Another Tragedy: Justice for Tyre Nichols

Not another one. Not another incredibly anguished murder of another young man by police. My heart goes out to his family.

It’s bad enough that we had THREE mass shootings in California last week in three separate locations – it’s unfathomable to think of all the random violence, but this young man did not deserve to suffer the way he did, calling out for his mom with his last breath. It’s heartbreaking and disgusting at the same time.

I’m posting the following from https://msnewsgroup.com/

So much has been talked about in regards to the death of Tyre Nichols. Rightfully so. But let’s talk about his life:

He was a son and a friend. He liked to skateboard. He worked at FedEx and he was a self described aspiring photographer.

He posted the following on his photography website:

Hey guys,
My name is Tyre D. Nichols. I am an aspiring photographer. Well I mostly do this stuff for fun but i enjoy it very much. Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way. It expresses me in ways i cannot write down for people. I take different types of photograhy, anywhere from action sports to rural photos, to bodies of water and my favorite.. landscape photography. My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what i am seeing through my eye and out through my lens. People have a story to tell why not capture it instead of doing the “norm” and writing it down or speaking it. I hope to one day let people see what i see and to hopefully admire my work based on the quality and ideals of my work. So on that note enjoy my page and let me know what you think.
Your friend,
-Tyre D. Nichols

This picture below was posted by Tyre Nichols on a photography website he designed.

Here is a link… https://thiscaliforniakid2.wixsite.com/tnicholsph…/fashion

May be an image of nature, body of water and bridge

Sunset Artistry + Friday the 13th

The camera picked up exactly what the sky looked like last night at sundown, more expressionism than hyperrealism, in my opinion.

My favorite part is the bit of sparkle as the setting sun kissed the Pacific ocean.

******************************************************************************

If you’re under the outdated and superstitious belief that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day, I’ve learned something new.

Before patriarchal times, Friday the 13th was considered the Day of the Goddess. It was considered a day to honor the divine feminine that lives in us all and to honor the cycles of creation and death and rebirth.

Friday the 13th was considered a very powerful day to manifest, honor creativity, and to celebrate beauty, wisdom, and nourishment of the soul.

Friday is Venus Day, named for Frigga, the goddess of love and tansformation. She rules the spiritual aspects of people as they manifest on the physical.

Venus is the epitome of feminine energy. Her energy joins us at the end of the week to honor the days gone by and to remind us that it is important to rest, relax, and play.

Not unlucky at all, this is a day to celebrate the power and energy of being female.

No mansplaining or misogyny allowed.

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

When the sun aligns through this gap in the stones it can only mean one thing… we’re close to the Winter Solstice.

Photo by Nick Bull https://twitter.com/EH_Stonehenge

Stonehenge was built to frame this annual solar event, so the monument has been silently marking the Solstice for thousands of years.

This shortest day of the year marks the official beginning of astronomical winter, as opposed to meteorological winter, which starts about three weeks prior to the solstice, according to almanac.com/content/first-day-winter-winter-solstice

To celebrate, try going on a nature walk, create a Yule log, set out seed for birds, light a candle, or build an indoor or outdoor fire.

What will you choose to do to celebrate the solstice tradition?

***

I found this lovely poem by British writer Susan Cooper

THE SHORTEST DAY

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen,
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them|
Echoing, behind us — listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight
This shortest day
As promise wakens in the sleeping land.
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends, and hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year, and every year.
Welcome Yule!

What’s Hanukkah All About?

Chag Sameach!

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Mostly for me Hanukkah was all about getting presents for eight days, haha, but I know there’s another meaning, because I went to Sunday school and even Hebrew school for a while, which was kind of expected considering my grandfather was a rabbi.

Our Jewish Festival of Lights lasts for eight days and nights in honor of a 2,000-year-old miracle in which light won out over darkness.

This year Hanukkah started yesterday at sundown, and ends Monday, December 26. 

Hanukkah commemorates the dedication of the second temple in Jerusalem. In 164 BCE, the Jewish people revolted against the Greeks in the Maccabean War. After their victory they cleansed the temple and re-dedicated it.

There was an oil lamp there that only had one day of oil, but the lamp burned for eight days. This is called the miracle of the oil and is where the eight days of celebration comes from.

