Thursday, November 21, 2013

Process of Journey (poem)

Brook by Andrea E. Feeser
If I told you what I see,
Would you believe me?
If you opened-up your ears,
Would you hear?
The world is all around you.
There is nothing left to fear.

Reach-out your hand, I'll guide you.
The colors are so bright.
Don't lose the path before you
To the darkness of your sight.

Faith, it was forgotten,
Or distorted in the glass.
Beyond the water's surface,
You'll find your moor, at last.

In time, to cast adrift
Into the fresh unknown.
Unfurl the sails and loosen
All knots that held you stone.

Embark upon the ocean
Into the starry night;
Through the stormy tempest
Onto breaking light.

If I told you what I see
Would you believe me?
If you opened-up your ears,
Would you hear?
The world is all around you.
There is nothing left to fear.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Octavius Catto - Why have I never heard of him?

I was looking up a location on Google Maps for the Philadelphia area, when I found a marker for "Octavius Cato grave". It was the only specific marker in the list; the others being cemeteries and public transportation stops. Curious, I clicked on it (especially since I've never heard of Octavius Catto).

The top of his memorial stone reads "The Forgotten Hero", and this is definitely true. I wish they would have at least mentioned him in high school American history class. He was a leader of the civil rights movement of the 1800's, tirelessly fought for voting rights for blacks, was headmaster of what is now Cheyney University, served as a Major in the Union Army in the Civil War and was assassinated on election day in front of a polling place in Philadelphia! If all that isn't enough to keep him off the "forgotten" list, I don't know what is. Yes, I got all that information from his memorial stone. But I intend to learn more about him. I have found links to a book about Catto (Tasting Freedom by Daniel R. Biddle and Murray Dubin), information about him on, and a biography of him on Temple University's website. All of which I intend to read, the latter two as soon as I am done typing this blog post.

His sheer volume of accomplishments is astounding. (My glances at the other links have gleaned the additional information that he was a founder of an all-black baseball team.) If not for the Internet, I may have never heard of this great American hero!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Notable Movies of 2012

Best Movie: Act of Valor

Best Comedy: The Watch

Best Horror or Thriller: The Cabin in the Woods

Summer Blockbuster: Prometheus

Best Cinematography: Skyfall

Best Special Effects: Prometheus

Most over-hyped: Cloud Atlas

Disappointing sequel: Skyfall

Pointless Remake: Red Dawn (still enjoyable, though)

Just for Fun: Rock of Ages

Most Innovative: The Cabin in the Woods

Better than expected: Seven Psychopaths

Best Car (and Motorcycle!) Chase: The Bourne Legacy

Best Actor: Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)

Best Actress: (No Entry)

Best Animated Film: Brave

Best Action Sequence: Fight between the USS Missouri and the mothership in Battleship

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Technology, at a Cost

There's something that's been on my mind for the past several months. It has been constantly gnawing at me. The resulting ache has left me with two choices: give-in to the hopelessness or try to do something about it. The latter comes with a myriad of questions. Not the least of which, how can anything be done about so huge a problem?

What is this all-consuming issue? Intelligence...or the lack thereof. It is becoming increasingly obvious that our society is becoming, for lack of a better term, stupid. Our modern technology, at its increasing advancement, is enabling this stupidity. Of course, it's not happening all at once, but in small turns (the proverbial frog slowly boiling in a pot of water).

Just consider this one set of examples. First of all, cursive handwriting has been slowly dying-out. It is not taught in many schools. Two of my sons (only one of whom is still in high school) have never been taught handwriting. They cannot read cursive handwriting. That's fun for me, of course. If I want to write something that I don't want them to be able to read, I just write it in cursive.

This, in itself, seems harmless enough. Indeed, most communication is done electronically and, therefore, typed onto a keyboard or similar device. It is harmless, until we consider the next progression. Technology's main goal has always been to make processes easier whenever possible.

There is a recent Windows 8 commercial which depicts users tracing photographs with their fingers. They are using a photo password. The user can chose to create a photo password instead of a keyed-in password. Sure it is a far cry from illiteracy, but it is another step on the path.

Modern Western culture values immediacy. The ability to look-up anything at any time on the Internet gives the illusion of intelligence. The knowledge is there, if you know where to look, but the mind must be trained in logic, deduction, history, etc. Knowledge without intelligence is flat and dead. What can you create with knowledge, if you do not possess the intelligence to explore it, test it and consider new options?

I'm not saying there is immediate danger, but I don't like where this is headed. How to fix it? What to do about it? I don't know. Is there a viable way to promote the pursuit of intelligence? Is there a way to make it more desirable than its effortless alternative? Can we ensure that our progeny will continue that pursuit? I don't have the answers, but I'm looking. Otherwise, I'll just forget about it and keep playing my video games.

Windows 8: Sign in with a Smile - commercial
Boiling Frog Myth
Mom, What was Handwriting? - article/interview of author Philip Hensher, Boston Globe,