‘Hidden Figures’ Inspiration Katherine Johnson Will Deliver Hampton University Commencement Address in May

GOOD BLACK NEWS

NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson (photo via essence.com)

article by Danielle Kwateng-Clark via essence.com

Hampton University is welcoming a living legend for their 147th Commencement this May. The historically Black university announced that Katherine G. Johnson, the physicist and mathematician who worked for NASA and was an inspiration behind “Hidden Figures,” would join them as their commencement speaker this year.

As an African-American woman, job options were limited —but she was eventually hired as one of several female mathematicians for the agency that would become NASA,” President Barack Obama said during her Presidential Medal of Freedom honor.

To read more, go to: Katherine Johnson Will Deliver Hampton University Commencement Address| Essence.com

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Funny Sunday Memes: 5 March 2017!

I was inspired to do this post due to some recent conversations with others, both online and IRL. It amuses me when a person says something sarcastic to me, so I respond in kind – and their response is, “Why are you so offended?” I would ask this: Why do you assume that I’m offended when I treat you in the same way that you chose to treat me? If you say something sarcastic, then expect a sarcastic response – right? If you come at me foaming-at-the-mouth mad over nothing, then expect a big “FUCK YOU” in response. That isn’t being offended, that is me ridding myself of your psychotic presence as quickly and efficiently as I know how. If you’re trying to offend me with sarcasm for some reason, then that’s on you. Incidentally, it takes a hell of a lot more than a snarky / barbed / insulting comment to offend me…just sayin’.

On that note, enjoy these funny memes – I have an excellent Monday post in mind, now!

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Notable Black Women: Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman: 26 January 1892 – 30 April 1926

Today, 26 January, marks the birthdate of Bessie Coleman; it is her 125th “birth anniversary.” She was the first woman of African-American and Native American descent to hold a pilot license and an international pilot license. From the American Experience PBS site:

Bessie Coleman, the first African American female pilot, grew up in a cruel world of poverty and discrimination. The year after her birth in Atlanta, Texas, an African American man was tortured and then burned to death in nearby Paris for allegedly raping a five-year-old girl. The incident was not unusual; lynchings were endemic throughout the South. African Americans were essentially barred from voting by literacy tests. They couldn’t ride in railway cars with white people, or use a wide range of public facilities set aside for whites. When young Bessie first went to school at the age of six, it was to a one-room wooden shack, a four-mile walk from her home. Often there wasn’t paper to write on or pencils to write with.

When Coleman turned 23 she headed to Chicago to live with two of her older brothers, hoping to make something of herself. But the Windy City offered little more to an African American woman than did Texas. When Coleman decided she wanted to learn to fly, the double stigma of her race and gender meant that she would have to travel to France to realize her dreams.

It was soldiers returning from World War I with wild tales of flying exploits who first interested Coleman in aviation. She was also spurred on by her brother, who taunted her with claims that French women were superior to African American women because they could fly. In fact, very few American women of any race had pilot’s licenses in 1918. Those who did were predominantly white and wealthy. Every flying school that Coleman approached refused to admit her because she was both black and a woman. On the advice of Robert Abbott, the owner of the “Chicago Defender” and one of the first African American millionaires, Coleman decided to learn to fly in France.

She was apparently the tenth of thirteen children born to sharecroppers George Coleman, who was of the Choctaw tribe and African-American, and his wife Susan, who was African-American. She began attending school at the age of six in Waxahachie, Texas. She completed all eight grades at that school, but her routine of school, chores, and church was interrupted annually by the cotton harvest. Still, she was an avid reader and an outstanding math student, which probably led her to go after her dream of flying, no matter where it took her. Being an Aquarius didn’t hurt, either!

Sadly, her life and career were cut short in a tragic accident that occurred during a practice flight in Jacksonville, Florida:

Coleman took her tragic last flight on April 30, 1926, in Jacksonville, Florida. Together with a young Texan mechanic called William Wills, Coleman was preparing for an air show that was to have taken place the following day. At 3,500 feet with Wills at the controls, an unsecured wrench somehow got caught in the control gears and the plane unexpectedly plummeted toward earth. Coleman, who wasn’t wearing a seat-belt, fell to her death.

