Thursday, July 28, 2016

Nomination Speech Introduction . . .


Last night I watched President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention.

I haven't watched either the RNC or the DNC gavel-to-gavel.
I listened to some of Trump's acceptance speech last Thursday night--as much as I could put up with before the wave of fear and negativity overwhelmed me.
I watched Michelle Obama's speech this past Tuesday morning on the Internet.
I intended to listen to Bill Clinton's speech on Tuesday night, but quickly turned to something else because it was meandering and seemed unnecessary to me. (Which it was . . . for me, if I'm being honest. He doesn't need to sell her to me.)

But, Obama's speech? I listened to every word. And I thought he spoke well of why I am proud (mostly) to be a Democrat. I am proud of the optimism on display. I am proud of the inclusiveness.* I am heartened by the open-heartedness. And while I am not so naive that I don't recognize that the Democrats should do MORE to honor the inequalities brought forth by Bernie Sanders and his cohort, I am far prouder to associate myself with the Democrats that with what many Republicans have tried to sell for the last decade or more and whatever it is that the Trumpians are calling "Republican."

So after it was over and I was laying down to sleep, I thought to myself--if I was Hillary Clinton and I was preparing to follow that speech on Thursday night (tonight as I type this), how would my introduction to the speech go? And I got to thinking what the Democratic Party stands for to me and I guess I'd write something like this . . .

The Democratic Party is the Party of Jackson--the party of the people, the "common man", the barbecue thrower, the rough talker.

It is the Party of Roosevelt--the party that faced economic crisis and responded by widening the safety net to catch the disadvantaged. It it the party that worked to ease people's pain and give them the chance to recover and improve when things were desperate.

The Democratic Party of is the Party of Kennedy--the inspirer who aims us higher, telling us to not ask what can be done for us, but reminding us that we have things to do for our country. We are active participants in its future.

It is the Party of Johnson--who devoted some of his time to fighting poverty in dramatic, bold, purposeful ways. It is the Party of Big Swingers, who don't think small, but dream as big as Texas.

It is the Party of Carter--a Party willing to speak honestly about weakness and still keep trying. It is a Party that recognizes that service takes many forms and doesn't stop when the spotlight turns elsewhere.

It is the Party of Clinton--a Party of data and facts and thought. It is a Party that listens and feels and empathizes.

It is the Party of Obama--a Party that embraces change and changes history. It is a Party with a vision that expands further and further . . . because why not? Why shouldn't we? If we are a blessed as we say we are, let's push our blessings further and wider and deeper.

Platitudes? Yeah. Simplifications? Sure. Ideals? I hope so.

* But I am uncomfortable with the "Spanish-speaking speech introductions" that Dem candidates trot out ever four years like a party trick. Which exposes my caucasian bias because it just seems so superficial to me. I've never been a minority, though.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Devil's Darning Needle

I wanted to try something different, since I've been making lots of videos lately and don't have an immediate idea for something (when do I ever, I guess?). And I found this book in my office cubicle's book cabinet. I remember grabbing it from a pile of books that were being abandoned when an older resource room was cleaned out to create more seating space sometime within the last 18 months or so.

Credit: http//:

At the time I figured it might be an interesting book to flip through. And maybe I could get some interesting trivia ideas from it that could be worked into a "interest" item in a new textbook feature someday . . . I've gone nowhere with that idea as of yet. So, instead, I randomly opened the book this morning and picked out the first entry that caught my eye and held it.

DEVIL'S DARNING NEEDLE A common name for the Dragon-fly (from p. 113 of The Dictionary of Americanisms by John Bartlett, originally published in 1849)

What is there to do with this information?

I am thinking of how important the devil as a concept was to pre-industrial/less modern America. It was a more poetic time, even though it was a less literate time. Without the widespread basic education that so many of us now have, how really did people view the world? Was it such a place of mystery and superstition? Or was this phrasing really just a flight of fancy that no one truly took seriously?

These are the mysteries of the past that neither historians nor archaeologists can fully capture--at least not until there was recording equipment to capture people's audio thoughts in the spur of the moment. Even though things are written down in many historical records, there is a remove of time and experience and understanding from the person chronicling something, filtered through their interpretation and their ability to describe it in writing . . . then distanced further by the passage of time and the particular interpretation of the people reading and understanding in the future (or our present).

What anachronisms will we leave behind for the future? Or will we be so precise that all the mystery of life will be gone?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pokemon are everywhere!

The Pokemon are everywhere!
Are you prepared to catch them all?

(I'm not. But my kids are . . . )