Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Here We Go, AGAIN!

Sooooooo, As you may have heard by now, THE STEELERS ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!! Woo hoo. My town is covered in black and gold from end to end. If you aren't wearing a Steeler shirt, you look like a tourist.

Some of my best memories of growing up were of the weeks leading up to the Superbowl. I'm happy the Steelers are doing the same for my kids. That's mighty nice of them, don't ya think?

As in years past, everyone has their Terrible Towels or Steeler flags hanging in the window. Half the fun of being in the Superbowl are these weeks leading up to it. The media gets a little carried away though. I really don't think its breaking news when one of the Steelers has breakfast!

Pittsburgh is such a football town. Here is an interesting take on the difference between the NFL and MLB. It would be even funnier if it weren't so true.

Happy Superbowl Week!!!! Have fun. Enjoy the ride.

And I'll be sure to concentrate on the Glorious Mysteries when saying my Steeler Rosary!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Jolly Holiday

Tonight I was transformed from an old, cranky 53 year old lady with sore knees back to a skinny lanky 9 year old who was still trying to get used to wearing glasses mesmerized by the magic of Mary Poppins.

I remember watching that movie for the first time like it was yesterday. What I didn't know that magical afternoon in 1965, was that I would remember it vividly more than 40 years later.
What I also didn't know was that the following week, my favorite afternoon pass time, sitting in the Arsenal Theater on Butler Street in Lawrenceville would become something I could only enjoy in my memory.
Mary Poppins was the last movie to play at the Arsenal Theater. A few weeks later, they tore it down to make a parking lot for PNC bank. Sigh, a parking lot.
It's hard to say whether my love for Mary Poppins came about because it was the last movie at the Arsenal. Or was it the perfect movie for a nine year old girl to escape into.
Probably a little of both I suppose.

That Christmas I can remember getting two things. A Mary Poppins doll. And the movie soundtrack. I still have the doll. The album? I'm assuming it got too scratched up from playing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious over and over on my parents blue hi-fi. Either that, or it was replaced in importance by 45's such as Stone Soul Picnic, Sealed With A Kiss, and Hey There Little Red Riding Hood.

Anyway, I mention all this because tonight my best friend Ski, who I have known since childhood, took me to see the live version of Mary Poppins.

Let me tell you, with out a doubt, it was the best show I've ever seen live. Ever.

First there were the seats. FIRST ROW, CENTER, yes, front and center. Mary Poppins was singing to me. And I was singing back to her, (not so sure the person next to me appreciated that) And the Bird Lady. Ahh, the Bird Lady. She was looking right into my 9 year old eyes when she sang Feed The Birds. And after all these years, it still made me cry.

Tonight was a truly magical night made extra special by that fact that as I watched one of my favorite childhood memories actually come to life, I did so with someone who I've been friends with since the days when I saw the magic of the movie for the first time. Ski. My non-lesbian life partner.

What a joy both her and Mary Poppins are.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Bad Dream

I'm sitting here, awake, at 5:00a.m. It doesn't happen very often, but for some reason I can't sleep. Among other things, the events of yesterday are on my mind. I try, but I can't think of anything appropriate to write here concerning the events in Arizona yesterday. While listening to early morning radio I heard someone on KDKA read the following speech.

These words by Bobby Kennedy, spoken the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King, say what I want to say. Take a minute to read it. How sad that exactly two months later, this mindless menace of violence he speaks of found its way to him.

On the Mindless Menace of Violence

City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
April 5, 1968

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

"Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs."

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.