Saturday, November 30, 2019

Pic of the Day

Moment of Zen: My Birthday

Happy Birthday to me! Susan and I will spend the afternoon watching the Auburn v. Alabama game then head over to Coppola’s, a fabulous Italian restaurant, for dinner.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Pic of the Day

John Rhys Plumlee

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

As I said yesterday, Susan and I had Thanksgiving dinner at Il Mulino. We started out with a cheese and meat tray and had Caesar salads, thankfully with Boston lettuce and not romaine. It was really delicious. Next they brought out the main course: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce. Then for dessert we had pumpkin cheesecake. All of it was quite delicious. The only thing that I thought could have been better was the dressing. I prefer cornbread dressing not regular bread dressing. But overall, it was sublime.

We had a relaxing afternoon before heading out to find dinner. We didn’t plan particularly well, and many places were not open. We finally settled for a Sicilian restaurant called Norma’s. We did not like this place. While the salad was good, the lasagna we both ordered was leas than impressive. In fact we could barely eat it.  I’m guessing the noodles were handmade and overcooked. They were mushy and not al dente. The ragu was cheap tasting and the Italian sausage was nonexistent. To make matters worse, the cheese was substituted with bechamel. Overall, it was 15 thin layers of mush and the tomato sauce tasted canned. We gave up trying to eat it. It was just ridiculous, so we left and got ice cream: caramel and waffle cone for me and Cherry Garcia for Susan.

Then we went back to my hotel room to watch the Egg Bowl. For those of you not familiar with the Egg Bowl, it is the annual rivalry football game between Mississippi and Mississippi State. I was pulling for Ole Miss because their quarterback, John Rhys Plumlee is incredibly sexy. Ole Miss lost.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Pic of the Day

Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday, I just posted pictures, but I wanted to explain them today and tell you what all Susan and I did. We started the day going to the 9/11 Memorial and the Freedom Tower. The Freedom Tower is amazing as is the 9/11 Memorial. They have to be seen to believe. It’s very emotional, especially seeing all the names of those who died. We also went to the observatory of the Freedom Tower. The views are beyond spectacular, though it’s very crowded.

We left the 9/11 Memorial and went to the Stonewall Inn. We saw the monuments in Sheridan Park and then headed across the street to the Stonewall Inn. It’s such an iconic place and it too is quite emotional because it’s where our fight for rights began. I’ll be honest, inside looks like every other gay bar I’ve ever been in. To be a people who are so artistic, there is little imagination that goes into gay bars. Gay nightclubs are a bit different, but not the bars. While there we walked down to Gay Street. How appropriate that there is a Joe Coffee on Gay Street!

Tuesday night, we headed to Broadway to see Chicago. I cannot express how much I loved seeing it. It was fabulous in my opinion. There is one actor in it named Gary Cooper. OMG, one of the most perfect men I have ever seen. If you’ve only seen the movie and not the live version, you are missing a few key things. It’s well worth seeing. After the play, we walked down away from the theater to get a taxi and walked passed Radio City Music Hall. As you can tell from the picture, it was all lit up.

Today for Thanksgiving, Susan and I are having a Thanksgiving dinner at Il Mulino. The menu looks delicious. This will be the first time I’ve ever been to a restaurant for Thanksgiving, but it should make the day more special and relaxing. Afterwards, we may go see St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It should be another really nice day.


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Pic of the Day

Union Square

Union Square

With the man I love who loves me not, 
I walked in the street-lamps' flare; 
We watched the world go home that night 
In a flood through Union Square. 

I leaned to catch the words he said 
That were light as a snowflake falling; 
Ah well that he never leaned to hear 
The words my heart was calling. 

And on we walked and on we walked 
Past the fiery lights of the picture shows — 
Where the girls with thirsty eyes go by 
On the errand each man knows. 

And on we walked and on we walked, 
At the door at last we said good-bye; 
I knew by his smile he had not heard 
My heart's unuttered cry. 

With the man I love who loves me not 
I walked in the street-lamps' flare — 
But oh, the girls who ask for love 
In the lights of Union Square. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Pic of the Day

The Train

I made it to New York City and got settled into my hotel room. I’ll be here until next Monday. I took the train down. It takes a while, but at least I don’t have to drive. It’s about a seven hour trip. I don’t mind the train. It’s relatively comfortable. It’s easy to get up and walk around. My only complaint about trains is the motion of them rocking back and forth. I usually get a little motion sick. This trip went pretty well though. It started with heavy snow in Vermont which turned to rain the further south we went. Eventually, the rain stopped and it was pretty nice in New York City. Now I get to spend a week with my friend Susan.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Pic of the Day

It’s a Sad Day

Some of you may have heard on the news that an Alabama sheriff was shot and killed last night. “Big John” Williams was not just any sheriff, he had been my sheriff. My mother called me just before the news broke. He was murdered not 200 yards from where my grandparents used to live and maybe 500 yards from where I used to live. According to my mother, Big John had been called to the QV gas station about a disturbance of the peace. An 18 year old white man was playing his music too loudly, and the gas station personnel or someone at the station had complained. Big John answered the call. When he asked the guy to turn down his music, the guy pulled a gun on him and shot him to death, probably because he didn’t like a black man telling him what to do. William Chase Johnson, the suspect, is currently in custody. If he lives to see trial, and I’m not betting on that, Johnson will receive the death penalty. I know the judge, I taught her children. He’ll never see freedom again.

