Wednesday, 31 October 2012

It's my birthday and I'll _______________ if I want to!

Trouble is, I can't fill in the blank!  What do I want to do?  Well, before Sandy Frankenstorn came along and pulverized us up here in the Northeast, I would have filled it in with "call in sick".  Because that had been the plan, to call in sick today and just stay home and chill.

Seems the sick part was to come true, anyway, as I am currently a sniffling, coughing, snotty, phlegmy, achy mess who can barely speak, and whose voice sounds like someone's been over my vocal chords with sandpaper and a hacksaw.

Maybe this is what 54 feels like.  I wouldn't's my first time being this age, you know, so I have no prior experience to draw from.  All I have is anticipation...and a bug.

So, you ask, what am I going to be doing today to celebrate my natal day?  Well, let's see.  Already I'm celebrating not having to wake up at 4:30 in the morning in order to get to work on time so my asshole of a boss doesn't have THAT particular thing to hold against me in his campaign to remove me.  And of course, I'm celebrating not having to BE at work today, because when Halloween falls on a school day, we're expected to search the students as they come in, and today we would have had to go out after school to herd them off the streets, into buses and on their way home.

What else?  Well, I plan to go out a bit later, buy me some wonton soup, and maybe some chicken soup if they have any (they didn't on Saturday) from the Jamaican store -- soup seems to hit the spot better than anything else these days -- and maybe another bottle or two of perfume at the mall.  Then it'll be back home to gorge myself on action erotica and if I'm up to it, out for the birthday dinner later.  At the very least, I'm going to get some more body seems oddly STARVED for it!

So, happy birthday to me!  And to Mannu (Sonny), who shares today's birthday with me!  May you enjoy wonderful treats this Hallloween!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

"For America" (A Sample Speech)

Speech writing is hard, let me tell you!  I gave my juniors, who are studying American literature, the task of writing a speech based on the poem "Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes.  As usual, I promised them a sample -- it's only fair for them to see how I would do any task I ask THEM to do!  This is my effort...

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

Stirring words from Langston Hughes’s poem, “Let America Be America Again”.  It seems to be a staple of the study of American literature that we ask students to consider, among other pressing questions, what it means to be American. We press upon them the ideas of Michel Guillaume St. Jean de Crèvecoeur, in his “Letters from an American Farmer”, and have them read articles and speeches and poems and letters on the subject. They are required to try to define for themselves what it means to them, if they are American, to be so called. In very few of those discussions and excursions into nationalism and patriotism is any of them asked to consider what it means for their country to be America.  What is America?

Many answers immediately come to mind, of course. This question, closely related to the first, has given rise to many an impassioned response, and vast are the numbers of people who would weigh in on this discussion. The answer to this question can be made by those who were born here, those who came here, legally or otherwise, and those who remain outside, looking in. The answer to this question ranges from the reverent to the profane, from the serious to the silly, from the delusional to the actual. The answer to this question causes the philosopher to wax philosophical, the politician to wax political, the poet to wax poetic. The answer to this question draws anger from the enemies of the state, ridicule from the satirists of the state, passion from the lovers of the state.

So, how can we, ordinary men and women, begin to answer this question? What IS America to you? To me? Do we dwell upon the instances of grave injustice that have marred this young country’s history? Do we dwell on the instances of poignant sacrifice that have scarred this young country’s heart? Do we dwell on the instances of buoyant triumph that have raised this young country’s spirit? There cannot be one response to this question, for all the things that have gone into the forging of this nation have made it what is is, and are making it what it will become. The founding fathers of this nation had a dream, as has every generation of political men, of wealthy men, of academic men, of ordinary men since its nationhood was first declared in ink and defended in blood.

America is a dream. The pilgrims dreamed of religious freedom, and before them, the settlers in Jamestown dreamed of amassing great wealth. The immigrants who came of their own accord, did so to be free — free of the tyranny of starvation, the tyranny of poverty, the tyranny of inequality, the tyranny of hatred, the tyranny of bloodshed. The common theme is freedom. America is, to quote Langston Hughes in his poem “Let America Be America Again”, “The homeland of the free”. America is a dream.

What is the truth of America today? Is it the dream, or something less uplifting? Many who came of their own volition have found no freedom here. Those who were uprooted from their lands by the invading settlers have found no freedom here. Those who were brought here against their will have found no freedom here. Those who are hunted and deported have found no freedom here.

The dream of wealth is now enjoyed only by the few with the means and the power to pursue it. The dream of freedom is now enjoyed only by the few who can purchase the means to attain it.
The poor of every race, the immigrant, the black man and the red…all have a dream that is not being realized in America today. The poor are disenfranchised, the people of color are disowned, the immigrants are disbarred, and none is permitted to achieve his dream. America is a dream, but only for the wealthy few, the powerful few.

