Wednesday, August 5, 2020

SIMPLE THINGS IN THE BUCKET--- TOO HOT TO BLOG?


Just wanted  to tell you that I have not succumbed to the COVID or the heat--but I  sometimes feel as if I am on the brink.

ENOUGH  ALREADY!!  

PANDEMIC
has gone on too long and even the return of my beloved Celtics has been a little less than glorious.   They cannot seem to find enough intensity to carry them through all  four quarters.


I have certainly been grateful for the races at Saratoga  and have gotten through many afternoons and evenings with Maggie and those wonderful,well-spoken touts that tell me so much.

So those are the best events.

Surely we have comeback to SIMPLE THINGS.
Poet, author, and farmer Wendell Berry is a shining example of humility and simple living. He’s made it his life’s concern to commit to one beloved plot of land in Kentucky. He says everything he’s learned has been through his faithfulness to that commitment. He reminds me of St. Francis of Assisi in that he loves nature deeply and takes the Gospel seriously. Berry writes of the profound pleasure that can come from simple things—if we can attune ourselves to them:
  It is impossible not to notice how little the proponents of the ideal of competition have to say about honesty, which is the fundamental economic virtue, and how very little they have to say about community, compassion, and mutual help. . . . 

For human beings, affection is the

 ultimate motive, because the force

 that powers us, as [John] Ruskin 

[1819–1900] also said, is not “steam, 

magnetism, or gravitation,” but “a 

Soul.”. . . [1]
Is it possible to look beyond this all-consuming “rush” of winning and losing to the possibility of countrysides, a nation of countrysides, in which use is not synonymous with defeat? It is. But in order to do so we must consider our pleasures. . . . [There are] pleasures that are free or without a permanent cost. . . . These are the pleasures that we take in our own lives, our own wakefulness in this world, and in the company of other people and other creatures—pleasures innate in the Creation and in our own good work. It is in these pleasures that we possess the likeness to God that is spoken of in Genesis. [God looked upon all that God had created and saw that it was very good (Genesis 1:31).] . . .
The passage suggests . . . that our truest and profoundest religious experience may be the simple, unasking pleasure in the existence of other creatures that is possible to humans. It suggests that God’s pleasure in all things must be respected by us in our use of things. . . . It suggests too that we have an obligation to preserve God’s pleasure in all things. . . . 
Where is our comfort but in the free,

 uninvolved, finally mysterious

 beauty and grace of this world that

we did not make, that has no price? 

Where is our sanity but there? 

Where is our pleasure but in 

working and resting kindly in the 

presence of this world?

Saturday, July 18, 2020

NOT SUCH GREAT RECKONINGS IN LITTLE ROOMS

This morning I was happy to see the full dress rehearsal of the seven plays that the BLUE COW GROUP  is presenting as their part in the Providence Fringe Festival.


The Director Daniel Lee White polished our work and ----WHOA!!!-----

Stop the PRESSES  I am watching the meet at Saratoga as I write this and am amazed that the winner of the race I am watching is named OAK HILL.

 Anyone who knows me in Rhode Island knows that I am  much involved in  the management of a great Historical Civil War Cemetery  called OAK HILL.  My father's people are buried there  dating back to the first ancestor who established  a mill in Woonsocket JOB JENCKES.


If I had not spent much of my life avoiding the sad fate of  my dear father who "FOLLOWED THE  HORSES"  I would have had a big bet on that horse.

Well now back to the on line ZOOM presentation of the BLUE COW GROUP.


The first performance is  MONDAY JULY 20 at 6pm EDST

The second performance is WEDNESDAY JULY 29 EDST  at 9pm.


A Play’s the Thing
Presented by The Blue Cow Group
FRINGE PVD 2020
Showtimes:
Monday, July 20, at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, July 29, at 9 p.m.
​Stream via
The Plays
Directed by Daniel Lee White
Sonnet: “To Our Wonderful Audience” by Norma Jenckes
Player—Jane Bird
Two Ladies Doth Protest by Kay Ellen Bullard
Sara—Becky Minard
Gwen—Carole Collins
Ghosted by Martha Douglas-Osmundson
Sadie Wyatt - Sarah Reed
Maya Lee - Lee Rush
Clementine DeVere - Pamela Gill
The Apparel Oft Proclaims the Man by Norma Jenckes
Allen—W. Richard Johnson
Beth—Kayla Ribeiro
Dale—Mike Daniels
Hand Off by Monica Staaf
Alice—Mary Paolino
Melanie—Kate Fitzgerald
All the World’s a Stage by Elaine Brousseau
(with original songs by Paula Elser Clare)
Julie—Amy W. Thompson
Paula—Paula Elser Clare
Open Seating by Susan Buttrick
Forest—Christopher Ferreira
Lilac—Ava Rigelhaupt
Betsy—Chantell Marie Arraial
At the Stage Door by Jayne Hannah
Olivia—Nova Drewes
Mom—Carol Drewes
Clementine DeVere—Pamela Gill

These performances are all free on Zoom and open to all.

