Category Archives: Blog Purpose

Mahatma K Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr

Mahātmā Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Born: October 2, 1869

Assassinated: January 30, 1948


Martin Luther King Jr.
Born: January 15, 1929
Assassinated: April 4, 1968

 

by Rick Bretz

Throughout history, public figures or groups use violence  to replace diplomacy and negotiation to achieve righteous.  Whether it is to silence people who disagree with your view or achieve power through the physical taking of land, or other means of wealth that translate into control and authority, it usually results in innocent lives being destroyed or disrupted.  Today is a good day to look at two individuals who went a different route.

Today is Martin Luther King’s  Birthday Memorial Holiday.  He tused many strategies in fighting for civil rights including borrowing some of Gandhi’s beliefs in his effort to gain independence from colonial rule.  They both were assassinated and were also effective speakers and leaders.

Gandhi

The movie Gandhi is one of my favorite autobiographical cinematic experiences due to Ben Kingsley’s perfect pitch portrayal of the man.  What I find most interesting about the movie is how Kingsley embodies Gandhi’s non-violent protest ideology.  Two particular scenes strike me as brilliant in showing this.  The part where Gandhi sit in front of large mass of fellow Indians and tells then how exactly they will  fight the English government.  The other scene is Gandhi’s Salt March in protest to salt taxes and prohibition of making salt.  It’s a simple protest but highly effective.  Gandhi’s effectiveness can be partly attributed to media and the world wide press publicizing his actions, protests, prison sentences and ultimately his successes.

The Philosophy

noun: ahimsa

  1. (in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain tradition) the principle of nonviolence toward all living things

 

Ahimsa also has a more spiritual meaning than the physical refraining of no violence.  The word also refers to transcendental philosophy of not bringing into your thoughts or mind any violent thought to anything in nature, man, woman, animals or any living being.  It’s on a deeper level than physical.

In the movie, he is sitting almost in a prone position on a stage inside a valley surrounded on all sides by British soldiers.  Following the ideals of Ahimsa or non-violence,  Gandhi called on his fellow Indians to resist colonial rule by “Quitting India”, avoid paying taxes, do no patron government offices, do not buy goods brought here from Britain but all the while showing respect for soldiers and the police force.  The act of not hitting back when you are being arrested or beaten enabled the movement to get positive press.  The Quit India speech as it is known today called for passive resistance in order to obtain certain goals,

Notable Links:

http://www.mkgandhi.org/speeches/speechMain.htm

https://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/society/5-famous-speeches-of-mahatma-gandhi

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4954/What-Does-Ahimsa-Really-Mean.html

https://www.gaia.com/article/practice-ahimsa-everyday-life

Gandhi and his political partners earned their independence from colonial rule.  This success led to other issues with different religions and the fighting that resulted in the deaths of Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims  across the country.  A resentful Hindu extremist took Gandhi’s life.  The internal strife eventually resulted in the formation of Pakistan and India who both now have nuclear capability.


The Civil Rights Leader

gty_march_on_washington_martin_luther_king_ll_130819_16x9_992

Treating people as you would like to be treated with respect and dignity would seem to be innate in all of us.  However, people have a lottery aspect to their lives–new born babies can’t choose their parents. The nature versus nurture brings to each of us the history and prejudices of the family and the geographic culture.  Martin Luther King Jr was trying to change that or least make his audience think twice.  When he spoke on television, radio or on grand stages in person, he wasn’t just talking to his core audience, he wanted to reach his shadow listeners to make them think twice about the future and kind of America and Earth we should all inhabit.

Martin Luther King Jr was a magnificent speaker.  This ability to motivate his followers and galvanize people to march, ride buses and stop at walk in to segregated bus stops,  sit in, eat at a segregated restaurant, be subjected to prison sentences while not fighting back will always be remembered.  His words during some of his famous speeches are for all time.  The “I Have a Dream Speech” entered our history on August 28, 1963 and has many famous lines in it as his voice thundered across the Washington, DC Mall.

Quotes from “I Have a Dream Speech”

“Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”

Notable Links:

http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-dr-king

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/aa/king/aa_king_subj.html

https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/i-have-dream-address-delivered-march-washington-jobs-and-freedom

Summary

Featuring these two significant people in history during times when people want to bomb, kill, maim  and destroy because people disagree with their views is all the more important.  All sides can agree or disagree but there is one idea we should all agree on–treat people with dignity and respect and as Martin Luther King Jr said judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

 

Thanks Mr. Edison!! And Every Inventor After Him

 

by Rick Bretz

The digital, broadcast and print media reflect,  daily, the worst parts of human nature.

Evil ISIS hate groups commit atrocities in the name of religion. Countries invade neighboring countries killing innocent civilians. In the United States road rage violence continues just because a mother wanted to teach her daughter the proper way to drive. With all of that in the open, I think it is time to focus on an event that has given people joy since it first sent audio waves across a room to the human ear.

On this day, February 19th, 1878, Thomas Edison received his patent for the gramophone or phonograph. Since this invention dropped its first needle on a cylinder and then a disc, musical instruments, arrangements, lyrics and the human voice have made the audience forget their problems for just a few minutes, or for a good hour if you wanted to hear the whole album, LP or song list. Producers, singers and talent have given us songs we’ll never forget.