About 10,000 mourners paid their last respects to the first African American woman aviator, filing past her coffin in Chicago South’s Side. Her funeral was attended by several prominent African Americans and it was presided over by Ida B. Wells, an outspoken advocate of equal rights. But despite the massive turnout and the tributes paid to Coleman during the service, several black reporters believed that the scope of Coleman’s accomplishments had never truly been recognized during her lifetime. An editorial in the “Dallas Express” stated, “There is reason to believe that the general public did not completely sense the size of her contribution to the achievements of the race as such.”

She is truly an inspiration to many, and her name deserves to be spoken with the same reverence and esteem that Amelia Earhart’s is – but, when it comes to giving women historical credit, that honour is always reserved for white women. Racism and segregation have only served to keep non-white women out of institutions of learning, and the revisionist white-washing of history has all but erased us from schoolbooks and other texts of education. We made our mark on this country and continue to do so. This is another woman who should be looked up to and emulated. She overcame far more than most women today can even imagine. I salute her today.

Happy Belated Birthday, Mrs. Obama – 2017!

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama: 17 January 1964 – Present

Yesterday, 17 January, was the birthdate of current but outgoing First Lady of the United States: Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama. She was born on this day in 1964 in Chicago, Illinois, which makes her a steadfast Earth sign – the “Water-Goat,” Capricorn.

I will miss her when she and her family officially leave the White House. It was refreshing to see, in my lifetime, a first lady that I could look at and draw inspiration from – because she resembles me. She knows the struggles of, and the roadblocks faced by, women of colour. These issues are generally minimized and dismissed by most, even by other ‘marginalized’ groups.

She is educated. Intelligent. Elegant. Classy. Caring. Statuesque. Beautiful. The love she has for her husband and her daughters is apparent and genuine. She is committed to good health in a way that isn’t preachy, arrogant or self-centered. She stands up for what she believes in, and speaks out openly and honestly about things that matter. I look at her and see myself – and see a woman that I can look up to. She represents myself, my sisters, my niece, my aunts, and my mother. She represents the dreams of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers. I sure wish that they’d lived to see President Obama’s election – they certainly would have felt as proud as I did when I watched his inauguration.

I can’t help but note that she is the same height as I am. The comparisons don’t end there; I was pleased when a former co-worker of mine came up to me at a company picnic one year. I was wearing a sleeveless leather vest with jeans and chaps, as I was on my motorcycle. He looked at me and blurted out: “You have Michelle Obama arms!” A clumsy compliment, to be sure – but a compliment nonetheless, so I accepted it and went on my merry way.

She is a lawyer, educated at Princeton and Harvard. She isn’t a model, but very easily could be – her sense of style and fashion is enviable, and some of the outfits she has worn are phenomenal.

Happy belated birthday, Mrs. Obama. I hope that you and your family have a nice, long, quiet, relaxing, well-earned and well-deserved vacation! Your presence in the White House meant quite a bit to myself and many others. The historic significance of your tenancy cannot be denied – the magnitude is immense.

Thank you.

Excerpt from NaNoWriMo: Prologue

Author’s note: This is the prologue of the story I began during NaNoWriMo. I thought that it would be fun to post excerpts from it now and then! I’ve been inspired by today’s New Moon, it would appear.

He starts awake, gasping and choking. Coughing up water, gagging, snorting out sand-filled snot. He raises up on his forearms, struggling to stand…a wave of dizziness hits hard. He collapses helplessly. The crying of gulls is loud in the air…what is that clacking sound? He strains to raise his head – gods, it spins so! Bright light hurts his eyes; he clamps them shut and drags himself forward. His body aches all over. What happened? He can’t dredge up any memory save something from a nightmare…idyllic peace shattered in an instant…

Water lapping, calm seas, joy and general bonhomie as the grand ship cut through the waves on the journey home. Tall, proud son at his side, strong hands on the wheel. Grinning at his father in his good-natured way. Eyes that twinkle in the same way that the young man’s mother’s eyes did, so long ago. Eyes that now turn distant and intent, staring over the father’s shoulder, concern and the hint of fear growing rapidly. “What is that? By the gods – Father, what is that?”

