New Ideas, New Possibilities
Many Journal-World readers may not know much about Africa, except for occasional stories in the news. The Journal-World is especially bad about this, because personal blogs are very difficult to find on the web page. This is not just true with geography, but also with subjects such as technology and nature. I feel this area needs to be revised, so that blogs on these areas are given just as much importance as blogs on sports and politics.
As you may know, I have correspondence with Africans who live in a variety of countries throughout Africa. I will be including their comments in the future, as I get them from my conversations on Skype. I have already started to comment on well commons about cigarette smoking in The Gambia. I will write much more about this in the future, much of it written in the African correspondent's own words. I just hope that more readers of the Journal-World somehow can find these personal blogs, so that they, too, can know more about it.
In this blog, I am going to point out some important sources for African news, especially slides and videos. The BBC is a very good source for African pictures. For example,
Here are more pictures from Africa, from the most recent BBC web page.
as well as pictures from all over Africa.
In South Africa, much is happening, including this dance for freedom in the South African township of Katiehong.
France24, which features news in English, French and Arabic 24 hours a day, has a great weekly feature called THE WEEK IN AFRICA. The current edition is on problems in Ivory Coast. Each edition also carries good news, as well as bad news - there is usually something positive happening which the French report on in detail, as well.
In addition to the Congo, Mali has had tremendous problems recently. They are highlighted here. Watching this series each week will give you a great background on French Africa, especially.
Many readers of the Journal-World's web page also know very little about the animals - not only of Africa but in most parts of the world. Children as well as adults enjoy this series.
Take a look at these programs and web features. I'll give more in the future, plus there will be first-hand knowledge direct from Africans on the continent.
The Death of Ravi Shankar
I never personally heard Ravi Shankar, but his music played an important role in my life. I found out about him from another Scholarship Hall person when I was at KU, and as soon as possible I managed to get some recordings. From that time on, until I went into the Army, I listened to him all the time.
His death was reported as follows:
It has also occurred to me that younger people might have never heard his music. Here is a wonderful documentary from U-Tube:
It is very meditative. Here is a raga from 1997, from the India and Pakistan Golden Jubilee celebrations in England, with his daughter, Anoushka Shankar, who was and is very accomplished:
Some of the articles upon Ravi Shankar's death are very enlightening.
Tributes have poured in from musicians and listeners throughout the world. Don't forget that Ravi Shankar taught George Harrison, of the Beatles, much about Indian music.
One of the great Indian newspapers, The Hindu, has a very fine series of articles on Ravi Shankar and what he accomplished during his long life.
Life in Pictures
Here is his life in pictures, from the BBC.
And the New York Times article regarding Ravi Shankar's death follows.
I'm wondering ... have you in your lifetime had any special experiences with Ravi Shankar's music? Please comment on them.
New Orchestras Made From Thrown-Away Junk in South America
Meanwhile, in Paraguay a new orchestra has been born, and for many it is a new life. Many of these young people have spent their whole day sorting out trash. The fact that they have been able to learn how to make musical instruments is amazing, and it is even more amazing that they are now playing.
And I am curious if anyone in the School of Music at KU has heard their music and has, in the back of their minds, some idea of serving others in the future in the same way, in any country.
A forthcoming film will be finished next year which I can't wait to see.
So from the death of a great Indian musician, Ravi Shankar, to the birth of new orchestras using thrown-away junk, music carries on in an amazing way.
How many students in Lawrence, and Kansas, have musical instruments at their schools, or has that mostly been taken away from schools?
100th anniversary of streetcar service in San Francisco - why not the first streetcars in Lawrence since 1933?
Streetcars would completely change Lawrence - and draw visitors from many states
It is time to start the fund so that streetcars can come back to Lawrence.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the streetcars in San Francisco. Everyone gets free rides all day.
It's tremendous, not only for the locals of San Francisco itself, but because of all the tourists it brings in year-round. Take a look at some of the pictures from the past:
And here is a video from local news about today's events:
There is a resurgence of street cars throughout the United States. Cities such as Atlanta, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis have already broken ground on their street cars plans.