Here are some of my favorites. These are songs, I think, have a perfect mix of lyrics, vocals and instrumental arrangements. Music and the arts in general are the best parts of civilization. Especially when being civilized is the exception rather than the norm in some parts of the world.

 

Let the Day Begin-The Call

Everyone should wake up and listen to this song before they do anything else. If everyone did, there would be happier people on the highways during the morning commute.

 

Night Train-Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee’s voice is an instrument in itself and she uses it to perfection on this song about love and moving down the line.

 

 

On the Turning Away-Pink Floyd

This is a song that simply states, stop looking away and start doing something to make the society a little better.

 

It Was a Very Good Year-Frank Sinatra

This song is about growing up but all you have to do is think about your experiences to connect with this song. Also, reading between the lines for this song is a fun exercise because in Sinatra’s day, a song writer had to be more subtle with words.

 http://www.lyricsfreak.com/f/frank+sinatra/it+was+a+very+good+year_20056372.html

I Will Always Love You-Whitney Houston

Wow! Whitney Houston could sing. It’s worth listening to this song just to hear Whitney Houston hit all those notes. The words by Dolly Parton are pretty emotional also.

 

Jokerman-Bob Dylan

Interpreting Dylan’s words are always mind-benders. However, this song is perfect union with the music and lyrics. I never get tired of listening to it.

 

I Blinked Once-Steve Forbert

A song about growing and before you know it time has passed you by. Forbert knows how to put words together.

 

Games People Play-Alan Parson’s Project

Alan Parson produced a masterpiece for his “Turn of Friendly Card” album. It’s about luck, life and happiness and this song talks about it all.

 

This is my list of top eight great songs. You may have a list or other considered songs. If so, write a comment and let me know your opinion.

Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Hornsby, Fleetwood Mac Jackson Browne,  Stevie Wonder, Eagles and anything by Van Morrison

 

Notable Links:

http://edison.rutgers.edu/phonpats.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonograph

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-500-greatest-songs-of-all-time-20110407

 

Eight Comedians Who Should Be Vice President

by Rick Betz

I’ve decided to turn the tables on comedians who make jokes and one liners at the expense of Vice Presidents.  Vice Presidents have a difficult job trying to make their days seem important while waiting for the chance to be at the top of the pyramid.  On the surface, this list making exercise may seem easy but hold your punch lines. The selections have to be entertaining since VPs also provide entertainment to the public and the comedy circle.  More than that, they have to appear as though they can take on the responsibilities of President if called upon to do so.

Here are my selections:

English: Flag of the Vice President of the Uni...
English: Flag of the Vice President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Will Farrell-If he can’t be serious, he does a good job looking serious when he needs to be.  He can say stuff like, “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” Besides, the government needs more Cow Bell. If you can be an Anchorman, you can be a Vice President.

2. Lewis Black-He can point out all of exasperation, frustrations and irritations associated with the government and the tax code.  He would be our voice for reason.  One of his best lines, “What does the word “meteorologist” mean in English? It means “liar.”

3. Chris Rock-He would keep it real and bring as much pain as possible to the government to force them to get things done.  Some of his best one liners, “I live in a neighborhood so bad that you can get shot while getting shot.”  Or “We were so poor when we went to bed my daddy unplugged the clocks.”

4. Louis C.K.-Louis would be perfect for saying that outrageous statement that would take the heat off the President when he needed it. One of his best one-liners, “The meal is not over when I’m full, the meal is over when I hate myself.”

 

5. Ron White-All together now, “You can’t fix stupid.” I can see Ron White sitting behind the President during the State of the Union message.  I wouldn’t be able to listen to a word the President would say. I would be looking at Ron White to see if he’d snuck in a bottle of Scotch. One of his best lines, “If life has given you lemons, then make lemonade and then try to find someone whose life has given them Vodka, and then have a party.”

Ellen DeGeneres at Hotel Bel Air in Los Angele...

6. Ellen DeGeneres-If she can handle hosting an awards show just after 9/11, she can handle being Vice President.  One of her best lines, “I’m a Godmother.  That’s a great thing to be, a Godmother.   She calls me God for short, that’s cute, I taught her that.”

7. Steve Martin-You get double for your money with this one.  He is a fantastic banjo player who just produced an excellent CD with Edie Brickell, titled “Love Has Come For You”.  He is a terrific comedian and actor. If all of that doesn’t work, he could always bring out the old reliable “arrow through the head” routine.  One of his many one liners, “Boy, those French, they have a different word for everything!”

8. Jim Breuer-He is an on-the-edge-of-your-seat story-teller.  If you don’t believe me, search out his Pizza Man Story.  He is also another Saturday Night Live alumnus and a Jersey guy, which score points on my rating scale.

That’s my list.  You put these together with the other list (Eight People Who Should Have Been President) and you got something that could work for America.  Some people say this is an exercise in futility.  I prefer to look at these lists as what should have been and what might be.  We can only hope.  Frankly, I’m tired of amateur comedians taking up room in the executive offices, I want professionals in there.

If you have a suggestion, feel free to add your selection to the list.

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.