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!
...Continued from yesterday:
By the time my mother's first birthday party of Dunkin' Donuts and cake in the church hall was over (See yesterday's post) it was nearly lunch time. As soon as we arrived back home my mom, who is known far and wide for her prodigious sweet tooth, declared, probably for the first time in her 99 years, "Now I need something that isn't sweet."
I - who also share my mother's voracious love of sweets - seconded the motion, as did Tom. So I suggested we order a pizza from Pizza King, my mom's go-to spot for breakfast, and which appears to be renowned for just about every dish other than pizza.
However a couple of nights previous when we went out to P.K.'s - as the place is locally known - for dinner, I tried ordering a small cheese pizza.
I swear, if it wasn't the best pizza I've ever had, it was tied for first place.
Thus I suggested we order a take-out P.K.'s cheese pizza for lunch.
Was it every bit as good as the pizza I'd had the other night?
When the time rolled around for my mom' second party of the day - a family dinner at the Stargate Diner - my mom was ready to go,
...as were the rest of us.
When we arrived at the Stargate most of our attendant family members, who'd traveled from near and far, and a few friends were already there and catching up,
My brothers and me,
...and our spouses,
My sister Romaine couldn't make it for the party as she had made plans months ago to fly out from Oregon to visit my mother a little later over the summer.
And though my mother's 99th birthday celebration was conceived without much advance notice (see yesterday's post), still as many of my mother's five children, nineteen grandchildren (one of my brothers and his wife hold first place with their ten children), and twelve (I think) great-grandchildren came as were able.
Before dinner my brother gave a funny but affectionate testimonial to our mother,
...who followed with an emotional testimonial to the rest of us.
After dinner we had a yummy carrot cake provided by the restaurant,
...and a beautiful buttercream cake that one of my sisters-in-law brought,
...a fitting end to a day celebrating a beautiful life.
During my recent trip to Seaford, Delaware over Memorial Day weekend to visit my mother (see post from 6/11/2019, "Portraits Of My Mother And Other Subjects) I heard not a word of any parties being thrown in honor of her approaching 99th birthday on June 24.
Nor was I expecting to. After all, it had been nine years since my mother's last birthday party, when she invited 200 of her closest friends - I'm serious - to a big bash we threw for her in the Seaford fire station hall.
But now she was nine years older and, really, how many people would want or could even handle a big party for their 99th birthday?
As it turned out, at least one.
I knew my brother and sister-in-law had been planning to take my mom and two of her friends out to dinner at a nice restaurant for her birthday.
I'm not sure how my sister-in-law, devoted daughter-in-law that she is, managed - after scrapping the nice birthday dinner idea - to whisk together the planning and details, but one week before her birthday I learned from my mother that there was to be not one, but two parties in honor of her 99th birthday:
"I sure wish you could be here for my birthday," said my mother after telling me the news about her parties that would take place the following week.
Tom and I had just made the 10-hour drive from Columbus to Seaford three weeks earlier.
But how do you deny your 99-year-old mother when she asks you to come for her birthday?
So on Friday, June 21, Tom and I were on the road again to Seaford, Delaware.
When we arrived my mother was, as always, so glad to see us and, as always, she looked wonderful,
...and her cats looked as chill as ever.
...and the neighbor's cat, who just likes to hang out with the other cats.
We spent an enjoyable weekend sampling the cuisine of the Seaford diner scene,
On a few occasions while we were out and about we ran into folks that my mother knew and she shared that Tom and I were in town for her 100th birthday.
At one point I reminded her that it was her 99th birthday.
"Oh, well," she replied, "I figure this one will be as close to 100 as I'll get, so I'm calling it my 100th."
Fair enough, thought I.
On the morning of June 24th, my mother's 99th - or 100th - birthday, some of my mom's church friends, my sister-in-law Theresa, and myself set up the church hall while my mother attended 9:00 am mass in the church.
The refreshments were simple - and sweet: Dunkin' Donuts,
Around 10:00 am the guests began arriving,
...and soon thereafter the birthday girl arrived.
...and the party was in full swing.