Like most of our holidays, food is key. Traditional Hanukkah foods include latkes and doughnuts fried in olive oil to represent the miracle of the burning oil lamp.

A bygone tradition was to give gold coins called gelt but today children are often given chocolate coins in a gold wrapping to make them look like gelt.

Besides receiving gifts, the star of the show is the menorah.

Menorah candles are to burn for at least half an hour after the sun sets.The menorah is a special candelabra with nine candles. Each day an additional candle is lit. The ninth candle is called a shamash. This candle is usually in the middle and set higher from the other eight candles to separate it from the rest. It’s the only candle that is supposed to be used for lighting the others.

Since this country seems to be in the middle of a disgusting new dark age of anti-Semitism and racism, it’s even more imperative that we stand up and speak out against prejudice and discrimination, once again bringing light into darkness.

There’s a lot of abhorrent history in this powerful image from Germany…

No photo description available.

During Hanukkah 1931, Rachel Posner, wife of Rabbi Dr. Akiva Posner, took this photo of the family Hanukkah menorah from the window ledge of the family home looking out on to the building across the road decorated with Nazi flags.

Shine the light.

RIP P-22: The Mountain Lion of LA’s Griffith Park

Even if you’re not from Southern California, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of P-22, a mountain lion that resided in Griffith Park in Los Angeles, on the eastern side of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Somehow he crossed freeways to settle in the rugged, chaparral-cloaked slopes of one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. He remained there since then, hunting mule deer and other animals for food in the natural areas of the park.

I think photo credit goes to NatGeo

P-22 was first identified in 2012 and was the subject of significant media attention, also as the subject of books, television programs, and works of art. He even had his own Facebook page, courtesy of savelacougars.org/

He wasn’t just a big cat. He was a symbol of resistance, resistance to the idea that LA has no wildlife, to development in his own backyard, to dwindling numbers of mountain lions in SoCal.

P22 had been living in Griffith Park for about ten years, but it’s as if he was actually trapped. He could never find a mate as no other mountain lion could reach the park without getting killed on the freeways. 

What a confusing world he must’ve lived in with all these loud humans with their fast cars and concrete. For me, he served as a reminder (along with coyotes and bobcats) that we have always been the invaders. They were here first.

A mountain lion believed to be the famous P-22 allegedly attacked and injured a small dog in Silver Lake until he was scared off by the pet’s owner. After that, he was captured and sedated for medical testing to evaluate his condition.

So far, I haven’t found satisfactory answers to my questions about why he wasn’t previously relocated, moved to a sanctuary, or helped before he reached such a deplorable physical condition. It seems to me as if he was used as a test subject solely for the purpose that his movements and actions could be studied by humans.

Did anyone actually CARE about HIS quality of life?

However, when he was captured, according to the LA Times, the wildlife agencies said in a joint statement that they had “already been in contact with leading institutions for animal care and rehabilitation centers”.

Too little, too late.

In 2016 it was believed that he killed and ate a koala from the LA Zoo,

California mountain lions are a “specially protected species.” Killing a mountain lion without a depredation permit is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment in the county jail or a fine of up to $10,000.

P22 was the focus of research led by federal biologists trying to “better understand how mountain lions are surviving in increasingly urbanized and fragmented habitat,” said Kate Kuykendall, acting deputy superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area. (Curated from https://www.baltimoresun.com/la-me-mountain-lion-to-remain-20160316-story.html)

Officials wept when announcing the decision and shared images of a severe herniation of his abdominal organs. Multiple organs were shutting down and he had a parasitic infection. The poor old guy was in pain and suffering. At that point, there was really no other compassionate solution. Sadly, I agree.

Is there no end to human cruelty, the tendency to exploit other living creatures? How disgusting.

Rest in peace and freedom, you beautiful creature.

You can pay to watch the video, P22: The Cat That Changed America here:https://www.earthtouchnews.com/video-on-demand/p22-the-cat-that-changed-america/

or view a short version on YouTube:

🐾

Don’t Miss This! San Diego International Film Festival October 19-23

As I slowly emerge from the last two years, in my more melodramatic moments, I feel it’s akin to crawling out of a cave, eyes blinkblinkblinking against the light after being stuck for months in the dark.

