Poetry Wednesday #26

Poetry Wednesday today features the latest original poem, “Here Comes Halloween.”

“Here Comes Halloween”

The month comes to an end, it’s the eve of All Hallows’.

Kids are hungry and ready for mini candies and marshmallows.

Look! Here’s a goblin, now an astronaut, and soon a vampire will be at my door.

Good for them, this group just down the street has a cheery esprit de corps.

The costumes each one is wearing are just as colored and varied as leaves of the maples and the sallows.

Imaginers will come all night long, guided by the pumpkin lamp.

Here comes more up the cobweb-lined ramp.

Now look, a cute furry little doggie, nope he’s a werewolf listen to his howl,

His cute little sister is feathered and hints how wise she is dressed like an owl.

I’m a little worried about that teen boy at the end of the street, he’s a trickster — a scamp.

Is that Elphaba or some other witch with the skin with that hue of celadon?

Oh boy, these little costumed sugar balls are running all over hither and yon.

Soon winter will be coming, the moon is more quickly out.

Tonight, it’s all fun and games—glee and celebration in costumes echo in the night with a shout.

Here like a flash, the autumn and October at midnight will be gone.

© Ryan Stroud 2018

History Monday #32

A fitting #HistoryMonday in support of Jewish believers.

“Do not touch my chosen people,
and do not hurt my prophets.”

                                                                                                               Psalm 105:15 NLT

This passage was included as part of our church service yesterday in light of Saturday’s tragedy in Pittsburgh. Today’s #HistoryMonday topic may well include this passage as a point of consideration.

On this day in 1942, leading British clergy and politicians gathered to renounce the anti-Semitism perpetrated by Nazis in Germany. Prime Minister Churchill encouraged those meeting to realize the importance of the public gathering as too much of Europe had observed the Nazi’s evil attitudes and actions perpetrated against Jews.

The date of the meeting was held a year to the day of the Nazi’s so-called “Great Action” in the Kovno Ghetto in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas. During this act, over 10,000 Jews were shot and killed by Germans and sympathetic Lithuanians.

fast forward

Sadly, we have seen anti-Semitic attacks even this past weekend. A neo-Nazi massacred over a dozen Jewish believers during their Shabbat service on Saturday. A shooting at a Jewish community centers in Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Seattle in the last two decades raised awareness of the existence of anti-Semitism in the United States. Additionally, a shooting at the Holocaust Memorial in 2009 was a double portion of anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism is nothing new of course, much of the Jews’ Old Testament journey invited hatred and violence by neighboring adversaries. Acts of anti-Semitism in the era of Christendom as theologians interpreting New Testament scripture labeled critics of Jesus as the Jews. This gave license for believers during the Spanish Inquisition to attack both Muslim aggressors and Jews as well. Papal authority during the Middle Ages permitted Catholic aggression against Jews as well. Protestants have been guilty too. Many of Martin Luther’s writings about the New Testament would be used by Nazis to convince Germans that their hero of Christianity was opposed to Jews. The translation of New Testament passages would be better translated as Jewish leaders and/or Teachers of the Law.

Neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and Islamists have also encouraged expressions of anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, my own hometown found itself a focus of infamy due to an enclave of White Power leaders who drew attention for their disapproval of non-Whites, non-Christians, and non-Americans. Somewhat fortuitously, this organization became more dysfunctional and eventually folded after an event that seemed like a poorly written episode of the Jerry Springer Show.

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention points out that Christians should reject anti-Semitism because it is unbiblical and anti-Jesus.

Anti-Semitism is, by definition, a repudiation of Christianity as well as of Judaism. This ought to be obvious, but world history, even church history, shows us this is not the case. Christians reject anti-Semitism because we love Jesus.

For the entire statement, read here.

Current Event Friday #35

A big shakeup at NBC thanks to accusations of racism is the topic of today’s #CurrentEventFriday

Word around the White House is that Pres. Trump will be throwing a party this weekend since a high-level media personality may be losing their job—Megyn Kelly. I know that I may be over-exaggerating as I’m want to do, but Pres. Trump does like to gloat when he should just let somebody he’s disagreed with eat their crow in silence.

Megyn Kelly’s ouster at NBC is not necessarily a surprise. After luring her away from a top-rated program on Fox News a few years ago, Kelly has been unable to find the same popularity on the morning programs on the network with the peacock. Kelly’s recent program as a spinoff of the Today Show has seen a few moments of success when she has called out folks on the left and the right.

