminds me too that I need to be writing for myself first – not writing with the sole intent of notoriety and to garner a bunch of followers!  Just my linking a bunch of negative news headlines isn’t helping make the world a better place!

So many people talking…shouting….sending messages…SOS!  SOS!  There is only a certain capacity in the world for the actual receipt of all these messages.  For every message there is a messenger and a receiver but now there is another problem.  With there being SO many messages, the messages aren’t getting through at all.  They can’t get through the wall only the condition of apathy can build!

I feel like one of the most dangerous conditions that has arisen from our modern world has been apathy.

ap·a·thy
ˈapəTHē/
noun
noun: apathy
  1. lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
    “widespread apathy among students”
    synonyms: indifference, lack of interest, lack of enthusiasm, lack of concern, unconcern, uninterestedness, unresponsiveness, impassivity, dispassion, lethargy, languor, ennui;

    rareacedia
    “widespread apathy among the voters”
Origin
early 17th century: from French apathie, via Latin from Greek apatheia, from apathēs ‘without feeling,’ from a- ‘without’ + pathos ‘suffering.’

After a point of saturation people either care too much and check out or just stop caring at all.  I feel the way the media is going about trying to grab us is with a disproportionate amount of negative headlines about EVERYTHING!  There has got to be some sort of balance restored in this.

To wrap this up.

I used to think our special power was love.  I don’t believe that anymore.  Love has become a term used in dichotomy just like anything else human beings have anything to do with.  Just as I would love a butterfly, another would love to hit it with their car for sport.  I didn’t want to believe my Mom and Dad when they said they had been to church and the priest said people use the word love too much.  In looking at my own use of the word in my daily life, yep!  I use it for everything, even things not even worthy of it.  That priest was right.  I am starting to live a very cause and effect existence.  My faith and trust in my fellow human beings has been sorely tested these past 49 years. I have resolved not to be Pavlov’s dog.  I have decided as of late that I will be God’s dog.  Some of the greatest lessons of this life have been taught to me by my life with dogs.  If I can continue to learn and become even be a fraction of the good all of the dogs I’ve know in this life have been for me, then I will eventually be a fantastic human being.

 

Pavlov‘s dog is classical conditioning, originally experiments using dogs by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. In 1904, Pavlov was awarded the Nobel Prize for his physiology work.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlov%27s_dog_(disambiguation)

 

 

 

 

12 Oct 2017 Remember why you are here (today’s drawings and message)

Hello to you.  Just a quick note with the chalk drawings I did out back today.  The weather is still very nice here.  My thoughts are with the folks in California and any corner of this globe needing help…some glimmer of hope today.   Lots of folks are having hard times.   I hope you are doing your best to shine your light wherever you can.  Keep your lamplights burning!

*the featured drawing is based on a dream I had once about flying around a huge tree with two other men.  Then we were standing on a geometric shaped building made of glass and I left the other two by flying away.

11 Oct 2017 Today’s Youth are Depressed, Here’s Why (Thoughty2, You tube), THIS is Why The Sumerians are NOT Taught in School – Sumerian Tablets – Lost Ancient Civilization (Bright Insight, You tube) and Evening Star (Poem by Edgar Allen Poe)

Hello to you.  It’s 9:28 pm on this Wednesday evening.  How are you?  I’m doing better after Kyle and I were able to talk with our neighbor about the fence, dog and poop situation this evening.  Sounds like chicken wire will be the solution until we can all afford to replace the fence entirely.  Works for me!  It made me feel better to be able to apologize for the outburst this morning and get things sorted out.  All he heard was yelling and wasn’t sure what was going on.  It had been bugging me all day!  I don’t like being mad at people or having unresolved conflict with people.

So this evening Kyle and I were able to squeeze in part of another episode of the Living and Dead BBC One program…make it last as long as we can lol.  We also did our You tube channels scan for stuff to watch and came across this very insightful video from the Thoughty2 channel about why the youth of today are having so much trouble with depression.  It ties in nicely to the links I shared on my previous post today about Smartphones and their effect on young people’s mental health/self esteem and suicide related issues.   This video addresses a lot of things people may have not considered when making harsh judgements about young people of the past couple of generations.

Today’s Youth Are Depressed, Here’s Why…

Thoughty2

Moby & The Void Pacific Choir – Are You Lost In The World Like Me? (Official Video) – this little film sums it all up so well….so sad but true.

This is a video I saw yesterday that was very interesting to me too.  It inspired the chalk drawing I did of the Sumerian and the Reaper.  I have found the story of the Sumerians quite fascinating and kind of crossed paths with some of their history, specifically their language of the cuneiform, when I was trying to get some closure on the character Vanessa Ives from the show Penny Dreadful: https://saymber.com/2016/09/20/20-sept-2016-vanessa-ives-of-penny-dreadful-and-lilith-cuneiform-sumerian-language-finding-mementos-of-your-past-revisiting-harsh-lessons-of-farm-life-and-death-as-a-city-girl/

THIS is Why The Sumerians are NOT Taught in School – Sumerian Tablets – Lost Ancient Civilization

Bright Insight

Published on Oct 5, 2017

How is it possible that the Sumerian’s ONLY get 1-3 Sentences in the Textbooks? The world’s FIRST human civilization that dates back 6,000 years, that created our modern system of time, the calendar, writing, agriculture, and everything else is not required learning in school. This video outlines what the Sumerian tablets/records.

Here to close…this beautiful poem by Edgar Allen Poe that I have never read before:

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/evening-star/

Evening Star – Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

‘Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro’ the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
‘Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
There pass’d, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.

Sending hugs, love, hope and all the good I can muster through the wires to you…..please do pass it along 🙂 

9 Oct 2017 In the moment, Poem (California on fire again) and revisiting the past (can be painful!)

9 Oct 2017 – drawing I did today…The Amnesiac’s. I was thinking about how it seems like we keep forgetting things that are important.