After my mom blew out her candles and, I presume, made a wish,
...she gave a little speech, thanking everyone for coming.
She received many good wishes,
...and lots of love,
...which, at 99 years old, is surely all you need.
To be continued...
During the first of the Democratic debates this past Wednesday night my son Tommy and I were texting back and forth. At one point Tommy asked me if, as he hadn't been around for as many elections as I had, did I think this was an exceptionally strong batch of candidates?
Did I ever.
In truth, I can remember past elections - I'd say most past elections of my life - listening to candidates and thirsting for some solid ideas and concrete plans instead of the same round of slogans, inspirational pablum and promises offered without foundation upon which they'd be carried out.
The Democratic debates of the past two nights are the first time I've ever heard so many candidates offering such specific policies and plans on all the big issues - health care, climate change, immigration, human rights, foreign relations - along with sounding so capable and potentially presidential.
In fact, having watched both debates and listened to all twenty candidates, my problem now is that that I liked so many of them so much.
By the end of the second debate last night I found myself wishing that we could have ten presidents. Or at least five.
I'm kidding. My point is that, in choosing one, I'd hate to leave others behind.
I loved that, when all the candidates started talking at once she broke it up, putting up her hands and saying, "Hey, guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight. They want to know how we're going to put food on their table." I loved the urgency and the specifics in her plan for what she would do if elected on her first day in office about the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.
...who was so brilliant, so on point on every issue, so articulate, so decent, so likeable, so unflappably calm, and who so rightly called out Republican hypocrisy when he said, "For a party that associates itself with Christianity to say that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language again."
It occurred to me that if Gabbard doesn't win the Democratic nomination for President, she'd make a kick-butt Secretary of State.
And whoever wins the Democratic nomination, if they win the Presidency,
And if I didn't come away from the first Democratic debates knowing which person was my first choice, I did come away with feelings of optimism, excitement, and hope.
And through my mind keeps running the line from a song from "West Side Story":
The air is hummin'
And something great is commin'.
Here’s the plot line:
The United States is on the brink of war with Iran. In fact, war is mere minutes away as U.S. bombers speed through the sky on their way to strike ground targets in that country.
Flash back to several days previous:
An American drone spy plane has been shot down by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, who claim they caught the drone flying in Iranian air space, though the Americans swear their drone was flying fairly and squarely over international air space. In the most secret American military circles there is conjecture – which is subsequently leaked to the public – that the American drone might possibly have nosed over the line into Iranian air space. It’s not completely clear.
But the American drone was struck down anyway by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, this after some American officials had been publicly making fun of Iran’s military capabilities. Now the Iranians are celebrating and declaring a military victory over the United States,
At this time the United State is a hyperkinetic nation that watches too much TV and internet and has subsequently elected as President a former reality TV star,
Caving to the urging of the war-mongers, the crazy President ignores the counsel of his generals for caution and blows off Congress, whose members are in serious deliberation over the incident, and sends a squadron of bombers on their way to Iran and, potentially, World War III.
Flash back further to the back story.
The fuse that is now being shortened by the second by the American bombers was lit a year earlier by the American President, whose experience with international diplomacy - as well as every other aspect of governance - was zip before he was elected to the most powerful position on the planet.
A year earlier Iran and the United States had been more of less peacefully co-existing thanks to a nuclear arms treaty brokered by the crazy President’s predecessor.
The crazy President, however, smashed the treaty and pressed harsh economic sanctions on Iran that decimated the country’s economy and thrust the Iranian people into a state of hardship and misery.
...were of the persuasion that this plan of making Iran suffer – which the President named Maximum Pressure, as all political power plays need a slogan to gain traction with the public – would bring Iran to its knees while stirring up patriotism among Americans by giving them another enemy to hate.
But why Iran?
Well, why not Iran?
However, Operation Maximum Pressure did not yield the desired outcome and a year after its inception the only result was that now Iranians hated Americans, and at it appeared that at least some of them were bent on laying some economic damage on the Americans by choking off the oil supply from the Middle East to the West.
