PG was researching a previous post, and decided to check up on little Ralphie Reed. His group’s website has a headline video, Franklin Graham: America Has Turned Its Back on God. It does not mention why anyone should care.
Franklin Graham’s claim to fame is his father. Billy Graham is a TV preacher superstar. The elder Graham is still alive, so it is fair to make negative comments. PG walked through the living room countless nights, and saw parents glued to the tube. The Billy Graham crusade was a staple of television. The blow dried superpreacher stood in front of a football stadium full of admirers, telling people how not to go to hell. Sin, salvation, send money. Is that all there is?
If Franklin Graham did not have a superstar father, he would be nobody. Life is not fair, and the opinions of Franklin Graham, and his sister, Anne Graham Lotz, are treated with the reverence Catholics give to the thoughts of the Pope. Franklin Graham has gotten a lot of attention with some rude comments about Muslims. Islam and Christianity use the same G-d.
It was some comments about G-d in the video that annoyed PG. “We’ve turned out back on G-d. We’ve taken G-d out of our schools. We’ve taken G-d out of our government.” Apparently, Franklin Graham and PG have different thoughts about G-d.
G-d is in everything and everybody. If you turn your back on G-d, she will still be looking you in the eye. If you have a room full of children, then G-d is present in that room. This idea of a puny G-d, that you can turn your back on, may be the most offensive thing ever said by the Graham family, Inc.
Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.
Fifty years ago, John Kennedy went to the oval office in the sky. Did Marilyn Monroe greet him?
The bullets hit Mr.Kennedy at 12:30. He arrived at the hospital at 12:37. He had a faint heartbeat on arrival, but quickly succumbed to his wounds.
In Georgia, PG was nine years old. He was in Miss Mckenzie’s fourth grade class. There was going to be an assembly soon, and the class was going to perform. There was a rehearsal in the cafetorium, and some of the kids were acting up. They went back to the class, and PG thought they were going to be chewed out about the misbehavior in the cafetorium. Instead, Miss Mckenzie came into the room, and told the kids that President Kennedy had been shot during a parade in Dallas Texas. She did not say anything about his condition. One kid cheered the news.
School let out at the regular time, and PG walked home. His mother and brother were crying. He was told that the president had died. The cub scouts meeting that afternoon was canceled.
Later that night, a plane arrived in Washington. The tv cameras showed a gruesome looking man walk up to a microphone. He was introduced as President Lyndon Johnson. This may have been the worst moment of that day. Pictures by “Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
Tuesday was the sesquicentennial of the Gettysburg Address. This is seven and a half score years ago, which is not as poetic as four score and seven. The famous speech was written on White House stationary, not the back of an envelope. The train ride to the battlefield was too bumpy to write on, so it was written elsewhere. No one is sure what happened to the original.
The text was published in newspapers, and became famous. Relatively few people heard the actual speech. Not everyone was impressed. The Harrisburg Patriot & Union said “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.” The descendent of this paper, The Patriot-News, printed a retraction a few days ago. Better late than never.
Other contemporaries were critical. Presidents are politicians, with allies and enemies, and are not often beloved in their own time. The New York World accused Lincoln of “gross ignorance or willful misstatement” with his declaration of “four score and seven years ago.” The Democratic Chicago Times called the address “a perversion of history so flagrant that the extended charity cannot regard it as otherwise than willful.”
H.L. Mencken had a few unkind things to say about the affair. “But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination—”that government of the people, by the people, for the people,” should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. “
As the rest of the linked essay points out, one motivation for the Confederates desire for self determination is to maintain the ability to own other human beings. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. These are Union Soldiers from the War Between the States.
The word Ecclesiastes has a poetic tingle. It’s place in the Old Testament is between the poetry of Proverbs, and the enticements of the Song of Soloman. Richard Brautigan counted the punctuation marks in Ecclesiastes, and found no errors. Ecclesiastes 3 was even the lyrics for a top forty song.
