R.I.P., Chris Cornell…

Chris Cornell (B. Christopher John Boyle): 20 July 1964 – 17 May 2017

I’m a bit floored at the moment. I just heard about the death of Chris Cornell, frontman of the bands Audioslave and Soundgarden. Soundgarden is one of the top three bands synonymous with the genre of grunge music, and Chris Cornell was instrumental in helping launch grunge from the local Seattle stage to nationwide and international status. Nirvana and Pearl Jam are the other two which were the main powerhouses of the time; Alice In Chains, Mother Love Bone, and the Screaming Trees are others who were well-known in that scene and the circles at the time.

I was fortunate enough to see a good number of those bands in person as they were up-and-coming; they performed regularly at places like the Vogue, the Moore Theatre, and the Crocodile Café in Seattle, among other local hot spots. Chris’s voice was just as distinctive as that of Kurt Cobain or Eddie Vedder, and it had the power to move you through the emotional highs and lows of a song effortlessly.

There’s really not much else that I can say with words, so here’s my little musical tribute to one of the best musicians of my lifetime. Rest easy, Chris…you left us too soon. You still had so much to offer.

R.I.P., Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas: 4 August 1920 – 20 July 2013

Long-time White House reporter and journalist, Helen Thomas, passed away today following a long illness. She was 92 years old. She interviewed a number of U.S. presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, George W. Bush, and Barack H. Obama. The BBC reports:

“Helen Thomas, a trailblazing journalist who covered the White House for nearly five decades, has died aged 92.

She died at her Washington apartment after a long illness, the Gridiron Club, Washington’s historic press organisation, said.

Ms Thomas covered the administrations of 10 presidents and was known for asking difficult questions.

She was a fixture at White House news conferences and considered a pioneer for women in journalism.

Veteran NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell tweeted that Helen Thomas “made it possible for all of us who followed”.

Questioning was ‘torture’

Born to Lebanese immigrants in Kentucky in 1920, Helen Thomas found her calling while working for her student newspaper at school.

She started out as a copy girl for a small Washington newspaper before moving to the United Press (UPI) wire service with whom she covered the presidential campaign of John F Kennedy.

Following Kennedy’s election, the huge demand for stories about First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy helped Ms Thomas secure her place within the White House press corps.”

It’s interesting to note that her career “ended under a cloud” after her comments about Israeli Jews and Palestine. Lush Dimbulb and Lard-arse Deen get book deals and shitloads of money for insulting Black people, but Helen Thomas is disgraced for her honest opinion about a country that is near her parents’ homeland…go figure! More from Al-Jazeera:

“In her long career, she was indelibly associated with the ritual ending White House news conferences.

She was often the one to deliver the closing line: “Thank you, Mister. President” – four polite words that belied a fierce competitive streak.

Her disdain for White House secrecy and dodging spanned five decades, back to President John F Kennedy.

Her freedom to voice her peppery opinions as a speaker and a Hearst columnist came late in her career.

The Bush administration marginalised her, clearly peeved with a journalist who had challenged President George W Bush to his face on the Iraq war and declared him the worst president in history.

In 2009 she asked President Barack Obama, “When are you going to get out of Afghanistan? Why are we continuing to kill and die there? What is the real excuse and don’t give us this Bushism ‘If we don’t go there, they’ll all come here.'”

Pioneer journalist

Thomas was assigned to the White House in 1961 by UPI in part because of the great interest in first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, as well as the new young president.

She would go on to become the dean of the White House media corps and her front-row centre chair in the briefing room eventually had a plaque with her name, the only seat so designated.

Thomas grew up in Detroit, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants.

Middle Eastern affairs were a strong interest and impromptu comments about Israel and the Palestinians in May 2010 were her undoing.

Asked by an interviewer from the website rabbilive.com if she had any comments about Israel, Thomas responded, “Get the hell out of Palestine”.

She said “Remember, [the Palestinian] people are occupied, and it’s their land.”

