Who sees a fire in their neighbor’s yard and walks off without doing anything? A young white dude who flips houses for a living, that’s who. Who does something? Hint: It was not a white dude.
March 1, 2017 at 8:55 pm (creative writing, culture, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, issues, life, living, politics, random, relationships, Uncategorized, urban life, Writing)
Tags: communication, cooperation, dumb shit people do, fires, Issues, Mexican Americans, people, race relations, real events, relationships, urban living, White Dudes, Writing
February 26, 2015 at 7:20 pm (creative writing, entertainment, humor, life, living, people, random, relationships, thinking, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: blogging, children, greetings, guilt, homes, humor, moving, partners, people, random, random thoughts, relationships, resolutions, thinking, Writing
In case you haven’t guessed by now, my new year’s resolution #2 was to get back online and blog. Now don’t get all pissy because it’s #2 instead of #1. Numero uno was checking email for the first time in MONTHS. Yeah, now that I’ve found out all about who’s been naughty and nice, read Christmas Letters to Satan, had a few laughs thanks to Bear and Berit, discovered my offspring INTENDS to put in an appearance on the new home front in a matter of weeks–goddamn it, she’s been gone for YEARS, what’s this prodigal daughter bullshit? Huh? I’m kidding. Okay not so much. Yeah, just kidding. Or not.
Anyway, long overdue greetings to anyone out there who’s paying one whit of attention to what’s NOT been going on in my blogcasa.
Am I supposed to feel guilty about this neglect?
Well, I do.
But–if you all knew what I know–you’d be grateful for the resounding silence here. Oh yeah.
I’ve been debating on what this first post of 2015 should be about for a couple of weeks: the holidays, films, books, horrible current events, –are there ever any wonderful events? I think not. –Sarge and Lily updates (yeah their story is ongoing), random thoughts about old dark British crime dramas such as Wire In the Blood and Touching Evil and what they reveal about the people who write the scripts, etc. . . .
Obviously NONE of the above has been taking up any wall space here. Nope.
I have decided to share one tiny suggestion for anyone considering making a long-term commitment to a significant other of any variety. Yep. There may be fallout from this, but– that’s okay. Feel free to prove me wrong about this notion.
Forget pre-commitment counseling. Forget talking through all your hopes and dreams for a shared future. Don’t bother getting all your duckies in a row. If you really want to know what you’re in for with each other — MOVE.
You read that right–MOVE. As in take all your material shit from one place and put it in another-and see what happens. See who does what–and how they do it. Listen to what’s being said. Who decides what goes where and why. Have you got a leg dragger as a partner in moving crimes? A non-stop whiner? A get the job done no matter what mind working full steam ahead? Is your “other” taking time out for all the other things that need doing–like watching every episode of something called “Haven” nonstop? Who is willing to make midnight runs to empty huge trash bins because there’s NO way the trash truck can haul ALL the bags away at one time? –This requires a certain sense of humor and willingness to fight the wind blowing it all back at you again and again and again. Are you ready to BANISH your partner from the moving site because all they keep saying is: “We’re never going to get this done. Never in a million years.” Frankly, who needs to hear that while getting it done? Hmm? Can you imagine someone saying that while a baby is being born? Better not to go there, right?
Seriously–if you want to get to know someone conduct a major move of worldly goods with them. I think some enterprising spirit could make a mint setting up a couple of abodes for people to ‘practice move’ in and out of in order to find out who their partner really is when it comes down to the nitty-gritty that’s involved in moving. Obviously hiring OTHER people to do the work defeats the purpose–unless your partner does this and leaves you to direct the hired help. That would tell you something important right there, wouldn’t it?
Reusable grocery bags–check.
Full tank of gas–check.
Yeah, I missed you too. Oh come on, why would I lie about it? Huh?
October 4, 2014 at 9:37 am (culture, entertainment, films, history, humor, issues, life, living, play, random, searching, Uncategorized)
Tags: amazing, atomic bomb, awesome, culture, entertainment, humor, it's complicated, language, people, videos, words
Yes, it has finally gotten to the point where I can no longer refrain from have a jolly good rant about three words that have been abused so thoroughly by the writers of television programs, movies and by the social media addict generation. I can’t wait to no longer hear: Amazing, Awesome and Complicated—as in the utterly useless, evasive phrase, “It’s complicated.” never ever uttered again.
