Archive for August, 2017

Bending and Pretending

Talk, talk, talk, that’s all they did.

Hours of ear bending kept them busy.

He couldn’t hear a word, but smiled and nodded all along.

It kept them happy.

It kept him happy!

He knew he was bending the truth, but he didn’t care; pretending to hear what their bending was all about kept the peace.



Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was bend.

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Much will be written about it over the next week, and of course much has.

Rather than go through that, I’ll leave it at this.

Diana once said, “…The greatest problem in the world today is intolerance. Everyone is so intolerant of each other.”

Not much has changed.

She also offered this advice…“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

Possibly if we had more of the latter, we’d have less of the first.

Be kind today.

Competition…Women’s Work

Under the cover of darkness in the wee hours of the morning of August 16, 2017 a piece of history was removed from Wyman Park Dell in Baltimore’s Charles Village.

The offensive statue had resided in the park since 1948.

Commissioned in 1928, it was the first double equestrian statue in the United States; World War II delayed its completion and dedication for twenty years.

Much has been said about the fact that Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s father, The late Thomas D’Alesandro, JR, former Baltimore Mayor, dedicated the statue with the words “Today, with our nation beset by subversive groups and propaganda which seeks to destroy our national unity, we can look for inspiration to the lives of Lee and Jackson to remind us to be resolute and determined in preserving out sacred institutions.  We must remain steadfast in our determination to preserve freedom, not only for ourselves, but for the other liberty-loving nations who are striving to preserve their national unity as free nations.”

He added, “In these days of uncertainty and turmoil, Americans must emulate Jackson’s example and stand like a stone wall against aggression in any form that would seek to destroy the liberty of the world.”

But let’s not dwell on that, nor the fact that Representative Pelosi now finds the statues so offensive.  I don’t harbor every treatise and belief of my parents either.

The fascinating story about this piece of art, and I will to my dying day declare many of these statues art, is once again, the story of the artist.

Laura Gardin Fraser was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1889.  The Civil War had been over for 24 years, she was from the Nawth, and I doubt she grew UP dining at the table of the Lost Cause.

She married sculptor James Earle Fraser.  But we’ll not give him press today other than the fact that he was her teacher and they fell in love and married.

In 1931 she won the competition to design a new U.S. coin, a quarter with George Washington on the obverse.  Her winning design was ignored by Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon.  Mellon selected a different design by John Flanagan.

Alas, the glass ceiling was not shattered.

In 1999, her design was coined as a commemorative five dollar gold piece.

Though she is most well known for her many designs of medals such as the commemorative Oregon Trail Half Dollar, she did win commissions to do heroic-sized statues.

Henry Ferguson, the owner of Colonial Trust, donated $100,000 for a monument honoring the final meeting of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville.

The meeting occurred the day Jackson would be struck down by mistaken friendly fire.

The competition for the commission was tough.  Held in 1936, six noted American sculptors were invited to submit designs.  Lee Lawrie, Paul Manship, Edward McCartan, Hans Schuler, and Frederick William Sievers, who would go on to create the magnificent monument to Matthew Fontaine Maury in Richmond, Virginia, and Fraser all competed for the job.

Fraser was the only woman invited to compete, and was the first woman to win a major sculpting commission from a municipality.

The future of the statue is in limbo as the city tries to find a new home for it.  If we are looking for accuracy and political context, Chancellorsville Battlefield sounds like a good place for the work of art.

The removal of the dual equestrian statue has cured no ills; it has only proceeded to eradicate a piece of Women’s History.

Though there are many reasons espoused for removing or contextualizing the statues, no one seems to be thinking about all of the history they represent.

Well, no one other than me, I suppose.


Chi-Town Shenanigans.

Today marks the 49th anniversary of rioting at the Democratic National Convention.

I was 16.  I watched it on TV.

Richard J. Daley, Chicago’s Mayor had intended to showcase the Windy City for a few days as the Democrats got together for their quadrennial love fest.

It didn’t work out that way.

Seems those darn hippies had other plans!

Yippies (aka radical hippies) had planned “A Festival of Life,” but rioting took place.  Some say the rioting was perpetrated by the Chicago Police and the Illinois National Guard.

The fracases were well documented and historians debate today who started what and who hit whom.

Many journalists were caught UP in the violence; Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, and Edwin Newman were actually “assaulted” by Chicago Police while in the meeting hall of the Convention.

Coming back to Chicago after more than a decade away, Daley’s hopes were shattered as national attention veered away from the Convention and all Chicago had to offer to near anarchy in the streets.

The National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (again, stop with the ridiculously long titles please) and the Youth International Party planned a youth fest to coincide with the big DNC meeting.

The SDS, a radical campus organization, decided to join as well.

Chicago refused to grant permits for the demonstrations.

The crowd of 10,000 protestors and Daley’s 23,000 man police force created the perfect storm.

Daley’s reason, stated later, for calling out a resistance force of such magnitude came from reports that Yippie’s, SDS, and others were planning on assassinating many of the leaders including Daley.

Well, we can’t have that now, can we?

Meanwhile the Yippies held their own nominating convention along with Jerry Rubin and folk singer Phil Ochs where they nominated Pigasus, a pig, as in a real animal, for the Presidency.

Pigasus, Rubin, Ochs, and several others were taken into custody.

Pigasus was released on his own recognizance.

On August 28, the 10,000 gathered at Grant Park, about 3:30 PM a young man lowered the American flag; police broke through the crowd and broke out a can of whoop ass!

The crowd retaliated by throwing food, rocks, and chunks of concrete at the police and called the police whores and pigs.

Really, it was a mess.

Daddy was ready to lock and load, and was sure the end of the world was near.

The late Tom Hayden, who would become Mr. Jane Fonda, a leader of the SDS encouraged the protestors to move out of the park and disperse to avoid the consequences of impending tear gas.

The cops used so much tear gas it traveled UP the road to Hubert Humphrey’s hotel and caused him “distress” while in the shower.

Meanwhile, the crowd chanted, “The whole world is watching,’ and they were.

Inside the convention hall, Senator Abraham Ribicoff expressed his displeasure with the behavior of Chicago’s finest.

Daley was said to make “vulgar, disparaging, and ethnically derisive remarks.”

Imagine that?

Humphrey was nominated, the news programs toggled back and forth between the celebration inside the hall and the violence on the street, and Richard Nixon sat in the White House gearing UP for a second term.

Most historians believe that America decided that night to re-elect the president.

Well, we all know how that worked out!

Have a great Monday.