Category Archives: Good Works

Earth Day / Science / Judy

Earth Day.  The Science March (which I sadly can’t attend until Science gets around to curing my damn Crohn’s Disease).  My late sister Judy’s birthday.  So I’m reposting this.  Hey – Jude believed firmly in recycling!

***

She’s been gone now for 17 years, Jude.  Not a day has gone by since that I haven’t wanted to talk with her, laugh with her, or, alternatively because she was my sister, smack her.  There really isn’t a relationship like you have with a sister.  Even long after they are gone.

*****

Today, April 22, is Earth Day!  It’s the Anniversary of the very first Earth Day.  Here  is Walter Cronkite’s report on the first Earth Day, 1970:

It would also be my late sister Judy’s 65th birthday.

Whoever made the decision to turn Judy’s birthday into Earth Day chose wisely.  Judy was a born environmentalist and recycler.

On the first Earth Day, Judy was a new, very young mother who believed in saving the planet.  She was the first “environmentalist” I ever knew personally, and well, I thought she was nuts.  There was a recycling bin in her kitchen for as long as I can remember.  And this was back when recycling took effort.  She believed in gardens, not garbage, and she made life bloom wherever she was.

I’ve got kids,” she’d say.  “It’s their planet too!”  

But years later, Judy took recycling to a whole different level when she helped people recycle themselves.  In the 1990s, Jude, who was then living in Florida, began working with the Homeless, assisting at shelters.   Then she actively began trying to help homeless vets food, shelter and work — to enable them to jump-start their lives.

When she died in early 2000, the American Legion awarded her honorary membership for her services to homeless vets.  A homeless shelter was named in her  honor.  So she’s still doing good works, my sister is.  That would make her wildly happy.

Jude also gave me the Beatles.  So it is very appropriate that they wrote a song for her.

You see, the night the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, it was MY turn to choose what we were going to watch.  And we were going to watch the second part of The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh starring Patrick McGoohan on the Wonderful Wide World of Disney.  My four (all older and MUCH cooler) siblings were furious with me.  But I was quite insistent.  You might even say that I threw a Class I temper tantrum over it, but I wouldn’t admit to that.  Hey, I was seven.  And it was my turn to choose.  Fair is fair, especially in a big family with only one TV.

Somehow, Judy talked me out of my turn.  She was always very persuasive.  Thanks Jude.

Hey Jude, Happy Earth Day-Birthday.

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Let’s Go To Town!.

Tired of calling your senators and congressman/woman?  Maybe what you need to do instead is go to town.  Town Halls, that is.

Yup.  Here’s another way to raise some hell.

The Town Hall Project 2018 is a website that posts public forums for senators and members of congress.  Meetings where you can go and listen to and talk with the people who claim to represent you.

If you have questions, problems concerns with what is happening in our government, in our world, go to town.

If you think that keeping Obamacare is important to you, go to town.

If you think that maintaining Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as you’ve expected them to be when it was time for you to collect on what you’ve paid out for decades, go to town.

If you think that protecting the environment is important to you, go to town.

If you think that Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslims should be revoked, go to town.

If you have other opinions that I haven’t listed and that you feel your representatives in Congress need to hear about, go to town.  And bring friends.  Bring lots and lots of friends.

The Town Hall Project 2018 has promised to update its website regularly.  So bookmark it, and show up.

American Democracy is no longer a spectator sport.  Get it in gear.

 

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Don’s Johns

Sometimes a metaphor actually plops into your lap.  Or your hands.  Or into someplace you hope you don’t drop your cell phone.

That happened to me today, when I read an article in the Huffington Post about one of the, ahem, priorities, of the folks setting up Friday’s Inauguration of Donald J. Trump.  And really, it is a metaphor for what is to come.

You see, whenever there is a big event here in the DC area, there’s a lot of shit going on.  Literally.  Lots of people = lots of pee and poop!  So port-a-potties line the Mall, surround the Monuments; and ring the Capitol itself.  And in the DC area, one company has the scoop on poop.

dons-johns

Photo Caption  Don’s John’s.com

But, according to the Huffington Post,

Someone’s Covering The ‘Don’s Johns’ Logo On Port-a-Potties For Trump’s Inauguration

When I saw that headline, my first thought was, “Of course they are.  They’re covering up all kinds of shit.”  But this time they’re not covering up the shit, but the name.

dons-johns-2

Photo Credit:  Michael Showalter for the NY Post

Of course folks are covering up Don’s shit.  But it’s up to us to pull off the tape and show the world Don’s Johns.  That will be our job for the duration of Trump’s presidency — whether that is for 2 weeks or 4 years.  To pull off the tape on Don’s Johns.  To expose every breach of law, each unethical behavior, all threats to the rule of law.

THAT is how we will survive Trump.  Because you can’t paper over the truth for long.

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Keeping Our Heads for Four Years

If you were a news junkie during the George W. Bush era, you’re already experiencing deja vu.  That sinking feeling already makes your eyes roll automatically when Putin’s President appears.  It settled into the back of your neck from the whiplash as you shake your head and shout “no, no, no, no, no, no, no!” over the latest outrage or tweet.  And it’s there in the pit of your stomach, when you try not to vomit whenever you see the color orange.

Yup, it’s started.  The Deluge.  The Flood.  The Trump shit storm.

trump-and-putin

During the Bush years, I would just be ready to pounce on one issue, when another hit the fan and took the wind out of my sails. Resistance is hard if there is just so much to resist.

How, I worried in the days since November 8, will I survive Trump.  I feared a heart attack.  A stroke.  Getting so scared I’d shit in my pants.   Of course I worry about the last one sometimes during a scary movie.

