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Posts from the ‘History’ Category

6
Oct

Do I have an opinion on OJ? Of course :-)

Today is the 20 year anniversary of the O.J. Simpson trial.   The newscasters were talking about it on CNN.   They were entertaining the question of OJ’s guilt or innocence, and interviewing each other and assorted “experts” on the subject.

So, you ask…what do you think?   Did he kill his wife?  Or not?

I have NO idea…no opinion.  I wasn’t paying much attention at the time of the trial, although I was tuned in when the verdict was read.  OJ was of course waiting breathlessly…after all, his future depended largely on the decision of the jury…the suspense was heavy and thick.

The foreman read the verdict: NOT GUILTY.

I can still see the look on Simpson’s face.  What were his emotions?  Shock, Relief, Surprise, Joy…the reactions of a man who had just gotten his life back.

Again, I have no idea if he was guilty or not guilty.  But the lasting impression that came away from the TV screen with me to this day was not one of justice or court room drama, pay-back, retribution, come-uppance, justice…but something at once related and unrelated.   The Simpson trial caused another major split in the American public…between those who think he was innocent all along, and those who assumed his guilt and lamented that the “s.o.b. got away with murder.”

The point is this.  The issue here is not the basketball great’s culpability in the death of his wife, his guilt or innocence, the big question of if justice was served or was a gross miscarriage.   The actual point is moot…the trial was held and a duly seated jury made a verdict, which the Judge upheld, and the case was closed.

What happened was that the entire procedure of the O.J. Simpson trial was what is called the Law of the Land, the exercise of the basic right of all Americans  to be guaranteed a Trial by a Jury of his or her Peers.   That jury heard the evidence and charges presented by the State, and by Simpson’s own attorneys–and made their decision.

The Jury acquitted O.J. Simpson of murder charges.

There has been outrage ever since.  Debate of the validity of the charges, if OJ had been favored because of his race, the partiality of the jurors…and the argument that he received special legal advantages because he was a famous (and popular, considered a good role-model,) sports figure.  )

None of that matters, really, because the fact remains that the Simpson trial was conducted by the Law of the Land…whatever we as individuals believe is immaterial, because the Jury verdict was reached according to the rules of the system.

The system exists as it is set up.  We can’t have it both ways–either the Rule of Law as it pertains to the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty prevails for all people–or it does not.  So since the Jury said “Not Guilty,” the defendant was freed as acquitted.  The only opinions that matter are those of the Jury.

28
Sep

What to do when Not Writing

Not really…writing is my life, and it stays above everything else. So that means that if I am not actively engaged in writing/blogging/photographing/researching…but pursuing any other interests, time is spent on avoidance of the thing I want to do most.

What else is there?, you ask.

Well, there is gardening, which involves good intentions, wishful thinking, jungle-conditions, drought, over-watering, lack of energy, and weeds.    I don’t really enjoy the labor parts of gardening any more, because my poor knees refuse to cooperate…once I’m down, getting back up is painful chore.

There is Beading, which is something I really enjoy.  I love beads (boy, do I love beads…I never met a bead I didn’t like) but one of the joys of making lovely things from beads is playing with the beads: sorting them out by color and/or size, admiring the vast array of shapes and possibilities for projects.  Related to manipulating the beads themselves, is reading books about beading…bookmarking specific examples of fabulous creations that are, 1. too difficult, 2. too time-consuming, 3. too expensive to make, or 4. on second or third look at the project–ugly.

Crocheting is another thing I like to do.  Choosing yarn, buying yarn, combining colors, finding the right crochet hook…deciding which stitch to use for a certain project, ripping out mistakes…   One of the main things I like about crocheting is that it is relatively compact, the project consists of only the yarn, crochet hook, and the scarf-in-progress, in a bag to hold the lot.

I say scarf because scarves are the only thing I make and actually complete.  Oh yes, I make hats, but they are usually not any that anyone would wear.    Once I was going to make a gorgeous full-length evening cape of dark blues and purple variegated yarn.   Let’s just say that project fizzled out due to the enormity of it, intricate stitch, and the realization that I would never wear it because it would have looked dumb.  Who wears evening capes to the grocery store?