Hello to you.  It’s Monday evening as I start to write to you.  How was the day you just lived today?  How are you doing in this moment?  What is everything in your “now?”  For me it’s drinking coffee that is a tad bitter but I’ll keep drinking it because I don’t want to waste it.  Link and Spot are on edge because I was just outside and rang the doorbell like an asshole after walking Kyle out and looking for gecko’s….only found one.  Ever since we put up the new siding…less gecko’s.  May is meowling again about who knows what and it drives me crazy….sounds like a baby crying.  Almost impossible for me to ignore her even if I try.  I am in no physical pain, comfortable temperature and there is an annoying smudge on my glasses again.  I hear the random pinging of raindrops on our metal siding which is a good thing.  I’m grateful for this moment I am in and grateful to have this cyber place in which to express my random “stuff.”  I’m grateful for whoever you are reading this, for your taking a moment from your busy world to visit me.

I have some quiet time to myself so this is going to be long lol.  I’ve finally resolved to myself that brevity is never going to be my thing lol!  If you don’t have time right now, please come back when you can.  There is something for you here. 

Yeah…..so I wrote this little poem today.  It’s not positive, complicated or even very eloquent….just one of those poems that started to come in while I was doing something else and I jotted it down.  Then I saw on the news later that California is burning even more so than normal…..sigh.  (http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/09/us/california-fires/index.htmlFast-moving wildfires kill 10, spur evacuations in Northern California By Ralph Ellis, Joe Sterling, Paul P. Murphy and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Updated 7:48 PM ET, Mon October 9, 2017)

9 Oct 2017 – Jackie Wygant poem

I hate you

You hate me

I hate me

So it goes

Through our family tree

Barren seed in fallow soil

A life

Of blood, sweat and toil

Where is the love we once knew?

Is it only ember and ash now

Against the darkening red, white and blue?

It’s weird sometimes the random things that I will pick up and they end up in poems, writings and my art.  Guess that’s the way it’s always worked for me.

Today I found something out about myself.  It’s now not an easy thing for me to look at pictures from the past….just as bad as reading my old journals.

Kyle was sleeping and the internet was off so I decided to take a trip down memory lane and look at some old photos from 2009 when we still lived in Newark DE and some since we’ve been here.  This turned me into a mass of sobbing wet tears.  What happened that really set me off was I saw video I had taken of our kitty Amber when she was still here and our Spot during one of the visits from the squirrel.  The furniture in our house was different.  We still had the pergola which the squirrel has sorely missed since its removal.  We still had our old back fence!  In just a short little video I saw how much time had gone by and all that was changed….missing.

5-march-2015-my-sunbeam-kitty-amber-alvarado-tx

Part of my current resentment at our remaining cat May is May has never loved me like Amber did and she’s still alive and Amber isn’t!  It’s so hard for me to get over that!  Amber was the kind of cat that was more like a dog than a cat in her personality and behavior.  She got that way after we got our cocker spaniel Sam.  She was smart enough to figure out that if she was going to get any time with me she had to become more like a dog.  So she did!  Amber was a big part of my heart.  I used to hold her when she’d come visit me on the toilet and just hold her and start crying I loved her so much.

Yeah…..but I think Amber has found her ways, through perhaps the ashes we spread about the yard, to find her way back to me.  Whether it be a positive or negative insect interaction…..sometimes it seems very personal lol.  Like a fragment of Amber making herself known to me whether it be a fire ant bite or a butterfly randomly flittering through my hair.  Amber isn’t the Amber I knew….she’s much more and that comforts me some.  It’s just when I go back looking for what she was and isn’t anymore that hurts so bad.

What happened to me today reminds me that we must be careful going back for what we have lost.  We can be reminded how much it hurts that we can never get any of it back.  Even if we can get something back from our past,  it can never be exactly as it was.  Kind of like it was for me after joining the military and going home to visit.  I wasn’t the same person even if the people and places I left behind were much the same.  Going backwards on anything can sometimes open wounds that had finally closed.  I am reminded of this today.  Sometimes I go back to things better left in the past.

I don’t want to forget the past ever happened.  I don’t want to forget the people, animals, places and things that made me the me I am now.  I just really had it hit me today looking at those old pictures and videos that I don’t want to emotionally torture myself in my present with facts  and parts of history that are fixed….set….unchangeable.

There will never be another cat exactly like Amber in my life.  There will never be the exact version of any other person, animal, place or thing that I loved after they have left this physical world or been destroyed.  For as long as I live and can retain my memory, they will exist in my mind, heart and even my soul.  Even fragments of their existence, rejoined with the energy God of my understanding, will remain in the air, the water, the food, my sleeping and waking world …but they will never be them again.  They are part of my past and I cannot get them back again!

This was taken during a visit to the San Francisco CA Zoo in *cough* Nov 1987! The note on the wall behind me, “This bench is reserved for primates only” is appropriate lol!

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/William_Beebe – the first time I saw this was when I visited the San Francisco Zoo:

The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.

  • The Bird (1906)

I feel like my little blurp here could be a bit of a cautionary tale of the direction I see us going in this country….in this world.  I see a fading mass of people trying to take those newer on the scene kicking and screaming back to the caves by the hair without Wi-Fi.  Why?  I think, speaking as someone who can be averse to change, because it’s comfortable, it’s safe, it’s familiar, it makes them feel like they have control over something and it means not having to change.  This world is changing so fast!

This is an ironic observation as I live in a world of people who seem to thrive on change and new external stimulation!  Kyle and I notice this especially with video games and how the industry seems to have such a hard time “feeding” gamers with new content.  As soon as new content is released, people eat through it like a bag of chocolate and get pissed and act like addicts going through withdrawal waiting for their next “hit.”

We want change but we want to control the how, where, when, why and what of it happening.   For many, and this is the case for myself, not having any sort of input or control over changes like those coming from our government,  that affect me and those I love,  has left me feeling quite powerless and angry.