Turning slowly…ever so slowly, as if in a dream…seeing the small island passing on the portside, nine figures cloaked in black garments, screaming foul incantations and dancing wildly, madly…time seems to slow to the cadence of heartbeats. Black clouds gather and roil, coalescing into lumpen shapes that begin to swirl ominously like the funnel-cloud of a tornado.

A helpless form, dressed in rags, hangs unsupported in front of the chanting, dancing worshipers. The chanting rises to a fever pitch as a thunderous sound grows in volume, getting louder by the second. The ugly noise travels through the ground and the water, seemingly filling the air itself with its oppressive presence. All on board the ship clap hands to ears; some fall to their knees, others writhe in agony.
A circle flashes into view above the chanting forms – a beam of light shoots down, vaporizing the ragged sacrifice. The chanters are washed with that hideous, sickly light; eyes ablaze, they turn as one, facing the ship. Waves suddenly churn – the ship plunges and whirls in unseen eddies. Massive chains drop from the circle in the sky, smashing into the tiny island. They lock into place and pull taut…the ground shakes from the impact, and the waves increase in intensity. The lookout in the crow’s nest is flung into the wild sea, screaming as he falls. Water washes across the deck, slamming helpless bodies into gunwales and tossing others to the waves.

The man reaches out, grabbing his unconscious son as they slide across the wet wooden planks. He desperately clutches at a flapping end of rope in an attempt to arrest forward motion, to no avail – the ship lurches madly as another freak wave heaves it to starboard. He’s falling…the side of the ship looms close. He strikes his shoulder on something…he loses his grip on his son. The cold water envelops him in an icy embrace. Shouts and screams are close, some growing faint and ceasing altogether. He tries to get his bearings by exhaling a stream of bubbles and following their trail.

He breaks the surface of the water. His eyes see the huge chains locked into the earth, but his mind still doesn’t register it as being real. Thunder rumbles continuously; the white light spins madly in the center of the circle, the clouds are black and ominous as they seem to be sucked into the spinning light. Creatures from the imagination of a mad god drop from the circle, summoned by the chanting, dancing worshipers. Their fell magics are directed at the sky, the water, and the now-sinking ship. The incessant waves have taken their toll and the port side has been stove in from some unseen impact.

“No…please…” he gasps, treading water weakly, still trying to keep his son’s head above the surging waters. Out of nowhere, a powerful arm grabs him around the chest and lifts him onto a couple of floating barrels that are still miraculously lashed together. His son’s limp form soon rests next to him – he is relieved to see that the younger man still breathes strongly. He looks around for his savior, but only sees a saurian tail cutting through the water towards another bit of flotsam. One of the lizard-folk, it appears…he had employed a goodly number of them. His desire for a diverse crew would pay off quite well, today.

The ship is floundering, quite resembling a dying cetacean or sea-serpent struggling and clinging to life. The sails hang in rags from the masts, rent and torn by the screaming winds. Forms, human and non, bob in the waves. Some manage to stay afloat – others tread water weakly, then cease their struggles, then disappear from sight. He turns blurred eyes to the limp form of his son. ‘I’m so tired…I must rest for just a little while…then I can help,’ he thinks. Darkness lays her warm cloak over his eyes and mind, and he floats away.

The clacking sound rouses him again…he knows that he needs to get away from it, but can’t think of why. He carefully moves his arms, stretching them out in front of him and feeling for something sturdy to grasp hold of. Splintered wood. Wet, wadded cloth. A soggy, frayed piece of rope. A hand…he clasps it, but it is cold and doesn’t return his grip. He carefully releases it, not opening his eyes, not wanting to know who it might belong to – or whether it is still even attached to the arm of whomever it belongs to. He needs to focus on survival. Head spinning, he makes minute, painful progress…then passes out again.