To me, she represents what real journalism and reporting used to be. You find none of that straightforward honesty anymore – so-called ‘reporters’ and ‘journalists’ are nothing more than plastic talking-heads regurgitating self-made headlines…that fiasco with the San Francisco TV station getting trolled and pwned into reporting racist, fake names of the Asiana pilots says it all!

I wanted to be a reporter when I was younger; this is why I went into the radio industry during high school, but it became rapidly apparent that honesty and truth weren’t valued qualities for a reporter. True journalism died the day the 24-hour ‘news cycle’ came into vogue, and all we see today is the animated, rotting corpse of something that used to be grand.

Rest in peace, Helen – you were the last, true, published journalist. Those of us who still exist will never be allowed to attain your legendary level…sad, no?

In Memoriam: Bob Marley

Nesta Robert “Bob” Marley: 6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981

Wednesday, February 6th, marked the 68th “birth anniversary” of Bob Marley, well-known reggae artist and political activist. He died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36, but his legacy lives on. From the Huffington Post:

“Marley is credited with helping spread both reggae sounds and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience throughout his 18 years in the business.

According to Urban Islandz, “Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers,” which was released three years after his death, is reggae’s biggest selling album to date, with more than 10 million copies sold in the United States and an estimated 25 million worldwide. And that’s no surprise.

Despite his absence, Marley has continued to garner success, being honored with such awards as BBC’s song of the millenium for “One Love” and getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Also in 1999, Time Magazine named  Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Exodus” as the greatest album of the 20th century.”

I don’t know that I can do this legendary man due justice! He is a hero in more ways than one; a pioneer, a man with a message who was taken from this world far too soon. He is survived by Ziggy Marley and his 10 other children: Sharon, Cedella, Stephen, Robbie, Rohan, Karen, Stephanie, Julian, Ky-Mani and Damian. Check out the official Bob Marley website for music, wallpapers, and information! Rest in peace, Mr. Marley – you are truly one of the greats, and far more than a mere decoration for head-shops.

R.I.P., Donald Byrd

Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II: December 9, 1932 – February 4, 2013

Legendary jazz trumpeteer Donald Byrd passed away on Monday, February 4th, at the age of 80. His death was reported by his nephew, jazz pianist Alex Bugnon, on Thursday, February 7th. The Guardian reports:

“The influential jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd died on Monday at the age of 80, his nephew has said.

Alex Bugnon, a jazz pianist, reported his uncle’s death on Thursday, though it has yet to be confirmed.

Bugnon wrote on his own Facebook page: “Donald passed away Monday in Delaware, where he lived. His funeral will be held in Detroit sometime next week. I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family.”

During his career, he performed alongside other legendary greats such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock. He had musical roots in bebop, but later became equally renowned for soul, funk, and jazz fusion. From the Huffington Post:

“His career began when he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, as a replacement for Clifford Brown, in the 1950s, and formed the fusion group The Blackbyrds in the early 1970s. According to Amoeba, Byrd was a “one of a kind trumpeter,” who was known not just for his work in jazz, but also in R&B, soul and funk music, and it was his ability to transcend time and genre and remain relevant that sets his work apart from others.

The cause of death has yet to be released, and in a statement his nephew wrote:

“Let’s remember Donald as a one of a kind pioneer of the trumpet, of the many styles of music he took on, of music education. In sum, Donald was an avid, eternal student of music, until his death. That’s what I try to be, everyday!! Rest in peace, uncle!”

