On Monday morning, the morning after the wedding (see yesterday's post),
Soon afterwards Theresa caught her plane back to Columbus,
…Continued from yesterday:
On Monday morning, the morning after the wedding (see yesterday's post),
We dropped Claire off at the airport, but Theresa wasn’t leaving until Tuesday evening and Tom and I until Wednesday morning.
So Tom and I took our grand daughters back to Manhattan Beach for the afternoon.
That evening there was another show.
The following day, Tuesday, as Theresa’s plane wasn’t until 5 pm I suggested that Tom, Theresa and I visit the Venice Canals, a series of man-made waterways that flow through a neighborhood a few blocks inland from Venice Beach and one of my favorite Los Angeles phenomena.
Now, I’d been to the Venice Canals a number of times in the past, but never before in the middle of summer, so I was surprised to see the water level so low, which apparently is what happens in summer.
From the canals we walked about a mile to a super-cute Venice restaurant with good food called 26 Beach.
Then we returned home.
Soon afterwards Theresa caught her plane back to Columbus,
...Continued from yesterday:
On Sunday afternoon we drove an hour east from Los Angeles through the beautiful hill country of Ventura County,
...to the small city of Moorpark in which was located Annie and Sean's wedding venue, the Walnut Grove at Tierra Rejada Farms.
We turned off the highway into the Tierra Rejada Farms, then drove back through farmland until we reached the Walnut Grove,
...where the wedding ceremony and reception areas were set up in a clearing among the walnut trees,
....surrounded by farmland with a view of the hills off in the distance.
While waiting for the ceremony to begin friends and family socialized,
...and the juice and iced tea bar.
Many of the family members and guests were in traditional Lao dress.
Mother of the groom on the far right.
My brother, father of the bride, with his grand son.
The bride with a friend.
When it was time for the wedding ceremony, the bride's and groom's friends and families separated out of sight from each other. This was the beginning of the Sukhouan.
In the Lao culture, each person has 32 souls. When these 32 souls are united in one's body they help with the proper functioning of body and mind. During important life events, such as a marriage, the Sukouan is the ritual performed to invoke the 32 souls.
The ceremony began with the bride's family and friends gathering together, symbolizing the bride's house, where we waited for the groom to arrive.
The groom arrived in a procession with his family and friends,
...until the bride's family decided that the groom was worthy of the bride,
...at which time a deal was struck between the two families and sealed with a drink.
Then the groom was allowed to enter the bride's house and a sister of the bride took the groom by the hand,
...and led him to where his bride waited with her parents next to the Phakhouane, which is a large tray of flowers, candles, and other offerings placed on traditional carpets.
During the ceremony the Officiant chased undesirable spirits from the bodies of the Annie and Sean and called on noble spirits and the gods of earth and sky to bless their union.
The bride and groom then shared some rice, an egg, and alcohol to symbolize their union.
Then the Officiant tied white cotton threads around Annie and Sean's wrists as a wish for a long and happy union for them.
Annie and Sean's families also tied cotton threads around their wrists as wishes for happiness.
Next the guests with last names from A-H were asked to stay to tie threads on Annie and Sean's wrists and the guests with last names L-Z were invited to return to the reception area for hors d'oeuvres.
In addition to the hors d'oeuvres the was a beautiful cookie and candy table.
After the first group finished tying their threads it was the turn of the second group, of which we were a part, to return to the ceremony to have our turn tying threads for good wishes on Annie and Sean.
Then we returned to the reception area and everyone took their seats.
Then the happy newlyweds danced into the reception,
...for their first dance as man and wife, a traditional Lao dance,
...which we all joined in.
After the dances there were heart-felt speeches full of love and good wishes,
Then the beautiful, delicious dinner was served.
The children, of course, preferred to be out on the dance floor.
Soon the rest of us joined them,
...or otherwise enjoyed the evening.
It was a beautiful wedding,
Last December my sweet, sunny niece Annie and her wonderful fiancé Sean traveled from Los Angeles to Seaford, Delaware for their first wedding, a Christian ceremony in honor of Annie's family and to accommodate their location.
They were married for the second time on July 28 in Los Angeles, where they live, in a Lao ceremony in honor of Sean's family, who are from Laos.
Those members of Annie's family from the East Coast and Midwest who were able flew to Los Angles for Annie and Sean's Lao wedding ceremony, among them Tom, Claire, Theresa, and me.
Tom and I were the first from our branch to arrive in Los Angeles.
