2015 Rose Bowl Tornado

Happy 2015 everybody.  This just in on my Thursday morning while catching up on the internet world.  I see a mini tornado-like whirlwind broke out in one of the outside lots the Rose Bowl on Dec. 31st.   NBC news reports that 4 people were injured.

Being from Wisconsin, the first thing in the video that caught my eye was the Cow.  He was so calm…..even when the sandwich board around him began flying up and hitting him in the head.  Watch him throughout the video.  If that were me, I would have torn off my costume and ran like heck for cover… but then I’m a scaredy cat not a mascot cow! 

Flash Mob Disrupts St. Louis Symphony

I came across this story online today, but not from as many websites as I thought I would.   Sometimes news that outrages the country tends to fizzle out before a resolution.  I’m not sure in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri fits that comment, but when I Google the story I don’t get a whole lot of results.  Information was received from the St. Louis Today stltoday.com website and the YouTube video posted below.  

A flash mob disrupted the St. Louis Symphony performance on Saturday, October 4, 2014.  Prior to the start of the performance after the intermission, two people stood up in the audience and began singing “Which Side Are You On”.   While approximately 50 more joined in from all points in the concert hall for a 5 minute “Requiem for Michael Brown”, YouTube shows videos of concert-goers being both mortified at what was going on as well as those who were clapping in support.

One thing that I noticed was how empty the Symphony was in St. Louis.  There were so many vacant seats, and there was more after the flash mobbers left.  

One quote from the YouTube story said, “Many of us are artists ourselves, so we were very cognizant to not interrupt the performance after it had already began,” Vega said. “But we still wanted it to be a disruption that left people with a seed of thought.”

The brief moments that the video camera pans to the orchestra makes it hard to tell what their reaction is.  The Conductor stands patiently with his hands in front of him.  The controversy from the comments I’ve read about it comes at the 1:14 min point in the video when a woman in the audience looks like she has just witnessed a beheading.  

I’m not sure how I feel about the flash mob.  Milwaukee is also dealing with as Milwaukee is also dealing with a police involved shooting death of a black man named Dontre Hamilton.  It makes you stop and think that something like this could just as well happened here too.  (Imagine what impact it would have made if it did happen in Milwaukee on Oct 4th when John Williams was at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra).  

It does make you think if their performance was significant enough to help their cause.  That’s the question that I have trouble answering because if I were in that situation, I probably would have been a little irked at their disruption.  However, I’m all for pounding the pavement and trying to make a difference.  

Watch the video below and decide for yourself.

 

 

Wicked Weather

This news story has probably been circulating around the internet the past few days.  It just caught up to me today.

In Novosibirsk, Siberia’s largest city, hail the size of golf balls pelted beach goers who were enjoying a near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degree Celsius) weather prior to the ice assault when a sudden change in the temperature dropped to about 20 C.  Seeking shelter under a tiny umbrella or towels couldn’t be much help

 

I’m a follower of Bill Nye the Science Guy so I am a believer that climate change is a serious issue that is far too often overlooked.  Freak weather occurrences like this can’t be swept under the rug.  

Then I saw another story (about Siberia again) where they found a strange hole in the ground.  It’s located far in the north in what they call the edge of the world on the Yamal Peninsula.  Experts have speculated that it could have been caused by a sink hole from an underground gas explosion or “a heap of Earth-covered ice that is found in the Arctic and subarctic, and if it was large enough, and melted, it potentially could have created a giant hole.  

How could something that size melt, without there being problems with the climate in the area?  I think people need to first agree that there is a problem and then work on how to fix it.  Pretending it isn’t a problem isn’t going to make it disappear.  

It’s not just Siberia, North America has it’s share of weather with an increase in greenhouse gasses,  radiation in the air, hurricane Sandy flooding Manhattan, polar vortex, ice floating in the great lakes into the month of June.   

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groundhog day

 

Tear of Grief

I leave one computer at work just to come home and sit in front of my own for hours on end.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this ritual as I see more than half the world wears glasses now.  I can tell when I check my email and it says I have 24 messages that it’s either been a busy day on Facebook or my friend is back online and forwarding me a ton of emails. Mostly they are jokes, political satire, occasionally dirty, religious chain letters or cute animals.

