5.31.2020 – silence, loudest sound

silence, loudest sound
When look to Presidents for
meaning and comfort

I tried to think of moments in history where people looked to their leaders for words of meaning and comfort.

It is easy to come up with Winston Churchill’s, “Let them do their worst. We shall do out best” and “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

It is also easy to forget Herbert Hoover’s , ““Any lack of confidence in the economic future or the basic strength of business in the United States is foolish,” said in January, 1930.

But silence.

I think of the death of Diana, at one time, the Princess of Wales.

I think of how the people of the Great Britain demanded that the Queen, “SHOW US YOU CARE.”

I very much fell that way today.

Where is the President?

Where is the person I was taught whose number one job was to ‘educate the people.’

This is the only job the entire country votes for.

I don’t want to mess around with the popular vote right now.

I have heard it all.

His opponent won by more votes.

But few Republicans voted in California in 2016.

That is neither here no there for this point.

This feller had the job.

Part of the job is to show their empathy and steadfastness in caring for the lives of average Americans.

As David Gergan said in a CNN Opinion piece, “But we should pause for one more moment to recognize how sad and sharp a departure his silence is from past traditions of the presidency moments of crisis.”

His silence.

Let that word fall on the crowd like a wet blanket.


Sometimes silence is the loudest noise of all.

PS – For the ease of everyone I reproduce the David Gergan op ed, “In a sad week for America, Trump has fled from his duty”

This past week has brought tragedy upon tragedy to our nation: the death toll from Covid-19 passed a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths; the brutal killing of George Floyd ignited mass protests in Minneapolis and beyond, and seven people were shot in protests demanding justice in Louisville. But our President was mostly busy with other things: getting into a public fight with Twitter, condemning China over Hong Kong and terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization — an entity that once looked to the United States as the world’s leading institution in fighting pandemics.

President Donald Trump also took time, of course, to send out a stream of new, controversial tweets. He called protesters in Minneapolis “thugs” and repeated a racist line from a Miami police chief years ago, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” He even retweeted a video in which a supporter says, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” But other than a brief tweet in the midst of another storm, Trump remained silent on the most sensitive issue of his presidency: the pandemic that is killing so many older Americans and people of color living near the edge.

Understandably, with the rash of other news, the press is moving on. But we should pause for one more moment to recognize how sad and sharp a departure his silence is from past traditions of the presidency moments of crisis. After George Washington was sworn as commander in chief of the Continental Army, Ethan Allen’s younger brother, Levi, wrote to Washington in 1776 that he had become “Our political Father and head of a Great People.” Shortly thereafter, Washington was frequently referred to as “Father of Our Country.” As he steered us through war, the constitutional
convention, and two terms as President, the phrase caught on. He wasn’t much of a speaker — he thought his deeds spoke for him — but he was a leader of such strong character and rock-solid integrity that he became the gold standard of the presidency.

Lincoln began his presidency during great uncertainty about his leadership. He won the election of 1860 with the smallest plurality ever (39%), and his military experience was virtually nil. But over time, he kindled a special relationship with Union soldiers, many of whom called him “Father
Abraham.” Historians say his homespun ways, common manner and kindly empathy converted them. In his re-election, soldiers were his greatest supporters.

Franklin Roosevelt was known to be self-involved in his early years, but his struggles with polio transformed him into a caring, compassionate leader. Working families and many people of color thought they had a friend in the White House. So attached did his followers become that when he gave a fireside chat on a summer evening, you could walk down the streets of Baltimore and hear every word as families sat in their living room by a radio.

Historians generally agree that Washington, Lincoln and FDR were our greatest presidents. All three are remembered for their empathy and steadfastness in caring for the lives of average Americans. They continue to set the standard.

In contemporary times, it is harder for any president to sustain deep ties with a majority of Americans. We are too sharply divided as a people, and the internet often brings out the worst in us. Even so, several of our recent presidents have found moments when they can unify us and make us feel that at the end of the day, we are indeed one people. In many cases, these moments have come to define their presidencies: Ask any American adult and they can generally remember one, two or even three occasions in which recent presidents connected with us emotionally, stirring our hearts.
I remember with absolute clarity the Challenger disaster in 1986. One saw the plumes of the rising space craft against a bright blue sky — and then that horrific explosion as it instantly disappeared.

Ronald Reagan was one of the few presidents in our history who expressed our emotions so well in
a moment of shock and mourning. For hour upon hour, the networks had replayed the explosion, and it seemed so meaningless. But then Reagan used his speech to replace that picture in our minds with a different one: the astronauts waving goodbye. They became our heroes, especially as Reagan (drawing upon speechwriter Peggy Noonan) closed with lines from a World War II poem: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey
and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.'”