I  cannot really get to mad at my parents, teachers and other role models in my life for all the dirty secrets I’ve found out about my country and the world since my growing up years.  I’m finding out from personal experience that history is a contextual thing.  It’s also a matter of perception…your experiences, your background, your family, your education shape your perception of the world and how you live in it.

Depending on where you are in time and what you know at that time, determines how you live in that segment of history.  What was acceptable behavior for white people in the context of history going on during the time of slavery isn’t what should be going on in our current times in the context of modern history….why? Because we know better!  My parents and all the teachers through my life probably didn’t know or realize half the things that have come to light in our current times.  Now we do know what was and is still yet going on.  Are we as a world going to just keep revisiting and repeating the past or finally let go, let God and move the fuck on?!!

I think we have a lot of people in this world who feel powerless in our times.  So they are clinging on to whatever they can to give them some sense of stability…certainty.  Many are choosing to hold on to history, be it positive or negative, to have some sort of certainty, identity, purpose and meaning .  I am living in a country that makes it seem like you have to go on America’s Got Talent or something to be worth a shit…to have value.  If you have ever watched that show, you have seen the lengths people will go to be worth something.  They will nearly kill themselves!  It feels like you have to “be something, someone or connected to something or someone” in order to have any sort of self-esteem.

People are still not being taught how to light their own fire inside.  They are still being taught in every conceivable way that they must seek their value and worth outside of themselves – other people, places and especially things.  It’s a lie perpetuated all the way back to the first real fire I think!

Anyhew….

Kyle and I watched this tonight and I thought John did a really good job on this very sensitive subject in our country – confederate monuments.  I didn’t know that a large majority of monuments in our country that depict Confederate themes were erected decades after the Civil War was over, meant to be the middle finger of sorts towards minorities and many were dedicated by members of the KKK!  I think these statues should be put preserved, as John suggests here.  I think they should definitely be put in museums with background information and historical context provided.  I think destroying the statues would be not much better than what everyone has gotten upset about ISIS doing.  It isn’t a good idea to erase history…especially history we really shouldn’t repeat!  I feel like people should be able to choose to go to a museum and view them versus not having a choice about being subjected to them in sometimes unavoidable public places.

Confederacy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

 

We can only go forward and through….that’s the only way to survive the callous master that is Time.

 

8 Oct 2017 The Living and the Dead (BBC) and positive story about how even the most extreme people are capable of change ( The ‘ironic’ friendship that convinced a former neo-Nazi to erase his swastika tattoos)

Hello to you….it’s Sunday in my here and now as I write to you.  How are you doing in your here and now?  I hope you are in a good place.  I’m navigating my way back to a healthier head, heart, mind and spirit space myself.  We’ve started watching a very interesting BBC show that I had been waiting to be available on Amazon Prime.  It’s called The Living and the Dead starring Colin Morgan and Charlotte Spencer.  WOW!  So worth the wait!  The cinematography alone is just amazing.  I find myself wishing I could just have many frames of the show as reference for doing paintings.  We watched the second episode last night and are hooked.  I won’t give away too many spoiler for those who want to explore the show, but a concept I was fascinated to see employed …the overlaying of dimensional realities.  Are ghosts just versions of us from other dimensions peaking through another reality…the veil?  Are ghosts just the overlaying of dimensions and timelines?  I thought Colin was brilliant in another fantastic BBC show, Humans and he is just as great in this one.  Sadly, while looking for more information on the show, I see it didn’t get a second season….sigh.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/living-and-dead-casting – this article was prior to production, but it gives you a great feel for what it’s about.

Colin Morgan and Charlotte Spencer set to thrill in new supernatural BBC One drama The Living And The Dead

The Living And The Dead is one of those scripts that you read and are instantly compelled and engaged by. It’s intelligent, chilling and engrossing.Colin Morgan

Date: 07.08.2015     Last updated: 10.08.2015 at 12.28
Category: BBC One; Casting; Drama
Colin Morgan (Humans, The Fall, Merlin) will play the lead role of Nathan Appleby in brand new eerie mystery The Living And The Dead.

The original six part series for BBC One, created by Ashley Pharoah (Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, Moonfleet), will also star Charlotte Spencer (Glue, Stonemouth, Line Of Duty), as Charlotte Appleby, Nathan’s wife. Charlotte was BAFTA nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2015 and Colin won a National Television Award for Most Popular Male Drama Performance in 2013.

“What lies beneath should be left beneath”

Somerset, 1894. A house that’s almost as old as the English countryside itself. A brilliant young couple inherit the farm and are determined to start a new life together. But their presence in this isolated corner of England starts to unleash strange, unsettling and dangerous supernatural phenomena that will start to threaten their marriage.

This is a drama steeped in the eeriness of the rural world at the moment when the industrial revolution came crashing in to disrupt all the old certainties. Uncanny, intriguing, disturbing. At the series’ heart is the love story of Nathan and Charlotte Appleby: deeply in love with each other but put under extraordinary pressure, they will have to fight to save their marriage and their home.

Colin Morgan says: “The Living And The Dead is one of those scripts that you read and are instantly compelled and engaged by. It’s intelligent, chilling and engrossing. It’s going to be very special and I can’t wait to start working on it with the wonderful creative team.”

Charlotte Spencer says: “It’s always been a dream of mine to appear in a period drama and they don’t come better than this – fantastic, original scripts and, in Charlotte Appleby, a superb character who’s strong, passionate and gutsy. Couple this with an incredible director, crew and cast, I can’t wait to get started!”

Ashley Pharoah adds: “I am completely thrilled that Colin and Charlotte are joining us on our adventure. The characters they play – Nathan and Charlotte Appleby – dominate the series and I couldn’t be more excited to see what they do with them.”

Faith Penhale, Head of BBC Wales Drama Production, says: “Colin Morgan and Charlotte Spencer are two of Britain’s most exciting and talented stars and I can’t think of anyone better to bring to life Nathan and Charlotte Appleby, the beautifully drawn couple at the heart of Ashley’s bold and brilliant new series for BBC One.”