Rest in peace, for certain – the music world is mourning heavily this week. Another great one takes his talent to the gods…

Notable Black Women: “Stagecoach” Mary Fields

“Stagecoach” Mary Fields: 1832 – 1914

There have been many notable Black women throughout history, and one of those women was Mary Fields. She was born a slave in Tennessee, but was freed when American slavery was outlawed in 1865 – one of the lucky few. According to the Cascade Montana website, she stayed with her owners even after the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves. When she did leave, she spent time in Ohio and along the Mississippi River. She was taught how to read and write by her captors, which was also unusual in those days. She was owned by Judge Edmund Dunn(e) and grew up on his family farm – it’s reported that she had a friendship of sorts with one of the judge’s daughters, who was named Dolly:

“According to some reports, when Mary was around 30 years old, she received a
letter from Dolly, who had become a nun and was now known as Sister Amadeus.
Mary welcomed her friend’s request to join her at the convent. Soon after Mary’s
arrival, however, Sister Amadeus headed west to become the headmistress of a
school for Native American girls in Montana. For some reason, Mary chose not to
accompany her friend. Only when she learned that Sister Amadeus was ill with
pneumonia did Mary head west to Montana. Mary must have liked the area. After
she had helped nurse her friend back to health, she decided to stay.”

Mary must have cut an imposing figure – reportedly standing six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, this cigar-smoking, whiskey-drinking, gun-toting woman was nobody to be trifled with! Native Americans supposedly called her “White Crow” because she “acts like a white woman, but has black skin.” Local whites didn’t know what to make of her. (I know the feeling, LOL) From Wikipedia:

“After Amadeus recovered, Fields stayed at St. Peter’s hauling freight, doing laundry, growing vegetables, tending chickens, repairing buildings, and eventually becoming the forewoman.[1][2] …One schoolgirl wrote an essay saying “she drinks whiskey, and she swears, and she is a republican, which makes her a low, foul creature.” In 1894, after several complaints, the bishop ordered her to leave the convent.[1]

She was the first African-American woman employed as a mail carrier in the United States, and the second American woman to work for the United States Postal Service. The article goes on to say this:

“Fields was hired as a mail carrier because she was the fastest applicant to hitch a team of six horses.[2] She drove the route with horses and a mule named Moses. She never missed a day, and her reliability earned her the nickname “Stagecoach.”[2][3] If the snow was too deep for her horses, Fields delivered the mail on snowshoes, carrying the sacks on her shoulders.[1]

Fields was a respected public figure in Cascade, and on her birthday each year the town closed its schools to celebrate.[2] When Montana passed a law forbidding women to enter saloons, the mayor of Cascade granted her an exception.[1]

This pioneering woman refused to let others dictate how she should live her life. She did things her way, and to hell with anyone who didn’t like it – she was free and she chose to be herself!

She broke more noses than any other person in central Montana

“… so claims the Great Falls Examiner, the only newspaper available in Cascade at the time.

Once a ‘hired hand’ at the mission confronted her with the complaint that she was earning $2 a month more than he was ($9 vs. $7), and why did she think that she was worth so much money anyway, being only an uppity colored woman? (His name, phonetically, was Yu Lum Duck.) To make matters worse, he made this same complaint and general description in public at one of the local saloons (where Mary was a regular customer), and followed that up with a (more polite) version directly to Bishop Filbus N.E. Berwanger himself (to no avail).

This was more than enough to boil Mary’s blood, and at the very next opportunity the two of them were engaged in a shoot-out behind the nunnery, next to the sheep shed. (Actually it turned into a shoot-out, because when Mary went to simply shoot the man as he cleaned out the latrine — figuring to dump his body in there — she missed. He shot back and the fracas was on.)

Bullets flew in every direction until the six-guns were empty, and blood was spilt. Neither actually hit the other by direct fire, but one bullet shot by Mary bounced off the stone wall of the nunnery and hit the forlorn man in the left buttock, which completely ruined his new $1.85 trousers. Not only that, but other bullets Mary fired passed through the laundry of the bishop, which was hanging on the line, generously ventilating his drawers and the two white shirts he had had shipped from Boston only the week before. What his laundry was doing at the nunnery is not clear.

That was enough for the bishop; he fired Mary, and gave the injured man a raise.”