You’ve heard them all. I know you have because they’re impossible to avoid these days no matter if you’re in a coffee-shop, the grocery store or the hardware store.
Amazing implies a fair degree of wonder and surprise. How many ways can people or things be called amazing? Really? What ever happened to you look very lovely or very handsome? That’s a beautiful dress or a very flattering suit–but I’m not astonished at your appearance. Nope, I’m not, sorry.
Awesome, hmmm, I guess this word conveys open-mouth, drop dead AWE and Shock of that inspiring AWE that has pulled the rug out from under our flat feet. My meddlesome mind associates Awe–some or a little of it–with truly above ordinary events and things. Dresses, food, shoes, hairdos, cars are far too mundane things to be imbued with real awe. Who wants to talk Nuclear Bombs? Hmm? Now those are fully awe inspiring in many ways—from their power of destruction to views of the aftermath of their deployment.
It’s Complicated–wtf? Is this or is this not the most banal evasive phrase ever uttered in response to any inquiry about human behavior?
“Why did you cheat on your significant other?”
I bet it is: pheromones and hormones influence humans in very complex ways. Don’t you just adore your nose? The Complicated things it tells your brain are Amazing and Awesome beyond compare.
Language, it’s Complicated.
Or are people simply too damn lazy to go beyond using stock phrases?
For the hell of it:
And then there’s :
It’s terribly complicated, dreadfully awesome and downright utterly amazing.
May 2, 2014 at 6:22 am (culture, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, history, living, music, people, politics, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: Bear, business, culture, greed, history, Johnny, labor, Lisa, living, living wage, May Day, Maypole, money, music, people, politics, profit, random, workers
Bear selected May Day as a subject for this round of music. Admittedly I’ve fudged on some of the music here. I reserve the right to revise at will. Until then Labor is the issue. Unless Bear had another kind of May Day in mind–as in the Maypole kind of May Day. Hmm. Anyway back to Union ordeals. Workers just don’t get much respect when it comes down to the bottom lines.
A few income figures of interest to a few Americans–well, to everyone who is not one of the 894 people who have more income than 99.99% of the rest of the people.
There are reasons people gather in unions in order to get a living wage–a main one is that many employers don’t like sharing the profits. The operative word here is greed. Or am I missing something?
McDonald’s Cheats Employees
May Day In Chicago
Walmart Gives Food Stamps Applications to Employees ~~ OOOO so that’s how low the Waltons go.
Which Side Are You On?
The Most Dangerous Woman In America
Ani Difranco and Utah Phillips from the album Fellow Workers.
And another kind of May Day~~~~ Mediaeval Babes Summerisle , The Maypole Song
Let’s see what Bear has lined up…..
April 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm (culture, eating, education, environment, exploring interconnectedness, life, living, nature, Uncategorized)
Tags: business, culture, dandelion, dandelion greens, dandelion tea, dandelion wine, Dandelions, exploring interconnectedness, flowers, food, foraging, free food, free food source, grass, greens, human food source, industry, lawns, leaves, life, living, people, roots, weeds
Do you do the dandelion dance?
I do. I drink them. I eat them. I enjoy their bright cheery yellow “Hello!s.”
Dandelions were made for wining and dining everyone.
