Why Do People Call Gaza an “Enclave”?

Insomnia brought me to my PC & Twitter, where I saw a status update which linked to a wonderful article about artists in Gaza.

For some reason, the word “enclave” struck me, so I looked up its definition at Merriam-Webster: Continue reading

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Moments from Burns’s Vietnam Episode 4 – Image, Sound and Narration Conflict

After watching the first episode, I wrote about my fears that the series would whitewash USA militarism. Here are some observations after watching Episode 4, “Resolve.”

Minute 34:

Narrator: Mogie’s combat commander, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Emerson, known as “the Gunfighter,” was courageous, implacable, relentless. A few months before Mogie got there, he had offered a case of whiskey to the first of his men to bring him the hacked-off head of an enemy soldier. They did. [Emphasis added. Dennis Crocker was nicknamed Mogie.] Continue reading

NFL Practices Regressive Politics? Say it isn’t so!

captain obvious

This week, several NFL owners have told their players that any protest during the National Anthem would be punished with being benched (and presumably fired and blacklisted like Colin Kaepernick). Some are acting like this came out of the blue. I don’t know, maybe the NFL owners are just that way.

In the age of misogyny-inspired mass shootings, a cute pop song from my childhood is ominous

Do you all remember Joe Jackson’s 1979 breakout single “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” It has a catchy, quirky rhythm and engaging lyrics.

Nearly 40 years later, after learning about domestic violence and hearing about those who engage in mass shootings, I imagine that the protagonist of the song is doing more than “staring as my coffee grows cold” and getting “so mean around the scene.” I imagine him stockpiling guns and ammo so that Jeanie learns the hard way that her new boyfriend isn’t half the man he is. Then we won’t have to find out “if looks could kill.” We’ll have proof that a real man with guns can. Continue reading

Your Local Sierra Club is a Great Way to Experience Hiking

If you are looking to get in shape or just escape your connected world for a few hours, hiking is a wonderful alternative. I wanted to do hikes, but I did not want to go into the woods on my own. I was worried that I’d get lost, I’d get tired, etc. These are valid fears! But your local Sierra Club (find one near to you here) likely has excursions with excursion leaders who will help you enjoy the outing and return home safely. Getting outdoors is part of the Sierra Club Mission Statement! The idea is that, if people knew the value of wilderness, they’re more likely to protect it.

With advice and assistance from my local Sierra Club members, I did reach a level where I felt comfortable doing 5-6 mile well-marked trails alone. Today, we did an 8-mile hike on the Keg Creek section of Bartram Trail. I had not been hiking and exercising lately, so I needed that safety net. Here’s a picture when we were about 2.5 miles into the trail. We’re all still smiling. I’m the obese guy on the left. No pictures at the end. I was warmed over death at that point.

Photo Oct 07, 10 12 35 AM

Will @KenBurns “The Vietnam War” Whitewash USA Militarism? @PBS

I’ve only watched the first 30 minutes of the first episode, so I can’t answer this question. I do say that these first 30 minutes leave me suspicious. The opening narration begins at 6:20 in the online video. Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall plays in the background.

6:20 Narrator: America’s involvement in Vietnam began in secrecy. It ended, 30 years later, in failure, witnessed by the entire world. It was begun in good faith by decent people, out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War miscalculation. And it was prolonged because it seemed easier to muddle through than admit that it had been caused by tragic decisions, made by five American presidents, belonging to both political parties.

Continue reading