The executive producers are Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham for Monastic Productions, Faith Penhale, Head of BBC Wales Drama Production, and Katie McAleese for BBC Wales Drama Production.

Eliza Mellor (Poldark, Death Comes To Pemberley) is producer and director Alice Troughton (Cucumber, In The Flesh) will launch the series.

Commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One, and Ben Stephenson, previous Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, The Living And The Dead is a BBC Wales Drama production in association with Monastic Productions and co-produced with BBC America. It will be distributed internationally by BBC Worldwide.

Filming has begun in the West Country.

Notes to Editors

Photo credit: Robert Viglasky.

CK1

The Living and the Dead: Trailer – BBC One

To close so Kyle and I can get on with what little we have of OUR time off together……..

Last night before bed I did one last glance at the headlines, which I know isn’t good for my sleep but I was rewarded before Kyle accidentally flagged me and turned off the internet.  It was this Washington Post news story  by Lindsey Bever that I felt was important to share.  This story about Michael Kent and his amazing probation officer Tiffany Whittier shows me there is hope for humanity……people can change if they want to….if they try.  This story also is a current example of what my post yesterday that went into  how early childhood trauma and experiences with bullying, from the perspective of a white male, can shape that white males future: ( https://saymber.com/2017/10/07/7-oct-2017-lets-stay-together-dream-and-song/)  My brother-in-law experienced bullying when he attended a public school in New Mexico that had a population primarily made up of Hispanic children.  It got so bad that Kyle’s parents pulled him from public school and started home schooling all the kids after that.  It’s important to recognize it’s not just minorities who suffer in this way.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/10/07/the-ironic-friendship-that-convinced-a-former-neo-nazi-to-erase-his-swastika-tattoos/?utm_term=.8d363a35b126

The ‘ironic’ friendship that convinced a former neo-Nazi to erase his swastika tattoos

The Washington Post
Lindsey Bever
Michael Kent and an unidentified “comrade” in Phoenix in 2006.
© Courtesy of Michael Kent Michael Kent and an unidentified “comrade” in Phoenix in 2006. Michael Kent’s dedication to a racist cause was spelled out in ink on his skin.

 The white supremacist symbol “1488” on the back of his neck.

The swastikas drawn on his neck and chest.

And the “WHITE PRIDE” banner stretching from shoulder to shoulder.

Kent got the tattoos in prison, when he was still a neo-Nazi — earning each letter in “WHITE PRIDE” by, he said, “messing people up.”

“I was a real piece of crap,” Kent told The Washington Post. “I regret a lot of stuff that I did. But I can’t take it back, and I’m glad because it made me who I am today.”

Kent, 38, said he is now having his neo-Nazi tattoos covered up after making the decision to leave a life of hate behind him.

Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post

That decision, he first told ABC News, grew slowly out of a surprising friendship with his probation officer — a black woman.

“I told her if it wasn’t for her, I’d still be deep into this stuff,” he said.

Tiffany Whittier, a probation officer in Pinal County, Ariz., was assigned to handle Kent’s case a decade ago.

Kent, who had served time on drug and weapons charges, was released from prison in 2006; about a year later, his probation case was transferred to Whittier.

Until then, he said, his probation officers had always visited him in pairs.

Then Whittier got his file — which included pictures of his tattoos — and she visited him at his house alone.

That earned her instant respect from Kent, who said he was emotionally moved by her boldness — by the fact that she didn’t fear him or what he represented.

“She showed up, and I lost it,” he said.

His house was cluttered with Nazi gear — including a decal reading “extreme hatred” over an image of Adolf Hitler, with a swastika and Nazi Germany’s iron cross. There were also German war flags.

“She asked me why,” Kent said. “I told her, ‘This is me — take it or leave it.’ ”

Whittier said it was not her job to judge Kent. She was simply there to make sure he did not violate his probation and wind up back in prison.

Still, she did not stay silent.

One Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Kent asked Whittier: “Why are you working on James Earl Ray Day?” She sternly told him his remarks were inappropriate.

Another time, she half-jokingly told Kent that he should replace his Nazi symbols with smiley faces — and he did it. His nickname was Smiley, he explained, and it “made a lot of sense.” So he put posters of smiley faces where racism had once been on display.

As time went on, Kent said he started leaning on Whittier for support.

When his first child was born.

When he and his girlfriend broke up — then got back together, eventually marrying.

And then when they divorced.

In the middle of it all, in 2010, Kent completed his probation.

And, Whittier said, their professional relationship started to develop into an “ironic” friendship.

As his life progressed, he said, so, too, did his views about race.

“Michael did the work,” Whittier said. But, she said, she is glad that she had “an impact on him.”

Kent said it was the respect that Whittier showed that made him want to take down the Nazi symbols. He did so out of respect for her, he said.

His neo-Nazi views, he said, evolved from racial encounters growing up in a mostly black neighborhood in Erie, Pa. He was bullied by black children, he said, and his mother was assaulted by a black man.

He said a man broke into her window and climbed on top of her, but she drew a gun and started shooting at him.

Kent was only 6 or 7 at the time, he said. He started to see black people in a negative way, and his hatred for them “started growing stronger and stronger and stronger” until he became a full-fledged “skinhead.”

In the 1990s, he started to join demonstrations, including a neo-Nazi rally in Arizona to support the state’s controversial immigration bill, SB 1070.

He said he “destroyed people’s lives” — both by recruiting others into his racist lifestyle, and by “putting boots to people” of other races.

Over the years, Kent found himself in and out of prison.

He said he doesn’t even remember why he went to jail the first time, when he was a young teen; but records show that in the early 2000s, he was put in prison for the first time for dangerous drug violations, theft, trafficking stolen property and promoting prison contraband — a charge he said stemmed from a stint in county jail in the late 1990s, when he brought drugs into the correctional system.