There’s an excellent free food source growing at will almost everywhere despite all the billions of dollars spent by lawn growers determined to eradicate it-drumroll please– the Incredible Edible Dandelion. It’s a plant often found in yards and lawns and just about everywhere you look. People tend to tear them out of their lawns without any regard for the food they’re wasting by doing so. How much do leafy greens cost in your market? Then again, if compulsive lawn growers have been dousing their precious grass with chemicals they’ve made the plants toxic–and probably other living things as well. I wonder what bare feet pick on such bright green beds? But, if you’ve got access to a chemical free dandelion zone then you’re in luck–go forth and forage at will–once you’re sure exactly what plant you’re looking for, of course. 🙂
A few thoughts about lawns:
Personally, I’ve never understood the entire lawn notion of fertilizing some grass to make it grow so that you can cut it down again and again and again. Heard the joke about the definition of insanity? Does not the whole concept of lawn care rely on a form of an insane game? This strange game involves expensive lawnmowers, fertilisers, herbicides, gasoline or electricity for any non-reel blade mower, plus a lot water for quenching the thirst of growing grass. And it’s made billions and billions for the manufacturers of all those noise toys and chemicals. Tell me why anyone would grow something which servers no purpose simply in order to cut it again and again and again? All the mowing creates a lot of noise I personally can do without. It’s a chore for whoever the job falls to in any household. I suppose it provides allowance money for children and wages for people who are willing to mow the grass of others who can’t or don’t want to mow their lawns and have the means to pay others to do it for them. Is lawn mowing a form of exercise? Hmm. If you’re using a reel mower which requires human push power, it sure can be. But is that a reason to grow a patch of grass?
Yes, a nice, neat, lush green lawn is very inviting for soccer and other game playing. They’re okay for picnics if there is more than grass and more grass to ‘enjoy’. I guess. Personally I’d prefer a picnic with a meadow view full of wildflowers, plants, bees, birds and insects all doing their things. Anyone who’s ever observed one knows there’s a lot more going on in a meadow then on a bed of grass pumped full of herbicides and pesticides and fertilizers. There’s those plants doing all their planty things in the grand natural scheme of things.
Dandelions are vital in the grand scheme of things despite what the lawn care INDUSTRY claims. Many Americans have been ‘educated’ to destroy this plant every time one perks up their basic green carpet with some bright yellow. Every time a dandelion plant is destroyed so is a prime human food source. Why would anyone want to kill off an edible plant full of vitamins A, K, C & E? (Oh, well, we are talking about the same mentality that killed off the buffalo which is a far better meat source than cattle of any kind. But I digress and that’s another story about industry and monetary profits instead of good healthy food and land use common sense.) And that’s just the tip of this saw-edged leafy green with the bright yellow flowers you can munch on. Oh don’t forget the roots, their edible too–and they make one of my favorite teas. As I have access to a chemical free green area I pick dandelion greens fresh for meals and snap the flowers off for tea at will. I have yet to make dandelion wine. If any of you have, please feel free to share your recipe.
You don’t have to take my word for it. A few other people consume dandelions. Just a few. You’re welcome to join us.
Dandelions are found on all continents and have been gathered for food since prehistory, but the varieties cultivated for consumption are mainly native to Eurasia. A perennial plant, its leaves will grow back if the taproot is left intact. To make leaves more palatable, they are often blanched to remove bitterness. Dandelion leaves and buds have been a part of traditional Sephardic, Chinese, and Korean cuisine. In Crete, Greece, the leaves of a variety called Mari (Μαρί), Mariaki (Μαριάκι) or Koproradiko (Κοπροράδικο) are eaten by locals, either raw or boiled, in salads. Taraxacum megalorhizon, a species endemic to Crete, is eaten in the same way; it is found only at high altitudes (1000 to 1600 m.) and in fallow sites, and is called pentaramia (πενταράμια) or agrioradiko (αγριοράδικο).
The flower petals, along with other ingredients, usually including citrus, are used to make dandelion wine. The ground, roasted roots can be used as a caffeine-free dandelion coffee. Dandelion was also traditionally used to make the traditional British soft drink dandelion and burdock, and is one of the ingredients of root beer. Also, dandelions were once delicacies eaten by the Victorian gentry, mostly in salads and sandwiches.
Historically, dandelion was prized for a variety of medicinal properties, and it contains a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion is used as a herbal remedy in Europe, North America and China. It has been used in herbal medicine to treat infections, bile and liver problems, and as a diuretic.
Surf over to Labellestudio where there’s a post about another great plant called stinging nettles. Check it out.
What’s your favorite edible ‘weed’?