But the real news is that Kansas City, MO has plans for street cars. The following Wall Street Journal article has more details:
This development, along with other developments in Kansas City - such as the first Google fiber in the United States - should give Lawrence much food for thought.
Streetcars in Lawrence again. Why not?
The Lawrence City Commission recently considered various projects which they would like to fund. To my mind, streetcars and internet funding come at the top of the list.
Lawrence has a strong history of street cars, dating back to April 19, 1910. There are two wonderful articles on the history of street cars in Lawrence. The first is by Douglas Harvey, Department of History, University of Kansas:
There is also an excellent article in Lawrence Community Connections, a project of Lawrence West Junior High School in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities, Watkins Community Museum of History, the Lawrence Journal-World and the University of Kansas.
Also, Sarah St. John has done some excellent research in this area. This is one of several outstanding articles from the past pages of the Journal-World:
By the way, are there more pictures of streetcars in Lawrence? Please post them here.
I will consider internet funding in a later post, but streetcar funding should take a high priority. Think what the revival of streetcars in Lawrence would make possible:
Streetcars would bring in visitors from many states
Streetcars would bring in visitors from many states, including Kansas. If the streetcar line went through downtown Lawrence, then up the hill and across the university, then out to 23rd street and then Iowa, I think even locals would take it all the time.
Streetcars would completely invigorate downtown, as well as other parts of town
Streetcars would completely invigorate downtown, as well as other parts of the city. Can you imagine hopping on a streetcar and touring downtown Lawrence. These streetcars could incorporate features of the past and those of the very present, including wifi for laptops.
All transportation systems should be linked together
The bus system should be closely tied to the streetcar route. People should be able to take a bus in, and then board a streetcar for a really fun ride - whether it be shopping, getting off at the university for classes and tours, or heading out to 23rd street. and Iowa.
Small libraries throughout Lawrence instead of one large library
If the library had considered small libraries throughout Lawrence - which the library board never did - then people could board a streetcar and busses to pay their bills, and relax in small libraries throughout the city, instead of one large library. This would be especially great for kids and seniors. There is a lot to do in Lawrence, and there would be more to do if small libraries were located throughout the city.
Link streetcars in Lawrence with streetcars and busses in Kansas City
Eventually, the Lawrence streetcar line could be linked with the Kansas City streetcars. In a future column, I will consider ways to link up the streetcars with the latest modern technology. This would greatly increase the possibility of businesses in Lawrence and innovation, which Lawrence so badly needs.
Eventually, a streetcar line to Baldwin City, perhaps even Ottawa
I would also eventually propose a line to Baldwin City, to link up with Baker University, and to allow Baldwin to develop a business park. It would also be great to go to Baldwin City for a whole day, including the civil war beginnings.
Baker University has some wonderful buildings. If you haven't been there, go visit the town!
Ottawa is also an old town with fine buildings on the Ottawa University campus. The long main street is wonderful. Here, in case you haven't been to Ottawa, is the Courthouse:
All of these are fine tourist destinations, which would be well served by eventual streetcar service from Lawrence.
And...all of these ideas make sense
But the first thing to do is to start the funding for streetcars in Lawrence. This will take time and money to implement, but I think they can be done and done superbly.
The fund and the planning needs to start now, instead of so many of the ideas which the City Commission has considered up to now, which make money for developers but which don't consider everyday people in Lawrence.
There will be more ideas in blogs in the future. That's what this blog is all about - "New Ideas, New Possibilities." I think, if the streetcar idea ever gets off the ground, people will love it.
The Queen’s Message on Christmas Day, her specific mention of the Olympics and Paralympic Games - and Christmas in the Philippines
The Queen Speaks on Christmas Day.... and more
The Queen has given her Christmas Day Speech.
She especially appreciated the role of the Diamond Jubilee and all the efforts of Great Britain to put on the Summer Olympics and Paralympics this past summer.
I covered the entire Olympics and Paralympics, day by day, on my blog, although the Journal-World said almost nothing about the Paralympics during the whole time it was taking place, as was true with American media in general.