Voices call, getting closer. “Did you see that?” “What was it?” “Here! I found someone – come, come!” “Over here…no, that one is done for – mark them with the red cloth so the priests can tend to them once we find all of the survivors.” The sound of scuffing sand gets nearer still. The ugly clacking is so close…too close…sand scuffs harshly, there is a soft thump, and the clacking ceases. He groans softly, twitching his hands in the sand, trying to move. “Here – come, I’ve found another!” The voice, so close…speaking in a familiar language, but with a unique, distinct dialect. A woman’s voice. Hands press his arms and legs; questing fingers probe his shoulder. He lets out a loud gasp of pain, then dissolves into paroxysms of helpless coughing. “Turn him, quickly!” More hands grab him; fingers sweep into his mouth, clearing out sand and spittle. Fingers pull his eyes open – the sunlight is blinding and he tries to squeeze his eyelids shut against the burning intrusion. His head is cradled gently for a moment and a bowl is brought to his lips. “Here…drink this, slowly,” says a soft voice. He parts his lips; warm broth trickles down the side of his face as he swallows. He squints against the light, trying to see who tends to him – all he sees is a light-limned shadow. The broth is good…he relaxes slightly as the pain eases, closing his eyes again. His breath steadies as he falls into a deep, dreamless sleep. He feels nothing as he is transferred to a travois, wrapped in a wool blanket, and has pillows carefully propped behind his head and shoulders. He is lifted to the back of a horse-drawn cart and lain down between two others. The horse grazes quietly nearby; the driver eats his own simple meal, waiting for the order to take the poor souls to the nearby infirmary.

Other injured crewmen have been located. Those who can move on their own do so, heading to the triage tent that was hastily erected by the rescuers. Many of those with the fewest injuries are the lizard-folk, who are telling and re-telling the tale of what befell them as they are tended to by the healers. An elderly, blind priest listens to the recounted disaster, his fingers weaving runes of light in the air before his sightless eyes. His magick-infused writings are being seen in various guilds throughout the land, being transcribed to books, paper, and carved in stone by whichever mage, shaman, witch-king, or wyrd-woman can decipher them. For good or ill, this occurrence is recorded by all with the ability – and the tale spreads swiftly, like a virulent disease.

R.I.P., Gwen Ifill…

Gwendolyn L. Ifill: 29 September 1955 – 14 November 2016

Ah, me…the last person who inspired me to study journalism passed away today. Gwen Ifill, award-winning newscaster, political reporter, and author, succumbed to complications of uterine cancer at the age of 61. From the New York Times:

Gwen Ifill, a groundbreaking journalist who covered the White House, Congress and national campaigns during three decades for The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and, most prominently, PBS, died on Monday at a hospice in Washington. She was 61.

The cause was complications of uterine cancer, her brother Roberto said.

In a distinguished career, Ms. Ifill was in the forefront of a journalism vanguard as a black woman in a field dominated by white men.

She achieved her highest visibility most recently, as the moderator and managing editor of the public affairs program “Washington Week” on PBS and the co-anchor and co-managing editor, with Judy Woodruff, of “NewsHour,” competing with the major broadcast and cable networks for the nightly news viewership. They were the first all-female anchor team on network nightly news.

Last spring, she and Ms. Woodruff were the moderators of a Democratic primary debate between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, reprising a role that Ms. Ifill had performed solo between sparring vice-presidential candidates in the 2004 and 2008 general election campaigns.”

