Crowded, Angry, and Dangerous.

7.5bn people today; 9.8bn in 2050 ; 11.2bn in 2100. Time for governments to have a Population Policy because Population Matters.

Anyone who doesn’t think this is at the heart of poverty, crime, revolution, terrorism and war is not paying attention. The US is not exempt from the phenomenon just protected temporarily by its national wealth & power.

Even more, human beings are now the primary cause of environmental destruction, and species extinction. U.S. Report Says Humans Cause Climate Change, Contradicting Top Trump Officials

“This new report simply confirms what we already knew. Human-caused climate change isn’t just a theory, it’s reality,” said Michael E. Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University. “Whether we’re talking about unprecedented heat waves, increasingly destructive hurricanes, epic drought and inundation of our coastal cities, the impacts of climate change are no longer subtle. They are upon us. That’s the consensus of our best scientists, as laid bare by this latest report.”

Which brings us back to the top. As Climate Change occurs, it impacts the availability of resources and the destruction caused by more and more human beings. We as a species either decrease voluntarily or it will happen tragically and it will be the future generations who pay for our irresponsibility and greed.

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Dona Nobis Pacem 2017 – Get Involved

This is going to be a rather musical Peace Blog entry as I’ve been doing it now for more than a decade, and needed a new idea of two.  Albert Einstein provided the quote.  One very brave totally involved lady eagle kept her newest brood safe from a completely unexpected DC snowstorm.  During the worst of it, her mate lay on top of her to shield them all.  Sometimes we all need to accept the assistance of others to weather the worst of life’s events.  When it comes to peace, get involved.

Each year Queen Mimi of Bloggingham Castle requests an encore from The Bear A Tones.  When her majesty makes a decree for Dona Nobis Pacem, this wonderful Colorado Bob creation must appear.

On Broadway there is a great show Come From Away.  If you can get to New York while it is still playing do so.  If not get the album.  It tells the story of the planes that were grounded in Nova Scotia due to the 9/11 attack, the passengers from all over the world who were stranded together and the amazing Canadians who welcomed and cared for them.  Which brings us once more to the “when feeling overwhelmed, get involved” theme.  It is a funny, thoughtful, both sad and joyous show.  In the middle of it, several people are seeking peace and they find it in old hymns and remembered songs of their various faiths with a prayer for peace.  Today let’s sing that prayer together.

 

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Then It Happened

With the release today of Kennedy Assassination documents, here is a reminder of the past in that period from the Cuban embargo to the Kennedy assassination and the feelings at the time: Starting Out was a memory from 1978. Today it became a whole lot closer.

A child was born in February of 1963. Approximately 15 years later, a teacher gave him the assignment to write about the year he was born. Since he wasn’t, as yet, confidant enough to tackle a creative exposition completely on his own, he sought his mother’s assistance. After a little enforced research, he came home with, “I have an idea”. He and his mother sat down together to do an interview and then have him write about the year plus one month from October 1962 to November 1963. Starting Out was the result.

STARTING OUT

Had she or hadn’t she? Sleeping pills, yes, but what? Thalidomide – the name haunted her and every other pregnant woman in 1962. Those babies! – Her baby? She was scared and would stay that way until next year.

El Camino Real – beautiful as only Northern California can be in the October sun. The radio blared away with the Four Seasons’ “Sherry”. They were young, a baby on the way, and happy – at least on this day. The President interrupted the music, “Today I have ordered a blockade of Cuba!” Suddenly their bright world was dark. They waited. The world waited. Six days later the Russian ships turned around and the sun came out again, but for how long?

“You won’t have Nixon to kick around any more” sounded like as good a promise as any following the November elections. Vaughn Meader had them all laughing with his satire of the Kennedy White House, “Goodnight Jackie. Goodnight Bobby. Goodnight Ethel. Do you have your bear, Teddy?”

“Puff the Magic Dragon” welcomed a baby boy into the world on February 21, 1963. His mother counted fingers and toes in time to the music. He was beautiful, perfect, loved. She was politically aware and terribly liberal, but at this moment, it didn’t matter that the South was in an uproar over integration or that the Supreme Court had reaffirmed the right of peaceful assembly. Christopher Alan was here and safe. Let the world take care of itself. She had bigger responsibilities.

The baby went to the movies right along with mommy and daddy. An infant-seat made seeing “The Birds” and “Lawrence of Arabia” easy. And to think it wasn’t that long ago that she thought Hula Hoops were the greatest invention ever!