Of course, there is an opportunity to donate.  But  do what you can, you are all most welcome.

SO matter where you are in the world you can use your computer to see these shows.

I was pleased with the wonderful performances that the Director has gotten from a group of 17
talented actors.

ZOOM THEATER looks like a new medium to me and it is thrilling to see how  live theater performance can translate to those limitations.


Friday, July 17, 2020

MY UNCLE GEORGE SURVIVED THE SINKING OF THE USS POLLUX


MY MOTHER WAS VERY PROUD OF HER BROTHER GEORGE.


And she had good reason!
 Her  younger brother, George, enlisted in the Navy when he was  18 in 1930. 

He visited us occasionally when I was growing up and  my mother was always excited to see him.

 I remember that he talked only when urged about his close brush with death on the coast of Newfoundland.

He made light of it.  He told me that when he finally made it to the narrow stony beach beneath the cliffs that seemed so high as cold and wet and exhausted by his own efforts to get to shore.


And so he began doing jumping-jacks to keep his muscles going and to get his blood to circulate freely.. Later someone from the town who helped him told  him that when they saw  George doing his jumping jacks and ordering  other sailors who had made it to the shore to join him, they said "That guy wants to live,"
And the towns people came down the cliff face and helped men to leave that freezing shoreline.  George helped them to  aid the other men.  Then he took his turn and was helped up to the  top of the cliff.
He was taken to hospital and there he got well again,

So much gratitude-- he expressed to the wonderful people  of Newfoundland  who rescued him and his ship mates.


George L. Coleman was born at Valley Falls, Rhode Island on April 4, 1912 to parents Jane and Joseph Coleman. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1930 and initially served in the eastern Pacific Ocean aboard the armored cruiser USS Seattle. He transferred to the Navy's Asiatic Fleet several years later, where he served for three years aboard the heavy cruiser USS Augusta. Coleman was reassigned in 1941 to the supply ship USS Pollux, which transported troops, equipment, food, and other goods to Allied ports on both sides of the North Atlantic. He was 29 years old when the vessel ran aground off Newfoundland's south coast during a violent winter storm on February 18, 1942.
Coleman survived the shipwreck, but 93 of his fellow sailors drowned or froze to death; among the dead was his close friend George Marks. Years later, Coleman described to author Cassie Brown how he felt while watching men jump overboard: "I believe I was more stunned and bewildered to see what was happening and just couldn't believe what was going on. I don't know how long I was standing there by the lifeline looking down in that raging sea when I raised my eyes and looked towards the beach and I saw one sailor making his way to the beach, and then he may have been about 12 to 15 feet from the beach. I saw him turn around, face the ship, give a hand salute, and I saw him go down."
Coleman eventually made it to shore and was rescued by a group of men from the nearby communities of Lawn and St. Lawrence. He spent three weeks in hospital following the disaster and returned to military service shortly afterwards. He participated in the invasion of North Africa during the Second World War and also fought in France, Normandy, England, and Norway before peace was restored in 1945.
Coleman was married to Helen for 25 years before she died of cancer in the 1960s. The two did not have any children. Coleman remarried in 1966, this time to Marcellena Lawson, and the pair lived in Norfolk, Virginia.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

BLUE COW ACTING UP IN THE BUCKET


PLAYWRIGHT COMES OUT OF THE CLOSET 
--OR IS IT THE BUCKET?


Those of you who read  this BLOG know that the Blogger--ME!!--is also a poet and very interested in Poetry.

What I have not blogged much about is that I am  also a playwright. 

That interest and  play productions were more  to the fore when I was still teaching drama and playwriting at the University of Cincinnati and having my own plays produced in various Cincinnati theaters.
It was an exciting time and deserves more attention.  But when I retired completely from teaching in 2012, I was drawn back into my first passion POETRY.

In recent years  due to the good influence of a former high school student of mine who is now a college professor,  I became a founding member of the BLUE COW GROUP--a group of playwrights who formed a support group that met twice monthly to read and  improve each other's plays.
Since I left the playwriting scene  a new phenomena of ten- minute plays  has mushroomed as a way to get new work performed, and also a way to bring  beginning playwrights to the attention of theaters. It was also a way to see new writing without commiting to a full length play production.