She was a huge inspiration for me in junior high and high school, especially after I began volunteering at, and then working for, the local radio station in the little community that I lived in at the time. She, along with Walter Cronkite and Paul Harvey, were the people that I looked to for facts, honesty, and humour in the news and daily life. Looking to them, I learned that facts are always important, even if the truth is ugly and difficult to digest. Ms. Ifill, however, filled me with a sense of confidence and pride. Seeing someone that I could relate to gave me hope that I could achieve similar goals. She was someone who taught me steadfast resilience, and gave me the courage in refusing to let others dictate what I could accomplish. She exemplified many qualities that I strive for on a daily basis, including exceeding other peoples’ low expectations. She spoke of this, and other things in this excellent interview in Mother Jones:

For a decade, Gwen Ifill’s been a fixture on PBS’s Washington Week and The NewsHour, the mild-mannered staples of capital-S serious TV news. “You may not see me tweeting soon,” she confesses, but she says she’s happy to see bloggers burst the Beltway bubble. Mother Jones caught up with Ifill during a schedule packed with nightly shows and a national tour for her new book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Ifill shared her thoughts on moderating Sarah Palin, being spoofed by Queen Latifah, and checking the rabid fervor of Obamamanics: “Calm down, people…Prepare to be disappointed—that’s almost inevitable.”

Mother Jones: In your book you describe politics as like sandpaper, moments of friction that rub up against one another and then we reach a smooth new place. Is that politics in general or specific to racial progress?

Gwen Ifill: I think it speaks to politics in general; the degree to which it’s unique or specific to racial politics is that race is itself the ultimate sandpaper in our culture. So if you take the conflicts we are used to dealing with, race over the years in America, and you combine that with the desire or aspiration to political power or taking power from other people, which is what politics is all about, you end up with a lot more friction than you would normally see with just straight-ahead politics. It’s a very complicated and ever-changing evolution, race and politics in this country, because of the history of the nation as well as the nature of politics.

MJ: What’s it like being in more than 3 million homes each night? Do you take particular care to reach a broad audience?

GI: I think I would do that no matter what I was doing. Even though I am in television now, I spent my career trying to speak to the broadest possible audience whether it’s in print or whether it’s in television. Because I would never work for a niche publication or a niche program on television and because I am a journalist and not an opinion person, my job is to try to see how many different points of view I can represent or how. It’s not even a question of who you don’t offend because you are always going to offend somebody. The question is how can you get people to listen to the information you have to present. You don’t do that by telling them, My way or the highway; this is what I think. And you don’t do it by saying, Let me just talk about this one slice. Barack Obama didn’t get elected president, would never have been elected president, had he decided to run as a black candidate. In order to reach the broadest number of people you have to speak to their interests as broadly as you can.

MJ: And yet cable news at least is full of pundits, and from Rush to Rachel, there’s a definite personality worship going on. Is opinion taking over, and what does that say about the role of the media?

GI: I don’t think it takes over, but it’s different; they do a different job than I do. I don’t think if you ask Rachel Maddow if she’s a journalist she would say she is. Jon Stewart doesn’t say he’s a journalist. Sean Hannity, I don’t know what he’d say, maybe he goes back and forth. But to me it is really incumbent on us to be as clear in our definition as possible of what we mean when we say media. Because media could be anything. I think it’s great to have a vibrant and lively public debate out there about points of view, as long as you’re willing to listen to the other side, too. I don’t see myself as a pundit and I take great pains not to be one because I always want to consider that the other guy might have a point, too. Otherwise, I couldn’t do my job. So I don’t think it’s taking over. I just think we as consumers of information media must be very clear what it is we are consuming. Whether we are choosing to get our information by listening to people fight about it. Or whether we’re choosing to get it by listening to the facts or watching the facts as they’re laid out and then reaching our own conclusions. It’s very different ways of info gathering, but it’s not all journalism.

MJ: Have Americans come to rely more on punditry versus reportage?

GI: I hope not. I don’t think so. I think that, for instance, and this isn’t punditry per se, but people who laugh at Jon Stewart. I have a lot of college students say to me, That’s all I watch. I guess I am supposed to be dismayed by that, but I’m not, because in order to laugh at Jon Stewart you have to understand the underpinnings of the joke. You have to know who Nancy Pelosi is; you have to have your basic information. That’s true for a lot of people who watch shout shows. They are also getting their information from someplace, their basic information. Some of it is flawed, some of it is not. But at least they’re taking it in, which for, you know, pre-cable I went to college at a time when people weren’t even reading the paper. So I want them to be getting some sort of engagement, even though it might not be the kind of engagement I would choose to give.