Turn Turn Turn is taken almost verbatim from the book of Ecclesiastes. Pete Seeger wrote a melody, and added a line. “There is a time for peace, I swear its not too late”. TTT became a hit for the Byrds in 1965, as the escalation of the Vietnam war was in full bloom.
TTT is about the dualities of life, and how there is a place for all these things. When PG was collecting rocks from destroyed houses, it was a time to gather stones together. TTT can serve as a companion to the vibrations of day to day living.
Pete Seeger is still alive, at the age of 94. PG first heard of him when he was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. It was during Vietnam, and Mr. Seeger did a song…”Waist deep in the big muddy”… about how “The big fool said to push on, push on”. The CBS censors did not allow this the first time he appeared. Many thought he was talking about Lyndon Johnson.
“Pete Bowers” was a stage name for a young Pete Seeger. This was to avoid making trouble for his father. The band he played in, the Weavers, popularized a gullah spiritual, “Kumbaya”. This is a repost, edited for inclusion in the trifecta writing challenge. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.
When discussing The Dharma Bums, it is helpful to know how to pronounce the central word of the title. Some say to pronounce the r, while others say the r is silent. The dharmic duality extends to the definition. The number one phrases are “the principle or law that orders the universe” and “the body of teachings expounded by the Buddha.”
Chapter One: Tdb begins in Los Angeles, sometime in 1955. Ray Smith is riding in a freight train. He is going to Berkeley, where he will hang out with Japhy Ryder. These are the central characters of tdb. Ray Smith is Jack Kerouac. Japhy Ryder is Gary Snyder. Mr. Kerouac is long gone. Mr. Snyder is still on the planet. There are several youtube videos of his available. He seems like a wise, gentle man. You can see the younger version of this man in Japhy Ryder.
In chapter one, RS meets a bum on the train. The fellow passenger has a poem by St. Theresa in his pocket, where she promises to return to earth, showering roses on all living things.
On the weekend when part one was produced, PG received a facebook challenge. Someone had written a brief post about a band. When you like the post, you are given a band. The band assigned to PG was The White Stripes. This was the first time PG heard of The White Stripes. He found a video of a live performance. This is the response.
Band I was given: The White Stripes Do I like them: no Seen them?: no Favorite song: Jolene I had never heard of the White Stripes before receiving this challenge. I found a you tube video of a live performance. I did not enjoy it. After fifty minutes, I turned it off, and put Joni Mitchell on.
Chapter Two: Asian schools of thought are a theme of tdb. A number of confusing terms are used. One of these is bodhisattva. The spelling can be a challenge. When you break it down, you get bod his att va. A complimentary shorthand for body, third person male pronoun, the phone company, and a government agency. One dictionary says “a being that compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others and is worshiped as a deity in Mahayana Buddhism.”
In chapter two, RS meets JR. They go to a poetry reading at a gallery. Many of the other characters are at this reading. The most famous is Alvah Goldbook, who read his poem “Wail”. (Spell check suggestion: Allah Goldbrick) You can probably figure this one out by yourself.
The preliminary notes for this post were written during a slow period at work. When it was time to type them, page three was not there. We will assume that nothing important was said.
Chapter Three: RS is staying with AG somewhere in Berkeley. In this book unit, RS goes to visit JR, who lives in a very small house behind a larger house. There is no sitting furniture in this house. You sit on a floor mat.
JR is into asian studies, which is called oriental here. This is the pre-politically correct fifties. At some point in tdb he goes to Japan. In the video, JR mentions living in Japan for twelve years. This is probably connected to the trip in this book.
Tdb is dedicated to Han Shan. On page eighteen, we learn about him. Han Shan was a Chinese poet. He lived over a thousand years ago. JR is translating a poem when RS comes to visit. The verbatim rendering has a zen feel to it. Unfortunately, JR is working for a university. They want a translation that sounds like english speech.
