Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Thanksgiving Feast

As we approach Thanksgiving, here are a few things we might want to keep in mind:

  • The story of the first Thanksgiving is often told from the perspective of the Pilgrims.
  • Thanksgiving means different things to different people.
  • Some Native Americans refer to it as a National Day of Mourning.
  • Many Thanksgiving images are stereotypical images of Native Americans.
  • These images are hurtful and can promote prejudice.
  • The Wampanoags’ assistance to the Pilgrims was followed by the theft of their land and genocide of their people.
  • Native Americans are not all the same.  There are different names, languages and cultures.

Here’s are two good articles to read:  The Surpressed Speech by Wamsutta James and Thanksgiving: A Native American View by Jacqueline Keeler

Here’s my question for you.  Do I stand by silently as Island Boy and the rest of the Kindergartners are asked to make a pillowcase, fringed outfit for a Thanksgiving feast?  Do I have him choose a Native American name?  As a friend suggests for his name, “He-Who-Equates-Dressing-Up-As-An-“Indian”-As-Dressing-Up-In-Black-Face”? Or do I send information to the Kindergarten Team to reconsider their curriculum for the following year?

–Running Girl

The Eagle and The Beaver

In the late 1990s, I asked an American who had lived in Canada what it was like to reside on that side of the border.

“Well,” she stated, pausing to think about it.  “Americans have almost no views on Canadians.  However, Canadians have very definite opinions about Americans.”

My years of living at the border and traveling within Canada have affirmed this wisdom.

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POP QUIZ FOR AMERICANS

  1. Name Canada’s current leader (hint: he is the Prime Minister).
  2. Name Canada’s two main political parties.
  3. Name at least one Canadian Football League (CFL) team.

(Answers are found at the bottom)

Yanks, you don’t know any of these, do you?  But, virtually all Canadians can answer these questions about the United States of America

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My favorite Canadian sign. Each time I see one of these, I feel like I've won a race.

Continue reading

Has “Arab Spring” Arrived in America?

Do you remember “Arab Spring,” the movement that began with a Tunisian fruit seller, Mohamed Bouazizi?  I wrote about this phenomenon in January (click here), and again in February (click here).  What started with Bouazizi’s self-immolation led to revolts in nearly every Arab state on the map.  Since that incident last December, the world has witnessed regime changes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.  Revolutions are ongoing in places like Syria, Jordan, Yemen and other states.

Could this revolutionary fever reach America’s shores?

It already has.

The movement is called Occupy Wall StreetContinue reading

Walking in the Shoes of Abraham

I guess you could call me a Lincoln stalker.  For several years now, I have gone to great lengths to walk in the footsteps of the man I call “our greatest American.”  I have traveled many miles and devoted long hours to visiting, reading and learning all there is to know about our 16th president.

Is this so wrong?

There are Trekkies.  And Star Wars geeks.  Some people have been known to follow bands like The Grateful Dead and Phish from city to city.  Adolescent girls of all ages worship the Twilight series of books and films.

Heck, we downright encourage young readers to obsess over Harry Potter. Continue reading

I’m Glad Osama bin Laden Lived So Long

What a thing to write.

Why would I be at all happy about that monster’s longevity?

One simple reason: Osama lived long enough to realize that everything for which he had fought and to which he had devoted considerable sums of money came to nothing. Continue reading

Random Thoughts on the Death of a Villain

Osama bin Laden (Sorry, he doesn't get a photo).

I apologize in advance. I am all over the yard in this post.  I have been unable to focus squarely on this issue today.

He was a son of wealth and privilege.  He could have chosen the life of the international playboy.  Instead, he elected the path of the international terrorist and murderer.

Osama bin Ladin died today at the age of 54.  His demise was violent.  A fitting end for a life devoted to causing pain and sorrow to others.

After more than a decade of intentionally inflicting death for his cause — a perverted version of Islam bearing no relation to the teachings of Mohammed — the world is a much better place without him.

September 11, 2001 affected me personally.  I’m sure it did you the same.

As I noted in my post of last September 11 (click here), I grew up celebrating the World Trade Center (which we called ‘The Twin Towers’) as a symbol of my city.  The loss of those buildings and the thousands of people inside them creates an unfillable void in my spirit and in my soul. Continue reading

Army Talk (Part Two)

This is the second of a three-part series.  To view Part One, click here.  To view Part Three, click here.

The military (known in the biz as “DoD”) has it own lingo.  The Army (“DoA”) is further sub-specialized.  Here are some more aspects of Army culture and Armyspeak that I find amusing:

More on saluting — Remember, only officers are saluted.  However, military members are required to salute superior officers in all sister services.  With the Marines and Air Force, there is no problem posed as they have the same rank structure and insignia as the Army.  As always, the Navy poses a problem.  If Naval officers are wearing those fancy uniforms with the ribbons on their sleeves, you stand a better chance.  But, they have so many uniforms that it’s really hard to tell whom you are encountering. Continue reading