Harriet And The Underground Railroad

We saw the movie Harriet today. 


Obviously, it was about Harriet Tubman and her rescuing the slaves through the Underground Railroad of secret routes and safe houses. 


She was an amazing heroine that they even called her “Moses” for her rescuing the black slaves from the southern plantation where they were sorely abused in every way. 


Even though she herself was a runaway slave who made it though a100 treacherous miles from Maryland to Pennsylvania to Freedom, she went back over and over again to save others. 


The movie said she saved 70 other through the underground railroad and then in the civil war led the black troops to free another 750 slaves!


Her courage and faith through it all was truly inspirational.


I was so glad when she carried a gun and shot at her nemesis who enslaved her and her family before he could kill or capture and torture her. 


She didn’t kill him, but she told him in no uncertain terms that people were not meant by G-d to own and enslave other people!


We need more people like Harriet Tubman in the world who fight for what’s right and clearly know the difference between good and evil. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Market Watch 2016

Sale.jpeg

I took this photo in the mall on New Years Day–yes, the stores were actually open on the holiday.


And Macy’s was having a blowout sale with racks and racks of “80% Off Original Price[s].”


We were laughing saying what’s next–99% Off and then even 100% off! 


So you think the economy is healthy with fire sales like these on the very first day of the new calendar year–when we still have another 364 days to make our year end sales quotas…


With turbulence around the globe brewing from Iran, Syria, Russia, North Korea, Yemen, Sudan, Nigeria, ISIS, and more…anyone care to say (pending) crisis.


How about commodities–my bet–that are in the toilet (and have been for years now)–do you really think no one needs iron, aluminum, nickel, lead, cooper, potash, oil, gas, coal, diamonds, and gold anymore? 


Then the Wall Street Journal warned again today about the overall investment marketplace, asking “How do you invest when everything is expensive? [at 25 times cyclically adjusted earnings–now that’s a fancy term]?


We’ve been down this road before in the bubble bursts and recessions of 2001 and 2008.


Is now really the time for the Federal Reserve to be raising interest rates (and what a nifty ripple effect that will have in both slowing our economy down and raising our interest payments on our already ballooning $18 trillion national debt)?


Oh, technology to the rescue again and again…it’s possible with everything from virtual reality to robotics and artificial intelligence on the cusp…or maybe not this time around. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Someone I Know And Didn’t Know

Be Batman

So this is a true story…


I am on the crowded metro coming home from the office, sitting facing backward and toward the middle of the car. 


There is some noise and rustling coming up from behind me, and I see people’s heads turning and startled looks on their faces. 


I turn around to see what is going on…


Someone in a wheelchair is screaming to get off the train. 


However, he is caught about halfway in between the closing metro doors, and can’t get back in or out and off the train. 


There is one guy who was apparently standing by the doors, and he is trying to get the door open, but can’t budge it.


Everyone else on this busy train seems just frozen, almost as if time had stopped (really). 


But the double train doors are wedged into the larger and smaller wheels (for hand turning) on the side of the wheelchair. 


The person in the chair is still calling out for help and to be released from the clasp of these heavy doors around him–in his seated position, his lower torso from his thighs down are positioned outside the train, but his upper body is still on the train. 


The conductor is trying to move the train again and again…and it’s not apparent whether the failsafe mechanism for the open door will work as the train is lurching forward and the doors are sort of vibrating in this quick open/close fashion. 


Then, I see someone spontaneously jump out of their seat.


They are racing to the wheelchair jammed in the doors.


I see them first try and push open on the left side…but it’s still not budging.


Then, they try and pull the other, right side, open towards them…but it’s to no avail as the forceful doors are wedged in on around the chair. 


With everything around them a blur of seats and faces, the person turns their head looking around for another way…


They see like a target standing out in the distance, an emergency intercom on the front wall of the train.


The person lunges toward it and hits the round button.


The conductor who is still fidgeting with the doors to get them closed and trying to move the train ever forward comes hastily on the speaker, but apparently not connecting the call to him with what’s going on with the doors and wheelchair says “Yeah, what’s the emergency?”


The person catching himself, musters the words to say into the comm device, “There is a wheelchair stuck in the train doors– OPEN THE DOORS!”


The conductor immediately reacts and the doors pull apart from both sides, and the wheelchair almost falls forward, the disabled person sort of thrown from the train, but finally on the platform, and wheeling themselves as quickly as they can towards the elevator to get away from this whole situation. 