The Perfect Lawn: How Obsession Fueled a $40 Billion Industry :>
April 10, 2014 at 7:56 am (culture, entertainment, journalism, life, music, people, photography, play, politics, random, satire, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: Andy Davis, Cell Block Tankgo, Chicago, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears Super Bowl Shuffle, Chicago City of Shoulders, culture, Dead End Street, I Dream of Chicago, Juno Reactor, Larry Brewer, life, Lincoln Park Pirates, Lou Rawls, Masters of the Universe, Mike Royko, music, newspapers, Number 10 Bus, Paper Lace, Parlours, people, random, Steve Goodman, The Cook County Jail, The Night Chicago Died, The Very Best of Chicago, We're All Crazy In Chicago, Windy City
City of Choice = Chicago so let’s take a bird’s-eye view for a meet and greet.
Chicago Down Town View from the Sky — Juno Reactor’s Masters of the Universe.
There’s just something about black and white with a whole lot of grey, literally, that seems to suit an introduction for a city like Chicago, a city known for crime, gangsters, corrupt politicians and a great newspaper columnist by the name of Mike Royko aka “The Man Who Owns Chicago.” If you don’t know Royko’s work you’re missing out on one of life’s truly witty reading pleasures. Royko’s columns provided a massive home school educational opportunity for moi. Political viewpoints are not genetically encoded. Who knew? )
Now to lull you into a false sense of serenity…..
Chicago City of Shoulders ~ Andy Davis ~
Awwww, wasn’t that a sweet beginning for a couple? Well, darker reality often follows close upon such heels in Chicago–the film.
Cell Block Tango from Chicago’s Cook County Jail via Chicago the film about murderesses in the city of Chicago. Murder and Chicago go together like snow and winter. The Cook County Jail is a real place with quite a reputation.
Then there’s the whole police versus the bad guys scenario–though, all too often the two are one and the same in the Windy City.
The Night Chicago Died ~ Paper Lace ~
Number 10 Bus ~ A few city views with Larry Brewer’s own tune. Who says you can’t go home and leave then do it all again?
This is an original song written and recorded by Larry Brewer off of his 2012 album, Waxing Ardent. It is an ode to growing up in Chicago.
I Dream of Chicago ~ Parlours ~ Okay, I just love the sound of this song so it’s here.
The Very Best of Chicago ~ by the band Chicago formed and hailed from the city with a stint in LA. See Wiki for more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_(band)
40th Anniversary Collection
1. Just You ‘N’ Me 00:00
2. Saturday In the Park 03:42
3. You’re The Inspiration 07:36
4. Baby, What a Big Suprise 11:26
5. Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away 14:30
6. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? 19:37
7. 25 or 6 to 4 22:58
8. If You Leave Me Now 27:50
9. Hard Habit to Break 31:45
10. Old Days 36:30
11. Beginnings 40:01
12. Call On Me 46:28
13. Make Me Smile 50:30
14. Love Will Come Back (w/ Rascal Flats) 54:56
15. Feel (w/Horns) 58:44
Chicago Bears 1985 Super Bowl Shuffle ~ Enjoy it anyway you can ladies and gents.
Dead End Street ~ Lou Rawls ~ I do believe Rawls explains it all.
Lincoln Park Pirates ~ Steve Goodman ~ You know about No Parking Zones, don’t you? Towing cars as a city-wide fundraiser can be very profitable.
Yes, it’s an ad for a newspaper hawking its prize writer and vice versa. Where else but in a tavern would you expect to find a discussion of punctuation?
Mike Royko quotes with a song, the reason for the choice of which I am very unclear about. But Mike’s words make it all right. Maybe.
Who & Why Royko ~ With background music. I wonder why it’s so hard to find a song for or about Royko? Someone needs to write one. Or two at the very least. Maybe they have. If you find one, do not hesitate to share it. Please.
We’re All Crazy In Chicago ~~ No, I will not vouch for the veracity of this statement/song. Are you crazy?