…from whence we proceeded to my daughter and son-in-law’s house,
…where we were greeted by our grand pups,
As our daughter, son-in-law and grand children were soon off and about their day’s routine, Tom and I had a good part of the day to ourselves,
When lunch time rolled around we decided to look around the area for some little mom-and-pop-style diner in hopes of perhaps finding a secret gem,
However the overall experience lacked the je ne said quoi of Mandy’s.
Later that afternoon we picked up our grand daughters from camp, drove them to swim lessons,
On Friday morning Theresa and Claire arrived in Los Angeles,
…and made the acquaintance of their fur nephews.
Our server told us that a few days earlier a film crew had been in the restaurant shooting the scene of an upcoming movie (the name of which I can’t remember). He told us that once in a while a movie scene is shot a Mandy's.
Well, it is a cute restaurant.
As the wedding wasn't until Sunday evening, Saturday was free for some fun.
Theresa had made plans to travel to Santa Monica to visit a friend.
The rest of us decided to take the bus to Manhattan Beach.
While the others enjoyed the water, sun and sand,
....Tom and I strolled around the shore and the streets of Manhattan Beach while I snapped pictures.
Towards the end of the afternoon we walked a few blocks inland for an early dinner at the Kettle.
Theresa met us at the Kettle and after dinner we all walked back to the bus stop.
By the time we got home everyone was pretty tired, but not too tired for a show.
To be continued...
Put universal background checks and red-flagging of mental illness on the back burner.
Those ideas are made of cotton-candy and would be just as effective in preventing mass shootings, even if our NRA-controlled Congress could get around to effectuating them,
The only thing that will end the epidemic of mass death by gunshot wound in this country is a federal ban on semi-automatic weapons. There's nothing else to say, no other discussion to be had.
Seriously, how hard would that be? Pass one law banning the possession of semi-automatic assault weapons. Give owners a few months to get rid of their outlawed guns. And throw in a generous government buy-back of the guns.
That is what Australia did in 1996 after a man killed 35 people in a matter of minutes with an AR-15, and since then there has not been another mass shooting in Australia.
It's what New Zealand did after that country's first mass shooting this past March. There has not been another mass shooting in New Zealand since then; however there have been four mass shootings in the United States since then: in Virginia Beach in May; in Gilroy, California in July; and in El Paso and Dayton in August.
And these shootings would be so easy to stop. Our law-makers have the power in their hands.
But in the meantime my daughter is terrified that her young children might be caught in a mass shooting at their school or in some other public place. And how can I calm her fears or console her when I, too, am terrified that my grand children might be caught in a mass shooting? I fear for my grand children, my children, my husband, my friends, everyone that love, everyone that I know, myself included.
Even yesterday morning as I was sitting in Panera with my friends as I do every Wednesday morning, having a pleasant time, I looked around at all the tables and booths crowded with people who also appeared to be having a pleasant time, eating, drinking, chatting with each other; and instead of thinking to myself, "What a wonderful world," I thought to myself, "What a lot of people would be killed if a guy with an AR-15 came in here."
A question for anyone who would oppose a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons: Do you, too, not fear for yourself and your loved ones?
Two weeks ago the United States Senate Intelligence Committee and Special Counsel Robert Mueller disclosed to the American public that Russia had a hand in steering our 2016 Presidential election, that the election systems in all 50 states had been combed by Russian cyberagents, and that at this very moment a vast network of Russian agents is infiltrating our 2020 election process.
Within twenty-four hours of these revelations the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill calling for immediate measures to protect our elections from Russian meddling.
Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell killed the bill. No amount of reasoning, disputing, arguing, accusing, or pleading could move Mitch McConnell to put forward a vote for on the Senate floor to take action to protect our democracy. And there was nothing we the American people could do about it.
Until one clever American came up with a simple but brilliant idea. He pinned Mitch McConnell with the nickname “Moscow Mitch.”
…who criticized Senator McConnell for blocking Congress from acting to protect our vote from foreign influence, accused him of benefiting politically from that influence, and subsequently called him “Moscow Mitch.”
Now, Mitch McConnell likely didn’t care one way or the other about Joe Scarborough’s criticism or accusations, the same criticism and accusations he was hearing - and likewise didn’t care about - from everyone except for his own party loyalists. But those two words – “Moscow Mitch” - got to the Senator in a way that all the thousands and thousands of words previously directed at him on Russian cyberattacks against his country couldn’t even begin to.