MJ: Shout shows?

GI: Shout shows. People who sit in different boxes and yell at each other. I call it more heat than light.

MJ: Do people just want to be told how to interpret events as they happen?

GI: Some people just want someone to agree with the conclusions they have already reached. I don’t think people are looking to make up their minds on these shows. I think they’ve already made up their minds. If you’re watching Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow, you have probably already made up your mind what you think, and you want someone to say, Doggone right—that’s what I thought. [Laughs.] You know, we praise people who agree with us. But that means they formed their opinions somewhere else. There’s nothing wrong with having reached your conclusions about your opinions; it’s just not what I do. And I don’t think everyone, I don’t think most people are that hard and fast. Rather, there’s that sponge-like quality. They want to know more.

MJ: The PBS ombudsman said of The NewsHour that he finds it “sometimes too polite, too balanced when issues are not really balanced.” What do you think he means by “too balanced”?

GI: In the media universe we’re in, where there are people screaming on one end, there is no problem at all with having a little bit of extra politeness. At the NewsHour, our goal is not necessarily to be polite but to be respectful, of various points of view. Now, what we struggle with sometimes is the notion of false equivalency, which I guess is what he’s alluding to, the idea that you have engaged an evenhanded debate when there is a clear point of view that is unchallenged. I can’t think of an example, but that is one of those endless inside journalism debates we all have.

But at The NewsHour we really think our role is to vet as many points of view as possible, put as much information on the table as possible, and assume, I think correctly, that the people at home are willing to take that information and make up their own minds. We’re never going to say, This is the truth, or, This is the end, this is the way you should believe. We like to think that maybe, just possibly, conceivably, people are smart enough to make up their minds for themselves. I have time after time after time found that to be true. That people are engaged in, that people want to be engaged in getting the information but they don’t necessarily always want to be told what the conclusion ought to be. And The NewsHour is very—we are very careful with our prize, which is an hour of commercial-free time every night, to go as deeply as we can into subjects, to lay out as many, sometimes five points of view about a single thing and try to just lay it all out there for viewers to make their own conclusions. And our viewers are really smart. They really do figure it out on their own; we don’t have to lecture them.

MJ: Alternately, The NewsHour has been criticized for catering to the right and center more than to the left. What is your response?

GI: The joy of The NewsHour is that we’ve been criticized for catering to everybody. The right is as unhappy with us as the left; the middle is as unhappy with us as either the right or the left. And after a while you don’t spend a whole lot of time pulse checking for who’s been criticizing you today and do the best job you can on a certain day, and one day you will displease one side and another day you’ll displease the other side, and hopefully you’ll displease them all at once on occasion.

MJ: I guess that means you’re doing your job then.

GI: Yeah, that’s my thinking.”

Rest in peace, good lady – you were a huge inspiration and a shining star in my life. You will be sorely missed during the next few years…your intellect, fairness, and sense of justice is needed more than ever, these days.

Metro

Beautiful poetry…I love this.

Sheldon Kleeman

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“Stars”

In your eyes I see the moonlit stars

They shine brighter than anyother

We shall see these starry times together

Or which evermoon comes thereafter

__________________________________

“Together”

If it wasn’t for you

there won’t be

If there wasn’t for me~~

So together we are & forever

~~that makes three

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Positive Quote ~ September 25th

Yes, indeed!
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Blog of a Mad Black Woman

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Have a blessed day all. ❤

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Muhammad Ali – THE Greatest Of All Time

Muhammad Ali: 17 January 1942 – 3 June 2016

Ah, me…a titan has passed on. Muhammad Ali, born as Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., but forever known as “The Greatest of All Time,” succumbed to a respiratory illness which was exacerbated by the complications of Parkinson’s disease and CTE. He was 74 years of age. From the BBC:

“Boxing legend Muhammad Ali – one of the world’s greatest sporting figures – has died at the age of 74.

The former world heavyweight champion died late on Friday at a hospital in the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, having been admitted on Thursday.