He was later imprisoned on a weapons charge. Kent said he had attempted suicide with a gun — which, as a felon, he was not permitted to have in his possession.

It was in prison, Kent said, that he got his Nazi tattoos; prisoners melted down chess pieces, hair grease and Styrofoam cups, mixed the soot with soap, and then injected it with sharp guitar strings.

But eventually, Kent said, those symbols — and that lifestyle — were in his past, and he wanted to leave them there.

He explained to Whittier that he had started to see people differently — learning not to judge, but to accept them.

So Redemption Ink, a nonprofit whose website states that it gives free coverups to people with “marks of gangs, prejudice, and hate in the form of a tattoo,” connected Kent with a tattoo shop in Colorado, where he now lives.

“We called him and said, ‘We’d like to be the next step in your journey,’” David Brown, co-owner of Fallen Heroes Tattoo in Colorado Springs, told The Post. “Michael was truly committed to this deal.”

Kent has had some sessions and still has more to go — but, Brown said, he is on his way to closing “this chapter in his life.”

Now, Kent said, he lives alone in Colorado, where he works 60 to 80 hours a week on a chicken farm — doing maintenance, managing heavy equipment and even making the feed for the chickens.

He said it’s “hectic,” but he enjoys it.

And Kent said he owes it all to a black probation officer who gave him a chance.

“Because of her,” Kent said, “I am the man I am.”

Michael Kent and Tiffany Whittier in 2017.© Courtesy of Michael Kent Michael Kent and Tiffany Whittier in 2017. This story has been updated.

Source: Washington Post/internet
and courtesy Michael Kent: Michael Kent and Tiffany Whittier

7 Oct 2017 Angels with paws (service dogs help Las Vegas shooting victims) and drawings

Hello to you this Saturday afternoon.  I hope this finds you doing well.  I wanted to share this wonderful story from the folks at Today about what I and so many others who share their lives with dogs or cats already know – they are healers!  To me they are angels with paws.  I think  what the folks from Lutheran Church Charities did by bringing these dogs to folks trying to heal inside as well as out after the mass shooting in Las Vegas is just a beautiful and loving thing to do!  There is a reason dog spelled backwards is God.  Our Sammy was one of the first to show me here on earth God’s love….no judgement, no boundaries, no limits….just pure unconditional love.

Me with our cocker spaniel Sammy on 25 Dec 2009. He passed away 27 April 2011.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/paws-on-the-ground-comfort-dogs-bring-much-needed-love-to-las-vegas/ar-AAt1zyL?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Paws on the ground: Comfort dogs bring much-needed love to Las Vegas

Ethan Sacks
For many scarred by seeing the carnage inflicted in the Las Vegas mass shooting, a little comfort came courtesy of man’s best friend.

 Nineteen trained golden retrievers from across the country padded their way to Las Vegas this week courtesy of Lutheran Church Charities to provide comfort for those affected by the attack, which left 59 dead, more than 500 wounded, and thousands of families and friends emotionally devastated.
But even those who survived the carnage at the Route 91 Harvest festival without physical wounds desperately needed that nuzzle — like Sunrise Hospital director of guest services Tracy Szymanski, who is still persevering through her job despite having been in the crowd Sunday night.

“I came straight to the hospital from the venue at 10:30 at night, still wearing my concert clothes, because I knew there were things I could do to help the families,” Szymanski told TODAY. “It was a sigh of relief when the first dogs arrived Monday morning, because I knew the cavalry had arrived.

“I felt I had help at a time when I felt helpless.”

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. The comfort dogs, along with their 30 human handlers, are part of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dogs unit — veterans used to having their “paws on the ground” after disasters, natural or otherwise.

The unit’s canine caregivers brought survivors some solace after the Sandy Hook shootings, and more recently, provided comfort to parts of Texas and Florida hit hardest by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

And even amidst all the horror of the Las Vegas shooting, it’s amazing to see how quickly these four-legged pros can spread smiles, LCC president Tim Hetzner told TODAY.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.

© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. “Dogs are non-judgmental, they don’t take notes and are comfortable to talk to,” Hetzner, who oversaw the Las Vegas mission, said.

“A key part of healing in any crisis or disaster is to be able to talk about (the trauma), and people find it easier to do that with dogs.”

Those dogs — including one, Lois, who is based in Las Vegas and a regular visitor at the Sunrise Hospital — have been busy. “Because of the magnitude of this event, just about everybody who lives in Las Vegas has been affected,” said Hetzner.

Besides working with survivors and grieving families, the comfort dogs visited a high school where several students were injured in the shooting, hotel workers helping victims’ families, and traumatized first responders.

They have also visited the coroner’s office, both to support victims’ loved ones and staffers wading in such overwhelming grief.

It’s extremely emotional work for the dogs.

LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations.

© LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs’/Facebook LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs These are trained Comfort Dogs for @lccharities. They interact with people at churches, hospitals, events and in disaster situations. “The dogs have an ability to tell when someone is suffering, so after working with them for a few hours, we take their service vest off, pull a ball out let them run around and be dogs for an hour,” said Hetzner. “These are golden retrievers, they like to retrieve. That’s how they work off their stress.”

The current team is being flown out Friday to be replaced by a new, rested crop that will stay through the beginning of next week.

“They come up to you and get dog hair all over you, and then just nuzzle up to you and put a smile on your face,” said Szymanski. “Every morning, as the person who supervises their visits at the hospital, I get to get my first dose.”

“It helps me process everything.”

My father-in-law gave Kyle and I this after Sammy passed away. It is so true!

 

 

7 Oct 2017 Let’s Stay Together (dream and song)

Hello to you. How are you? I hope your doing well. I had a fun dream last night of costume shopping. The parts I found, after opened kept being used or dirty. I just couldn’t find the right one. Then I remembered I could sing like Tina Turner and started singing one of my favorite songs she’s sung, “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.