“Moscow Mitch” has gotten under Mitch McConnell’s skin immensely, especially since it began trending on Twitter along with the hashtag #MoscowMitchMcTraitor. McConnell even whined about it on the Senate floor, saying, “I was called unpatriotic, un-American and essentially treasonous.”
But “Moscow Mitch” has been sticking to McConnell so far:
Then a few days ago, while he was griping to the Senate about the unfairness of his new moniker, McConnell grudgingly said, “I’m sure all of us will be open to discussing further steps Congress, the executive branch, the states, and the private sector might take to defend our elections against foreign interference.”
That statement from Mitch McConnell, pallid and wishy-washy as it was, has been interpreted as McConnell moving an inch on territory upon which he previously refused to budge. And he hasn’t moved that inch because he suddenly developed and inch-worth of concern for the welfare of the country he was elected to lead; it’s because he’s now worried that if “Moscow Mitch” sticks he won’t be re-elected next year.
But an inch is only an inch, and Mitch McConnell likely needs to be pushed many more inches before he'll allow an election protection bill on the Senate floor.
So let’s all make sure “Moscow Mitch” sticks to Mitch McConnell like Crazy Glue. Let's make sure this handle lives, thrives, follows and worries Moscow Mitch everywhere he goes. Everybody say it every chance you get. Post #MoscowMitchMcTraitor on your Facebook page. Post it on your Twitter page, Instagram page, and Pinterest Fail page. Get together with your friends and rent a billboard. Rent three outside your town.
Don’t relent on Moscow Mitch until he opens the Senate for debate on a bill to protect our elections.
In two words we’ve been handed the means to fight for our American democracy,
...and who is now, thanks to the traitorous greed of an elected American official, closer to that goal than ever.
Three day ago there were two more mass murders in this country, one in El Paso, Texas and one in Dayton, Ohio.
And still Mitch McConnell refuses to allow a vote in the Senate on any bill that might prevent death by gunshot wound from continuing to be an American epidemic.
And so a second hashtag has been added on to Mitch McConnell’s name of shame: #MassacreMitch.
As for me, I would have chosen Mass Murder Mitch, but Massacre Mitch is already trending.
And so every day I intend to post #MoscowMitchMcTraitor and #MassacreMitch on my Twitter page.
You do what you can.
The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded Thursday that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, an effort more far-reaching than previously acknowledged and one largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time.
― "Russia Combed Voting Systems In All 50 States," New York Times, Friday, 7/26/2019
They're doing it as we sit here.
― Former United States Special Counsel Robert Mueller on active Russian interference in American 2020 elections.
Russia interfered with our 2016 presidential election and has already launched an attack on our 2020 elections. According to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a vast network of Russian agents is working to undermine future American elections.
And what are we doing about it?
The report by the United States Senate Intelligence Committee entitled "Russian Efforts Against Election Infrastructure" and released this past Thursday states that in 2016 Russia combed voting systems in every state in our country and carried out "an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure." According to the report, in several states, among them Illinois and Arizona, "Russian cyberactors were in a position to delete or change voter data."
And what are we doing about it?
Our country is under attack. Our vote is in danger of being stolen from us.
And what are we doing about it?
Last Thursday, the day after Robert Mueller's testimony before Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill calling for immediate action on national security measures to protect our elections from foreign interference, such as ensuring that voter registration data cannot be tampered with and replacing aging voting machines with more secure machines with voter-verified paper trails.
So that's what we're doing about the Russian attack on our elections. Nothing. Because our country is now being led by men who are personally benefiting from Russians tampering with or our vote.
And though it is Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and those in their circle of influence who have benefited - or believe they have benefited - from Russian interference in our elections,
Putin is the puppet master and those who were voted by trusting Americans into the positions of power and leadership in our country are willing to let him pull the strings.
And what are we going to do about it?
Last Saturday, July 13, the second Saturday of the month, I was once again in downtown Gahanna, Ohio,
...at the Gahanna Area Arts Council's Second Saturdays Arts in the Alley monthly summer art fair.
Though at previous Arts in the Alleys I've always snagged my own spot,
...this time I invited a friend and fellow creative to share my tent, a seamstress who makes the most beautiful and finely-detailed clothes for 18" American Girl-style dolls.
...our town's monthly summer Arts in the Alleys - formerly First Fridays, now Second Saturdays - always include a special feature of artistic whimsy, such as this giant rubber duck that was conceived by a Danish artist and floated across the rivers of Europe to emphasize that we are all connected,
...or a parade of fanciful soft sculptures made by young art students,
...or performing trapeze artists.
