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Archive for February, 2012

I never desired a lot of money.  My husband plays the lottery all the time hoping that one day he’ll score big.  He wants to be able to give his family all that he thinks we deserve.  What he fails to realize is that I’m being honest in saying that I don’t want to win the lottery; I don’t want to be rich.  Being rich doesn’t create happiness; love creates happiness.  All I ever wanted was to be comfortable.  Right now my house is in need of several repairs.  My bathroom is literally in a state in which I fear it falling through to the basement.  Until these repairs are made and we are in a situation where we can comfortably make ends meet, it is hard to aspire for anything else.  I want the normal before I could ever want the great.  Right now to me the normal would be a fantastic feature.  I know that isn’t being creative but it is the God’s honest truth.  I guess if I had to think of something it would simply be anything that would make my life easier.  One thing that might be cool is revolving shelves in my kitchen cabinets.  I am always cooking or baking and as a short person I can never reach anything.  Something that would be awesome is if the kitchen trash can was connected to the outside dumster by like a chute or something.  Whenever it got full you could just push the button on the trash can and it would take itself out.  I love to read and on the slightly more extreme side I would like a room in my house to be able to transform into a library all of my own.  I type in a password and then all the bookshelves  filled with books appear and I could hide them again whenever I was finished reading.  This way my kids couldn’t mess with my stuff.

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This American Life’s Podcast “What I Did For Love”  consisted of four acts.  This wasn’t my favorite of podcasts but Act three was really enjoyable.

Act 1: Best Laid Plans was about a man named Kurt Braunohler.  He and his girlfriend came up with this really stupid plan to sleep with other people before they got married.  I immediately took a dislike to this story and it didn’t take long for me to find it offensive.  I ended up not finishing it.  Their plan was so morally and spritually wrong that I didn’t want to submit my Christian ears to that kind of garbage.   I am curious what happened to their relationship when it was all said and done, but I wasn’t about to listen long enough to find out.

Act 2: 21 Chump Street was about an operation  in Palm Beach County Florida called Operation D-.   The operation put several undercover officers in a few different schools posing as students.  Their mission was to make drug arrests.  There was one officer imparticular that this act was about.  She went by the alias Naomi and befriended a popular boy named Justin.  The story is reported by Robbie Brown and we are hearing the story mostly from Justin’s eyes.  Justin fell head over heels for Naomi and she ended up getting him to sell her marijuana.  Obviously when arrests were made he was one of the students arrested.  He makes you feel kind of sorry for him the way he tells his side of the story.  He almost makes himself seem like the victim.  If his side of the story was accurate I would really feel like Naomi pressured him into doing something that he doesn’t do.  He just did it for love.  But I’m tending to believe that he was somewhat derailing from the facts.  One clue is that after he was arrested and told that he sold marijuana to an undercover officer he had to think about who it could have been.  If Naomi was the only person that he sold to he should immediately have known who it was.  I sympathize with him a little because he was 18 and his future plans of joining the air force were irrev0cobly altered by his bad choice.  But it is a good lesson for others.  People have to think about thier choices and how they impact thier lives and the lives of others. 

Act 3:  Cold Stone Dreamery was a very imaginative story about a duck who fell in love with a large rock.  The story was from Ben Loory’s collection Stories for the Nightime and Some for the Day.  The strange duck was ridiculed by the other ducks for his love of this rock.  There was only one other duck, a girl duck, who was nice to this strange duck.  She knew him to be a good duck and she felt sorry for him in his unfortunate situation.  To help him out she came up with a plan to throw the rock over a cliff.  Because when it all comes down to it ducks stick together, all the ducks went on this mission to get the rock to the cliff.  All the other ducks turned back accept for the girl duck.  She would not leave the strange duck’s side.  When the two ducks got to the cliff they threw the rock over and watched it turn into a beautiful gray bird that looked much like a duck.  When they got back home the other ducks wanted to know what happened.  They said, “nothing; the rock fell”.  After a few days the strange duck came to the girl duck with a salamander for her in his mouth and a smile on his face.  This story was very metaphorical.  I was reminded of the quote “if you love something, set it free.”  The strange duck loved the rock and he set it free.  I also felt that this story represented people.  We as people tend to be struck first by beauty so many times the “ugly duckling” isn’t given a second look.  And I think that a lot of the time when someone is different it tends to scare people off.  But strangeness can be a good quaility.  It is sad when people can’t look passed what is on the outside to get to know the person on the inside.  The girl duck was able to look deeper into the strange duck and liked him for who he really is.  This was a great, unconventional love story.