Let’s Stay Together Tina Turner (HD)

Let’s Stay Together

Al Green

I’m so in love with you Whatever you want to do Is all right with me ‘Cause you make me Feel so brand new And I want to spend My life with you

Since, since we’ve been together Loving you forever Is what I need Let me be the one you Come running to And I’ll never be untrue ooh baby

[Chorus] Let’s, let’s stay together Lovin’ you whether, whether Times are good or bad, Happy or sad Good or bad, happy or sad

Why, somebody tell me Why people break up? Turn around and make up I just can’t see You’d never do that to me Would you, baby? Staying around you is all I see Here’s what I want to do

[Chorus: x 2]

Songwriters: AL JACKSON JR, WILLIE MITCHELL, AL GREEN

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

This morning, after scanning some headlines, I see the tide has risen again for anti-gay sentiment around the world.  What I suspect is all of these petty and divisive tactics are just another distraction technique by the “powers that be” as they make arrangements for WWIII.  If we are divided and angry we will be more likely to be compliant to their plans.  The Rainbow Raids in Egypt just the latest overseas:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/rainbow-raids-egypt-launches-its-widest-anti-gay-crackdown-yet/ar-AAsZZuj?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Rainbow raids: Egypt launches its widest anti-gay crackdown yet

Sarah Hegazy has been jailed, beaten by inmates, and could face a life sentence in an Egyptian prison if found guilty of “promoting sexual deviancy” and other charges tied to her alleged crime: waving a rainbow flag at a concert.

The 28-year-old denies waving the flag but is one of 57 people arrested so far in Egypt’s widest anti-gay crackdown yet, a swift zero-tolerance response to a rare show of public support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the conservative Muslim country.

The crackdown comes as Egypt, a key Western ally in the Middle East, is under fire for its human rights record and the United States has withheld some of its $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

Hegazy, the only woman rounded up in the three-week-old campaign, says police goaded her cellmates to abuse her during her first night in prison, where she is being detained for 15 days and interrogated by special prosecutors who usually focus on Islamist militants.

“This is the game they (police) always play, especially since she is a girl. They incite the other detainees and say ‘this girl wants men and women to be gay’ so they harass her. I saw scratches on her shoulder, she looked very disheveled and exhausted. She was beaten,” said Hegazy’s lawyer Hoda Nasralla.

A security official would not comment on Hegazy’s case but denied that police incite prisoners against each other or otherwise mistreat them.

Lawyers for other detainees said their clients faced similar treatment. Suspected gay male detainees are subject to forced anal exams to determine if they have had homosexual sex, a procedure human rights groups say amounts to torture.

At least five such examinations have taken place, Amnesty International says. Judicial sources do not deny the examinations take place but say they are legally carried out and are not a form of abuse.

Egyptian authorities do not deny going after gays and an investigation report provided to Reuters by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) openly refers to the police’s campaign on homosexuals.

Police, state-aligned media, and the religious establishment all see it as a public duty to combat the spread of homosexuality.

Ten men have already gone on trial during the recent sweep and received jail sentences from one to six years.

MEDIA BACKLASH

On Sept. 22, at a concert packed with 30,000 people headlined by Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese alternative rock band whose lead singer is openly gay, a small group of concert goers raised a rainbow flag and, within hours, the image went viral.

Almost immediately local media, dominated by state-aligned television personalities, began a campaign against homosexuals, saying they were receiving foreign funding, and hosting callers who compared their threat to Islamic State.

Egypt’s media regulator then banned homosexuals from appearing in the media unless they were “repenting”, calling homosexuality a “shame and a disease that should be kept under wraps, not promoted” in order to protect public morality.

Al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said it would stand against gays in the way it stands against Islamist extremists. One church organized an anti-gay conference.

Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered the State Security Prosecution, which normally investigates terrorism and other national security threats, to investigate the flag incident.

At least four people, including Hegazy and 21-year-old Ahmed Alaa, were arrested for allegedly raising the flag although one man has since been released.

The overwhelming majority of those arrested are not involved in the flag case, however, and have simply been arrested over their perceived sexual orientation in the following days.

Police have raided homes, parties, and used online dating apps to lure gay men – a common tactic in Egypt – to arrest most of them, their lawyers say.

At a Cairo courthouse defendants stood in a cage, holding up newspapers and books to hide their faces to shield themselves from the stigma of homosexuality in Egyptian society.

WORST CRACKDOWN YET

Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

The last comparable crackdown on homosexuals in Egypt was in 2001, when police raided a floating disco called the Queen Boat. Fifty-two men were tried in the case, which drew widespread criticism from human rights groups and Western governments.

But the current wave has already surpassed that incident both in numbers and in state action, with defendants facing much faster trials than usual, said Dalia Abd Elhameed, EIPR’s gender and women’s rights officer.

No Western government has publicly condemned or commented on this crackdown, but Egypt is facing criticism from the United States, a major ally, over its human rights record.

Washington denied Egypt $95.7 million in aid and delayed a further $195 million because it failed to make progress on human rights and democracy, U.S. sources told Reuters in August.

Egypt has taken a leading role at the United Nations in opposing gay rights. It was one of 13 countries to vote last week against a U.N. resolution condemning the death penalty for having gay sex.

It led a dozen states in boycotting a session in January with the first U.N. expert on anti-gay violence and discrimination. It sent a letter last year on behalf of Muslim countries to the secretary-general that led to the exclusion of 22 gay and transgender rights groups from the U.N. General Assembly’s High Level Meeting on Ending Aids.

Gay men and rights activists say the LGBT community has been facing an aggressive crackdown since 2013, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as military chief ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi.

EIPR has documented 232 cases between October 2013 and March 2017 where people were arrested for allegedly being gay or transgender, Abd Elhameed said. Many of these cases went to court where the average sentence was around three years in jail, although in some cases it went up to 12.

Sisi has been criticized by the Brotherhood as being anti-Islam, and rights groups say tough treatment of the LGBT community is a way to counter that while diverting attention from the country’s tough economic conditions.