Anyway, I’ve come up with a strategy for a hybrid Resister/Surviving Human.  I’m going to become a political centaur!

centaur-female

Google Image.  No shit will be given by this filly.

 

I’m going to take my mother’s marital and parental advice and apply it to my activism.  She said:

Choose Your Battles!

Me, I’m going to try to focus on issues I know about and/or that are closest to my heart.  The ones I write about here on FiftyFourAndAHalf.

But that won’t be all I do.  I will look for and follow the lead of others who are knowledgeable about other issues, and I will try to help to the extent I can.  It’s not hard, really, to make calls to Congress and the White House.  Really, it just takes a minute.  You or I can even just cut and paste and hit “send.”

But I will try my very best to keep my blood pressure — and my outrage to livable levels.

George W. Bush kept us all off balance because there were so many things to be outraged about, that we couldn’t keep it up.  Different bad presidents need different tactics.

And Trump will make the Dubya years look like a walk in the park.  And that park is in Baghdad.

 

 

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Smitten-ish

As I’ve told you, comedy always comes in threes.  And today?  Today was a veritable shamrock of humor.  And you know what?  Just when I had had a long lapse in providing all of you with the information that brings you here, it was all poop-related humor.

You’re welcome.  It’s my new years’ gift for you.

It started just as soon as I got up and, ummmm, and checked the news headlines.  I learned that the Japanese are wiping up.  Literally.  They are supplying antiseptic wipes for your phone in public bathrooms.  Now, I personally wipe my phone quite frequently, so I actually thought this was a great idea, right out of the, ummm, gate.

But then I saw that they provide video instructions.  On how to use toilets, different butt wiping techniques, and step-by-step guides for how to wipe your phone.

I know you didn’t click on that.  But you should have.  At first, I admit that I only watched part of it, because I consider myself a toilet expert.  Nobody does the elephant or the horse style better than (or as often as) me.  However, the full international experience is worth your 2:11.

You know what?  The day got better.

Because I also learned about special-use mittens.  They are wet-wipes in the shape of mittens to keep your hands clean while wiping.  They’re called “Shittens.”  Really!  Here’s the product description:

If there’s one great universal truth that we can all agree on, it’s this: No one wants poop on their hands.

And yet, we laugh carelessly in the face of danger every time we take an old fashioned wet wipe to our heinies, flying completely blind in the critical poop-to-hand spatial relation.

How many times have you taken one of those substandard wet wipes to the posterior of a child, risking major contamination from that flailing poop cloth? And how many times has your dog’s “number two” been a little closer to a number one “and a half”, requiring a deadly grab & pull maneuver with whatever’s laying around? Enough is enough!

With new Shittens, you can fully protect your hands while tending to the dirty deed.

If you’re 12, or are generally short on bathroom humor, just go to the Shittens’ Amazon Q&A page/Customer reviews.  You won’t be disappointed.

Lastly, I read an article that might just give me nightmares:

A woman called Animal Control last week after she found a snake in a toilet in an Arlington County apartment. To repeat: She. Found. A. Snake. In. A. Toilet.

snake-in-toilet

Photo Credit:  Arlington County Animal Shelter.

At a minimum, it will make me use the buddy system whenever I skip to my loo.

The snake is a juvenile Yellow Anaconda.  Researcher that I am, I looked up Yellow Anaconda snakes.  Here’s what I learned:

They belong to the family of snakes, Boidae, which contains pythons, boas and the green anaconda, the world’s largest snake. Even though yellow anacondas are much smaller their cousin the green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), they can reach a length of up to 4.6 meters, but the average adult size is around 3 meters.  [Shit, I had to underline that.]

Thanks for the info, Snake Facts!

All I can say is that if I found a large snake (or even a small snake, now that I think about it) in my toilet, I wouldn’t call the animal shelter.  I’d call Amazon for a shitload of Shittens.  

shittens

Because it would be “cleanup on aisle 3,” for sure.

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Everybody Needs An Editor

One day, shortly after starting my first job that involved a lot of writing, I realized that I worked for a magician.

Seriously!  My boss, another John, could look at a good piece of writing and make it amazing.  All he used was a pencil.

I can recall standing next to him as he looked over my memo that first time.  He changed a “this” to a “that,” reorganized a couple of words in another sentence and handed it back to me.

Naturally, I figured that since he was the boss he had to do something to contribute; after all, his name was going on it.  But when I looked at the simple changes he made, I was astonished.  Those simple changes made a huge difference.

“Everybody needs an editor,” John said, smiling.

That was close to 40 years ago, and since then I have used that line constantly.  I’ve said that to everybody I’ve ever worked with.  To writer friends.  To blogging buddies.  Because it’s true.  No matter how good a writer you or I am, different eyes notice large and small ways to make something good, better.

If you’re writing a novel, drafting a memoir, compiling blog posts into a future best-seller, you need an editor.  Someone who can help polish, perhaps shorten or reorder.  Someone who can tell you if your work makes sense, or if there are areas that need clarification/reworking.  Someone who can change some “this-es” to “that-s,” reorganize a bit, cut, and shine up that manuscript you’ve been working on.

editing-1

I have someone to recommend.

Karen Kingsley is an old friend of mine who has been a professional writer/editor for her entire career.  For the last 15 years, she has been a freelancer.  Her website is Kingsley Ink.

She’s written and/or edited just about anything you can come up with:  books (fiction and non-), websites, web content, essays, marketing materials, advertising, blogs, speeches, resumes, cover letters, Facebook posts, tweets, press releases.

Karen can help you shine.

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The Beast

Lemme get this straight.

duncan-christmas-2016

Photo Credit:  Jacob

A big fat guy in a red suit

will come down the chimney,

And I’m Supposed to Let Him In?

HO, HO, HO!

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