Then there are my books.  I am an online book dealer, and have a couple of thousand books listed and organized numerically (according to date sequence, so they can be found quickly.)   Invariably the particular book that I have an order for is lost, misplaced, or hiding.  Really I almost always locate the book in question fairly quickly, and get it out to the person who ordered it the same day.

To be fair, and accurate, I must say that my books operation is very close to Writing at the top of my list of things to do.    For one thing it makes a small contribution to my over-all state of reality on the brink of poverty, and provides a certain satisfaction at the existence of this business that I have created and maintain single handedly.  (Except for my son, who takes the packages to the mailbox, and my dear mail-lady, who whisks them away for their travels to far distant reaches of the book market in the United States.

Much more satisfying to me personally is my personal book collection.  I have thousands of books of my own, noteably History classics, and books on virtually every country of Latin America.  But I could easily digress here into book-heaven.   Yesterday I went downstairs and retrieved my big binders containing every notebook (and exams) from every course I ever took.  That includes my unpublished doctoral dissertation, which was what I was really looking for yesterday.

Talk about diversion…I spent two hours going over my notes from every class I took at the Community College twenty years ago–classes in United States History, World History, Sumerian History, World Civilizations… and I was much intrigued by this information.

So to make a long story shorter, all of the time I was fighting the cobwebs downstairs holding my bookshelves together…I had this nagging feeling I get from procrastination of the one thing that I really really want to do, which is to WRITE.

I have decided to publish some of my things that I wrote back in the day.  However, one of the drawbacks is that although everything I wrote was done and printed out with my computer.  I am afraid that the originals of these works of art are on discs and floppies that I may not be able to access.     So…I may have to scan some paper copies into my computer, or YIKES, type/keyboard stuff in.

Thank goodness I am a luddite that still believes in paper…reams and reams of it…and never throw anything away.  I won’t bore anyone here with my far-out views on the safety of preserving things on cyberspace.   Not here, anyway.   🙂

10
Aug

More About Me…a sort of Newsletter

[Writing an ABOUT PAGE always reminds me of the “Holiday Newsletters” we used to get from relatives and friends—some welcome and fun, others not so much and more of an obligation to read.   I hope my About Page is informative, not obnoxious.   I offer these facts about my life for some kind of context for my Blog.]

I have had a full and exciting life so far, with lots of great opportunities and varied experience.

Sure, after high school I got to hop on a Navy ship and cross the Atlantic Ocean on a ship and spend a couple of years in Germany, living in new U.S. Army quarters.  It was right after World War II, and there were still bombed-out buildings in many of the cities and towns.   Back home in 1957, we lived at a number of military bases.

Then I fell in love with Tucson, Arizona…which to this day is like home to me.

Had five kids over a period of about ten years: one in Texas, two in Arizona, one in Pennsylvania, and one in Ohio.

Divorced and remarried in 1972.  My second husband was  Fire Chief in our Ohio town.

For awhile I dabbled in politics, worked for my pal the late U.S. Congressman Don J. Pease (D-13th Ohio) on campaigns during the mid-70s.    As Clerk of Council in my town, and secretary of planning and zoning boards, I used my writing for official purposes.

Worked for 18 years as a newspaper writer and reporter.

Decided I needed a “higher education” when I turned 50…half my life spent, the other half would be for Me.   So I enrolled at our wonderful Community College, and earned my Associate Degree in General Studies in 1988.

Then transferred my credits to Cleveland State University, and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in History, 1990.   I was accepted at the University of Akron, awarded a graduate assistantship in the History Department, and received my Masters of History in Latin American Studies.     Subsequently I entered the doctorate program, completed required academic work for a PhD, and then worked for ten years on my doctoral dissertation.  I did not complete the final version of numerous drafts, ran out of time, and–for reasons of procrastination–remain at the ABD, (All but Dissertation,) stage.

Let’s see…in my lifetime so far I have been fortunate in “falling into” wonderful opportunities.  Some I accepted, some not.   .