On a recent edition of her show, Kelly and several panelists argued whether costumes that portray African Americans are taboo for white folks. Kelly indicated that when she was a child, she remembered other children in her neighborhood would dress up as Diana Ross and they’d wear dark makeup to reinforce that they were portraying an African-American celebrity. Well much of the Left and even some on the Right felt Kelly was approving of Blackface and conjuring images of racist minstrel shows from the last century and the Reconstruction Era. Now unless, she had said something like, “I always enjoy when some white comedian wears blackface and how they shuck and jive…” then I could see the complete outrage. Most children don’t see the problem, and as Kelly I think was trying to ask, should context matter. Kelly and the other panelists argued that being offended about sexy handmaid costumes was silly. The panel seemingly agreeing that at some point there was a shift in attitudes,  self-awareness might be needed. Despite this caveat, Megyn Kelly was forced to apologize the next day, but it still doesn’t seem to change her career trajectory.

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. If a young kid wants to honor a black person, then I could see where they want to look like that person’s skin color. Now, maybe the parents might want to explain to the child why others might object is worth considering.

It’s a little hypocritical because Robert Downey Jr. wears blackface in Tropic Thunder in an attempt to mock method acting and white people trying to be black when they obviously aren’t.

Image result for robert downey jr tropic thunder
Robert Downey Jr. as Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder

Several celebrities of color are allowed to mock ‘white voice’ and nobody cares. During Eddie Murphy’s height of celebrity, he portrayed a white Jewish man in whiteface and everybody laughed.

Here’s famous Trump parodist and critic Alec Baldwin imitating Tracy Morgan, a black celebrity. Now maybe he’d be in more trouble with makeup resembling a black man, but it’s borderline racist:

Baldwin probably gets a pass since Tracy signed off on the imitation and they’re both Left-leaning in their politics. Also, because most of this bit was during a time when much of the Hollywood Left wasn’t as overly concerned with identity politics.

Here’s a bit from a Dean Martin roast that could never air today:

While it’s sad that we can’t even ask the question whether context matters if someone is portraying or imitating a person of color and that Megyn Kelly is likely out of a job, I do see one benefit. There’s not really a benefit to the outrage culture we find ourselves in, but I’d like to see Megyn Kelly land on a non-traditional media outlet like the Daily Wire or The Blaze. There are several more Libertarian personalities on those networks that would let Megyn Kelly speak about what she wants without angering too many sponsors or the powers that be who usually call out the Right for their own issues while also calling out the Left nearly hourly depending on what’s happening in a particular cycle. I’ve always thought that Megyn Kelly was a decent commentator that gave an actual balanced approach to guests like Jake Tapper. I can handle commentators that may lean a certain side of the aisle who are willing to engage the opposition thoughtfully and call out crap on their own side. I am not a fan of #NeverTrump folks or #EverTrump politicians or commentators. I can support Trump for most of what he does but realize he could soften some of his edges. Of course, if Megyn Kelly is given a different platform, I’m sure she will have success if she can find a way to engage Trump on issues he creates or falls into. Only time will tell.

Poetry Wednesday #25

“The Boss of Me Returns Again” is my latest original poem for Poetry Wednesday

May my affection draw hers like tides drawn by the moon

Eros, guide your arrow towards her heart

Grant that my love goes not unrequited, but that instead she would swoon

Alas, don’t let us stay so far apart

No, please not silence; did I say the wrong word.

Blindly my words go unseen and often slurred.

 

Am I to blame if thoughts of her fill my own

She preoccupies my day, her face launches too many possibilities much like Helen

I wait for the chime to alert me on the phone

I had given up hope for us to be together, but now it comes back around like Magellan

My praise is for both her body and mind

Does she know that our lives I hope could be intertwined

 

I wish I had the wisdom that love could bring.

I wish I had her as a queen that protects and loves her king.

© Ryan Stroud 2018

History Monday #31

“Texas is the finest portion of the globe that has ever blessed my vision.” -words spoken by the subject of today’s #HistoryMonday

“You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” These words are usually attributed to Tennessee Statesman and ‘King of the Wild Frontier’ Davy Crockett. This quote is during the heat of the Texas Revolution as Crockett was advocating for American intervention during the Texas Revolution. Today’s edition of #HistoryMonday is about an important event for another Tennessee statesman with ties to the great state of Texas.

Nine score and 2 years ago, the first President of Texas was officially inaugurated. The 1836 Republic of Texas Presidential Election saw Sam Houston win the highest office with 79% of the vote over the Father of Texas Stephen F. Austin and former Texas Governor Henry Smith.

