Everyday Will Be Sunday (Sunday Song Series)

With Passover and Easter both being observed at this time, I figured a spiritual selection would be an apropos addition to our Sunday Song Series… an ongoing mix tape of sorts that we’ve been experiencing for… counting today… 32 weeks.

The dictionary defines Gospel music as…

“A fervent style of black American evangelical religious singing, developed
from spirituals sung in Southern Baptist and Pentecostal churches.”

Dorothy Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes not only live up to those above words but also amply prove that the soundtrack to organized religion does not, necessarily, need to be subdued and somber to be uplifting.

Even though I believe that religion primarily, truly, dwells within one’s head and heart… i.e., sans any real need for attending services within a brick and mortar church, synagogue, mosque, temple, etc.… well hell… just knowing songs such as Everyday Will Be Sunday are getting sung each sabbath, I could become sufficiently motivated to join such a flock.

And speaking of joining… our Sunday Song Series will be meeting back here seven days from now. I cordially invite you to be part of our ongoing adventure where the phrase… musical diversity… rules supreme.

 

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Gun Sick America’s Nearly 200-Year-Old Unsolved Problem

On this 20th anniversary of the Columbine massacre, my thoughts go back two decades further… to that January 29, 1979 Monday when a not-so-sweet, sixteen-year-old girl [1] wielded the Christmas gift she had received from dear ol’ dad (a semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle), [2] trained its cross-hairs on San Diego’s Grover Cleveland Elementary School (located right across the street from her family’s home) and [3] fired off 30 rounds of ammunition.

By siege’s end, amongst the dead were Principal Burton Wragg and custodian Mike Schar… amongst the wounded were eight children and a policeman.

During this stand-off… no less… a San Diego Tribune reporter interviewed the shooter over the phone…  asked her why she was doing it?

Her flippant response…

“I just did it for the fun of it. I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day. I have to go now. I shot a pig, I think, and I want to shoot more. I’m having too much fun.”

Oh, btw… this shooter… sentenced 25 years to life… is up for parole this year.

Stunningly, even I can cite a gun incident… one that, c1971, went down within my own small, rural hometown High School. While our principal never made the details public, according to the student grapevine, one of our classmates had brandished a shotgun to hold nearly 30 students hostage for an entire afternoon. Fortunately, no shots were fired.

My web-search results report the deadly incidents go back… WAY. WAY BACK! Indeed, America’s gun-sick society has been the breeding ground for school shooters ever since the first known incident on November 12, 1840!

And be advised… Wikipedia freely acknowledges their lengthy list is far from complete!

That this carnage has been going down for nearly TWO FREAKIN’ CENTURIES… with no end in sight… makes American legislators’ negligence all the more egregious, shocking, appalling, horrendous, frightful, atrocious, abominable, abhorrent, outrageous; monstrous, unspeakable, unforgivable and shameful.

Forgive me for dumping practically the entire Thesaurus entry into this blog, but choosing only one of these words would not even begin to cover my sentiments when it comes down to a nearly 200 year long maiming and killing spree. Come to think about it… the 13 words I did use do not adequately do the job, either.

My God… nearly 200 years!

 

 

 

Two MUST SEE Dress for Regress Videos!

Subtitle: Vid(s) of the Day

A few days ago, while chatting on the phone with my nonagenarian next-door neighbor, we soon discovered how we’ve both been ruminating re the sorry state of our homeland and world. More to the point…

We share the POV that the Trumpian / Dystopian cancer has been rearing its ugly head… indeed taking root… primarily because too many of our compatriots are absolutely clueless regarding what Real American Values actually are / what basic human decency truly involves. I could go into a litany of the particulars, but will reserve such a discussion for another blog… another day.

Anyway… after a few moments of silence… I realized we were both pretty much bummed out. So, to slightly lighten things up, I half joked that… considering our homeland’s plunge into Donny’s bottomless pit of ignorance (e.g., [1] his being all fired up on “clean” coal, [2] his flat-out refusal to respect time-honored scientific principles, etc.) it’d be wise for we, who debunk Donny… to… at the very least… visually fit in with his retrograde society’s motif.

And follks… most assuredly… I’m already on top of that! For starters, I’ve been letting my grey beard grow long and wild.¹ Indeed, I could already easily blend in amongst a gathering of Dark Ages men.

Hey, who knows? That, alone, could easily save my very life. Think about it. You never know when Nazi Donny will start rounding up the scientifically inclined folks, intern us in concentration camps, put us on trial for heresy and burn us all at the stake. Whew… now that’s what I’d call a witch-hunt! Yeah, yeah, I know I’m conflating the Dark Ages / Colonial / WW-II eras, but… that too… serves a purpose… namely… to point out that those who fail to learn from history, stupidly, repeat it!