The single thing that has unified the threads of my life is — WRITING.   I have always been a writer since I was old enough to hold a pencil.   The writing has taken different paths, from fiction, school papers, university research projects, newspaper writing and reporting, and now writing on my WordPress blog.

11
Apr

A note found by The Hanging Tree… 100 years too late

To the Colonel:

Stop the lynching
the truth is nigh
another is guilty
so HE must not die.

8
Apr

Stream-of-consciousness…proceed at yer own risk

[DAY THREE prompt for Writing 101.]

Note: this is my offering for this assignment, which is to write for at least 15 minutes non-stop, without thinking much about where it is going or where it has been.  This is how my brain works, in compartmentalized tid-bits of life.  Normally I give the post at least a look-see to try to pick up the dumbest errors and/or a stab at continuity.  Warts and typos and all.. WYSIWYG, “what you see is what you get,” no frills or whistles.

This is a lso my commitment to develop a better writing habit…since I call myself a Writer.:-)

Wow, my three favorite songs in my whole life?   I actually wrote a blog post on this subject a few weeks ago, but never published it.  For one thing it is not easy to narrow down eight decades of music into one three-song package.   I can narrow it down to three vinyl long-play albums.

When in Germany back in the late 1950s we listened to Armed Forces Radio or Network or whatever it was.   There was a disc jockety who had a radio show which was introduced as ” when the creek don’t rse, something like that, or actually that was the sign-off.  If the lord’s willin and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be back tomorrow morning at 6:05.   Red Jones was his name, Sergeant Red Jones.  He played the lates hits from back in the states every morning after the 6 a.m. news.

I have always been obsessive about music, as well as anything else, and I had three or five basic records (yes they were 33 1/3rpm, vinyl.    The three I played the most were “Carmen” “Johnny Horton, and In a Persian Market, by David Carroll and orchestra.   We also played others music, bt those are the three that stand out.  (Sgt.  Jones never played any of them on air to my knowledge.)

I had grown to love the music of Bizet’s opera,, Carmen.  I had seen the movie Carmen Jones, starring Dorothy Danddridge and Harry Belafonte, with Pearl Bailey and other greats I can’t think of right now.   The record version of Carmen that I had was performed by I forget now what orchestra it was…and featured only music, no words.  (I wasn’t THAT classy.)  I can still hum most of th opera, but the words are not known…for one thing it ws in Sapanish and I would not study Spanish for another thirty years.  Anyway… Johnny Horton did all those “American Patriot” songs…noteabley the Battle of New Orleans, and Sink the Bismarck, and Ya Marched all the Way Johnny Reb.   and the sad tale of the horse that was killed at Little Big Horn with Custer.  Those songs still bring a tear to my eyes.  You do not want to hear me sing an of them…unless you are one of my cats, who will come from all over the house at the first note.

It was these songs that originally sparked my interest and/or fascination in the Civil War, the German Navy, Gen Jackson, and Persia.   In a Persian Markt was a favorite of mine, and still brings up visions of camels walking across the desert and tents and arabs and all that.  The album was Percussion Orientale.

I still have those original albums.   I copied them once on cassette tapes with poor results.  I think they are available on CD.

[my DAY THREE prompt, writing stream-of-consciousness for non-stop 15 minutes.]  one interruption…a computer calling to ask if I needed business capital… I was rude to the computer as I hung up.

12
Feb

Hey, news anchors…how about talking to US?

This thing about being left out during news broadcasts has bugged me for a long time. Some are more blatant than others. These are the choreographed news shows in which there are two anchors: let’s call them George and Mabel. They have correspondents out in the rain…or snow, or hurricane winds, or war zone…just standing there holding onto their microphones and trying to look chic AND warm (at the same time) in their parkas and rain gear.

George: well, here we are covering this gigantic snow storm, Mabel.

Mabel: yes, George. It is a gigantic snow storm. Let’s go to our correspondent, Tiffany, standing out there in the parking lot to show us what its like out there.

Hello Tiffany…are you there?