All this history is just to  introduce my Blog Readers to an opportunity to see some of  the work of the BLUE COW GROUP which is being  staged as part of the Providence Fringe Festival.
Due to the PANDEMIC these plays will be available on ZOOM and so anyone with a computer can watch them.

So in that spirit  of trying to find the upside of these trying times, I invite each and every one of you to  follow the link below and watch the plays  wherever you are on the globe.
This is an introduction. I will provide more specifics of time and date in future blogs.

 https://www.instagram.com/p/CCWoi16nuaK/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Name changing extends to Belfast Northern Ireland



Recent name changes  inspired by the  BLACK LIVES MATTER  has expanded from Columbus in the US to   leaders of colonialism in England.

 So Churchill's statue has been attacked and now we hear that the celebrated Queen's University in Belfast will be named Mairead Farrell in memory of an IRA member who was killed by British  intelligence.

Also street names have been changed  and there is now 

a BOBBY SANDS STREET!

I  hope those changes become official.


I think it is time to celebrate the 4TH of JULY with a  blow for the independence 
of the remaining  6 counties that are still held by England and considered part of the UK.

TIME TO RECALL AGAIN THE GREATNESS OF  BOBBY SANDS.

THE WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZGERALD--BOBBY SANDS'' FAVORITE

I woke up ten mornings ago with these lyrics  repeating in my head and I thought--that wreck must have happened in NOVEMBER  and it did.

NOVEMBER 10, 1975

Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

Music and lyrics ©1976 by Gordon Lightfoot

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down 
of the big lake they called "Gitche Gumee."
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
when the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty,
that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
when the "Gales of November" came early. 

The ship was the pride of the American side
coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.
As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
when they left fully loaded for Cleveland.
And later that night when the ship's bell rang,
could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
and a wave broke over the railing.
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
'twas the witch of November come stealin'.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
when the Gales of November came slashin'.
When afternoon came it was freezin' rain
in the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came the old cook came on deck
Sayin' "Fellas, it's too rough t'feed ya."
At seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in; he said,
(**2010 lyric change: At 7 p.m., it grew dark, it was then he said,)
"Fellas, it's bin good t'know ya!"
The captain wired in he had water comin' in
and the good ship and crew was in peril.
And later that night when 'is lights went outta sight
came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does any one know where the love of God goes
when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
if they'd put fifteen more miles behind 'er.
They might have split up or they might have capsized;
they may have broke deep and took water.
And all that remains is the faces and the names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
in the rooms of her ice-water mansion.
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams;
the islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
takes in what Lake Erie can send her,
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
with the Gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed,
in the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral."
The church bell chimed 'til it rang twenty-nine times
for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call "Gitche Gumee."
"Superior," they said, "never gives up her dead
when the gales of November come early!"


PROBABLY ONE OF THE GREATEST NARRATIVE SONGS WRITTEN in the 20TH CENTURY, THIS BALLAD DELIGHTED AND INSPIRED BOBBY SANDS
PLAY IT ON  YOU TUBE BY GORDON LIGHTFOOT.  It will stay in your head for days.

SO now I am reminded by the great  biography of Bobby Sands JUST AN UNFINISHED SONG  by O'Hearn which relates how Bobby loved this ballad and thought that it was the greatest song that told a story.  He sang it aloud during the prison protest and he taught it to the other men who were  imprisoned with  him.

  He confided to "The Dark", his comrade Hughes, that he wanted to write a  song about the Irish struggle to the same tune as the Edmund Fitzgerald.  He did that as O'Hearn relates that one night when they were having a sing song to keep up morale one of the other prisoners asked Bobby to sing The Wreck. 
Bobby said that he had been putting new words to it.
Then he sang THE VOYAGE a song about United Irish  prisoners who were being transported to Tasmania on a ship called The Gull.

Here are some of the lyrics that Bobby sets to the tune of The Wreck:
It was 1803 when we sailed out to sea
And away from the sweet town of Derry
For Australia bound and if we didn't drown
The mark of the  fetter we'd carry.

Here is another verse that ties together the United Irishmen and the Blanketmen:

In our own smelling slime we were lost for a time
Hoping God in his mercy would claim us
But our spirits shone high like the stars in the sky
We were rebels and no man would tame us.

Try singing these words to the tune of the Wreck and you will  see how well they fit.

Bobby was able to pass from life through suffering  to death with so much grace because he had the certainty of a martyr.
He knew that his cause, the cause of Irish Freedom,  was just and the British Imperial  claim was unjust and would be judged so by History and by God.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

CLIMBING LADDERS TO NOTHING

Have I spent too much time climbing those ladders to Nothing?