COMMUNITY IN FEAR

The crackdown has Egypt’s already underground LGBT community living in fear. Five gay men who all requested anonymity said they were avoiding gay-friendly spaces and deleting online dating profiles for fear of arrest.

Some are considering leaving the country.

But the recent developments underscore an existing reality for gay Egyptians: they are in constant physical danger.

“I don’t feel comfortable just being myself. We’re not talking about gay rights here, no one is calling for marriage equality, we face the possibility of jail and humiliation for merely existing,” said one 25-year-old gay man.

A 31-year-old gay man recounted how he was tied up and beaten at his Cairo flat last year by two men who threatened to kill him after meeting through the gay dating app Grindr.

They posed as police officers at some point, playing on a common fear for gay Egyptians, before stealing items from his flat. The man says he later felt going to the police was almost as traumatic as the incident itself.

Police records show officers create false dating profiles and set up dates only to arrest the men who show up. Sometimes they tell the men to bring condoms then use them as evidence, Abd Elhameed said.

“There are people in the Interior Ministry who take our money as taxpayers to engage in sex chatting with people then arrest them. It is as ridiculous as this; the evidence sheets include nude photos and erotic chat transcripts.”

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Giles Elgood)

___________________________________

A part of me understands it and a bigger part of me does not accept it as rational behavior to be hating anyone for trying to be who they are. To me targeting a vulnerable population like the gay population is the stuff schoolyard bullies do to make themselves feel better.  As an empathic person, I often find myself trying to understand why people think and act the way they do. Lately, it’s been trying to understand why it seems there is so much hate on the part of some white people, white men in particular, against anyone who is different than they are.

It occurs to me the conversation I had on the way home with my father-in-law after we went to the State Fair and the topic about the NFL kneeling issue came up. From my father-in-law and mother-in-law’s perspective, both of them upper middle class and white, the NFL is a business and no place for such protests. People watch football to escape such things. Well I came back to that with, “If you put yourself in the place of the these mostly black athletes who’s people are being treated the way they are….” The comeback from my father-in-law was swift. He said he felt that these guys were making millions of dollars, what do they know of oppression. I retorted that many of them come from the places the people they are kneeling for came from….it was there only way out. He didn’t agree with me, he said that as a white tax payer it’s not his doing that this is going on. I could tell the conversation was only going to escalate to an ugly place so I didn’t say anything else. I knew mentioning that his tax dollars are paying for some of the law enforcement who are shooting unarmed black men and paying for politicians who are constantly putting together legislation like banning immigrants, building walls and anti-tay bathroom bills wasn’t going to end well. In my estimation, something was lacking from my father-in-law in this conversation and it was empathy. In our short conversation, he just couldn’t and didn’t want to try and understand the people we were talking about.

My parents, also white, are much the same. I grew up with and am still surrounded by a great degree of intolerance, even hostility on the part of white people when it comes to anyone who is different…meaning not straight, not church-going, not white.

I love my family but have spent most of my life agreeing to disagree with them about issues such as this.

My dear Grandma Carol Becker and I – she was one of my Moms and is such a huge part of who I am today

So how did I end up the way I did? Being different, being bullied in school, being the “other.” When you go through hard times or are treated differently for being who you are, in my case as a child being overly sensitive and poor, you learn empathy almost as a self-defense mechanism!   I can remember walking home from grade school and having white male classmates hurling snow balls at me and calling me names.  I credit the greatest part of my empathic ability to having two people in my life, my Grandparents, especially my Grandma Becker, who fought for unity and equality for all people that “saved me” from ultimately becoming an angry, hostile, racist white bigot.

The emotion of fear can either motivate you to great empathy and love or it can also push you to hate, hostility and even violence.

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich – which remains incomplete because of it’s perceived pro-gay message: https://globalvoices.org/2017/05/12/diversity-interrupted-anti-gay-crusades-mar-ukraines-tolerant-facade/The incomplete monument serves as a conspicuous reminder of Ukraine’s unfinished battle against homophobia—a problem that has been accentuated by a recent spate of homophobic attacks.Diversity, Interrupted: Anti-Gay Crusades Mar Ukraine’s Tolerant Façade – “

So what is the definition of empathy?

em·pa·thy

ˈempəTHē/

noun

noun: empathy

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

This article does a fantastic job of possibly explaining why empathy is lacking in many white males.  Fear seems to be at the core of anger….lack of empathy:

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/angry-white-men-wcz/

The Good Men Project

Why Angry White Men are so Angry

December 20, 2015 by Jonathan Weaver 36 Comments

Instead of ignoring the anger, put it to a positive use.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.”

There is something very wrong with (and for) many white men in America. They are so damned angry.

It is a phenomenon that is distinctly un-lovable, and yet love may be the most effective response.

As a member of that cohort, I get it: every rule we were taught growing up has changed, every promise that was made has been broken. How we interact with women, privilege and all that it manifested for our fathers, grandfathers and forefathers, and everything it meant in terms of being a man, a provider and protector…. Gone.

The problem is the role of virile alpha male provider/protector is hard-wired into our brain. It is our very definition of “manhood.” Faced with uncertainty and change, the response of circling up protection around what we “know” and responding aggressively against the unknown, is second nature.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline.

Being AGAINST something focuses that energy like a laser, whereas being FOR something diffuses positive energy into an array of options. This is why right-wing talk radio works and attempts at liberal talk radio have failed miserably. Conservatives have bulleted talking points that are relentlessly AGAINST something. Even when they say they are “pro-life,” the focus is so narrow, that it comes down to being AGAINST abortion and nothing more. They’re AGAINST “Obamacare,” but press them for an alternative and you get a look of canine puzzlement. Progressives, meanwhile, want to include everybody and can’t seem to herd the cats. Applied to light, it is almost literally the difference between generating heat and illumination. Negativity feeds on its own energy.