One thinks, too, of Bill Clinton traveling to Oklahoma City after the bombing there of a federal building in 1995. Clinton, like Reagan, was at his best when he captured tangled emotions and gave meaning to deaths of some of our finest citizens. He not only consoled families in private but moved the nation when he mourned them publicly. As I recall, that’s when presidents were first called “Mourners in Chief” — a phrase that has been applied repeatedly to presidents since. (Not coincidentally, Clinton’s speech of mourning in Oklahoma City is widely credited with resurrecting his presidency, then in the doldrums.)

One remembers, too, George W. Bush standing on the top of a crushed police car in the rubble of the World Trade Center bombing. When a first responder said he couldn’t hear the President, Bush responded through his bullhorn: “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

One also remembers Barack Obama flying again and again to speak at gravesites where young children or church parishioners were being buried, victims gunned down in a gun-obsessed nation. Thinking about the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, one’s mind returns to the image of the President of the United States leading a memorial service, singing “Amazing Grace.”

Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama — two Republicans, two Democrats — served as our “Mourners in Chief.” All four bound us together for a few moments, and we remembered who we are and who we can be. Why has our current “Mourner in Chief” gone AWOL? God knows. But his flight from responsibility is yet another sadness among this week’s tragic losses.

5.30.2020 – Change America?

Change America?
go and register to vote …
That is change we need.

A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated, we didn’t do this to our city,” Bottoms said in Atlanta. “If you want change in America, go and register to vote … That is the change we need in this country.”

What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” an impassioned Bottoms said at a news conference. “This is chaos.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

After months of Covid 19 Press conferences and updates where information and news seems to be delivered by rote, the emotion and feeling of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was stunning.

Her “I can’t protect you out there” …

If this doesn’t ring a bell in your soul take your pulse to make sure you aren’t dead.

The Prophet Hosea wrote, The people who live in Samaria fear for the calf-idol of Beth Aven. Its people will mourn over it, and so will its idolatrous priests, those who had rejoiced over its splendor, because it is taken from them into exile. (Hosea 10:5)

John Calvin wrote, “The Prophet teaches that the glorying by which hypocrites deceive themselves will NOT be permanent; for the Lord will surely lead them, as we shall see, to sudden and unexpected shame.”

Mayor Bottoms said, “I wear this each and every day, and I pray over my children each and every day. So what I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta.”

I can only echo her words.


We are better than this.

5.29.2020 – Still no web service

Still no web service
they can send man to the moon
but I can’t connect

Still no web service, day 2.

I screamed and holler at ATT but they own the bus.

And its the only bus that stops in my neighborhood.

Just have to wait.

And I am not good at that.

PS – Service restored on Saturday – Another ATT Tech unplugged my port connection as the first ATT Tech who set it up did not label it properly.

And so it goes.

5.27.2020 – our goal is to change

our goal is to change
not sure person having life
torn apart serves that

Black and white is so very black and white.

Here in Atlanta, there was a thought that Ponce de Leon Ave, the street that divided Atlanta into north and south sides, ought to be painted with double lines.

A white line and a black line to show that that was where the two Atlanta’s met.

It was a real line even without the paint.

My office is in a building on on a street named Monroe Drive.

It crosses Ponce de Leon and the street changes its name to Boulevard.

That was because back in the day, white people didn’t live on the same street as black people.

Six blocks down Boulevard from Ponce, then one block east, is the house were Martin Luther King, Jr. was born.

Recently in New York City’s Central Park, a woman who felt threatened by a man, called the police.

The woman was white.

The man was black.

The man commented, “She went racial. There are certain dark societal impulses that she, as a white woman facing in a conflict with a black man, that she thought she could marshal to her advantage.”

The incident sparked accusations of racism and led to the woman getting fired.

Once the racist card comes out, it is all black and white.

You are or you aren’t.

And if you are and its all over social media, it’s all over for you.

Much of this woman’s life is over as she knew it.


It is over in other ways.

Sadly in so many cases, any learning is also over.

Any possible teaching is over.

It was the man in this case who felt this sadness.

In an interview with The New York Times, it was the black man who showed empathy for the woman.

“It’s a little bit of a frenzy, and I am uncomfortable with that,” he said.

“If our goal is to change the underlying factors, I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal.”

If our goal is to change the underlying factors.



For me it is not a case of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do).

It is a case of WDJD (What DID Jesus Do).

So sad that the word, “if” is even in there.

5.26.2020 – United States could

United States could
break the heart of the world
the nation all trust

The United States must join the League of Nations, or it would break the heart of the world for she is the only nation that all feel is disinterested and all trust.

Woodrow Wilson as recorded by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1919.

There was time when the United States held a a place in this world.

There was a time when the United States was held in regard in this world.

There was a time when the world looked to the United States for leadership.