Here’s to “Stagecoach” Mary Fields – a strong, independent, beautiful Black woman who forged her own path, and carved her name indelibly into history. Rock on, sister!     😎

Ramblin’ Rose…Friday Thoughts

I titled this because I’m a rambling sort – I travel, my mind is active, and I go off on tangents on a regular basis! My personal symbol is the roisin dubh…that tattoo graces my skin; the first one I ever got. I’ve since added my second personal symbol, and more will follow as I’m able to afford them. I love my ink…none of it shows unless I’m unclothed, so only my fiancée knows what they are…as it should be!

The leaves are turning colour on the deciduous trees, and tomorrow markes the Autumnal Equinox – Mabon. Thoughts turn to holing up for the winter; time to haul wood now that the days are cool enough to do physical labour, but not so cold that your fingers freeze! The rain is holding off so it’s the perfect time to go look for deadfalls and start cutting – the wood is still dry from the hot days, so the logs can season in the crib under shelter. Cedar, spruce, alder, pine and hemlock all smell great on the fire!

From the website of Jonathan Cainer: http://www.cainer.com/

“It’s the equinox, when the days and nights are of equal length. Around this time of year, many of us experience a powerful urge to rebalance arrangements and adjust our attitude to situations that have begun to seem disproportionately important. We find ourselves wanting to lead tidier lives. We start to consider where we stand, wondering who we stand there with and asking whether we should be standing anywhere else instead. But for all that there’s much weighing up of options and alternatives to be done, there’s also an excellent chance to strike good deals and reach constructive compromises.”

Summer’s end… and what a busy summer it was – I can easily say that I’ve done more travelling in the past five months than I have in the past ten years! It’s been grand. We’ve already started planning for next year’s road-trips, including going back to the redwoods and sequoias, and heading through the Grand Tetons and going through Glacier National Park. The main excursion will, hopefully, be the cruise to Milwaukee, ‘Wis-cahn-sin’ for Harley-Davidson’s® 110th anniversary party. I sure wish my like-skinned ‘sisters and brothers’ would attend more of these events, and not be put off by the stereotyped bullshit that television and movies spew! Yes, there are bigoted assholes in bike groups – hell, this is AmeriKKKa, so there are ALWAYS going to be racist fucks wherever you go. They do the “safety in numbers” coward’s M.O. But you know what? There have been pioneering men and women of color in all walks of life. For the Black female biker, that woman is epitomized in the late, great Bessie Stringfield. I recently read about her in a book titled Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles, & the Rapture of the Road. I would love to meet any living relatives of hers who may still be alive today, and talk to them about her in-depth! She rode across the country, solo, in the 1930s and 1940s. If one truly knows what the climate in this country was at that time, you will understand that this was no small feat! She made eight long-distance rides and eventually traveled through all 48 contiguous states. Alaska and Hawai’i were still only territories at the time, and as a woman AND a Black person, she wouldn’t have had the right to vote – imagine that for a moment. She didn’t ride to make a statement, she had a passion for motorcycles and rode for the sheer love of it…much like myself and many others. Those who ride by themselves tend to be the genuine articles! I’d like to see more people like myself out there on bikes…and don’t be so fucking stuck-up with me and each other at the stores! I saw some seriously self-hating brothas at some shops, but was also helped by a couple of wonderful brothas and sistas at others.