To me I find this is particularly important, because keeping the spirits high for all those who have undergone physical disabilities is an especially important task. These people have undergone difficulties that the average person has never experienced.
The following story could just as easily have taken place in Lawrence. If there is a new sports complex to be built, surely it will include facilities and sports for the handicapped:
To me, what this really says is that year round, we need to reach out to other people, of all races, and form friendships which last over time. This is one way we can overcome the isolation of modern American society, which leads to feelings of alienation which so many Americans have - and which, in part, may lead to terrible situations of killing - which we have seen in the past weeks in Newtown, and elsewhere.
To quote from a New York Times article which just appeared on the front page:
*For the first time, Queen Elizabeth II marked Christmas in a third dimension. Speaking from London, the queen videotaped her traditional holiday address to the British public in 3-D, and even donned 3-D glasses to watch it from Buckingham Palace. In the annual remarks, which she writes herself, the queen paid tribute to servicemen and women whose “sense of duty takes them away from family and friends” over the holidays, and highlighted a year that included the 60th anniversary of her reign and the London Olympic Games, The Associated Press reported.
“It was humbling that so many chose to mark the anniversary of a duty which passed to me 60 years ago,” she said, as footage showed the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee along the River Thames. Several other prominent British figures also amplified their means of communication this year. The archbishops of Canterbury and York each delivered Christmas sermons simultaneously in person and on Twitter, perhaps inspired by technological savvy of Pope Benedict XVI. John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, and the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, who is serving his last year as archbishop of Canterbury, live-tweeted their sermons complete with hashtag, #cswc, for “Christmas starts with Christ.”*
Christmas in the Philippines
And speaking of Christmas in other parts of the world, perhaps the longest Christmas season lies with the Philippines. I have friends who are Philippine, including my doctor, and they confirm that Christmas in the Philippines is often a very different experience than what many Americans have in this country. People spend their time with one another, greeting friends and relatives, instead of the frantic buying syndrome which occupies so many Americans.
I think we need to learn what other cultures have done - that is positive - to our holidays. When I mentioned Christmas to my doctor, who recently returned from seeing his father in the Philippines, he mentioned his father and Christmas in the Philippines in a most positive way.
Click on the following links for featured articles on Christmas in the Philippines:
and at Luneta Park in Manila:
116 days before Christmas, and the Ber months have begun:
Unfortunately, I was not yet able to receive information on Christmas in the Gambia, South Sudan and Malaysia - that will have to come later.
Have a very good Christmas - and make some new friends for next year!
I love dogs, like many people - and often they are amazing
Dogs Learn to Drive
This article just came out in today's BBC news:
I astounded at what these dogs from New Zealand can do - in some ways, it is much more impressive than the driver-less car which google is working on.
Chinese Dog Understands Basic Math
And this dog from China--
is also astonishing.
Do you have a dog which is especially good at something? Please add a comment and, if you can, a photograph of your dog.
This includes fantastic ball catching in Kansas parks.
And... Dancing with Dogs
Dancing with dogs has caught on in Great Britain and other parts of the world. Why isn't there a teacher and class for Lawrence dogs? This would bring people from Kansas City, Topeka, all over the region...
This blog is definitely for kids as well as adults!
World Series Parade today in San Francisco
The live video on this blog is over- it was fantastic, 4 hours worth. However, here is most of the parade in video replay. It is worth watching! For the Giants, it has been a happy day!
In case you missed it, here is the four hour parade and ceremony.
Here is the 2nd hour:
Then, the third hour is as follows::
And here is the last hour of today's World Series parade and ceremonies:
All of this thanks to ABC San Francisco, which broadcast the entire event live earlier today.
The World Series Parade is in San Francisco today. I'm sending photographs from The San Francisco Chronicle which I think you will enjoy before the parade starts.
People worked for days on these floats:
And many of the people had been here all night to get a good view:
The weather is not good (typical San Francisco!) but hope that I can get close enough to see some of the players.
Tonight I'll post photographs of the players, probably courtesy of The Chronicle, and I and thousands of others just hope it won't rain!
