C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Notes from the Revolution, 5/31/20

Photo by Dan Aasland, via Wikipedia

Wikipedia map of weekend protests with more than 100 participants.
Minneapolis is marked with a red circle.
You can see the interactive map and more at List of George Floyd protests.

I use that title for this post because something has got to change in America - now, for real, for ever:  a revolution of hearts and minds.

While there may be many problems and many issues to consider, the police in this country MUST be reformed immediately. Far too many times in the last ten years or so - since the advent of ubiquitous phone cameras - we have seen white policemen killing unarmed, unthreatening black civilians. And the brutal, deliberate murder of George Floyd, which has sickened every decent American and horrified the entire world - is the last straw. It MUST be the last straw - or I'm afraid the country will simply fall apart, or rather, be torn apart in a terrible way.  We can't let the haters win.

You know, when I was a little boy, my mother - a teacher who had worked with what we would now call "school resource officers" where she taught in a large urban school - used to tell me, "Don't be afraid of the police. The policeman is your friend." Who tells their children that today? And whom can you trust, if you can't trust the police? Of course there are still many good cops - but the bad ones are out of control, it seems to me. That's got to change NOW.

I certainly don't want to live in a country where any sadistic brute with a badge on his shirt can wantonly and openly kill someone, and get away with it scot-free - while his cohorts just stand around watching a man die in prolonged agony, and don't lift a finger to stop it, a scene out of a Nazi concentration camp.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THAT.  NONE.  It might be the black dude down the street today - but tomorrow, it just might be YOU. And apart from any personal considerations it is simply and unarguably wrong - EVIL - by any moral code, no ifs, ands, or buts about it: Thou shalt not kill.  Not even the extensive police power of the state extends to cold-blooded murder for no good reason.

The moral imperative to respect the dignity of human life transcends all questions of race or politics. I believe in one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL. If it's not for ALL, it's not America, and anyone who doesn't stand up for equal justice for ALL is not an American.

That's my considered opinion. And this is me, old, decrepit, and virtually housebound, doing what I can to help. You look at these videos and see what you think you can or should do about it.

CNN's Van Jones tells it like it is, plain and clear:

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter decries the "incredible insult to humanity" of George Floyd's murder:

On Saturday, Sheriff Chris Swanson in Flint, Michigan, just might have started something big when he laid down his baton and joined the protesters:

Now that's a real man.

Rep. John Lewis: Be Constructive, Not Destructive

Congressman John Lewis, 80, one of the last surviving leaders of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, released this statement yesterday on his official website:
Sixty-five years have passed, and I still remember the face of young Emmett Till.  It was 1955.  I was 15 years old — just a year older than him.  What happened that summer in Money, Mississippi, and the months that followed — the recanted accusation, the sham trial, the dreaded verdict — shocked the country to its core.  And it helped spur a series of non-violent events by everyday people who demanded better from our country.

Despite real progress, I can't help but think of young Emmett today as I watch video after video after video of unarmed Black Americans being killed, and falsely accused.  My heart breaks for these men and women, their families, and the country that let them down — again.  My fellow Americans, this is a special moment in our history.  Just as people of all faiths and no faiths, and all backgrounds, creeds, and colors banded together decades ago to fight for equality and justice in a peaceful, orderly, non-violent fashion, we must do so again.

To the rioters here in Atlanta and across the country:  I see you, and I hear you.  I know your pain, your rage, your sense of despair and hopelessness.  Justice has, indeed, been denied for far too long.  Rioting, looting, and burning is not the way.  Organize.  Demonstrate.  Sit-in.  Stand-up.  Vote.  Be constructive, not destructive.  History has proven time and again that non-violent, peaceful protest is the way to achieve the justice and equality that we all deserve.

Our work won't be easy — nothing worth having ever is — but I strongly believe, as Dr. King once said, that while the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice.

N.B.--As a young man, Rep. Lewis put his life on the line many times in the cause of non-violent protest.  He endured beatings by enraged mobs and rioters as one of the original Freedom Riders in 1961, and four years later, on what came to be called "Bloody Sunday," he received a skull fracture when truncheon-wielding police charged the peaceful protesters on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Obama: This Can't Be Normal

Former President Barack Obama released a statement on his official Twitter account today regarding the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last Monday:

Click to enlarge.

This, apparently, is the song by young Keedron Bryant that Mr. Obama was referring to:

Former Vice-President Joe Biden also called for concerted action and national reform, saying, "the soul of America is at stake":

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The Pork Boys Do Brisket

This post may not mean much to all y'all furriners up Nawth, but down here in Texas, brisket is a word that brings people running to the table from near and far:  it's the culinary equivalent of striking oil.

M.P. made a brisket dinner for us the other night and boy howdy, it was some kind of good.  I tell you what.  After marinating and seasoning, M.P. paints it with mayonnaise - I'm not making this up - on all sides, and roasts it low and slow all day long.  Then it comes out so juicy, sweet, and tender that it just melts in your mouth.  Mmm-mmm!

Brisket is the chest muscle of the cow, thick and tough; it takes a cook who really knows his stuff to make it tender.  It's only sold in large hunks, about two feet long or more, so usually Texas cooks save brisket for holiday dinners and cook-outs for a crowd.  We were in such a hurry to eat this time that we didn't get many pics of our dinner, but these will give you an idea of our tasty little feast.