In that mess of emails, one caught my eye a few weeks ago.  It was called tear drop and inside was a link to a slide show called Russia_Honor_US911.  After watching it, I was completely dumbfounded, flabbergasted, taken aback.  I was completely clueless, in the dark.  In other words I had no idea that Russia had designed and given the United States a memorial for the September 11th terror attacks.  I actually was a little embarrassed that I could call myself a person who is current with Russian events and didn’t know, but no one talks about it.  I’m pretty sure I would have remembered it on the news, even five years ago.  Think about the gesture of the Russian Federation and then how a lot of the views of the relations between our countries are skewed by the media.  It’s kind of ironic that we criticize Russia’s version of democracy and control over the media, yet look what our news outlets did in failing to cover this story.  It’s not much different if you ask me.  It’s all selective news.  It’s only important if THEY want you to know about it.    I’d appreciate you taking just 14 minutes out of your life to watch the presentation below.

 

It also isn’t said very often that President Putin was the first person to call President Bush.  (This is a good informational link because it tells you what happened and then puts the source of the information after. http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?day_of_9/11=bush&timeline=complete_911_timeline )

While not related to the memorial video I want you to watch above, and I realize this is a late post for the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, it was one of my generation’s “where were you and what were you doing moment.”  Such as “Where were you when the space shuttle Challenger exploded?” Sick in bed, coloring and watching the news. or “Where were you when the first war with Sadaam Hussein started?” In a gun store with my dad.  So now, “Where were you on 9/11 (or as Alan Jackson’s put it…when the world stopped turning on that September day)?”

I was working on my first college degree as a paralegal in 2001.  For some reason that I vaguely remember as my instructor cancelling class due to a personal obligation relating to his own law practice, I had the day off.  I was catching up on some much needed rest until, in my twilight, I could hear my mom grab hold of the railing and came barreling up the stairs.  I remember rolling over, irritated- ready to tell her to leave me along and that I hadn’t overslept for school.

“New York is under attack!” she said.  Changing my perception of what she could possibly want from me so early in the morning, I mumbled that it was too early for a baseball game.  Clearly my priorities were shifted to baseball.

I didn’t see any of the planes hit either towers in real time.  I didn’t know what to make of it.  I didn’t cry, but I was scared. The tears came weeks later.  I remember seeing it that day, but hadn’t again on any other footage montage.  Mayor Rudy Gulianni was out in the streets with a large group of people behind him and gathering more as he went along and did his best to lead them to safety.  I myself, didn’t feel safe until later that night when I saw President Bush address the nation from the Oval Office.  It was reported that Bush 41 was actually stuck in Milwaukee when all the planes were grounded (as told to Larry King by Barbara Bush http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0310/25/lkl.00.html). Our family tried to be prepared for whatever might happen next.  We each went to the bank and withdrew a modest amount of money, purchased extra bottled water, as well as went to fill up our cars with gas.  That would prove smart as prices jumped over $6 later that day until stations were fined for doing so and had to re-standardize the prices.  Walmart remained open so I went to work, but all I did was stand in the electronics department watching the TV’s.  No one was really shopping.  Major League baseball shut down so I didn’t have to go to my job there.

This year the National Geographic cable channel had a show on called George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview, a world premiere documentary that reveals exclusive, first-person insight into the former president’s experience following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  I sat with my family to watch it.  I’m glad the living room lights were off because I couldn’t stop crying though most of the show.  I wasn’t sobbing, but I couldn’t hold back the tears from rolling down my cheeks.   Maybe it was because I had heard pieces of his story before, about being woken up in the middle of the night and rushing to safety in the White House with Barney in his arms, or thinking about the hundreds of photos of the President at ground zero with grief stricken family members, where he had to be strong while the rest of us cried.

11/11/11

11-11-11 and then add “On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in Great War”, makes this year’s Veterans’ Day is one of those rare numerical calendar dates where all kinds of people expect cosmic changes both good and bad. I just wanted to reflect on the time when I lived in Washington DC in 2006, I took advantage of my surroundings to celebrate Veterans Day, provide some pictures as a remembrance and to give a few details on the specifications of the memorials. (And in a place like the nation’s capital…. How could you not!) It was a weekend so I was off of work. I headed out with my camera, back pack and a good pair of walking shoes.

