Yes, we keep New Year’s traditions to ward off bad luck

Happy New Year (1910) from Keppler & Schwarzmann
Happy New Year cartoon (1910) from Keppler & Schwarzmann published in ‘Puck’. (US LOC image)

In the US South, superstition is a given. I grew up in a very diverse neighborhood, and regardless of skin color, many people I loved were quite superstitious.

As a young adult, I found it quaint. As a mature adult, I find myself still keeping those traditions to ward off bad luck and bring the good luck in.

One superstition reigned above all else in my grandmother and mother’s minds, though. Continue reading “Yes, we keep New Year’s traditions to ward off bad luck”

As 2019 wanes, US Library of Congress leaves insult to Native American in place

bricks symbol for brickbatsIn June, 2019, I wrote a column to call attention to misleading information the US Library of Congress published. The LOC, enthusiastically announcing the appointment of Joy Harjo as the nation’s new poet laureate, claimed in the subhead to the article that Harjo is the first Native American to serve as US poet laureate. Poet A.M. Juster attempted to get the record set straight, as did I.

Harjo was not the nation’s first native American to serve in that capacity, unless you play word games with reality or opt for politics over truth. Continue reading “As 2019 wanes, US Library of Congress leaves insult to Native American in place”

Revisiting a classic: Shirer’s work on The Third Reich

Nazi Youth with their first flag. From US Library of Congress
Nazi Youth with their first flag. From US Library of Congress; sometimes between 1923-1933.

Pt. 1

How much do you really know about the Nazis?

I was born in the aftermath of World War II, and there were so many of us born in hope after the great despair of the war, my generation acquired the now derogatory label ‘boomers’. It stands to reason that I would be very interested in that war, in what caused it, and why it mattered so much that we named it a world war after declaring the first World War would end all wars. I grew up hearing stories of oil cloth placed over windows when sirens would sound the alarm, and of ration cards for gas and sugar. I still have some of those ration cards.

Those are some reasons I am writing about my revisit of William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. There’s another more immediate reason, though. Continue reading “Revisiting a classic: Shirer’s work on The Third Reich”

For me, Jackson’s song stands out among top branded works on 9/11/2001

New York City; Spring, 2001. Photo by Jen Day-Thompson
New York City; Spring, 2001. Photo by Jen Day-Thompson

It’s not surprising that the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001 inspired art in different genres. One of the most significant genres is the music that tragic day produced. For my generation, and those younger, 9/11 was perceived in a manner similar to the way my grandparents and parents responded to Pearl Harbor Day observed on December 7. Some songs touch us more than others. Continue reading “For me, Jackson’s song stands out among top branded works on 9/11/2001”

Confessions and concerns about privacy nix sharing icons at IAS

This wood engraving dated May 3, 1917, by Winsor McCay, was published by the New York American Editorial Page. The theme addressed concerns about the Espionage Act passed in June, 2017. The engraving is part of the US Library of Congress Digital Collection.
This wood engraving dated May 3, 1917, by Winsor McCay, was published by the New York American Editorial Page. The theme addressed concerns about the Espionage Act passed in June, 2017. The engraving is part of the US Library of Congress Digital Collection.

I’ve long had concerns about privacy, sharing methods, and search histories on the Internet. While there have long been activists concerned about government spying, there are less concerns about Big Tech spying although in my opinion it’s widespread. Have you ever looked at the long URL that shows up in your browser if you follow a search result from a list returned by the biggest search engine on the Web?

Have you ever thought about data harvested when you ‘share’ an article via social media? If you haven’t thought about it, maybe you should. Continue reading “Confessions and concerns about privacy nix sharing icons at IAS”