There are a lot of page references in this text. These might not work for all editions of tdb. This is a penguin book. The list price is $11.95 USA, or $15.95 Canada. Tdb was copyrighted by Jack Kerouac in 1958, with a 1986 renewal by Stella Kerouac and Jan Kerouac. The last date, and the probably printing date of this edition, is 1976. The book has three pictures of mountains on the cover. The background is black.There is a green slash, with the title rendered in black letters. The name of the author is in smaller green letters. A quote from Ann Charters, in white text, is at the bottom.
The copy of tdb was owned by a friend of a friend. This person will be called Lenny, and while alive was as much of a character as anyone in tdb. When Lenny died, Uzi took possession of many books.
One day, PG was pulling boxes out of Uzi’s van. The idea was to put a chair in the van. One of the boxes had Lenny’s books. Being a dumpster diving cheapskate, PG was required to look through the box, and take what he liked. And thus PG came to own a copy of tdb.
Chapter Four: On page twenty five, AG says, of JR, “Gee he’s strange.” In this chapter, RS, AG, and Warren Coughlin buy a jug of wine. They proceed to JR’s residence. There is much merriment that evening. This takes place in Berkeley CA, 1955. RS says the school is a conformity factory. This is nine years before the Free Speech Movement, which started the sixties tradition of campus unrest.
In 1973, PG was in Athens, GA. Many of his friends considered Athens to be a modern, hip environment. Some famous person… William F. Buckley, Norman Mailer, or someone else … said that Athens in 1973 reminded him of Berkeley in 1952.
Chapter Five: RS is staying with AG during this part of the story. One night, JR comes by with a gf named Princess. They are going to show RS how to play yabyum. As we learn on page 22, “it’s only thorugh form that we can realize emptiness”. During the yabyum ritual, AG, JR, and Princess sit down cross legged and naked. They stare at each other and chant Om Mane Padme Om. This means Amen the thunderbolt in the dark void. This is the end of the Berkeley part of tdb. Photographs are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
One saturday morning, PG was editing pictures from The Library of Congress, and enjoying himself. (The pictures illustrate this post.) He made the mistake of looking at facebook. He saw a post about a new teenage game, knockout.
It seems like some young men like to go up to strangers and hit them on the jaw. It they are hit hard enough the fall to the ground unconscious. This is called a knockout. The young men have a good time.
While watching the video, PG remembered an incident from when he worked at redo blue. A professional Jesus worshiper shouted down and humiliated PG. When it was over, the preacher got a phone call. He picked up the phone and screamed “I never felt better in my life.”
There are many reasons why the young men like to attack strangers. Violence is glamorized, glorified, commodified and celebrated. The pain of the person attacked is not a concern.
One of the institutions distributing verbal violence is the Jesus worship church. Many believers see it as their christian duty to shout down those who disagree with them. Even the sunday morning faithful are yelled at. This verbal violence has an effect on our society.
After PG saw the video, he took a look at the rest of the page. A screen shot is included today. An ad for gospel music was next to the knockout video. You can’t get away from Jesus.
Around this time 147 years ago, Atlanta was on fire. General Sherman was preparing for his March to the sea, and wanted to destroy anything of value in the city. The fire is reported as being on 11-15 of November, depending on what source you use.
The November fire was the second great fire in Atlanta that year. On September 2, the city was conquered by the Union Army. The fleeing Confederates blew up a munitions depot, and set a large part of the city on fire. This is the fire the Scarlet O’Hara flees in “Gone With The Wind”.
After a series of bloody battles, the city was shelled by Yankee forces for forty days. There were many civilian casualties. General Sherman was tired of the war, angry at Atlanta, and ready for action. This is despite the fact that many in Atlanta were opposed to secession.
Click here to hear a lecture by Marc Wortman at the Atlanta History Center. Mr Wortman is the author of “The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta”. The hour of talk is fascinating. The pictures, with one exception, are from Shorpy. (Shorpy got them from The Library of Congress ) The 1864 map is from a collection of images at Georgia State University. This is a repost.