   

I started out first at what I knew would be the emotionally hardest memorial and that was the Vietnam Wall. They had a stage set up for an array of oratories by veterans and family members. If you have ever been there before you know that the wall is sort of sunken into the ground so it appears in some of the pictures below that people are actually standing on the top of the wall, but it is actually flat ground. “Inscribed in the wall are the names of more than 58,000 men and women who were killed in the Vietnam War or who are still missing in action. A diamond next to the name indicates the person was killed, a cross indicates the person is missing. If a body is identified, the cross is circled.”

Not too far away is the memorial for Korea. This has 19 lifelike American soldiers making their way through the rough terrain of Korea. The statues stand about 7 feet tall & represent various branches of the armed forces including 14 Army personnel, 3 Marines, 1 Navy, and 1 Air Force; & represent an ethnic cross section of 14 Caucasians, 3 African-Americas, 2 Hispanics, 1 Oriental, and 1 Native American. Their wall is different from the Vietnam wall because instead of names there are faces etched in the marble. Designed from 15,000 photographs of various aspects of the war, surgeons, nurses, chaplains, and stretcher bearers looking forward into the eyes of the statues, crews building bridges, airfield construction, supply centers, radio communications officers, reporters and even canine corps.

From what I see, the WWII memorial is the most popular. It is by far the largest and has a variety of eye catching features such as the fountains, stone wreaths, stone etched quotes, and of course the 4,043 gold stars, with one star for each 100 soldiers who died.

I would have liked to have been at Arlington Cemetery for the President’s wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I did visit the site later on in the day. They were changing the wreaths on nearly an hourly basis.

More profitable than people in station wagons making s’mores

 

Last weekend, my sister rented the 2010 movie Yogi Bear from Red Box.  I had almost forgotten that I had wanted to see it because I very rarely keep up on movies in the theater.  I’m so glad she remembered!  I absolutely loved it!  I watched it twice and bought my own personal copy.  It was so funny and I just wanted to bear-hug Yogi and Boo Boo.

I’m not here to write a movie review or spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it.  The story line in Yogi Bear is that Mayor Brown realizes that the city is in financial crisis and on the verge of bankruptcy.  He wants to run for Governor and know he wouldn’t have a chance at winning the election if the city was in ruins.  Reports had shown that Jellystone Park has been losing business, so greedy Mayor Brown decides to shut it down and sell the land to logging and developers in order to get money.  That way he’d balance the budget AND give each citizen a big fat check for $1,000.  

“I’m working on my people skills,” he says as he walks up to Ranger Smith and says point blank that he is shutting Jellystone down.  Then he whips out a book to point to the city ordinance that he was allowed to do it.  How crude.  No thought of the impact on people.  He was just going to do it to save money. 

Mayor Brown (played by Andrew Daly) reminded me so much of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during the movie.  He was one of those slick politicians who tries to be everything to everyone when the time is right.  He turned friends against each other.  

You would just have to see it and live here with it to really understand it.

If you’ve been keeping up on Wisconsin politics (and we’ve made national news since the beginning of the year), Scott Walker is so determined to pass his budget repair bill in the form that he and HIS (not mine) Republicans presented it that he has been showing signs of character flaws and poor judgment.  I understand that he wants to balance the budget and get Wisconsin out of debt.  He’s flip flopped on whether removing a Union’s “right” to collective bargaining is fiscal or not.  Originally it was, so it couldn’t be voted on without the Democrats (who vacationed in Illinois for a while) present.  Then he decided money was not involved and the Republicans voted themselves to pass it.  Changing rules to fit his needs.  Then Walker takes a phone call from an imposter investor and schemes on how he can thwart the crowds of protestors outside the Capitol. 

The whole Walker-Budget-Unions situation makes me so mad. It’s turned me off of the Republican party for one thing.  in the past, was I blind to the type of shenanagans and bogus tactics thay use or have I just started paying closer attention.  I really liked Scott Walker before, but I had no idea he was going to do this when I was elected.  I have my picture taken with him, and I helped him campaign for Governor the first time he lost.  His mother even made cookies and brought them in to the campaign office while I was stuffing envelopes. 

Well I can’t blame it all on Scott Walker.  when John McCain was running for president and he chose that dim-wit Sarah Palin, that’s when I started stepping back and slinking away from the Republicans.  I didn’t want to be associated with that.  I put my membership card in a drawer for another day when I can be proud to carry it.  I feel that I’ll use it one day….. I hope.

I’ve gotten way of track at this point.  I think it’s time to watch Yogi Bear again.   And, just as a side note, when I was a little kid I always wanted to work for the Department of Natural Resources and be a park ranger.