Lowndes County, Alabama is a radially divided county in Alabama’s Black Belt. However, Big John had always worked to make race relations better when many of the politicians in the county had worked to further the divide. He would sometimes be the only black man at events at the private school in the county, though there was one black family who had children there, so I guess he wasn’t always the only black face. Big John never seemed to see color. He treated everyone with equality and respect. He was much loved because of it. My Facebook this morning was full of tributes from the people I am friends with in the county.

Big John had spent his life serving others. First, as a US Marine, then, as a police officer and sheriff’s deputy and finally, as the sheriff. I’d known him for years as he was good friends with my mom’s parents. When my grandfather died, Big John personally led the funeral procession and did the same for my grandmother when she died. Normally, deputies do that. But Big John was special. After my grandfather died, he would come by and check on my grandmother regularly. He made sure that regular patrols went by her house and that she was safe. I can’t stress what a good man he was.

My prayers go out to his family, his friends, the law enforcement and Lowndes County communities that he served. When I grew up in Butler County, we’d always had corrupt sheriffs. Lowndes County has their fair share too, but Big John was incorruptible. He was universally admired. There will probably be no one else like him ever.

Lost Its Flavor

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (KJV) ( Matthew 5:13 ) 

Salt is used as a preservative to keep food fresh longer. Once it loses its usefulness the salt will get tossed out with yesterday's trash. It's difficult to imagine how salt loses its saltiness but in the context of a Christian, it's easy to see how a Christian loses their flavor. When Christians try to blend in with the world we give away the essence of a Christian. Let's do our best to keep our flavor! 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Pic of the Day


So far, the injection I took for my headaches is not working very well. I’ve had a headache almost every day this month. I had one yesterday and had to come home from work. I’m going to assess how I feel this morning and if I still have a headache, I’m calling in sick. I’m not discouraged yet. The doctor said it could take a month or two before it kicks in. The good news is that the insurance finally agreed to pay for my Migranal. Instead of costing $1900, it will only cost $10.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Pic of the Day


My life seems to be full of hurry up and wait. Whether it’s work or my personal life, it seems that I either have a lot going on or nothing at all. Right now not much is going on at work or in my personal life. Next week is probably going to be a bit different. I’m heading to visit a very good friend in New York City, or as she would point out, I’m going to spend the week in Manhattan. We have a few things planned, which I’ll talk about next week, but it’s mostly about being with my friend. So while I might be bored this week, I won’t be next week.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Pic of the Day

O Me! O Life!

O Me! O Life!

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

Source: Leaves of Grass (1892)

Monday, November 18, 2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Pic of the Day

Stay Calm

The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. (KJV) ( Exodus 14:14 ) 

When you find yourself full of despair and hopelessness, look to God.  When everyone around you says it can't be done, it's not worth your energy, or you have too much to lose; Do not allow your obstacle to appear larger than what God can handle. Remember God is greater than the obstacle at hand.  Have faith in Him and He will fight the battle for you. 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Pic of the Day

Day Two

We made good time getting to Boston yesterday, and basically the day was uneventful, which is good. We got to Boston and set up the museum exhibit and waited for people to show up. A few did. Once people started trickling in, there was always at least one visitor in the museum, but not a whole lot of people showed up. And those who did were not really interested in our exhibit but the exhibits of the museum we were in. I’m not sure how today will go. I’m pretty sure we will have lunch at Union Oyster House. One of our alumni owns it, but I sincerely doubt he will comp our meal. He’s a nice guy but I’m sure he feels he didn’t get where he is by giving away free meals.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pic of the Day


Today I leave for Boston. I’ll be there until Sunday. This is the last stop for our traveling exhibit and the last of the bicentennial galas that we’ll be attending. Originally, I was supposed to go to San Francisco for the final gala in January, but the powers that be have so poorly managed the finances for these galas that they can’t afford to have me or the exhibit there. I don’t understand how they are getting away with losing over $100K per gala, but they are. I don’t think they know what they are doing. Anyway, my boss and I are going down today to set up the exhibit early in Faneuil Hall for today and tomorrow before we transport it over to our hotel where we will set it up for Saturday night. I really dread this trip not only because my boss is a cheap ass, but because all of the galas have basically been disasters behind the scenes, even though they seem to go off without a hitch. Thank God, it’s the last one.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pic of the Day


The first major snowfall of the season began yesterday afternoon. I’m not sure I’m ready for it. I like snow beat when I don’t have to go anywhere, but today, I’ll have to go to work. Hopefully, they will plow my parking lot before I get ready to go. I doubt that will happen since my landlord isn’t the best at thinking ahead or thinking at all for that matter. Anyway, without a doubt, this means I’ll have to go out and get all the snow off my car before I can head to work. Honestly, the fear of the parking lot not being plowed and having to get the snow off my car are really the two major things I hate about winter. I usually don’t mind the cold as long as I don’t have to be in it for long periods of time.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Pic of the Day

Veterans Day

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:

Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.

As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.

It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:

"I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.

A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

"The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Pic of the Day

Sing for Joy

The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. (KJV) ( Job 29:13 ) 

It's so easy to get consumed with our world and we often overlook other people. But we feel such encouragement when someone we admire takes an interest in us. Believe it or not, you are very powerful as well. You have the ability to make other peoples' hearts sing and flutter, especially to those without hope.