The vagaries of life are such that one day I’m reseeding my lawn completely demolished by my wild bunnies (most likely a futile exercise); the next day I’m interviewing Tonya Mantooth, CEO of the San Diego International Film Festival.

Does the name Tonya Mantooth ring a bell for you? It did for me, and I followed a twisty windy Google research path to satisfy my curiosity.

A while back I wrote a post about my journey through the side effects of my Covid vaccine which included being enamored once again with the TV show Emergency! and its lovely cast, including Julie London, Bobby Troup, Kevin Tighe, AND Randolph Mantooth. Could it have been a coincidence with that unusual name? Well, it wasn’t. Tonya is his sister!

Long ago when I had visions of being somehow involved in the film biz, I used to write for the Theater Arts Guild newsletter and knew all of the talent agents in town. In that other lifetime I acted in a few things and was a production coordinator for a while, too…

Back to present day reality…

-The 21st Annual San Diego International Film Festival includes the return of in-person Opening Night Film Premiere & Reception, the Night of the Stars Tribute, Culinary Cinema, plus more parties. Looking for something memorable to do in San Diego? This is IT, a definite must attend event and there are plenty of films for every cinephile. Check out their website: https://sdfilmfest.com/

Honestly, where else can you meet meet filmmakers and actors, participate in dialogues and ask questions?

-I learned that not only will there be a screening of (MGK) Machine Gun Kelly’s film, Taurus, but he will be there IN PERSON to accept an award from CEO Mantooth. (I confess that I didn’t really know who he was, but a few of my younger demographic friends asked about him and were extremely thrilled to learn they could see him up close and personal.)

As we chatted, Tonya was excited to share with me the addition She Said, the film adaptation of New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s 2019 book on their investigation into Harvey Weinstein. This is the story that helped launch the #MeToo movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood. Produced with Brad Pitt, it stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan.

I’ve become fascinated by women who follow their passion — like Tonya Mantooth. It’s inspiring and empowering, don’t you agree? I plan to interview her more fully after the festival, but for now, I encourage you to attend this amazing San Diego International Film Festival.

According to Tonya Mantooth, attending the SDFF is an opportunity to participate in shared humanity, to bridge the divide, not increase the divide.” Viewing a foreign film “offers a glimpse into other cultures” as well as how important it is to “connect with community” and “explore fresh perspectives.”

Here’s a brief bio of the Festival’s CEO, Tonya Mantooth:

A ten-time Regional Emmy award winner with over 60 International Telly and ADDY awards,Tonya began her career as an Executive Producer when she became Director of Acquistions for CRM Films.Tonya co-founded and was President of The Dakota Group, a highly regarded film and post-production company in Southern California.Tonya has produced National TV campaigns and award-winning documentaries for Fortune 500 companies.Tonya launched Mantooth Studios and expanded her production scope to Entertainment Projects. Under Mantooth Films, Tonya Executive Produced four feature films, including GRAVE SECRETS, which became the pilot for a Nickelodeon Series. In 2012, Tonya took over the San Diego International Film Festival with a vision to bring international cinema to San Diego and grow the San Diego International Film Festival into a significant contributor to San Diego’s economy. Today the San Diego International Film Festival has grown over 500%.The spectacular six-day Festival features 120+ film screenings, panels and a red carpet Celebrity Tribute honoring actors such as Annette Bening, Adrian Brody, Geena Davis, Lawrence Fishburne, Sir Patrick Stewart and countless others.Tonya is steadfast in her belief that the experience of film allows us explore issues of global impact, to create dialog, and ultimately to develop empathy and understanding in an increasingly diverse and complex world.(From the SDFF website)

Purify | Purity

It’s 6pm, perfect temp outside, all the windows and doors are open, and I’m listening to the joyful tunes of a mockingbird.

I think it must be looking for a mate on this beautiful autumn evening. https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/04/22/stars-meteors-and-mockingbirds-eine-kleine-nachtmusik/

The melody is extraordinarily pure; it brought to mind one of the Dalai Lama’s favorite mantras and mine, too: Om Mani Padme Hum.