I have just three things to teach:
 simplicity, patience,
 compassion. —Lao Tzu  
Most of us have grown up with a capitalist worldview which makes a virtue and goal out of accumulation, consumption, and collecting. It has taught us to assume, quite falsely, that more is better. 
But it’s hard for us to recognize this unsustainable and unhappy trap because it’s the only game in town. 
When parents perform multiple duties all day and into the night, it is the story line that their children surely absorb. “I produce therefore I am” and “I consume therefore I am” might be today’s answers to Descartes’ “I think therefore I am.” 
These identities are all terribly
 mistaken, but we can’t discover
 the truth until we remove the
 clutter.
The course we are on assures us of a predictable future of strained individualism, environmental destruction, severe competition as resources dwindle for a growing population, and perpetual war. 
CULTURE OF NEVER ENOUGH
Our culture ingrains in us the belief that there isn’t enough to go around, which determines most of our politics and spending. In the United States there is never enough money for adequate health care, education, the arts, or even basic infrastructure.
 At the same time, the largest
 budget is always for war, bombs, 
and military gadgets. I hope we
 can all recognize how the tragic 
consequences of these decisions 
are being played out right now.
E. F. Schumacher (1911–1977) said years ago, “Small is beautiful,” and many other wise people have come to know that less stuff invariably leaves room for more soul. In fact, possessions and soul seem to operate in inverse proportion to one another.
 Only through simplicity can we find deep contentment instead of perpetually striving and living unsatisfied. Simple living is the foundational social justice teaching of Jesus, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Dorothy Day, Pope Francis, and all hermits, mystics, prophets, and seers since time immemorial.
We must let go, to recognize that there is enough to go around and meet everyone’s need but not everyone’s greed. A worldview of enoughness will predictably emerge in us as we realize our naked being in God instead of thinking that more of anything or more frenetic doing can fill up our infinite longing and restlessness. 
Francis did not just tolerate or endure simplicity; he loved it and called it poverty. Francis dove into simplicity and found his freedom there. 
Francis knew that climbing ladders to nowhere would never make us happy nor create peace and justice on this earth. 
Too many have to stay at the
bottom of the ladder so we can 
be at the top. 

 
Epigraph: Tao Te Ching, 67. See Tao Te Ching: A New English Version, trans. Stephen Mitchell (Harper Perennial: 2006, ©1988), 67.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

SOME CONTRADICTIONS THAT HAVE HARMONIZED FOR ME

PART ONE

SCIENCE VS. RELIGION



AS I  got older and  more educated, some of my  beliefs seemed to b coming into  question by the  things I was learning in  Science classes and Political Theory and History classes.

 ALSO  my own experiences as I saw that I was no longer  the Catholic  conservative that had prayed for Joe McCarthy.  I remember when Joseph Stalin died in 1953 and the nun in the  6th grade asked us all to pray for his soul.
I said "I thought he was bad." AND she said "all the more reason to pray that he receives the Mercy of God. You know he once studied to be a priest--so he could not be all bad."

And those experiences began to enable me to see the mixedness of all things human. No one is  perfectly good or even perfectly bad.  The question is ---how is the state of our souls when we die and must face judgement.

When God manifests spirit through matter, then matter becomes a holy thing. The material world is the place where we can comfortably worship God just by walking on it, loving it, and respecting it. Everything visible, without exception, is the outpouring of God. What else could it really be? The incarnation is not only “God becoming Jesus.” It is a much broader event, which is why John’s Gospel first describes God’s presence in the general word “flesh” (John 1:14). This is the ubiquitous Christ that we continue to encounter in other human beings, in a mountain, a blade of grass, a spider web, or a starling.
When we can enjoy all these things as holy, “the world becomes a communion of subjects more than a collection of objects” as the “geologian” Fr. Thomas Berry (1914–2009) said so wisely. [1]
When we love something, we grant it soul, we see its soul, and we let its soul touch ours. We must love something deeply to know its soul (anima). Before the resonance of love, we are largely blind to the meaning, value, and power of ordinary things to “save” us and help us live in union with the source of all being. In fact, until we can appreciate and even delight in the soul of other things, even trees and animals, we probably haven’t discovered our own souls either. Soul knows soul through love, which is why it’s the great commandment (Matthew 22:36).

AS I  learned more and scientists learned more, I was fascinated by the BIG BANG.
Then confused when it was not embraced in my Theology classes in college.  So I left that college and stuck with the BIG BANG. 
It took me several decades of living and learning and then I came  to my conclusion.
The Big Bang is just another way of saying how GOD managed creation--it is not as if we need to fear SCIENCE--After all GOD is TRUTH -- SO when Science advances and finds out more about our reality, it is just showing us God's work in more detail.


There is no  contradiction between true

 science and true God.