A list of songs about Chicago compliments of the wonderful world of Wikipedia
Bear has Nomads, oh yeah http://bearspawprint.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/ulaanbaatar-city-of-nomads/
It’s down home in Alabama with Johnny in Mobile http://johnnyojanpera.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/the-music-of-a-city-mobile/comment-page-1/#comment-4197
April 3, 2014 at 5:42 am (culture, entertainment, films, life, movies, music, nature, people)
Tags: A Walk In the Clouds, American Clouds, animation, Aristophanes, Banda Sonora, canncer, Cloud Atlas, clouds, Clouds by Zach Sobiech, culture, drama, entertainment, film, Maurice Jarre, Meddlers Theatre Company, Mimosa, movies, music, Paper Route, people, play, random, Sextet, Socrates and his Clouds, Up In the Clouds, William Lyons, Zach Sobiech
Well, there are clouds and then there are clouds. Take your pick and please send some more, rain or shine.
Cloud Atlas ~ 22~ Sextet for Orchestra
Mariachi Serenade ~ A Walk In the Clouds
A walk in the clouds – Un Paseo por las nubes
(Banda Sonora : Maurice Jarre)
Socrates and his Clouds Trailer
The Meddlers Theatre Company in association with Jermyn Street Theatre presents the World Premiere of
SOCRATES AND HIS CLOUDS
by William Lyons inspired by Aristophanes
Directed by Melina Theocharidou
Designed by Katerina Angelopoulou
Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SocratesClouds
Find us on Twitter: Follow @Socrates_Clouds Tweet #SocratesClouds
Animation by Nastazia Lampropoulou
Music by Olivios Karaolides
Music recorded at Hook Recording Art Studio with the following orchestra:
Violin: Nikos Pittas
Cello: Peter Gospodinov
Clarinet: George Georgiou
Xylophone: Marios Nikolaou
Piano: Olivios Karaolides
Members of UCSC’s program in Classical Studies perform the agon from Aristophanes’ Clouds at UCSC’s International Playhouse in Spring 2012.
Clouds by Zach Sobiech
On May 20, 2013, cancer took the life of Zach Sobiech but his legacy will live on through the beacon of love and hope he delivered through infectious lyrics and memorable tunes have imprinted on the minds and hearts of millions around the world.
Help fulfill Zach’s dying wish to help kids with cancer by supporting the charity he set up before his death- the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund at Children’s Cancer Research Fund:http://www.ChildrensCancer.org/Zach.
Up in the Clouds ~ 3D Music by Mimosa
“Up in the Clouds” depicts life flowing in the breeze waiting for moments to latch on and create memories, through vivid anti-skeuomorph design.
Paper Route ~ American Clouds
American Clouds was directed and animated by Micah Bell. Photographs used in the animation were taken across America by Ben Vela. Additional editing was provided by JT Daly of Paper Route.
Catching Bear’s Clouds : http://bearspawprint.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/clouds/#comment-13836
Deborah’s got cloud castles: http://myriad234.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/castle-on-a-cloud-a-musical-exploration-of-clouds/
March 27, 2014 at 5:10 am (art, contemplation, culture, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, films, history, issues, living, movies, music, people, photography, politics, random, relationships, thinking, Uncategorized)
Tags: Addinsell, america, Baltimore, bearspawprint, Bellini, Berlin, Big City Life, Brazil, cellos, Chicago, Christy Moore, cities, city, City Life, City Music, City of Angels, City of Chicago, culture, Dan Fogelberg, Fogelberg, France, Germany, history, Ireland, Kent Ohio, Kent State, Kent State Shootings, lfe, love, Mattafix, music, National Guard, Neil Young, Ohio, Paris, Paris Nocturne, people, photographs, photography, Poland, poltics, President Nixon, Raining in Baltimore, random, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Redlight King, Rio de Janeiro, romance, Samba de Janeiro, Springsteen, The Counting Crows, The Piano Guys, The Streets of Philadelphia, Under the Bridge, urban landscapes, video, Warsaw, Warsaw Concerto, Wiseberg
City Music ~~
There are all kinds of tunes about urban landscapes. A multitude of activities takes place within city landscapes. Everything is reflected in music in all genres.
Redlight King ~ City Life
Where would we be without some serious city angst?