There was a time when the United States was seen, accepted as “last best hope of earth.”

There was a time when it was put forward that the United States could the break the heart of the world.

There was a time.

5.25.2020 – such simple concepts

such simple concepts
pull to turn on, push for off
no waiting, loading

We moved over the weekend.

Among the many many little things to do was set up new TV and Internet service.

At this move was a little easier and we moved into an apartment complex that is served exclusively by ATT.

Little did I know I was about to enter … the twilight zone of tv service.

It has been a nightmare.

The service has never worked.

I have unplugged, rebooted, replugged, logged in, logged out.

Talking to tech after tech.

I create online TV for a living.

I like to think I am fairly technically with it.

But this has me beat.

The best part was the support guy who told me to reboot my modem while we were chatting.

I told him that would effectivly end our chat session.

He said not to worry as the reboot would solve any problem.

When I rebooted and lost all connected with ATT support, my wife said, “He was right. It solved all the prblems … from his point of view.”

Due to the holiday I have to wait until tomorrow for someone to work on it.

To watch TV I have to watch on a computer and then get that picture on the TV

I have to login on a computer.


Then wait.

Then cast to the a device on the TV or connect to the TV and us the TV as a big monitor.

And wait.

And wait.

Call me a boomer.

When I was kid, we walked up to the TV and pulled on a knob and the TV went on.

When we were done, we pressed the button and it went off.

How can something so simple become so stupidly complicated.

And when I think about.

All this effort to what end?

To watch …. TV?

Good grief!

Have I unpacked whats left of my books yet?

5.24.3030 – rendezvous with Death

rendezvous with Death
I to my pledged word am true
he shall take my hand

For Memorial Day I turn to a poet of World War 1.

Alan Seeger and his poem, I Have a Rendezvous with Death.


I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear …
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

I first heard this poem recited when I was kid growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

My Dad subscribed the journal, American Heritage and they had sent along a record album narrated history of World War 1.

The narration spent a few minute on Alan Seeger and read the poem.

I can still hear the narrator as he finished the line, “and apple blossoms fi l l e d the a i r.”

The website, Poetry Foundation, states, “Seeger’s poem “I Have a Rendezvous with Death” tells of an expected meeting between the narrator and Death himself. Though the narrator of the poem regrets leaving behind life’s pleasures and love, he does not fear or abhor death. Instead he is stoic, making the rendezvous a matter of honor. Hart described the curious relationship between the narrator and Death: “The union of fallen soldier and Death is, unfortunately, not based upon any profound philosophical or religious belief, but upon a vague romantic fusion of nature’s beauty, sexual love, and life in some undefined other realm.” His “Ode in Memory of the American Volunteers Fallen for France” is considered less aggrandizing and egocentric, and therefore a stronger work, but “Rendezvous” was still more famous. In 1916, Seeger died (ironically on July 4th) in the attack on Belloy-en-Santerre, where he was shot in the stomach. Following his death, the French military awarded him the Croix de Guerre and the Médaille militaire. He was buried in a mass grave.”

Always like the poem.

I understand it was one of President’s John F. Kennedy’s favorite.

Which is somewhat chilling.

It should also be mentioned that Alan was Charles Seeger’s brother.

Which made the the Uncle of folk singer, Pete Seeger.

For Memorial Day, 2020.

5.23.2020 – home sweet home new home

home sweet home new home
now home small home – continue
the experiment

Mother sometimes talked to Father about the advantages of living in an apartment. Father said it was all nonsense. A respectable man owned his own home and didn’t go living around in a “hole in the air.”

So wrote Clarence Day in Life with Mother.

We moved today.

We moved into an apartment.

No more Lawrenceville.

Hello Duluth.

Back in the 1880’s when the railroad through this part of Georgia was completed someone asked “What is the farthest place you can get to on this railroad?”

The answer was Duluth, Minnesota.

So the folks down here decided it would be cute to name this town Duluth, Georgia.

We set up this move as empty nesters.

Covid 19 has returned two birds to nest.

1000 square feet and 4 people.

Prayer is requested.

Stay tuned as this experiment continues.

5.22.2020 – Everything closed

Everything closed.
Yet to feel,think. Truth of hell.
This loss of contact

To be closed from everything, and yet to feel, to think …

This is the truth of hell, stripped of its gaudy medievalisms.

This loss of contact.

And yet I look to you to teach me communication.

Teach me hope.

Joanne Harris in Chocolat, 1999

O TELL me, friends, while yet we part,
And heart can yet be heard of heart,
O tell me then, for what is it
Our early plan of life we quit;
From all our old intentions range,
And why does all so wholly change?
O tell me, friends, while yet we part!
O tell me, friends, while yet we part,—

Arthur Hugh Clough, 1819 – 1861