I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
January 16, 2017 - 12:02 p.m.
Sorry I didn't update yesterday. I had to get out of the house too early and when I returned my mind was just not in the blogging place. That's a good thing; it means I'm still blogging because of inner needs not out of fulfilling expectations of myself and others.
I have a lot to write about today, I did two things worth writing about and it's Martin Luther King Day and I have to write about that. My one regret about not writing is that Dr. King does not get his own entry. I'm glad I just wrote that. It made me realize that writing about my day is honoring Dr. King.
The first thing on my agenda was the "Trumpcare Makes Us Sick" flash mob at the Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle. This was my second protest since the election, both were at the same place. Security doesn't let you near Trump Tower so this might become the focus of protests in New York.
You know how I usually time it so I get to the bus stop a minute before the bus arrives? I didn't use the app when I was getting ready, it was too early to track the actual bus, I looked at the pdf schedule. I'm three minutes from the end of the line so that's usually accurate. I saw that as expected the bus arrives at 10:51. I got there at 10:50. I was brilliant. The bus didn't come. I waited, the bus didn't come. Then I saw the bus going the other direction. That means it would come in six minutes plus whatever time it waits at the terminal. I checked the schedule again. I had looked at the weekday schedule, not the Sunday one. I joked on Facebook that I was mad at the MTA for running the bus on the Sunday schedule. To make it clear, this was on Sunday. People took me seriously. Some thought I was stupid. I'm an idiot, not stupid. I might look at the wrong schedule but I'm not going to blame the MTA for knowing what day it was.
I did not have a lot of information on the protest. I went to Bernie's website and there was a map showing where protests were. You clicked on the dot to get the information and RSVP. I chose my location and thought I'd get more information but I didn't. The flash mob was set for 12:30. I made great time and got there at 12:15. There was a cordoned off area on Central Park West in front of the hotel that was almost filled but could squeeze in. I was glad I got there early. Then they cordoned off another area on the Park side of the street and people started assembling there. Then they expanded my area to include most of the plaza except for the subway station entrance. There were a lot of people We were packed like sardines. That's a good thing. I took some pictures and videos early, before most of the crowd arrived. I posted one picture and one video on Instagram and Facebook. The Instagram video proved popular. The local Fox affiliate, Channel 5, asked permission to use it on the news. Even though it's Fox I gave the permission. I didn't watch it to see if it was used. I might have been on NBC as their cameraman was five feet from me shooting the crowd and the camera was pointed straight at me. Anyone see me?
I stopped taking pictures and videos because I wanted to participate not record. Recording is important, I know that. Posting on Instagram helps; it was just not what I chose to do. Instead I got a sign and carried it around. It had professional graphics and said, "Trumpcare Makes Us Sick." Not as cool as the coffins that some people carried.
I must praise the organizers and the cops. We needed more space and the guy in charge didn't demand anything, He nicely asked the cop in charge to expand the cordon so we could have room to march. The cop nicely and quickly did it. That's a great lesson and one that Dr. King would be understand, cooperate when you can and confront only when you must. We weren't facing the cops of Selma, but New York City. They were nice, they were smiling. Everyone treated everyone else like people. When I left. I thanked one of the cops and told him they did a great job. He was visibly grateful for the praise. We had a moment.
The rally, which was not a flash mob, no matter how it was billed, was supposed to end at 1:00. A half hour protest is perfect. But it started early and ran late. I stayed 55 minutes. I had to meet Marti down at Battery Park by 2:00.
Marti is a reviewer and yesterday was covering "Soul to Soul: Yiddish and African-American Music Meets in a Celebration of Two Cultures;" at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Martin Luther King is on the program cover. I told you what I did was a tribute to him.
I should have had an easy commute there, just take the 1 to the end of the line. But when I got to the platform I saw that thanks to construction It was only running to 14th street. I took the down to Chambers Street and walked from there. I did not walk the most efficient route. I got there in time but with only 5 minutes to spare. I went through security, found Marti in the lobby and we went into the theater. We had seen a Yiddish musical in the same place. It's a good venue.
The show started a bit late so we ended up having time to talk. That's important. Half the fun of this was talking to Marti. She told me all about the trip to Japan she just came back from. I had been looking at the picture she and her husband Dan, had been posting.
The show was great. It started with some speakers discussing the close history of African-Americans and Jews in America. Someone read a passage by Martin Luther King on anti-Semitism.
One of the speakers was Congressman Gregory Meeks, he was my representative when I lived in Briarwood. He got a big applause when he said how honored he was to work with John Lewis. Other speakers were Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilman Margaret Chin. The politicians were good and kept it short.
Then came what we were there for the music. The singers were Lisa Fishman, Magda Fishman, Elmore James, and Tony Perry. The men were Black and the women Jewish. They did an interesting mix of music. There was Jewish music like Dona Dona that I learned in Hebrew school, there were negro spirituals, there was Yiddish theater music, blues, and Jazz. There was African-American music translated into Yiddish. They did a section of the Ode to Joy in Yiddish. As someone that doesn’t speak Yiddish or German that wasn’t that easy for me to figure out but I knew the piece well enough to know that Freunde is joy in German and where it is sung. I thought they were singing freilich but the Yiddish word for joy is freyd.
Everyone was good but Elmore James was exceptional. I knew I knew the name but didn't know from where. Elmore James was a great blues singer and guitarist. He is also dead. This is a different Elmore James. He's an opera singer that sings in nine languages. He also does a great Jewish accent that came out when he told stories and quoted Jews.
They sang a Yiddish rendition of When the Saints Come Marching In. There were lyrics projected but I don't see well enough to read them. I asked Marti how they translated "Saint" as I doubted it had a Yiddish equivalent. She said it was a word meaning "wise men."
After the concert, Marti headed to the upper west side and I went back to the Bronx. Because the Seventh and Lexington Ave lines were not running we both took the uptown. I went with Marti up to 42nd Street which gave us more time together. Then she headed to the Red Line and I took the shuttle to the Green.
I got home and made dinner, Hebrew National franks, appropriate as I was at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and roasted potatoes. It would have been kosher if I didn't make them cheese dogs. It was delicious.
Every year on Martin Luther King Day or his birthday I read something he wrote or listen to one of his speeches and post it here. Today is something I haven't heard before. It's short, you can spend less than 7 minutes and learn something from a great teacher. This isn't a speech, it's an excerpt of an interview on Meet the Press. Martin Luther King was questioned on civil disobedience. People forget how to go about it.
Now on to breakfast, I'm going for an omelet. Peanut butter? Maybe.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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