Raining in Baltimore ~ The Counting Crows, August and Everything After <<– A most excellent album with nary a ‘miss’ among any of its songs. Well worth listening to en toto.
Anyone in the market for some higher education history? Universities and colleges are small cities within cities and towns. Hence, the inclusion of Ohio.
In Kent, Ohio, Non-violent students encountered the National Guard’s fully loaded guns.
Ohio [Kent, Ohio location of Kent State University] ~ written by Neil Young, performed Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Kent State Shootings historical information including list of the dead and wounded: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings
The shootings led to protests on college campuses throughout the United States, and a student strike, causing more than 450 campuses across the country to close with both violent and non-violent demonstrations. A common sentiment was expressed by students at New York University with a banner hung out of a window which read, “They Can’t Kill Us All.” On May 8, eleven people were bayonetted at the University of New Mexico by the New Mexico National Guard in a confrontation with student protesters. Also on May 8, an antiwar protest at New York’s Federal Hall held at least partly in reaction to the Kent State killings was met with a counter-rally of pro-Nixon construction workers (organized by Peter J. Brennan, later appointed U.S. Labor Secretary by President Nixon), resulting in the “Hard Hat Riot“.
Samba de Janeiro ~ Bellini —-Dancing in the streets aka it’s time for a flash mobbing to work out some stress. Yes, you too can dance at your pc. How can you resist?
Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell ~ Dangerous Moonlight. Ah, a little history, a little romance, a little movie making….
A lot of people in cities dream of being elsewhere. Sometimes survival forces people to strange places.
City of Chicago ~ Christy Moore
It’s about time for some cello joy. Right? Definitely.
Berlin, Germany ~ Original song for 12 cellos and a kick drum by The Piano Guys.
If you click-through to listen at YouTube you’ll find a great deal of information about the creation of the song and the locations in the video.
“Berlin” written by Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson (A PianoGuys Original Composition)
For some reason this song wandered into my brain-maze and loitered long enough to act as a prompt for this musical ‘theme’ round.
Red Hot Chili Peppers ~ Under the Bridge ~City of Angels
Okay, I confess, the video images convinced me to include this made for a film song by The Boss.
Bruce Springsteen ~ The Streets of Philadelphia
In the mood for romance in Paris? Or just ready to rest your feet?
Paris Nocturne ~ Dan Fogelberg & Tim Wiseberg
from their 1978 collaboration album
“Twin Sons of Different Mothers”
The lyrics, the images and the tone just wouldn’t go away, so this tune is here.
Mattafix ~ Big City Life
You’re invited to share your city songs at will.
I wonder what cities Bear has been exploring : Careful, it’s intense, http://bearspawprint.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/koyaanisqatsi/#comment-13603
March 26, 2014 at 4:13 pm (art, buddhism, contemplation, creative writing, culture, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, life, living, nature, play, poetry, random, Writing)
Tags: art as writing, birds, contemplation, creative writing, culture, exploring interconnectedness, haiku, life, nature, people, poem, poems, poetry, random, Writing, writing as art
little bird blues sings
sweet haiku twitters all day
cites poetry cries
roots deep leaves sun eat all wells
no weeding pleases
coy moon winks sun spring
Persephone steps upward
below Hades sighs
control a strong hold
power princes addiction
brain breast brawn beat down
eye pouring concrete
iron bars doors fixing space
no outside options
two heron journey
eye guide far sight mindful nest
streaming feeds sole light
whence goes March’s Ides
cold shouldering yet blood pours
poppy red blossoms
Pulling The Rug Out From Under Big Brother– The Burglary, The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI by Betty Medsger
March 23, 2014 at 4:49 pm (books, contemplation, culture, education, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, films, history, issues, journalism, life, living, people, politics, publishing, random, relationships, searching, thinking, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: 1971, activists, anti-war, Betty Medsger, Book, Book TV, books, civil disobedience, civil liberties, culture, dissent, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, FBI, government, Heist, history, inspriration, interview, Issues, J. Edgar Hoover, journalism, law, legal, living, media, New York Times, news, non violence, NSA, people, politics, Politics and Prose, protest, random, Retro Report, review, rights, secrets, subversives, survelliance, The Burglary, The Discover of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI, truth, video, Vietnam, war, William Davidon, Writing
“There are certain points in history where a society goes so wrong, and there are certain people who will say, ‘I won’t stand for that . . . I will risk career, life, limb, family freedom . . . And I will take this risk, and I will go and do it.”