Subsequently, in the weeks before the drone incident mysterious mine explosions crippled half-a-dozen international oil tankers as they carried their cargo through the Gulf of Oman.
It was a pretty sure bet that mines were planted on the tankers by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, but Iran staunchly denied this, and so it wasn’t completely clear who mined the tankers, but it was making the crazy American President crazier and ramping up tensions and hostility between the United States and Iran.
Then the unshootable American drone spy plane was shot down.
Iran claimed responsibility for the strike and the Iranian populace cheered but behind the scenes intelligence leaked that the missile strike was in fact not ordered by the Iranian national leaders, who likely only wanted to harass the United States, not start a war, and who were furious at the Revolutionary Guard commander who made the decision to shoot down the American drone.
The crazy American President, it turned out, also wasn’t so crazy that he wanted to have to deal with waging a real war either, especially since he’d been promising his adoring fan base all along that he’d make the U.S. so powerful and feared on the world stage that we’d never actually have to go to war anymore.
But the warmongers got pushy and the President, who wasn’t really as tough as he always pretended to be, caved and now the planet was ten minutes away from the opening volleys of what could proliferate into an Armageddon of human suffering.
Miraculously, the President’s ear is grabbed at the eleventh-and-a-half hour by a political newscaster who is the voice of the President’s base,
....and who warns the President that if he pulls the U.S. into this war his base will balk and he’ll never be re-elected, no matter how crazy he acts going forward.
As it turns out, the President is less afraid of his war-mongering advisors than he is of losing the next election and, offering the inscrutable excuse that he just learned that up to 150 Iranians would likely die in the initial attack and he doesn't want to cause that kind of death over a $131 million drone, has the mission aborted and the bombers called back with ten minutes to spare.
There is much relief in America and in Iran, too, especially among the ruling officials there. In America a bad war can cause a President to lose an election, but in Iran a bad war can cause a President to lose his head.
Thus the President can now not only boast to his base that he has prevented a world war, but this made-for-TV President has presided over a dramatic, adrenalin-pumping move worthy of a made-for-TV docu-drama.
Which this episode in American history may well be made into. Likely a very dark comedy.
“Why Tanker Blasts in the Gulf of Oman Have Put the World on Edge,” David D. Kiripatrick, The New York Times, June 14, 2019
“Downing Drone was ‘Big Mistake’ by Iran, says U.S.,” Michael Shear and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, The New York Times, June 21, 2019
“Pompeo, Steadfast Hawk, Coaxes a Hesitant President on Iran,” Edward Wong and Michael Crowley, The New York Times, , June 23, 2019
“Swipe at U.S. Kindles Bravado in Tehran,” Farnaz Fassihi and David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, June 23, 2019
Last weekend was Pride weekend in Columbus, Ohio, the main events being the Pride Festival on Friday evening and the Pride Parade on Saturday morning.
Now, I'd never before been to an LGBTQ Pride event before,
And at our house we do represent every day.
But one of my friends mentioned that she and her husband were thinking about going to the Friday night Pride Festival in downtown Columbus, so I suggested that Tom and I join them and that we all go to Pride, as the weekend events are collectively referred to, together.
So we did.
We parked in the garage across the street from the park known as the Columbus Commons, where there was held that same night an outdoor performance of the Columbus Pops,
...then we walked a couple of blocks to the entrance of the Pride Festival,
...which was set up along and across the Scioto River:
In Bicentennial Park,
...all of which locations offered some splendid panoramas of downtown Columbus,
...along with the splendid, rainbow-hued panorama of the festival itself.
There were many dozens of commercial booths,
...and public service booths.
Tom got into a conversation with the friendly youngsters from the Louisville, Kentucky public relations booth.
Many businesses were also present, showing support for the LBGTQ community.
There were also food booths,
...some with quite artfully-done displays.
We opted for some Caribbean food,
...Tom ordering the BBQ Bites over vegetables and rice,
...and the rest of us going with chicken over veggies and rice - huge portions -
...which we ate on a cozy spot on a nearby wall,
After dinner we caught a couple of the musical shows.
There was a review of Tina Turner impersonators.