Houston’s inauguration in 1836 would be his first of his two terms as president. Houston’s presidential terms consisted of two non-consecutive terms in office, since the Texas Constitution prohibited more than 1 term served consecutively but did not make restrictions on non-consecutive terms.

Houston favored the annexation of Texas by the United States but realized that United States legislators were ineffective and fearful of Mexican retaliation for such a provocative overture. Houston had likely observed this as he had previously served as Governor and Congressman of Tennessee prior to his residency in Texas.

Houston also would serve as Governor of Texas and Senator in later years. Between his two terms as President, Houston was a state representative in the Republic of Texas. Houston’s tenure as Governor ended just shortly after the beginning of the Civil War. Houston while a practitioner of slavery and a proponent of states’ rights objected to the secession of Southern states and refused to pledge allegiance to the CSA. Houston believed that keeping the United States in union was more important than the bellicose environment the USA and CSA found themselves in. This support of maintaining the Union likely cost him reelection as governor.

fast forward

Sam Houston’s presidency and significance in Texas history has been seen most obviously in the naming of the City of Houston in his honor. The city was designed and named after Sam Houston in Brazoria County where the first state capital was originally located. Sam Houston would later serve as State Representative and President in the current capital of Austin.

Sam Houston’s name and likeness are also seen on many statues, schools, streets, and of course Sam Houston State University. Both the cities of Houston and Huntsville recognize the impact of Sam Houston. Huntsville claims importance as a city of influence for Sam Houston, as Sam Houston retired and eventually passed away in Huntsville as his political career waned.

Admittedly, I knew that Sam Houston was important since a large city of Texas and a Texas college bear his surname. The same can be said of Stephen F. Austin. I’ve been to Austin and observed much of its culture. I’d like to visit Huntsville and Houston and observe Sam Houston’s key role in Texas. All this to say, it’d be a chance to visit my Texas cousins.

As always when talking about anything having to do with the Lone Star State, “Don’t mess with Texas!”

Current Event Friday #34

There’s a new entertainment/dining venue coming to town in today’s #CurrentEventFriday, so it’s got that going for it.

Fore! Look out it’s time for #CurrentEventFriday and the subject of today’s post is about the outrage over a TopGolf venture in Louisville. I’ll give you 3 guesses about my opinion and the first two don’t count.

© 2018 TopGolf.com

The last two months have seen protests and letters to the editor over the proposed creation of a TopGolf facility in Louisville. The TopGolf company has expressed interest in opening a new franchise in the Oxmoor Mall in an old Sears® location in the mall. Opponents of the TopGolf franchise argue that the facility would contribute too much to light pollution and traffic.

TopGolf venues are the combination of sports bar and driving range with eleven targeted holes in a 200-yard field. The popularity of combining year-round driving ranges and dining experience has allowed the company to expand greatly in their nearly two decades of existence.

The proposed venue in an unused section of the mall in Louisville would arguably add revenue and employment to a distressed shopping center that has lost most of its major retail outlets. Yet, even with these promises, neighbors have challenged the franchisers and the local zoning board to thwart the process.

Yesterday the local zoning board approved the process to move forward with the initial steps for the TopGolf corporation to open a new franchise in the Louisville market. This approval helps to encourage the franchise to open the new location, but there are still a few local government hurdles to clear as well as bids for the company who will complete the necessary construction and other trade work.

Here’s where I interject my thoughts, if you don’t want lots of light and traffic in your neighborhood, don’t live near the mall. The mall sits on Shelbyville Road, a major highway running through town and the cross street is Hurstbourne Parkway, another major road in the city. If you want the convenience of shops like Macy’s. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or popular eateries being nearby; you have to also deal with entertainment venues being close by as well. If you want to be secluded and left in peace, quiet, and clear skies you can live out in the country. If the TopGolf planners are to be believed, the light pollution will be greatly reduced. One report I saw earlier said each current parking lot light produced something like 600 lumens of light, and the lights TopGolf would install would only be 400 lumens. I’m thinking that is probably accurate as most lighting fixtures have cut wattage and become more efficient. As far as the traffic, I don’t think it will increase any more than if it was just another casual dining or department store going in. If the traffic is greatly increased, that’s what traffic lights are for.

Personally, the idea of an all-season and extended hour driving range with dining options included sounds like a win-win for me. I can eat some dinner and then hit a few balls that aren’t easily lost, and then go window-shopping all in the same evening. Pretty much an ideal date situation, the guy’s happy to indulge his athletic side, the gal’s happy to engage in retail therapy, and they both can have a time of companionship over a meal. What’s wrong with that?