The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline. As in pre-WWII Germany, racism whispers in the ears of white men, “It’s not your fault you can’t provide for your family, that you’re not going to do as well as your father did; it’s THEIR fault!” and it points it’s bony finger at women who’ve gone to work (“because if you were man enough, she wouldn’t HAVE to work, taking a job away from a man.”), Or at immigrants. Or anyone else who is “different.”

It’s easy to feel bowled over by the laser-focused blast of anger and negativity, or feel the need to match it in kind. The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

I get it. Angry white guy is exhausting and distinctly unsympathetic. There is much to hate about hatred, but that can only yield more of the same. If we can bring ourselves to recognize bigotry, gun culture, misogyny and white male rage as merely the outward symptoms of a very real fear, we can meet fear with empathy, compassion and even love.

◊♦◊

The solution is found in realizing that our fathers’ definition of what is to be a man doesn’t work anymore and we haven’t filled that void. Packing a sidearm for a Starbucks run and curtailing the rights of others doesn’t make one a man, it makes one a frightened bully.

Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose.

A man is someone who calls fear by its name and leans into it anyway. He is not owned or diminished by it. He realizes that evolution favors not the strongest, but the most adaptable. He realizes that complicated times demand agility. He applies his solution-finding skills in new and innovative ways, as his forefathers did before him.

Angry white men are in their final throes because they refuse to find a way to adapt and evolve. Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose. That’s why we’re seeing terrorism, fascism and a spike in suicide among working class white males. It’s a fine line between offing oneself and making it a political statement by taking others with you.

Hurt people hurt others. We can stop the hurt if we can re-frame a masculine response to a very uncertain time. It may be that the most effective tool against angry white guy is the one weapon he doesn’t have in his arsenal: empathy.

Finally, I wanted to share an excerpt from a very insightful article I found in my quest to try and understand where the hate is coming from towards gays and minorities.  The part I’ve shared, is very resonant to what I have observed going on with young people as I’ve grown up.  I highly recommend reading the entire article.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/roots/franklin.html

Inside the Mind of People Who Hate Gays by Karen Franklin

(A forensic psychologist, Karen Franklin’s dual interests in psychology and the law brought her to question the roots of anti-gay hate crimes. Her interviews with perpetrators and with San Francisco Bay Area college students provide badly needed empirical data on the nature and extent of negative reactions to gays.)

Social Powerlessness

In contemporary American society, young people–from the poor to the upper middle classes–are systematically neglected and devalued. Lacking access to meaningful, challenging experiences, and sensing a declining potential for success in today’s increasingly service-oriented economy, they are often frustrated, discouraged, and socially alienated . Young White males in particular face the contradiction of being taught to expect hegemonic masculine power while being denied any real access to it. This contradiction fosters “power- seeking, adventurist recreational activities at the expense of others who also lack power within the social order,” such as women, racial minorities, and homosexuals. Trapped in a temporal vortex between devalued adolescence and adult male privilege, teenage males are given tacit permission to engage in a certain degree of rowdiness and aggression, under the auspices of “boys will be boys.” This is particularly true for young men from more privileged strata, such as the fraternity boys discussed earlier, for whom peer group dynamics and thrill seeking often lead to exaggerated displays of masculinity regarding which society largely looks the other way.

However, if violence becomes a pervasive way of life and endures into adulthood, the scale tilts from socially excused to maladaptive. Eric’s aggression, which led to 3 years behind bars and cost him an education, is illustrative of a violent lifestyle that falls outside the ideals of hegemonic masculinity. Describing how he drank and fought his way through adolescence, Eric said, “I used to beat people up, just to beat them up. When I ran out of people I didn’t like, l’d beat up people my brother didn’t like.” Of his assault on the businessman, he commented, “I got satisfaction out of kicking the guy.”

Eric’s masculinity has the exaggerated quality of masculine protest , in which violence is employed as an overcompensation for perceived weakness. Connell (1995) views this protest masculinity as a social, rather than individual, practice. In what he labels marginalized masculinity, economically and socially disempowered men like Eric “claim the potency that European culture attaches to masculinity” through a facade of power when their actual circumstances provide “no real resources for power”. In other words, males who incorporate the gender-norm expectations of hegemonic masculinity yet cannot realize these expectations due to their economic or racial status may act out in extreme manners, often with homosexuals as their targets.

This is by no means to imply that the majority of men from lower-class or racial minority backgrounds respond to poverty and oppression with hypermasculinity and violence, even in the most compelling of peer group situations. In most cases, a predisposition is engendered through childhood socialization involving not only poverty and social oppression but also violent victimization and exposure to violence . Eric, for example, experienced not only childhood violence but also parental abandonment, alcoholism, and death. And when Andrew was a child, his sadistic father routinely beat him with weapons while verbally deriding him. Andrew said it had taken him many years to learn to control the violent impulses engendered by this paternal abuse.

One of the hallmarks of the marginalized masculinity that may develop out of childhood poverty and violence is a preoccupation with a masculine front, or the protection of reputation and pride. Recall Eric’s explanation that his relative’s gay friend deserved punishment for disrespecting him. And although the businessmen whom Eric and his friends assaulted “didn’t even know it was coming,” among Eric’s peers the assault was far from surprising. For them, the men’s eye contact, laughing derision, and profanity were provocative challenges requiring physical response. Indeed, cognitive research has identified sets of norms, rules, and expectations that are shared within subcultures and lead to this type of predictable, even ritualized, social aggression.

Studying a group of economically and socially disenfranchised White youths similar to Eric’s peer group, Pinderhughes (1991) found perceived powerlessness and victimization to drive their ritualized social aggression against both homosexuals and African Americans, whom they perceived as “taking over”. In these situations, power and violence are in a sense opposites, for “where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears when power is in jeopardy” (Arendt, 1969, p. 56). Thus, whereas violence is often seen as an expression of power, in Eric’s case it can be alternatively conceptualized as a response to real or perceived powerlessness, wherein affluent, presumably gay men wearing expensive clothing symbolize undeserved “special rights” for minorities. …

 

 

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