They were quite good and very entertaining.
We also watched a couple of the singers and dancers on the River Stage.
Then we strolled around,enjoying the beautiful June evening,
...and at the same time proud to be part of this crowd, in this place,
...where everyone was accepted,
...and welcome to be themselves,
I ran into Christian as I was having a look around at the wares of the other vendors at this year's first Second Saturday Arts in the Alley and I affirmed that yes, it was true, I was in fact trying something visual this time.
The thing is, I'd participated in last summer's Arts in the Alley events, which were held on the first Fridays of July , August, and September,
...selling my book.
Hence I sold my book,
This year I figured that anybody in Gahanna, Ohio who wanted my book would surely already have it by now.
And so I decided to take a fling at selling some of my photographs; specifically some of the photos that I took during two hikes with my hubby Tom, the first in 2013 and the second in 2015, along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
I felt that most of the photos, vast landscapes, required a big print medium not fenced in by a frame.
I chose ten photos and had them made into 12"x16" unframed canvases and I had four of the ten also blown up into 16"x20" canvases.
In truth I would like to have made the canvases even bigger, but I feared that no one would buy a bigger canvas. In fact I feared that no one would buy the smaller canvases I'd had made, either. It turned out that my fears were not unfounded.
But this I did not yet know as, with the the help of my loyal mate, I began preparing for my first public showing of my visual art, such as it was.
Next came figuring out a display plan.
Books need only a table for display.
But canvases need a stand of some sort.
But those display stands are expensive. And there was no guarantee that I'd sell enough photos - or any at all - to justify spending hundreds on a beautiful art display stand.
And so I gerrymandered together several art display stands from the following objects:
- a slatted room divider that I bought twenty-five years ago from a friend who needed to sell some of her things to make some money;
- another room divider I bought from a thrift store then covered with brown contact paper;
- a plastic thrift-store clothes rack upon which I hung a piece of peg board;
- a re-purposed baby gate I once bought to keep our house bunny from getting out of the family room.
The result was mayhaps not beautiful, but I figured it would work okay, at least for a start.
I also made a few smaller 8"x10" prints that I framed.
On the afternoon of the first Second Saturday Arts in the Alley, June 8, Tom and I schlepped over to the alley and joined the other artists and artisans setting up at their designated spots.
While we were setting up we noticed that the wind was picking up. Tom worried that the wind might blow down my displays so he ran back home and procured some bags of fertilizer that he wrapped in plastic bags to hold down my displays.
The effect was in truth not the most esthetic.
But I figured it was what it was, and at least I had a secure little art gallery that people might step into and look around without having the art fall on them.
I had decided to present my photos as a series that I called "The Pilgrim's Progress," and I wrote up a program explaining the provenance of the photos:
The Pilgrim’s Progress
For a thousand years pilgrims from all over the world have been walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, some as a spiritual journey, some as a penance, some as an adventure.
People begin their pilgrimage from many points and there are many Camino routes through France, Spain, and Portugal, but all routes lead to Santiago, Spain and the great Cathedral of St. James, where the Camino ends and other journeys may begin.
Thus the scallop shell, with its many rays ending in one point, is the symbol of the Camino.
“The Pilgrim’s Progress” is a photographic chronicle of two pilgrimages walked in 2013 and 2015 along the 497-mile Camino Frances, the ancient, most historical, and most-walked of the Camino routes.
On display are a few of the hundreds of photographs in the series.
I tagged each photo in the series with a number and a description. I priced the 12"x16" canvases at $50, the 16"x20" at $100,
...and the the 8"x10" prints at $25. ( And I decided to set up a few books, too,after all).
To my initial delight, most of the people who passed my booth stopped for a look and many folks came into my tent and made the round of my little art gallery, asking questions about the pictures and the Camino. I received many compliments on my photographs. Some people stayed at my booth looking and talking for quite a while.
Looking and talking, but, alas, not buying. I sold not one photo or book, except to a friend who came by and bought the smaller of the canvas prints of the colorful autumn field.
As for the rest,
...loaded it into the car,
"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.