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?

Current Event Friday #33

Don’t get scared, #CurrentEventFriday is all about October’s favorite activities.

The calendar has turned over to another month, and the weather is finally starting to feel like Autumn. Today’s #CurrentEventFriday deals with some of the most popular interests during October. After taking last week off by accident, I panicked when I got up last Friday, and today’s topic scares me too.

October for most means that it’s a time to plan for Halloween, which is perfectly fine for me. In addition, it’s a month dedicated to haunted houses and horror movies. That brings us to today’s focus — Scare-tivities of October.

I’ve never been a fan of horror movies or haunted houses. Darkness and death being glorified just doesn’t appeal to me. If someone reading this can explain the appeal of either haunted houses or horror movies, I’ll listen and play the part of Steven Crowder and you can change my mind.

Change My Mind

I’m especially more ambivalent about horror movies and haunted houses thanks to my ex. She and her mother harangued me about not wanting to watch horror movies. Probably somewhat fittingly, the memory of my ex is much like horror movie favorite Freddie Kruger. Every time I think I’m rid of her memory it comes back and wreaks havoc in my life. I just can’t seem to kill it off.

I can sometimes tolerate haunted houses thanks to working the local haunted house in Paoli when it was sponsored by the Optimist Club. Since dad was a member in good standing of the organization, he recruited Ross and me to help as talent for the haunted house for two seasons. Working behind the scenes helps demystify and mollify all the scary stuff. Admittedly, that’s why Ross and I could go to haunted houses as adults and be more jocular and sarcastic with the characters trying to scare you. I’ve actually considered going with family or friends to haunted houses this year. (Crosses fingers for invite.)

To be clear, I enjoy watching films like Ghostbusters, Hocus Pocus, or Rocky Horror Picture Show with friends and family, plus a bowl of popcorn. That’s mostly because these titles aren’t legitimate horror movies. I jokingly will tell folks that if I’m watching a horror movie it’s one of these movies, but somehow most don’t count them as horror movies. For what it’s worth I don’t watch Twilight, Harry Potter, Vampire Diaries either. While they don’t glorify gore and murder per se, there is a glorification of sorcery and the after-death mysticism.

Besides the October activities associated with terror, death, and darkness I do enjoy the more family friendly and pro-living activities. I enjoy bonfires and fire pits, football, hayrides, fall festivals, apple butter making, etc. In fact, last weekend I went to Oktoberfest with my nephew monsters and sister-in-law, and fireside hangouts and a hayride with Dad’s family. The only thing scary about those activities was that I was getting home at 11:30 p.m. or later. I’m reminded of driving that late at night that I’m not in my twenties or my teens any more. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of driving that late at night even when I was younger.

The good news in all this, is that October is also now my nephew’s birthday month, so parties can be about his birthday and the only monster running around is his big brother scaring everyone in his dinosaur costume. RAWR!

Here’s a song commemorating an actual fun and scary party to leave you with a smile and something positive instead of my negative attitude:

 

What about you, do you enjoy Haunted Houses and Horror Movies?

 

Poetry Wednesday #23

This week’s feature for Poetry Wednesday is entitled “Break Away from the Fall”

“Break Away from the Fall”

Feels like I need a small vacation                                                                                                  Only a few days all by myself                                                                                                    Guess I need a new direction                                                                                                              Maybe I’ll find someone else                                                                                                                “Get away! Get somewhere else.” Said the TV station

Never been a better time for me to head on down the line                                                          Gimme three days gone, gimme time away, miss                                                                        Waited too long for her love again to shine                                                                                      I need healing, not from her embrace; need healing like a mother’s kiss                                Sitting here in my thoughts and my lows, I know there’s a bad moon on the rise

Think I need to go somewhere to swim, like where the dolphins swim in the sea         Let the airplane carry me away, I’ll fly like an eagle                                                                Heading to the sea, I’ll extinguish the sparks of her memory                                                      Getting around somewhere new, find some new people                                                            Coming back home, I’m feeling better, I’ve got new energy

© Ryan Stroud 2018

History Monday #30

Just over fifty years ago, el final capítulo de Che unfolded.

I’m live again on the blog after taking #CurrentEventFriday off last week. Yet, #HistoryMonday rolls on today. Today’s event would prove important in Cuban-American relations and T-Shirt industry sales. All this to say, today’s event was of serious consequence for all parties involved.

CheHigh.jpg

It was on this date in 1967 that Ernesto “Che” Guevara was defeated by members of the Bolivian Army while leading a group of Marxist guerilla forces trying to overthrow the government in order to install a socialist government.

Born in Argentina on June 14, 1928 Guevara originally trained as a physician while attending the University of Buenos Aires. Shortly after his graduation from medical school, Guevara and friend Alberto Granada toured South America learning about the continent’s inhabitants and their concerns. These concerns and the story of the tour were immortalized in the 2004 biopic The Motorcycle Diaries.

This tour of the continent of South America and the plight of many citizens eventually led to Guevara’s Marxist leanings. The tour also led to his nickname “Che” thanks to the ubiquitous phrase in Argentinian dialect similar to “hey” in the American dialect.

Che’s Marxist leanings and insurgency exploits began in Guatemala in order to reform the ‘banana republic’ existence in the nation. Shortly after the Guatemalan Revolt, Che met with brothers Raul & Fidel Castro in Mexico City. After forming an alliance with the Castros, Che helped in the Cuban Revolution that expelled Fulgencio Batista from power on the Caribbean nation. Che and his traveling companion Alberto Granada were given important positions in the burgeoning Communist government. Che was appointed president of Cuba’s national bank and his friend Granada was instrumental in reforming and restructuring Cuba’s medical industry.

Che’s Marxist ideology led to his eventual guerilla for hire position. After leaving Cuba and his governmental capacities, Che traveled to the Congo to train forces on the African continent that faced similar problems of poverty and corrupt colonial systems. After moderate success in the Congo, Che traveled to Bolivia where he would eventually be defeated and captured.

Che’s capture eventually led to his execution by the Bolivian forces. The defeat of Che was especially aided by American CIA forces eager to thwart the spread of Communism as part of the ‘Domino Theory’ strategy prevalent at the time.

fast forward

After Che’s death his likeness graced multiple posters, t-shirts, and other promotional paraphernalia used by left leaning activists eager for revolution that would do away with greedy capitalists. Most of this usage of Che on mass produced t-shirts and posters is a textbook example of Capitalism. The irony of a revolutionary and violent Marxist being mass marketed as a neat face on apparel is hilarious to me.

Personally, I’m afraid that as Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Occasio-Cortez have become popular for their Socialist ideologies as acceptable is a direct result of the whitewashing and popularizing of Che. Most independent critics acknowledge Che’s complicity with Fidel Castro’s imprisonment and execution of political opponents. So, while it’s not ideal that someone was captured and executed, it’s more or less an act of war of corporal punishment for a murderer. CRTV associate Steven Crowder offers a parody version of the Revolution Red Che shirt. To purchase the satirical shirt on Crowder’s website, you can purchase it here.