Act 4: Fantastic Mr. Fox was about a relationship that Jeanne Darst, author of memoir Fiction Ruined My Family, was involved in.  She had met this guy (who calls everyone Fox) and they started dating.  From the start she suggested that they keep things light and see other people.  “Mr. Fox” refused.  Shortly after they started dating he ended up telling her that she loved him.  Darst was still unsure about the guy and didn’t reply the same back.  One day Mr. Fox had left his journal laying around and Darst couldn’t help but snoop.  She was surprised to find that he was dating two other women.  One was Friday night, one was Saturday night, and Jeanne herself was Sunday night.  The two other women were Asian and in his journal Mr. Fox said that he didn’t like white women.  Darst was white.  He also said in his journal that he was seeing red flags with Jeanne.  Needless to say Darst put a quick end to that relationship.  The moral of this story, which is stated by Darst’s own sister, is that snooping always comes back to bite you in the butt.

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This American Life’s podcast “Conventions” was made up of three different acts.   I enjoyed all three acts and felt that I could on some level relate to the first and could definately relate to the third.

Act 1:  Dark Shadows was about a man named John Conners who went to a convention for viewers of the T.V. show Dark Shadows.  I had never heard of the show before but my interest was automatically piqued.  I’m the kind of person that if attention is drawn to a movie, or book for that matter, I have to watch it or read it.  I’m also an old movie buff.  I love old movies.  They are my absolute favorite to watch.  As soon as I knew the show was from the late sixties, early seventies the deal was sealed.  The first thing I did, and I did this while I was listening to the podcast, was check on Netflix to see if was there.  I was very excited to find that it was available for streaming.  I want to start watching it…okay slightly bummed.  I was going to watch an episode while typing this but unfortunately out of 1245 episodes only episodes 210-370 are available for streaming; the rest are DVD only.  I’m also the kind of person who hates to watch anything out of order or miss any part of a movie.  On the plus side I did add the first disc to my DVD queue.  I just achieved my goal of reading all Jane Austen’s novels.  Thank you John Conners and Ira Glass for giving me a new mission.

Act 2: Dish Out Of Water follows Dishwasher Pete  (author of Dishwasher: One Mans Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States) to the National Restaurant Association Convention.  Bob Dole was the opening speaker and Pete described his speach as one as if he was campaigning.  He never even mentioned restaurants.  When the time came for taking questions he answered them, or didn’t answer them, in the same manner.  Pete got the last question and it was the only one the Dole actually answered.  Pete asked what advice he would give to dishwashers.  Dole replied, “Just keep washing.”  I find that kind of ironic.  Like Pete, I believe this is horrible advice.  Who wants to be a dishwasher for the rest of thier life.  All people should strive to be ambitious and here was Bob Dole in one sentence basically saying not to reach for something better.  During this convention Pete was on a search to find a fellow dishwasher.  He met a bunch of snooty people all the while unsuccessful in his task.  Finally, where I suspected all along, he found one in the kitchen.  Pete said that it was the first time he had felt at ease all night.  And what does he do? He helped the guy unload the dishwasher.  I found that a great end to this story.

Act 3: When Worlds Collide was the act that I related to the most.  John Perry Barlow is founder of Electric Frontier Foundation, former rancher, and former Greatful Dead song writer.  He was at a NeXT Computer convention taking place the same location as a psychiatric convention.  He was immediately drawn to a woman there for the psychiatric convention.  The locked eyes and on both sides it was love at first sight.  I like how Barlow described it.  He said, “it was like two worlds collided and something wonderful came from the point that they touched.”  I myself have experienced that same feeling.  It was love at first sight when my husband and I met over 12 years ago.  We were from two different worlds and only met by happenstance.  We were told we were to different to last, but here we are 12 years later getting along better than any other couple I know.  Who said love at first sight doesn’t exist.  I know it does.  John Barlow knows it does.  He and his psychiatrist love I believe could have lasted forever.  They felt an immediate connection and fate played an even bigger card than that because come to find out, they lived in the same apartment building.  This is a couple who were supposed to be together.  Unfortunately, like many great love stories, this one has a tragic ending.  A flu turned deadly took the life of Barlow’s love.  But her last words to Barlow ring sweet to the romantics ear, “Nothing can keep us apart baby, we were meant for each other.”

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Gwendolyn Brooks was born on June 7, 1917 in Topeka, KS but grew up in Chicago Illinois were the family moved to when she was just six weeks old.  Brooks had her first poem published in a children’s magazine when she was just thirteen years old and by the time she was sixteen she had about 75 published poems.  After graduating from Wilson Junior College in 1936 and failing to get a job at the Chicago Defender, she worked several typing jobs.  In 1940 Brooks took part in a workshop that inspired her and her work was soon taken seriously.  In 1943 she received an award for poetry from the Midwestern Writers’ Conference and her first book of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville, published in 1945.  The book was an instant success and she received her first Guggenhiem Fellowship and was also one of the “Ten Young Women of the Year” in Mademoiselle magazine.  In 1950, her second book of poetry, Annie Allen, was published.  It was this book which won her Poetry magazine’s Eunice Tietjens Prize and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.  This pulitzer prize was the first given to an African-American.  In 1968 Brooks was the poet laureate of Illinois and in 1988 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  In 1994 Brooks was also chosen as the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Jefferson Lecturer, this is one of the highest honors for American literature and the highest award in the humanities given by the federal government.