First, though, here's a shot of the side porch with our gay pink petunias and assorted friends in various stages of growth or healing.  And take a look at M.P.'s lemon tree - he has grown it from an ordinary lemon seed he stuck in a pot a few years ago.  Believe it or not.

Our theme was red for this dinner, as if you couldn't guess.  

From the 6 o'clock position: Brisket and M.P.'s famous barbecue-flavored Cajun gravy to go with it; creamed sweet corn, cut fresh off the cob; spinach and cream cheese casserole with a cornbread topping; ranch beans (you ain't a Texan if you don't love ranch beans); a crescent roll and butter; and scrumptious Lyonnaise potatoes, just like M.P.'s mama used to make - also very good with gravy.

To top off a fabulous dinner, a delightful dessert:  homemade brownies topped with ice cream, caramel sauce, and a cherry.  Just right.

I hope you fellas are eating as well as we are, or at least enjoying what you do eat.  Bon appetit to you all.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Sunday Drive: Be Still, My Soul

A favorite of your Head Trucker's, sung to the tune of Finlandia:

(I know I just posted this a few weeks ago, but I like it so well, and it is so timely for this discontented world, that I wanted to play it again for you all.)

Friday, May 22, 2020

May Meals

We've been eating well as usual during this lockdown period, thanks to M.P.'s creativity, and here are some photos of recent Sunday dinners at our house.  Though frankly, we have gotten so out of sync with the world and the calendar, that lately we have been having them on any day but Sunday!

Starting from the 6 o'clock position, a luscious Cajun dinner of grillades, cheese grits, okra creole, homemade biscuit and butter.  Grillades are strips of round steak; M.P. marinated these in wine and meat tenderizer, then braised them low and slow with onions and peppers to make them perfectly tender and juicy.

M.P.'s famous, made-from-scratch Tiger Butter Cake is moist and creamy, and goes very well with a scoop of ice cream, you bet.

Another day, we had scrumptious fried chicken with glazed carrots, biscuits, and mashed potatoes and gravy.  M.P. made the chicken extra tender by marinating in buttermilk and wine with seasonings, then parboiling before frying.  Yummm.

An experiment:  stuffed baked onions.  Tasty, but we both agreed that it might have been better to stuff the tomatoes with onions instead.

Fabulous homemade cinnamon-swirl cheesecake.  What can I say?

From the 6 o'clock position:  roast pork loin under cream gravy, with bread stuffing in the center, fried Italian green beans at 10 o'clock, then a dab of pepper mayo, another homemade biscuit, sweet-potato-and-cheese casserole, and homemade fried onion rings.  Talk about good!  M.P. made a brilliant discovery:  stuffing the pork loin with bacon makes it come out perfectly moist and tender.

M.P. came across a recipe for homemade chocolate cake made with cocoa, and here is the triple-layer result.  Luscious, but a bit more than we could eat - wish I could have handed each one of you a slice.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Obama's Virtual Commencement Address

For the record, another inspiring speech from the former president, directed to the nation's high-school class of 2020:

Doing what feels good, what's convenient, what's easy -- that's how little kids think. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way -- which is why things are so screwed up. I hope that instead, you decide to ground yourself in values that last, like honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others.

Bonus:  For comedy relief, here's a couple of headlines that made me laugh out loud.

Fox Host:  Obama's "Not All That Articulate"

Trump Calls Obama "Grossly Incompetent"

Thursday, May 14, 2020

What's My Line? 12/14/52

Another world, another time.  Studly Cesar Romero is the Mystery Guest.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Friday, May 8, 2020

VE Day 75 Years On

The Daily Express (London), May 9, 1945

Among my keepsakes is a letter that my father, who spent much of the war stationed at an air base in England, wrote to his parents at the end of hostilities - just barely within living memory now.  One short sentence has always resounded in my memory:  At long last, humanity's travail is over.  What tremendous meaning is contained in those few words.

It is well that all we who have enjoyed a lifetime of relative peace and prosperity should pause to remember the enormous sacrifices made by our fathers' and mothers' generation to ensure that we their children grew up in that sunlit freedom we always just took for granted - "doing our own thing," for good or ill - and in the careless ignorance and arrogance of youth, perhaps not a little ungratefully.

The long peace of the postwar era was a good time - and in the long history of mankind, an astoundingly well-off time in general - to be alive and living in the Western world, most of the time in most places.  And alongside technological advances that have made daily life easier and more comfortable than ever before, the progress of equality, justice, and human rights has come a long, long way, despite an uphill climb.  But where do we go from here, I wonder?

The Queen will address Britain and the Commonwealth via television at 9 p.m. today, BST. I will post a video of her speech when it becomes available.  In the meantime, here are some scenes from the past and the present to help us all remember what we should never forget.

Update: Here is the Queen's address.

Never give up, never despair - that was the message
of VE Day.

Monday, May 4, 2020

How Small Our Differences

Former president George W. Bush released this timely nonpartisan message to the nation on Saturday via Twitter:

Let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat.  In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants.  We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God.  We rise or fall together - and we are determined to rise.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Strange but True

Twin brothers die in pandemics 100 years apart:

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