This time the arty surprise was a delightful invasion of balloon creatures.
Manned - and womaned - by the intrepid young Gahanna Area Arts Council volunteers, a unicorn, giraffe, and three flamingos rambled among the booths and people,
...to the delight of everyone.
It was definitely art for the young at heart.
The above are Twitter postings of Donald Trump, the putative President of the United States. His remarks target four American Congresswomen, three born in the United States, the other a naturalized citizen who came to this country as a refugee at age twelve.
Despite the fact that all four of these members of Congress are women of color, and despite Trump's use of a bombastic variation of a particularly nasty classic racist dog whistle - Why don’t they go back (to) the...places from which they came - it's probably futile to call him a racist.
He's been called that too many times. And he doesn't care.
This is true.
"Man, President Trump's Twitter account has been pure fire lately. This might be the funniest thing he's ever tweeted. This is the kind of WHITE NATIONALISM we elected him for. And we're obviously seeing it only because there's another election coming up. But I'll tell you, even knowing that, it still feels so good."
And while Donald Trump says out of one side of his mouth that he doesn't care if he's a racist because a lot of people love it, out of the other side of his mouth he denies being one. "I don't have a racist bone in my body," he tweeted this morning.
Trump's supporters - except for his legion of Neo-Nazi fans - likewise deny that he's a racist. And though there's been some condemnation of Trump's tweet among the Congressional Republican rank-and-file, The Republican leadership denies that their leader is a racist.
(We must assume he meant everyone except Donald Trump).
Even members of the news media have been debating whether Trump and/or his tweets are racist per the definition:
...or whether Trump and/or his tweets are actually something else.
And so I say that if it can't be agreed upon whether Trump is a de facto racist, let's agree on something nobody can deny: that his remarks in that tweet the other day were ugly. They were ugly and they were factually wrong, whether from inexcusable ignorance or inexcusable lying. They are, in fact, far and away the ugliest remarks made by any American President in history not counting Donald Trump himself, who has disgorged from his mouth such a vast and putrid gusher of ugliness over the past three years that one can barely imagine how deep must be the cesspool of his soul.
And if you would defend Donald Trump by the purported booming economy and the record wealth being reaped on Wall Street by the super-rich under his presidency, remember that the economy of the pre-Civil War American South built on the backs of black slaves likewise generated great economic wealth and prosperity,
And under Adolph Hitler, while Jews and other racially or otherwise undesirable populations within German society were being exterminated, the country prospered economically,
So, my fellow Americans, call Donald Trump whatever you will, but just remember:
Okay, how much do you love Megan Rapinoe?
Me, I’m a Megan Rapinoe superfan.
I love, love, love the video clip of her poo-pooing a prospective invitation to the White house. And it’s not the fact of her saying that she won’t visit the White House that I love, but how she says it,
...until she opens her mouth and grunts,
The video clip is only a few seconds long and I’ve watched it a dozen times, but it still cracks me up every time.
If you haven’t yet seen the clip, you must. Here’s the link:
I also love Megan's twitter quip about gays and science:
I'm hoping she'll show up as a host on Saturday Night Live.
But more than her scintillating wit and gift for comic timing, I'm inspired by Megan Rapinoe's social activism and her fearlessness in speaking truth to power. During an interview with on CNN with Anderson Cooper she had this eloquent message for Donald Trump:
And there was the powerful speech she gave during yesterday's ticker tape parade in New York City during which she declared,
Along with other cities, towns, communities and neighborhoods large and small across the U.S.A., we here in Gahanna, Ohio celebrated the birthday of our country with our Fourth of July parade.
The gathering point was on the commercial center parking lot at the corner of Granville Street and Hamilton Road,
...where we the marchers,
...riders on floats we made and decorated ourselves,
...and riders in a variety of other vehicles decked out in patriotism and whimsy,
...represented groups, organizations, and individuals that are among the many and varied strands that weave together to shape and define us and our community.
We marched through downtown Gahanna alongside our home-made floats,
...tossing candy and balloons to the children.
And as we passed by the crowds of spectators lining the street,
...I thought to myself, This is what a Fourth of July parade is supposed to be,
...and not this.
Happy Fourth of July weekend, everyone!
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Kindle:
or in print:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library
I am a traveler just visiting this planet and reporting various and sundry observations,
hopefully of interest to my fellow travelers.