Reference

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwendolyn_Brooks

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Eva Jessye was born on January 20, 1895 in Lawrence, KS and was educated at the historically black Kansas university name Western University.  In 1919 she became the chior director at Morgan State in Baltimore.  In 1926 she created her own group the Eva Jessye Choir origonally named the Origonal Dixie Jubilee Singers.  Jessye is most remembered for her conducting during this time; the Harlem Renaissance.  Her and her group moved to New York where the frequented the Capital Theater and NBC and WOR radio stations.  Jessye went to Hollywood where she was the choral conductor for MGM’s Hallelujah directed by King Vidor.  In New York in 1933, she directed her choir in the opera, Four Saints and Three Acts and in 1935 she was chosen as music director for the opera Porgy and Bess.  Jessye was the first black woman to recieve international distinction as a professional choral conductor and had a collection of spiritual arrangments published in 1927 titled My Spirituals.  She was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and she and her choir participated in the 1963 March on Washington.  Shortly before her death on February 21, 1992 she established the Eva Jessye African-American Music Collection at the University of Michigan.

Personal Note

For our Black History Month project I find it affecting that Eva Jessye died in February.  February is Black History Month and somehow this just makes her life and contributions seem much more powerful to me.

References

http://www.answers.com/topic/eva-jessye

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Jessye

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Hattie McDaniel was born on June 10, 1895 in Wichita, KS but when her father remarried in 1901 the family was relocated to Denver, CO.  Growing up McDaniel sang at school, home, and church and before long was singing in professional minstrel shows and writing her own songs.  In 1910 when she was a sophomore in high school she dropped out to become a full time minstrel performer.  She traveled all over the west with her father’s Henrey McDaniel show and other troupes.  Her father retired in 1920 and she became part of the more publicized Melody Hounds.  In 1925 McDaniel performed on Denvers KOA station being one of the first black women to be heard on radio.  In 1931 she landed her first movie role as an extra for which she is uncredited for.  She went on to play in The Golden West the following year which was her first major motion picture performance.  Her career thrived from there and McDaniel became the first black woman to win an academy award.  The award was recieved for her performance in 1939 as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.  She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  One of her stars is for her contributions to radio her other is for motion pictures.   In 1975 she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and in 2006 she became the first black oscar winner to be honored with a US postage stamp.

Reference

http://www.answers.com/topic/hattie-mcdaniel

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Black History Month

Until recent decades women were treated so inferiorly.  Our place was in kitchen.  We were destined to be mere housewives and mothers.  To see women in the early 1900’s rise above that is amazing and women of a minority even more so.  These African-American women are inspirations and deserve to be honored as such.  That is why I chose them to make posters of.

Gwendolyn Brooks

Brooks was born on June 7, 1917 in Topeka, KS.  She grew up to be a poet and the first african american to win the pulitzer prize.  Brooks had her first poem published in a children’s magazine when she was just thirteen years old and by the time she was sixteen she had about 75 published poems.  In 1968 she was the poet laureate of Illinois. One of her poems follows:

Boy Breaking Glass by Gwendolyn Brooks 

Whose broken window is a cry of art
(success, that winks aware
as elegance, as a treasonable faith)
is raw: is sonic: is old-eyed première.
Our beautiful flaw and terrible ornament.
Our barbarous and metal little man.
“I shall create! If not a note, a hole.
If not an overture, a desecration.”
Full of pepper and light
and Salt and night and cargoes.
“Don’t go down the plank
if you see there’s no extension.
Each to his grief, each to
his loneliness and fidgety revenge.
Nobody knew where I was and now I am no longer there.”
The only sanity is a cup of tea.
The music is in minors.
Each one other
is having different weather.
“It was you, it was you who threw away my name!
And this is everything I have for me.”
Who has not Congress, lobster, love, luau,
the Regency Room, the Statue of Liberty,
runs. A sloppy amalgamation.
A mistake.
A cliff.
A hymn, a snare, and an exceeding sun.    

Hattie McDaniel

McDaniel was born on June 10, 1895 in Wichita, KS.  She grew up to be the first black woman to win an academy award.  She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  One of her stars is for her contributions to radio her other is for motion pictures.  Her academy award was received for her performance in 1939 as Mammy in Gone with the Wind .  In 1975 she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and in 2006 she became the first black oscar winner to be honored with a US postage stamp.

Eva Jessye

Jessye was born on January 20, 1895 in Lawrence, KS.  She grew up to be the first black woman to recieve international distinction as a professional choral conductor.  She is most remembered for her conducting during the Harlem Renaissance at which time she created her own group the Eva Jessye Choir origonally named the Origonal Dixie Jubilee Singers.    She had a collection of spiritual arrangments published in 1927 titled My Spirituals.  She was an active supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and she and her choir participated in the 1963 March on Washington.

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