He had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.

Ali’s funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, said his family…George Foreman, who lost his world title to Ali in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” fight in Kinshasa in 1974, called him one of the greatest human beings he had ever met.

American civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson said Ali had been willing to sacrifice the crown and money for his principles when he refused to serve in the Vietnam war.”

I don’t know where to start with what I want to say about this legendary, talented, courageous, genius, magnetic, iconic, poetic, beautiful, genuine titan of a man. He was labeled “boastful” when all he did was “walk his talk.” Muhammad Ali would say something – and then he would do it – quite masterfully, too! He was the epitome of self-confidence, self-assurance, and willpower. His birthdate shows that he was a Capricorn, which is the sole, Cardinal Earth sign. From Astrology.com:

“A Cardinal Quality is attached to the signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. The Cardinal Houses are the First, Fourth, Seventh and Tenth; if an astrological chart shows a preponderance of planets in these houses, its energy is weighted toward cardinality.

Cardinal Signs are the initiators of the zodiac. They are also found at key jumping-off points on the chart wheel, specifically the Ascendant, Medium Coeli (M.C. or Midheaven), Descendant and Imum Coeli (I.C.). Individuals possessing a Cardinal Quality like to get things going. They are active, quick and ambitious. Many projects get started, thanks to Cardinal initiative, although a good deal of them are never finished. That’s because Cardinal folks are much fonder of starting things than finishing them.

You won’t find a Cardinal person slacking off. These people are full of vim and vigor and possess a drive and ambition that is unmistakable. Enthusiasm and a zest for life fill the Cardinal individual. Some might perceive this rampant energy as domineering, and, at times, it can be. Cardinal people can easily forget about the rest of the pack when they are busily focusing on their own endeavors. Even so, their energetic spirit often wins the day.

Cardinal folks are clever and want to win. They love to start things, and whether they finish them or not, there’s always a lot going on. Naysayers who find them to be too self-centered will simply have to watch (and marvel) as they speed by!”

Muhammad Ali’s boxing career was essentially over before I reached middle school, and before I really began paying much attention to sports in earnest. I played varsity-class volleyball in 7th grade; only one of three middle- / junior-high-age girls playing with the juniors and seniors…and, technically, I was still in elementary school since I had a “double-promotion” way back when I first entered kindergarten. Still, the few times I saw him on television, or read about him in the papers or magazines, were always inspiring. His speeches, quotes, and sheer indomitable personality would make me dust myself off and keep on going. The only other celebrities alive now, who inspire me as much as he did, are these legendary talents: Grace Jones, and Tina Turner. Muhammad Ali might have been the last, living male celebrity that I have much respect for…President Barack Obama is more than a celebrity, but that’s another topic for another day. Muhammad Ali transcended the world of sports – his philanthropy, activism, and love for others will forever shine brightly, for me.

I don’t think there’s anything that I can add that hasn’t been said by legions around the world, by now. I just wanted to post my own, tiny, heartfelt tribute to a true legend. Rest easy now, my good man…your heart, soul, dedication, and willpower have inspired me anew.

The pantheon embraces and welcomes you as an equal, as well. I’ll let your words speak for you, since your voice was silenced far too soon. Your actions certainly spoke far louder than your voice ever did – and that says everything.

Waxing Poetic: The Forge-Master

Shaper of iron…rugged and strong

Wild, long hair and beard blow and flow in the wind

Cresting the hill, he approaches bare-chested

The forge is cold…long untouched…neglected, she slumbers

He sets powerful hands to the bellows – deftly manipulates

Coals glow under his experienced touch…heat rises

He reaches down, caressing the knob on the vent – the flames explode

He smiles, thrusting thick, raw pig-iron into the fire

Hands deftly pump the bellows – steadily…rhythmically

Iron glows red…then white-hot

Sweat streams down muscular thighs

Loincloth falls away, unnoticed in his exertions

Iron is doused with cool, soothing fluid…steam rises in a sigh

Mold me, forge-master…I am your smoldering ember

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