James McMurtry was born in Texas in 1962, just when I was beginning high school and a few years before my own step sitting protests of the Vietnam War in college. It has been too long since real protest has made a difference in these United States.
This song was written and first performed in 2004 to highlight the social injustices and hypocrisy of the Bush Administration. Little has changed. This song and this man are a voice of the times that need to be heard far more.
You could have knocked me over with a feather. Really. If someone told me I had stumbled over a movie set portraying a world in some other galaxy, I would have believed it. Can there possibly be a Dragon Blood Tree that oozes red liquid when it's bark is cut? Apparently so. It's in the Indian Ocean, just east Yemen.
Among other surprises, this is a World Heritage Site. Hundreds of flora and fauna exist here and nowhere else. What a world we live in!
Here are some pictures to get you started. You will want to explore this wonderful land. I wonder if I'll ever be able to visit here in my lifetime. Is there anyone out there who has been here?
For more information, google "pics of Socotra Island" and also check this out.
Take a look to the left. See the globe? Each Yellow Dot represents someone who has visited my blog. The larger the dot, the more visits there were. The red one in Arizona is me. Hello!!! If you click on the right bottom of the globe page, beneath the fingers, a close up will appear on the screen. And if you click "Visitors" on that screen, you can see who visited in the last 24 hours.
Beneath that is a informational counter. It shows how the number of visits are broken down. You can click on the symbols below "since 2009/06/03", the day I began. If you click on the flags, you can see where that country is in the world. They are very interactive. Go on, feel free to play around.
I really mean it when I say that blogging will save the world. Look at the world map above. I picked this photo because it is the world as bloggers see it - without borders. It's the world we want to have, where I can talk to you and you can talk back to me, where we can listen to each other and enjoy one another's company. I think you are worth knowing. I want to know what you think and share my world with you.
We now have the equivalent of Star Trek's universal translator - it's called the internet! And on Blogger, it can literally translate my language into yours and visa versa.
No longer do we have to listen to biased news broadcasts and idiotic talk show ranters. No more dishonest politicians coloring our worlds with their version of how the world works. And no more corporations trying to form our opinions of what the world needs through their political mouthpieces.
This is the place where we truly begin to know one another. Whether through shared or contrasting opinions, enjoying the same diversion and hobbies, or seeing each other's environments through a camera lens - we get a sense of who else has a stake in this planet.
We have so many ways to communicate. The world is no longer a faceless place beyond our artificial borders. And all borders are artificial. In one way, they define our "national" pride and sense of belonging. But, they have been used by governments for their own gains and without our consent, to isolate us from one another.
I think this is pretty funny. It just strikes my funny bone the right way to get me giggling. I know Renee will laugh too.
But courage isn't anything like this, is it? The big dramatic poses are usually foolhardy and unnecessary. True courage slips by with a whisper. It doesn't draw attention to itself.
Courage is learned in increments. Little steps along the road, one challenge met building upon another. Along with other life lessons in kindness, consideration, fairness, humor, industry and responsibility, a moral fiber becomes who you are.
Courage is easy to recognize. It's almost always the thing you want to do least of all or that frightens you the most. The thing you don't think you can face. You absolutely do not want to do it.
But you do it anyway.
Renee is a woman with so much courage that it would take your breath away. Her challenges are monumental, yet she rarely speaks of personal suffering in a way that makes anyone uncomfortable. She is funny, warm, fiesty, loving, insightful and accessible, the one you want to be your next door neighbor. Gentleness is her trademark. Courage lies, unassuming, in her smiles.
I don't pry. I don't eavesdrop. But when I'm sitting behind someone who is loud, obnoxious and opinionated, well, all bets are off. Especially if there is a thirty year age difference and the older of the two, the man, is trying to impress the ingenue with his sophisticated version of modern relationships.
"Did the word actually come from 'infidel'," he asks? How absurd to use such an archaic, tribal connotation and apply it to today's standards. People are not monogamous by nature. Why criticize a natural impulse and then assign blame?"
"I'm rethinking my priorities. My wife is involved with the grandchildren and heads several charitable organizations, which of course, someone in our position should do. I encourage that. But, it leaves very little time for her to accompany me on the longer business trips I have to take."
At this point, they got up to leave and I didn't get to hear if the young lady was taken in by the speel or not. She didn't seem that gullible.
Listen, honey. If I were 35 years younger, I know how I'd handle it. It would go something like this....
................and I can play this game too
We probably look like this and I do look fabulous, don't I? You just look a little silly. I'm wearing a designer dress you paid for, so I'll put up with it. By the way, I'll need lots of those. A new wardrobe every season. It takes a lot of effort to look like this, you know.
This dress would look perfect with sparkly diamonds to set it off. And I just love blue boxes with white satin ribbons. You will have to surprise me lots of those!
Showing all this skin can be chilly so I'll need several of these in different lengths. You wouldn't want me to catch cold, would you?