With nothing left to do, the person who helped, let’s out a deep breath and is visibly shaken, but also glad to see the person in the wheelchair safe and on their way. 


As he is walking back to his seat, he realizes there are a lot of eyes on him that were just a blur before. 


At the same time, over the speaker system comes the relieved voice of the conductor with a simple “Thank you.”


I see the person sit down, calling his wife to tell her what happened, he starts to silently cry. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When You’re Feeling Blue…

Rescue Gum

I was intrigued by this “Rescue Gum.” 


Whole Foods carries this bright yellow-packaged gum pack (17 pieces), selling it at checkout for just $6.99.


Thinking, they should probably sell this right next to the fruit-flavored “Life Savers.”

So this gum is for stress relief, and it’s made with 5 flower remedies.


Do you believe in that? 


When I looked this gum up online, it says:


– “Keep out of reach of children.


– If pregnant or breastfeeding, ask a health professional before use.


– Excessive consumption may induce mildly laxative effects.


– Not suitable for animals.”


Okay, so if you weren’t stressed out before reading the warning on this gum, you are now, right? 


I think I’ll pass on the rescue gum, and head over to the hot bar in the back for some seitan and veggies. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

# Bring Back Our Girls

# Bring Back Our Girls

A fundamentalist Muslim terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped 276 schoolgirls this week in Nigeria.

After torching their village market, killing more than 300 people, razing 100 houses, destroying 500 vehicles, and attacking their boarding school, Boko Haram is threatening to sell these innocent children.

Please speak up for those who can’t!

We need to defend human rights and support women’s and children’s rights.

No more abuse, no more discrimination, no more hurt. 😉

(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

Welcome To The World

Welcome To The World

What a welcome to the world this baby in China got.

According to Discovery News, the baby was flushed down a toilet…alive!

Residents heard the cries of the baby from the 4th floor bathroom.

Firefighters sawed away sections of a 10 cm pipe with the 2-day old baby inside.

The baby had been in the pipe at least 2 hours–I am amazed it didn’t drown.

The baby was brought to the hospital and put in an incubator and luckily, the baby survived.

I am sorry for the parent(s) who you’d think must’ve gone through hell before doing something this drastic.

And while I don’t like to judge or be judged, however unwanted this pregnancy or unprepared the parents were for this new child–there has got to be better ways to deal with it than this.

An early abortion or giving the child up for adoption is just two options, and struggling to keep the child is a third.

Maybe the parent(s) thought they could save the baby from even a worse fate living in poverty, born out of wedlock, or violating the one-child per family policy–but it is still hard to imagine taking an innocent, helpless infant and doing something so cruel and disgusting.

How will this child grow up, knowing it was thrown away like this by its own parents? What type of self-worth will it have? How will it feel and act towards others in society having been acted on this way?

There are so many monsters out there…killers, rapists, abusers (many serial)–do we wonder where they came from?

I remember learning people are product of nature and nurture–in this case, there was certainly no nurture, quite the contrary…and it will take at least a normal new home, where they are treated like children and not waste products for this child to have a fighting chance. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Under The Beautiful Sea

Under_the_sea

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is looking for a place to stash some new military capabilities.

In a DARPA news release (11 January 2013) it states they are looking to support the navy by placing hibernated deep-sea capsules with payloads at under water locations and at the seafloor strategically around the globe–“almost half of the world’s oceans are more than four kilometers deep” providing “cheap stealth”.

The capsules with carry non-lethal payloads for “operational support and situational awareness”–such as command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR). 

Examples of pre-deployed payloads could be unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and probably, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). The release specifically states that this is “not a weapons program,” but you could imagine future evolutions of this.

The initial capabilities sought are for “situational awareness, disruption, deception, networking, rescue, or any mission that benefits from being pre-distributed and hidden.” 

The deep-sea capsules will need to survive under extreme pressure and be able to communicate at vast ocean depths to be remotely awoken and recalled when needed. 

Having capabilities available when and where needed–from the bottom of the sea to forward deployment–potentially mitigating some use of costly and non-stealth land bases.

I think this is an exciting idea especially since China was able to demonstrate its anti-satellite missiles in January 2007 in shooting down its own satellite, and I would think that these new underwater pods being sought may be able to provide some alternatives for sensing and communicating in conflicts where satellites are destroyed or disabled and/or other military muscle in not readily available. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Rakel SdPC)