Naturally, we, who hope to blend in, will also need to conform to a period-consistent dress code… so… to that end…

As a public service… and to further everyone’s assimilation into Donny’s Dark Ages… I’m providing the following two dress for regress videos… based on illustrations in the Luttrell Psalter

Ladies first…

As for the ploughmen…

 

¹ At present my beard measures out somewhere between retired CBS Late Show comedian David Letterman’s… but has not yet attained the ZZ Top range.

 

 

Summing Up Predatory Lenders

 

As a lifelong liberal, I have principles. One of them is to not take too kindly to anyone who ever inflicts pain and suffering upon others… be that pain emotional / physical / fiscal. My disgust for such tormentors can only heighten when their victims are the most vulnerable members of our society. That’s what happens whenever the sadistic, arrogant, disrespectful, privileged few perpetuate their stacked against the masses system. Their MO likely backdates to the original slothful, slobbering, opportunistic caveman who first decided to profit off the losses of others.

Yep… there we find mister caveman sitting on his ass… laughing his ass off… grunting out proto-words….

“Me not take time / effort to hunt / gather when my club can maim / murder / rob other hunters / gatherers who do grunt work for me… HA! HA! HA!”

Of course what we ARE talking about, here, is protoman… the prototype of today’s predatory lenders / banksters. After all, do not today’s barely evolved simply sit on their asses and laugh their asses off while fiscally assaulting the hard working masses? And oh how smart and smug these knuckle draggers feel (if “feel” is even the operative word here) when they pay fractions of one percent interest rates on savings accounts and then sock credit card holders with ever-increasing rates in excess of the 30 percent range. And don’t even get me started on payday lenders.

What happens next is disgusting. After gorging on all that ill-gotten wealth they then take a dump on Wall Street… where their Trumpian deregulated, cavemen cohorts help them invest in wild schemes… which should be… but are not always deemed illegal / amoral. As if the lawless accumulation of obscene wealth weren’t bad enough already, their system also results in corporate income tax returns, which not only show NO TAXES OWED but also actually reward the lazy with freakin’ REFUNDS!

Such haughtiness is deeply rooted within their “too big to fail” status where… no matter how severely they F-up the global economy… they know they can always count on their crooked, congressional cronies to bail them out. Indeed, these lawmaker / lawbreakers financially grope / molest the already bled dry, hard working, average Janes and Joes who dare not defy them… especially when the legislated tax code has sharp teeth… i.e., flawed laws (flaws) that threaten to imprison them unless they fork over hefty chunks of their meager earnings to re-prop up these morally and financially bankrupt banksters.

Worse yet, the average predator is incapable of ever growing up and learning from his own mistakes. He will willfully F-up again and again and again and… AND… well… if you thought the 2008 global monetary meltdown was tough… just wait for the imminent, Trumpian variety to ferociously rear its ugly head.

Long sigh…

Folks… that’s why my reaction to / rejection of these banksters is so visceral. Deeply rooted within me is my long held belief that the deeply rooted in dishonesty and brutality, predatory lenders have made even a modestly good life out of reach for time clock punching folks who oft spend their entire lifetimes turning in an honest day’s work with very little to show for it… other than fatigue and massive credit card debt.

So… if you are such a bankster, don’t ever expect me to welcome you into my world.

 

 

Humankind (not just in Houston), We Have A Problem

On April 11, 1970… at 13:13 (military time)… Apollo 13’s three-stage, Saturn-5 rocket successfully blasted off from launch pad 39-A. For any triskaidekaphobics out there, that 39 does crunch out as 3 x 13. All superstitions aside, astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise were moonward bound and… if all went well… Lovell and Haise would wind up moon walking… exploring and prospecting a lunar region known as the Fra Mauro Highlands. Needless to say, all did not go well.

A scant two days later… on the 13th no less… an oxygen tank explosion severely crippled their spacecraft’s Service Module… that massive destruction creating a life threatening shortage of power, heat, water and breathable air.

In a blink of an eye… in one human heartbeat… saving the lives of these three men had become paramount. The new, revised mission had instantaneously repurposed the Lunar Module… BUT… seeing how it had been designed to only keep two men alive for far fewer days than it would take for all three to safely return to Earth… its role as a lifeboat was limited.

At stake here… even the slightest miscalculation could’ve easily repurposed their linked up, three-piece spacecraft (Command / Service / Lunar Module) one final time… i.e., made it a floating tomb where their suffocated, frozen bodies would be traversing the starlit, inky black cosmic vacuum… throughout eternity.

Fortunately, once everyone’s initial adrenaline surge had eased up a bit, NASA Mission Control’s Gene Kranz, ground crew leader and “steely eyed missile man” (that’s a compliment), began coordinating the rescue efforts. From that moment forth, all concerned Apollo 13 personnel… flight and ground crew alike… began bravely soldiering on.