Oh! I could pick you up for lunch or drop you off at the airport whenever you want with one of these. And I need transportation to get to the spa and hairdressers. After all, I want to look pretty for you. Isn't Bentley a wonderful name for a car?
Well, I need something to put my keys in after all! Just a few of these in colors to match my shoes.
OOPS!! You caught me! Well, why bring up all that business about infidelity and start assigning blame? After all, monogamous relationships are so outdated. Thanks for all the goodies. No, he doesn't give me gifts. He doesn't have to. Look at him!!!! I really prefer someone my own age. Oh, I sent a video to your wife so that she would know what to do with you.
The following quotes are from the acceptance speech of the Dalai Lama, who received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989. As I looked for the perfect photo for this post, I was again reminded that every picture of this man is the "perfect" photo. His face ceaselessly radiates joy and love for the world and everything in it.
I feel honored, humbled, and deeply moved that you should give this important prize to a simple monk from Tibet. I am no one special.
No matter what part of the world we come from, we are all basically the same human beings. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering.
I believe suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction.
Yet true happiness comes from a sense of peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion, and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greeed.
The problems we face today are human created problems which can be resolved through human effort and understanding, and a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood.
We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share. I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.
I pray for all of us, oppressor and friend, that together we succeed in building a better world through human understanding and love, and that in doing so we may reduce the pain and suffering of all sentient beings.
For more information on the Dalai Lama and his message, please go to;
In fact, Hal Holbrook is so good, he is Mark Twain. It is as close as any of us will ever get to the man, so expertly is he portrayed. I could imagine myself seeing the great orator himself, calmly walking across the stage, cigar in hand, blue eyes twinkling, a smile at the corners of his lips. His acerbic wit and gentle humor is as topical today as it was over 150 years ago.
Hal Holbrook walked onstage to a chair and table with a water pitcher, glass and ashtray in front of a packed house that soared two balcony levels to the ceiling. For two hours, he held us captive by sheer force of his acting talent. So entralled was the audience that you really could have heard the proverbial pin drop.
Mr. Holbrook is 85 years old. His voice has some telltale quavers. But once he got going, his voice thundered and soared to the rafters. He never missed a beat. This is a man at the top of his game, totally in control of his material and his audience. If you get the chance, don't miss this. It is a performace of a lifetime.
I first saw Hal Holbrook in a television special called "Mark Twain Tonight!" It is still available by calling 1-800-458-5887. If you like Mark Twain, you won't be disappointed in the video.
It's just him. No music. As he says..."a trombone player was engaged, but is unreliable and should not be expected".
There is a vitriolic hatred speading over the land. A grotesque sludge that seeps in where intelligent discourse used to live. It suffocates reason and compromise. Nothing can be built up or improved upon; this monsterous aberration is good at only one thing, distruction. It's arrogance is unchecked. It lives in the darkest hearts and screams down differences of opinion with firey, senseless slogans and waves hate placards in the face of critical thinking.
This is offensive on so many levels it almost leaves me speechless. Almost.
Remember political tactics? This is one of the most basic examples. Your party is in tatters. You were booted out of office; the last 8 years were your legacy. What to do? Dredge up the deepest fears of the country. Exaggerate it. Make it so threatening that to support an elected official who is your opponent spells doom. And then point a finger at a sitting President and say, "this is all his fault". Make sure you make it clear that he is not "your" President. And then work like hell to make sure you torpedo every effort he makes to fix the mess you've made.
Not everyone is fooled by you. We recognize the language of those who are incapable of independent thought. Here's a refresher course from Mark Fiore, who has received death threats after this was published.
Spout hate till you are blue in the face and the poison drips from your chin. The more obvious you are, the easier you are to spot....and ignore. Once I identify you, I'll move on. You are a waste of my time.
The tragedy here is that most of the Tea Baggers are legitimate protestors with a social conscience. It is a sad fact of American politics that any nefarious politician (there are plenty around) would see this grass roots movement as a personal bandwagon full of PR soundbytes and race to get in front of it. No movement of this size can exist without massive funding and the FreedomWorks Foundation is happy to step up to the plate. These are the very folks the Tea Baggers are protesting. Really, really big money, orchestrating from the wings. Forbes, Bradley, Olin, Exxon, Mobile. Serious, right wing money. Behind the scenes, protecting their loopholes.
Let me introduce you to Barrack Obama, the President of the United States. He is the light in the tunnel. He can be recognized by his most obvious characteristic.
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I believe that living in such dangerous and uncertain times requires a recommitment to the things we hold dear.
How do you know the things most dear to you, the things you truly love?
The people and things you move to protect are the things you love deeply.
My country is among those things I choose to protect.
l want my grandchildren to know that there is a way to steer by a moral compass in this sea of hate.
Truth is the only way to be free.
This blog is an attempt to find a path through the current political morass.
It is to let my grandchildren know that I did something to protect their world.
I hope you take the time to visit these amazingly talented folks. There is an embarassment of riches in the blogging world. Try seeing the world through new eyes, I promise you will be fans after reading just a few posts.