Betty Medsger’s book about the 1971 burglary of the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania isn’t about a cheap thrill ride of robbery for adrenaline kicks and profit, though it was a crime with a huge payout–the truth. The burglary committed by a crew of non-violent peace activists assembled by a physics professor, William Davidon, confirmed the suspicions of anti-war activists that they were being unlawfully spied upon by their own government because they were exercising their right to dissent — and that thousands of other people were being illegally spied upon because they were considered subversives according to one man, J. Edgar Hoover. People didn’t have to commit any crime or even speak about committing treason to get their names put on a list of folks to be rounded up and jailed in the event of some national emergency. If they were liberal, if they were black, if they espoused anti-war sentiments, if they were writers, artists, then they were candidates for warrantless, indefinite detention without due process under the law–as far as Hoover was concerned. The Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI’s theft of FBI records brought into the light of day the term COINTELPRO–and a lot of very very illegal activity by the FBI as it committed crimes against the American people with impunity. Such crimes included destroying the lives of innocent people by deliberately framing them for crimes they didn’t commit, celebrating such wrongdoing and refusing to turn over evidence that proved their innocence in any wrongdoing. Hoover’s secret FBI didn’t give a damn about truth, integrity, civil liberties, or the law. It existed to create paranoia and fear in the population at large in order to control everyone. It refused to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States and the law. It was a criminal entity from the top on down with a few exceptions.
If this is striking a contemporary current events cord with you, that’s not an accident.
If you’re expecting an anti-war tale rife with hippies, drugs, sex and rock and roll music, look elsewhere. The people who broke into the FBI office in Media were not a bunch of hooligans. They weren’t looking for money. They were searching for evidence. These were people who raided draft offices in order to destroy the effort to conscript young men for the war machine then stayed to be arrested by the police in order to take responsibility for their actions. These were people deeply invested in ethical behavior and education who wanted the death and destruction in Vietnam to stop. They were people committed to the civil rights movement. Betty Medsger’s book provides varied personal portraits of the burglars, each dependent upon how much personal information they were willing to share, of the Media burglars. There’s a range of backgrounds and experience among them which provides some sense of the breadth of the range of people involved in the anti-war movement and what inspired them to become activists.
If you have no clue about the short and long-term importance of this burglary and the context in which it occurred, don’t fret, Medsger will fill you in. She provides notes and a very useful bibliography for further reading. While this is a very serious book about very serious issues which are very relevant to the here and now, it’s also very very accessible and readable. It gives life and breath to events by creating connections with real humans thinking hard about the world we live in–and how we live in it. What are the responsibilities of those who are free? What does it mean to have the right to dissent without fear of retaliation in a society that claims to be free? What are you willing to do to protect your civil liberties? Who wants to live their lives in fear of being arrested because of their ideas?
Betty Medsger’s book raises all sorts of interesting issues for serious conversation while stressing the important role ‘ordinary’ people play in creating the world in which we live our daily lives. If you think one person doesn’t have a lot of influence in the power plays then consider J. Edgar Hoover the Head of the FBI versus William Davidon, a physics professor with an idea.
Who is reading everyone’s mail? Who is collecting phone conversations? Who is creating files on everyone? Why?
Who has the Hoover virus? What is to be done about it?
The Burglary site –>> http://www.theburglary.com/
Betty Medsger ~ The Burglary (note, her part does not run the full hour of the video)
Published on Mar 21, 2014
http://www.politics-prose.com/book/97… Betty Medsger talks about her book about the previously unsolved burglary of an FBI building in Media, Pennsylvania. Recorded on March 16, 2014.
Founded by Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade in 1984, Politics & Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.’s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics & Prose offers superior service, unusual book choices, and a haven for book lovers in the store and online. Visit them on the web at http://www.politics-prose.com/