I like the recitation of this mantra much better than the traditional way to commemorate Yom Kipper — Day of Atonement — to atone and repent for any personal sins and to resolve to be and do better in the new year by fasting along with other ascetic, restrictive behaviors.

In my opinion, working to be a better person should be a daily goal, not simply once a year to narcissistically flaunt one’s artificial moral righteousness to the world.

Did you know that you’re supposed to wear white on Yom Kippur? This is the clearest and most visible nod toward the idea of purity. By wearing white on Yom Kippur, you’re trying to appear truly angelic.

My mom thought that public displays of verbal flagellation for Yom Kippur were so hypocritical – one more reason why I was taught to question any type of authority.

Namaste…

Call of The Void

There’s a certain overpass in San Diego where a couple of freeways intersect and there’s one particular stretch that always gives me butterflies because it seems as if you could keep going and fly off the road.

It’s not that I WANT to go flying, but it’s an unsettling primitive curious impulse, “…if I don’t follow the curve of the road and I keep going, I wonder what that would feel like…”

The French have a phrase that explains it far better than I could:

L’appel du vide

L’appel du vide literally means “the call of the void,” and describes a strong or compelling urge one might feel to jump or fall from a high place, such as from a tall building or precipitously soaring cliff.

L’appel du vide does not necessarily or often imply a suicidal or self-destructive longing to plummet from great heights, but rather perhaps a non-destructive urge or itch to try to fly from a cliff or tall building down into “the void.”

It’s a split second rumination, a momentary lapse of rational thought; a suspension of cerebral control — and of course I keep driving ON the road and the urge passes, but not without a bit of adrenal fight or flight activation and I don’t really like that feeling of losing control.

Whew! Just thinking about that causes a bit of anxiety which is why I usually avoid that area unless there’s no alternative course.

If you live in the San Diego area, can you figure out what freeway location I’m referring to?

Somber Anniversary: September 11, 2001

9/11

I won’t show photos of burning buildings, no video of towers collapsing; simply think about where you were on September 11, 2001.

Those lost are remembered on this anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Who could forget that day?

It was just after 6am on the west coast. I had turned on the morning news and taken a sip of my first cup of cup of coffee when all hell broke loose.

In real time, I watched the World Trade Center’s South Tower burn at 9:03 a.m., moments after being struck by United Airlines Flight 175.

I put down my coffee and ran upstairs to wake up my then twenty-year-old son.

We didn’t know what was happening–if similar attacks were planned for anywhere else – but we watched the unfolding of tragedy after tragedy.

Never forget the loss of life at the Twin Towers or the Pentagon or Flight 93, which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania during an attempt by the passengers and crew to regain control.

We will never forget.

Mother Nature Requires Our Attention

If tonight’s Harvest Moon along with Mercury Retrograde isn’t enough energy, here in SoCal, the outer bands of Hurricane Kay — now Tropical Storm Kay — woke me up with high winds and spotty rain, just an amuse-bouche of what’s to come tonight and tomorrow.

My windchimes are going crazy. I think I better take them down before the fifty mile an hour winds cause them to crash and break.

It’s still really HOT; the high temp for today will be right around ninety degrees, but next week’s forecast looks to be back to normal and cooler.

There have been several small fires in the area, but the larger one, the Fairview Fire, located northeast in Hemet has burned more than 27,000 acres moving toward Temecula. Lots of people and animals have been evacuated.

As of 9:00 a.m. here’s a CalFire update:

#ForkFire 780 acres, 20 % contained
#RadfordFire 1,088 acres, 59% contained
#BarnesFire 2,943 acres, 0% contained
#MillFire 3,935 acres, 80% contained
#MountainFire 11,690 acres, 55% contained
#MosquitoFire 14,250 acres, 0% contained
#FairviewFire 27,463 acres, 5% contained

Emergency officials warn us that this incoming storm could cause dangerous flooding and countywide damage.

I’m paying attention to Mother Nature for sure, I feel like I should contribute some kind of offering to her to show respect for her power.

She’s NOT playing around, a bit different than the gentle and nurturing mother Emily Dickinson wrote about:

Mother Nature

Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest, —
Her admonition mild

In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.

How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon, —
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down

Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky

With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.