Divorce was becoming the great American pastime. She was just one more casualty that May. There were lots of casualties – her kind and the “advisors” in Viet Nam. It was a time of commitment and she was supposed to care about the Green Berets, care about the Peace Corps, care about LSD and Timothy Leary, care about so much, but there just wasn’t time. Being a single working mother took all of her hours. Given her choice of trends to lead, this wouldn’t have been it. She and Tony Bennett had both left their hearts in San Francisco. Rod McKuen might think that love had been good to him. She disagreed. Oh well, McDonalds sold 15-cent hamburgers. At least she didn’t have to cook.

JFK was a Berliner at the wall, and Camelot was in full swing. Pope John XXIII died; the world mourned a good man. Fanny Hill fought its way through obscenity trials, while Bob Dylan led the war protesters with “Blowin’ in the Wind”. Martin Luther King had a dream near the Washington Monument – too late for Medgar Evers murdered the previous June and not in time for the four young girls bombed to death in church the following September. The US/USSR hotline was installed, and the “red phone” became a symbol of the unthinkable. Could anything else happen in this crazy year?

Los Angeles baseball fans were in heaven, and Kofax and Drysdale were patron saints! A four game sweep of the World Series had the city pretending it was New Year’s Eve, as confetti and champagne rained down on the heroes! Those beautiful no-hitter bums!

Her child was ten months old now, but for three days he slept almost constantly as if he understood that this was no time for a baby to cry. The tears fell uncontrollably from much older eyes. The drums of November marked a national tragedy. “Where were you when you heard?” would become the question a generation could answer. Kennedy dead and two days later his accused assassin died “live” on TV. On the television: the flag, the riderless horse, and the constant pictures of a nation stunned by grief. She hovered over the sleeping infant, her tears dropping on the blond curls. What have we done to you? What will become of you? Was there any hope left for the world or this new person? They would have to wait and see – together.

For those curious as to “then what happened”, Christopher is now past 40. He retired from the U.S. Army and now lives and works in the state of Washington. He is divorced with one son. His parents remarried only to divorce again seven years later (another story). He has a sister and two beautiful nieces.

His mother is a retired writer and editor and is still happily single. As with most of the country, she is no longer a sixties liberal and has settled somewhere around fanatically moderate Democratic/Republican: Social issues left, fiscal issues right with more than enough exceptions in between to give anyone political schizophrenia.

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Here We Go Again

Back in 2012 I wrote a blog article about Hugh Jackman and Les Miserables:  I Believe In Miracles.  That time around, he did get Golden Globe and Oscar nominations, eventually winning the Globe but losing the Oscar to Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln.

This year at Christmas we will see Hugh in another musical:  The Greatest Showman, an all singing, all dancing tribute to P. T. Barnum and the business of show.

Hugh is once more on the list of those likely to be nominated for Best Actor.  Again it is in a year with a lot of great male performances.  I am not the patient type when it comes to movies I want to see, and Christmas is way way too far away.

Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

 

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Remains of a Bucket List

Somewhere a long time ago, I started reading.  I don’t remember learning to do it.  Others  told me I was about three when I grabbed the Bumper Book that had been a Christmas gift and said imperiously, “I’ll read it to you!”  This meant that I started first grade at five with a reading level of a 3rd grader.  This is not meant to take any bows for something that couldn’t be helped except that I was one of those lucky children who looked down at black marks on paper and realized they made pictures in your head.

That five year old had a radio and the hits of the time being what they were, Bing Crosby put other pictures in my head with Far Away Places with strange sounding names and somehow that song got married to the poems of Banjo Patterson and a place way far away from California named Australia.

The one poem by Banjo that stuck with me more than any other was Clancy of the Overflow.  I wanted to see those drovers at work on the wide spaces, and a curiosity turned into an obsession.  I had to go to Australia.  In the meantime if there was a novel or history book about the place it got read (If you want a list, it’s a long one).  Then there were the movies from The Sundowners to Australia.  Just to add in more music, along came the amazing Peter Allen and the man who played him in the Boy From Oz, Hugh Jackman.  Add in the wide range of art has had me scrambling for images from Albert Namatijira, one of the first recognized aboriginal artists to modern works by Nathan Mundraby (He’s on Facebook and you can watch him in action on You Tube).

Along the way I have been disabused of any romanticism about this now very modern country, but the history and the spaces are still there and I still want to go.  In the meantime some of the poems and songs by or about Australians.

 

Leave it to Peter to write a song that will make you homesick for a place you have never seen.

So 70 years after that three year old learned to read, I still really really want to go to that far away place.  I’ve removed a lot of items from the bucket list, but that one remains.

 

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