Anyway, Ms. Stringfield was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1911 and moved to Boston with her parents – sadly, she was orphaned at the age of 5. To her good fortune, she was adopted by a wealthy family and was given a 1928 Indian Scout for her 16th birthday. She didn’t even know the first thing about riding a motorcycle, but taught herself how and even began doing stunts. She took the stunt act on the road; as she was often denied hotel lodgings, she would attempt to find a place to stay with a local Black family, or park the bike at a gas station and sleep on it, spreading her jacket on the handlebars for a pillow (yes, it CAN be done). Many attempts were made on her life, including the time two white men used a truck to try to run her off the road. Still, she persevered and refused to let others dictate how she wanted to live her life. She refused to let others keep her from doing what she loved. She didn’t stop living life and enjoying it, simply because cowardly assholes felt that she didn’t have the right to. She did many things in her life, including riding for the Army as a civilian courier until 1945 – she was the only woman in her unit. She earned a nursing license in the 1950s, and founded the Iron Horse Motorcycle Club. In 2000, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) created the Bessie Stringfield Memorial Award for Superior Achievement by a Female Motorcyclist. She herself was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002. In a riding career spanning 63-years, she owned 27 Harley-Davidson® bikes: “…always blue, and always new!” she is quoted as saying. I wonder what she would think about the Iron Horse Motorcycle Club if she could see some of the members now…what white-trash assholes they are! I’ve seen a few of the Pacific Northwest members at the annual Lighthouse Run in Coos Bay, Oregon and the Oyster Run in Anacortes, Washington. I’d gone over to speak with some of the members when I saw their patches, as I’d been acquainted with some members of the same club when I lived in Seattle, and hoped to find some mutual connections. They looked at me as if I were a piece of shit – I was amazed at their hostility and rudeness, but remembering where I was, I merely said that I’d mistaken them for someone else and removed myself from their toxic presence. There’s never any sense in trying to talk sense to racist fucktards; they’re so wrapped up in their personal poison that rational thought is foreign to them. Anyway, it’s a shame when an organization is started and is meant for everyone, but then, somehow, gets warped and transformed into some sort of exclusive, “whites-only” club – enjoying the freedom of the road isn’t exclusive; either you love it or you don’t. It’s frustrating to go to a place and have your enjoyment disrupted by negative, racist, separatist cretins. *SIGH*

My books are coming along quite well…the stoppers have opened! I’m enjoying writing and can’t wait to share my creation with the world. It will be interesting to see how it is received.  On another note, I am almost finished with my long-due post about mental illness. It has taken a while because there was a lot of old research that I had to dig up, and I needed to update the old observations and add some new insight and studies. It’s been a lot of work! I’m finally more or less satisfied with what I wanted to get across, so that post will FINALLY be published next week – apologies for the delays.

I’m working part-time now; it’s better than nothing, and it’s not in a friggin’ office! I can actually be myself a little more, which allows me to relax more. When I’m relaxed, I’m easygoing and more carefree, so it’s good. Best of all, I can comment on certain customers – nobody knows where I work and who I’m talking about, so I can speak “off-the-cuff” without worrying about doing it elegantly, LMFAO!!!!! Those will come at a later date…stay tuned if you’re interested.

I’m disappointed that Deadman Wonderland has vanished from the [adult swim] rotation with no warning or explanation! That was an excellent anime too…I was thoroughly enjoying it. I don’t belong to the “hate mail brigade”, either – I think it’s senseless to blame a station for a show going away (or a really shitty one commencing) because nine times out of ten, the station has no control over it. Having worked for radio and television stations I know how that situation goes…I’ve had to take the phoned-in complaints and read the stupid, ranting letters! At any rate, I sure hope it comes back – or, at the very least, I hope I can find the series up for purchase online! I’ll have to do some digging…

2012/09/24 DEADMAN WONDERLAND UPDATE: Apparently, the creator of the manga is female and pregnant! She’s taking time off for maternity leave. Deadman Wonderland is on hiatus until…whenever!

I have my Samhain gear all ready for upcoming events! There’s going to be a party at a local pub that I’m a regular at, so I hope my outfit will get some rave reviews, and perhaps win me some coin at a contest…we shall see. The ones I ordered are fantastic, I love the colors and the styles of them, and I can’t wait to try them on! I really need more room to work out in, too. The ceilings in our apartment are low, so I can’t do the jumping needed for some routines! Doing yoga isn’t an issue, and my elliptical and the rowing machine don’t take up too much space, but I sure would like to have a universal machine for my strength-training…I’ve always liked having variety in my exercise regimen, and it works the best for me.

http://www.pyramidcollection.com/

Well, that’s all for now. Here are a few songs for the weekend…enjoy!

King Harvest: “Dancing in the Moonlight”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AMdcgpUTVY

Van Morrison: “Wild Night”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bskWG5vzhjU

Dire Straits: “Skateaway”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAYcBNAu6ik

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