Crisis after crisis mounted. Contingencies never before dealt with (even in flight simulators) now presented themselves. One critical decision after another had to be made. Scribbled out in pen and pencil painstaking procedures needed to be [1] relayed to the flight crew and [2] executed in the precisely correct order… e.g., a duct-taped CO2 scrubber improvisation and fly by the seat of your pants, computer UN-assisted, engine blazing, mid-course corrections… all with little to no margin of error.

The Kranz Team’s perfectly thought out, (literally) on the fly plans were also providing humanity a fleeting glimpse at our true intellectual potential… how limitless it can be when we set our minds to it. Also impressive… how quick thinking, innovative grown-ups had fully and rapidly realized that egos, finger-pointing / assessing blame and other unproductive posturing had to be checked at the door prior to entering Mission Control.

In the meantime, publicly, Apollo 13’s real life, unfolding in real time, life or death drama was astounding and captivating a goodly portion of Earth’s (then) 3.7 Billion onlooking souls… I among them. This event was also affording us a better sense of our global community… and how three members of our human family were now in such deep trouble that they might never make it back home again.

Might our resultant beamed to the heavens, positive energy surge (the devout would deem this the power of prayer) have also played a role in the Apollo 13 crew’s survival? At the very least, it’d be a good bet that Mission Control’s CAPCOMS had intermingled their tech talk with morale boosting news of the worldwide well-wishers. Yeah, I’d hazard a guess that we did make a difference.

And while we space-age, Earthbound onlookers had all traveled along the wondrous path to unity (at least twice) before… especially during the Apollo 8 and 11 missions (8’s first humans in lunar orbit and 11’s first man on the moon) this time around, the specter of death was lurking off in the closer-than-you-think, distance. And that, indeed, did present an almost palpably unsettling feeling.

Then, during Apollo 13’s last day, the one remaining key question became…

Would the Kranz Team’s accumulation of consistent, spot-on decision making be sufficient to earn them the right to look the Grim Reaper squarely in the eye to proclaim…

NO… NOT TODAY! GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE!

Well as it turned out… on this very April 17th, 1970 day, NASA’s efforts had allowed astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise to survive the perilous journey back to Earth… their one final challenge being Swigert successfully piloting the Command Module through Earth’s atmosphere. There was further concern, too, because that days earlier O2 tank explosion could’ve damaged their spacecraft’s heat-shield… to the extent that it might not withstand the fiery reentry…

As we just saw in Director Ron Howard’s 1995 big screen, mostly spot-on dramatization, NASA had transformed what could’ve been the worst disaster in the history of space travel into their finest hour. Apollo 13 made a picture perfect, all three parachutes deployed, right on target, splash down just scant minutes into the noontime hour.

And while this is one chapter in the book of human history with a “they lived happily ever after” ending, one still has to wonder why the same could not be said re the spirit of global unity?

It would appear that, not unlike Apollo 13’s ruptured Service Module oxygen tank, civility… especially now… has been bleeding out from the inky black, intracranial vacuum, which typically afflicts thoughtless people.

Just how does THAT jibe with a society capable of successfully putting a man on the moon when everything goes right… and mounting a triumphant, heroic rescue when everything goes wrong?

The short answer… it doesn’t jibe.

The longer answer… that can be found within the lessons learned from this Apollo 13 mission… and within similar stories. Just to name one? Captain Sullenberger’s Miracle on the Hudson.

BTW, should anyone reading this post wish to contribute some additional, similar historical references… maybe even relate your own personal account(s) re that “can do” human spirit… and how it/they made a difference at a crucial moment… the comment section awaits you.

 

Nothing In Common ~ 1 Quick Limerick #079

 

Why would too-big-to-fail bankers with heft,
Hanker to follow my blog leaning left,
I am a commoner Dem,
Have zilch in common with them,
Of common sense are they bankrupt / bereft?

 

 

 

Going Home… Going Home…

My Mom passed away sixteen April 16ths ago. Three April 16ths ago, after the long held belief “nothing ever dies on the www” had dawned on me, I knew in my heart of hearts that… in a sense… I could immortalize her. With that comforting thought in mind, I blogged Mom’s story. Since I shall eternally deem this to be my writing at its very finest… on this April 16th, I now reblog… relate the final page and paragraphs from the final chapter of my Mom’s Earthly life and times…

CommonSenseTom

My Mother had enjoyed a remarkably healthy life for eighty-nine years. But after her heart attack in early 2002, things were never the same again. At first, my caregiver efforts (with a homecare agency assist) worked out fine. But the following year, after she broke her leg, she wound up in a nursing home. It was there that pneumonia seriously complicated matters.

My cell rang in the eleventh hour on that fateful Tuesday morning. Her doctor’s prognosis was grim…

“Your Mother is in the active stage of dying.”

The nursing home only a mere mile away, I was seated at Mom’s bedside within fifteen minutes.

What was to become my twenty-two hour vigil had begun. For the first six hours, Mom was talkative. We professed our love, prayed, reminisced, at times, even laughed. We reveled in our joyous, carefree mood where… had I not known better… I’d have believed she’d…

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