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

In Langston Hughes’ words, this is the rallying cry of all those who seek to have what America was meant to be.  This is the rallying cry of those who dream of what America can yet be.  Can it be done?  Is there a will to achieve it?  There are forces at work to keep America a country out of sync with itself, out of touch with its roots.  It is our job to teach the young to believe in the dream.  It is our job to teach the young to reach for the dream.  It is our job to teach the young to fight for the dream.  it is our job to teach the young to live the dream.  Hughes said it best, I think:

From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again…
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Copyright © 2012 by Karen D. Bonnick

So, what do y'all think?  Could I make a living as a speech writer? 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

On Autumn

As I was taking more Fall photographs recently, it occurred to me that it is THE most beautiful time of year, in terms of colors and smells and even the cooling temperatures. It is the year at its most mature, most fruitful, most giving.

I took the thought out of the seasons, and brought it into human life, and into mine specifically. I have begun the “Fall” of my life. In eighteen days I will be 54 years old. As I look over my life, I see the many things I have accomplished, the many lives I’ve touched the children I have borne, the years I have spent learning and becoming who I am. Much of it has been painful, or at the very least stressful. None of it has been outside of the scope of what it means to be human.

And yet here I am, golden as the leaves, wondering where next, what next, before Winter comes to strip the last juices of my youth, to leave me without sap, dried up, withered, awaiting another renewal that cannot occur for humans once we die, unless we believe in an afterlife.

It is a sobering, even a frightening, thought.

Unlike the trees, which have an instinct of their own survival for the dying of the year, human beings have no expectation of a renewal to youth and beauty, to life and health, to energy and drive, as do these simple plants. Where their renewal is a yearly expectation with the coming of spring, we have but one spring. When it is past, it can never be retrieved. We will never have another spring.

Which means, we will never have another Fall. I will never have another Fall. I need to make the most of this beauty, this final burst of joy and life before my Winter steals upon me.

I can only be who I am.  And while I am learning to be a more beautiful me, I must retain those qualities that will make my golds and reds and oranges stand out. I cannot let these last years of fullness, of lushness, of ripe sweetness be overshadowed by fear, or anger, or hatred. I MUST resist the urge to crawl back into my shell when things go wrong, or others disappoint me, or life swings back to slap me in the face. MY Fall comes only once. I MUST embrace it, and participate, and learn to enjoy it!

I can be as beautiful as the Fall…if I let my colors shine forth as brightly, as unashamedly!
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends

A Good Word

I've always loved this song, and my friend Lottie has some of Mr. Henson's words posted on her page, which sent me to find it,  And once there, I saw some more, which I have shared below.  Seems Mr. Henson was a man I could have been great friends with.

For this weekend, for today, for this about remembering these words of his?  they speak for him, and it seems, he spoke for me

"When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for [my] having been [here].  Life is meant to be fun, and joyous, and fulfilling.  May each of yours be that.  Please watch out for each other and love and forgive everybody. It's a good life, enjoy it." ~ Jim Henson

Saturday, 6 October 2012's infectious!

My dear friend Peter shared this with me yesterday, to help brighten my day. He manages to do that without sending me anything, but this song was a delightful addition! Thank you, sweet pea! *hugs* Enjoy, y’all, and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Odds and Ends

"Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!"  No, I'm not saying them, nor did I when the idea for this blog first came to me.  I was the recipient of an e-mail message where all that was there were these seven words.  I sent a concerned reply, and my client (I am editing work for him) proceeded to explain to me the reason for his distress.  And it occurred to me, almost as though I had heard him say them, that there were seven words.  It got me to thinking...we seem to curse in odd numbers, most particularly in ones -- "Fuck!" -- or fives -- "Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!" -- or sevens, as above.

It's very rhythmic, isn't it?  And consider how that rhythm is enhanced if the curse becomes "Fuck fuck fuckity fuckity fuck fuck!"  This, admittedly is NOT an odd number of curses, but one assumes the reason such an aberration is permitted in the annals of cursing history might have to do with the addition of the "ity" to the word, enhancing its weight and beat, and making a seventh repetition unnecessary.  Looked at in this way, such cursing is practically poetry, isn't it?  

I wondered idly last night, as I pondered this blog, if cursing in sevens makes the curse the perfect curse.  After all, in some spheres, seven is the perfect number. For example, the week wouldn't be complete without Saturday, would it, if Sunday is taken as the first day of the week?  Where would I be without Saturday?  I honestly don't know.  Frankly, I think I'd be lost, for Saturday is my day to recover from 180-miles-a-day commutes to and from work on the preceding five days.  Saturday, the seventh day, seems perfect for such recovery and renewal.  

Anyway, this is my blogging offering for today.  I hope you have enjoyed this excursion into blogging mediocrity!  Until next time...