Well, I'm off to see if I can get a place to watch the parade and take some photographs!
The San Francisco Chronicle posted the following article, following the parade, with pictures:
The Beatles - 50 years since their first hit record
Released on 5 October 1962, the Beatle's single Love Me Do went to 17th place very quickly. That was 50 years ago.
It features Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney on their way to Newquay, Cornwall, which was the final destination of the Magical Mystery Tour.
Click on the following link and see this old film, newly discovered, for yourself.
Here is some background on the event and the forthcoming documentary.
Three songs from the re-mastered CD:
You might also enjoy the new Web space for all kinds of music from the BBC, if you're into music, as I am:
Early tapes from Ringo Starr's first band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, were also found. This band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, was a most popular group of the early Merseybeat era. If you are not up to speed on British geography, this band was from Liverpool.
And just for the fun of it, here are the Beatles' performing during 1962-1966, just before the time of the Magical Mystery Tour in 1967:
Where were you when you first heard a Beatles' album?
Where were you when you first heard Ringo Starr?
Critical Mass celebrates its 20th anniversary; locking your bike; and bicycling creates healing in Rwanda
Critical mass celebrates its 20th anniversary Friday, September 28
Thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle and Jason Wolfe, photographer, for these wonderful images and the article.
Critical Mass celebrates its 20th birthday Friday, September 28th. From its beginnings in San Francisco twenty years ago, it has spread throughout the world.
I was not here when Critical Mass started (I was in Europe in the Army), but when I came back, there was both hope and enmity among bicyclists and motorists. Since that time, both sides have become more gentle, but anger springs up every day from both bicyclists and motorists throughout this city.
Background of the movement
These four current articles give background behind the movement: Click on each one:
The 20th celebration is happening now
This web site covers the first ten years.
Here, for example, is the Chicago Critical Site web page:
Locking your bike
I also wanted you to see the following videos, which indicate the correct (and incorrect) way to lock your bike, made by StreetFilms.org. If you loose your bike through not locking it properly, Critical Mass and/or other bicycle rides will have little meaning.
Bicycles, healing, Lawrence and Rwanda
Just like the recent Lawrence article so well presented by Karrey Britt:
the situation in Rwanda (Africa) has also had a very difficult time in recovering from its recent past history. And again, bicycling has made the difference. Through bicycling, Rwanda has helped to create peace between the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa tribes. Enjoy these photographs from the BBC which show what bicycling has done for Rwandans:
And here are some logos from around the world
Images from Deep Outer Space
These beautiful images, which were released yesterday, are so incredible that a person could spend hours (or even days) looking at them - they are a very different and distant world compared to our everyday life. We don't even have the language to really describe them. Perhaps poetry is the best language.
Don't you feel like meditating on them?
Yet there are also black holes which scientists know very little about. Shouldn't we meditate on them too?
Yet, on this earth right now, people in Syria are killing each other, in terrible, terrible situations
In countries such as Syria, most young people will never see these images before they die, often of torture. Something terrible is happening there, and we - hard to believe - can not act responsibly to help solve the problem.
Many readers feel that what is happening in Syria is not our concern. But I do not agree.
If we can see these images from deep in space, close to what we think are probably the beginnings of the solar system, surely we can help to solve this terrible crisis in the Middle East.
Consider, for example, the words of Karen Armstrong, who is a scholar and activist in Christianity, Judaism and Islam:
As well as the following:
Now I wonder... what do the torturers of these young people (or anyone, for that matter) think about for the rest of their lives? Is it in their consciousness forever? How do they deal with it?
Today is the 150th birthday of the Emancipation Proclamation
Here is the Emancipation Proclamation:
By the President of the United States of America:
Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.
By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
The following gives you commentary from the excellent series "Disunion" in the New York Times:
And this will give you background on the Emancipation Proclamation.
What effect has the Emancipation Proclamation had since it was signed?
This illustration appeared in Harper’s Weekly after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. The caption reads, “The effects of the proclamation." From the UNC School of Education - Learn NC.