Tiffany stares into the camera for a few seconds, then:
Hello… Mabel and Geoge…yes, this is a really gigantic snow storm. Traffic is just about stalled out here.

(Traffic is seen behind Tiffany, moving slowly but steadily along.)

Geoge… yes, we can see that Tiffany. Mabel, can you see it too?

Mabel…well thank you for standing out in the blizzard there, Tiffany.

Tiffany…yes, thank you Mabel and George. Over to you in the studio…

George…thanks Tiffany, that is some storm out there. Try to keep warm.

Back in the studio Mabel says to George: that was some report on the storm out there which Tiffany has reported is bringing traffic to a standstill.

(More footage of vehicles moving along in the background. Tiffany is still standing there staring rather impatiently into the camera.)

Following the commercial break, the Nightly News With Mabel and George continues.

Mabel: here we have some great footage of some animals suffering out in the storm. Check this out, George.

George: yes, there they are…they seem to be having fun out there playing in the snow.

(Both laugh.)

THE AUDIENCE, AT HOME, WAVING…. “Hello, I hope Mabel and George don’t object to us sitting here at home listening in on their talk during the show.”.”

Well….I resent this feeling that I have every time I watch Mabel and George that I am just a fifth wheel, sitting at home watching the news as a spectator sport. The news is seemingly private conversation between the news anchors, with occasional input from the reporters out in the field.

I wish it was just as easy as switching the channel, but there are cooky-cutter teams of newcasters like Mabel and George chatting away to each other on all channels. We might as well be listening to an exchange of conversation among some strangers in an airport waiting room. The strangers are chatting away and bystanders…for lack of something better to do…listen in with blank expressions. Those sitting nearby the conversationalists rarely contribute any opinions or comments of their own.

In the past, before the nightly news became entertainment, the audience was included in the show. The anchors would address the “folks” out in the audience instead of each other. “So, take a look at this footage Folks.”

And while the Folks are listening in, the correspondents with the microphones included them in their report. “Good evening everyone, it is really raining up here on Capital Hill and these people walking by are really all wet. Back to you Mabel and George…”

Weather forecasters, who are often almost deliriously excited as a particularly interesting cold front approaches, tend to be more inclusive in addressing their reports. They still say the obligatory “Thank you Mabel and George, hope all the folks at home are battened down for the cold. You listeners over there in Hickburg should be especially attentive.” I appreciate that, Weather Person.

News anchors…please consider including us watchers in your conversation. You are not putting on a show (well, maybe so) and we really like to be included.

… and another thing, Tiffany, stop acting like you correspondents work for Mabel and George. You don’t, you work for us, out here in the audience.

28
Jul

NOW WHAT!!!! OR How I Wrote My First Blog Post

OK, I admit that I had no clue where to begin.  So I’ll just follow my own advice and…. begin!  Write something.    Just get the old Muse working with a word, any word.   THE is a word, and the possibilities are endless… the Cat, the Tree, the Suitcase.  Go for it.  Go on…

There are always great ideas that pop into my head when I’m driving down the street, or dropping off to sleep–preferably NOT at the same time.  But try to think of a story idea instantly….its like asking a comedian to “say something funny.”    On the other hand, if said comedian is really funny, anything that he says can be hilarious to certain audiences. A look, facial expression, a way of walking…all can evoke laughter.   Just a mention of such comedic greats as Lucille Ball or Peter Boyle, brings at least a grin, and sometimes an outright guffaw.  So it follows that a writer can be expected to, well, write.

Well, actually I did keep a notebook of ideas when I was a newspaper writer back in the day.  Most any fragment of an idea can be thought into something worthy of elaboration, and eventually print.  Yes, I admit that a lot of ideas are dumb, downright stupid, inappropriate, hackneyed  or ill-conceived.   A lot of what is written is just plain wrong, sometimes mistakenly or deliberately entered misinformation.   Not that there is anything new under the sun, to borrow a phrase, but any idea has infinite versions.

So this is where my theme: SOMETIME, and its variations: Who, What, When, Where, How, Why…. comes in.  Please stop back often to see how the Sometime theme plays out.   We will be surprised together.