Summer of Boredom Getting You Down? Here’s some bingeworthy and Good Netflix and Other Streaming Content

Dear Readers,

Whether you are a child, teen, or adult who’s bored out of their damn mind this summer because of that darn virus that everybody’s catching, there is quite a bunch of content I can recommend. LEt me review some of the best new and old content I’ve run across on Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video, and Apple TV Plus.

First, let’s start with how to become members of these streaming thingies. You have to shell out $10 at minimum for Netflix and if you’re a household with multiscreen usage, I’d recommend the 2-screen plan, $15 plus or something around there. However, the cheapest streaming service you can get currently goes to Apple TV Plus for $5 per month. That’s actually not bad. Disney Plus and Hulu can be purchased in a bundle, but that includes ESPN, and you sports enthusiasts might like it, but I didn’t want all that extra content.

Now, let me show you the five or maybe even as many cool new and returning things on all the streaming platforms that might get you over this covid summer.

1. The Baby-Sitters Club books have always been a staple in many a 90s girl’s library, but check this out: Netflix users rejoice, especially if you are a female who grew up in the 90s. This is the Baby-Sitters Club show and the first season begins with Christy’s Great Idea, and honestly, it’s a really great idea complete with the same nostalgia, but with a modern touch to it as well. We meet Christy, the great founder of this glorious club, and she ends up realizing there’s a competitive need in a world where adult baby sitters are not fun. Sitters in my view were teenagers, and girls are more than good at this, but Christy says boys can try it too. OF course, there was an old movie with guys baby sitting in it, but this show is sure to please everybody who grew up with the actual books.

2. For the younger crowd, again on Netflix, we find Danger Mouse. My partner, Trenton, loved the classic DM series, but I’m here to say that the new reboot series is audio described in detail, and the lady who does it has a great British accent, even better there’s a little narration a la Rocky and Bullwinkle. See below for more on that one too.

3. On Amazon Prime Video, which boasts some pretty silly and weird comedy shows, there’s a scifi comedy called Upload, which I completed myself. Imagine a world where you can upload yourself to a big digital server after you die. Now it gets scarier when Nathan, a party boy in his twenties or something, gets uploaded and falls in love with his customer service “angel”, Nora. It puts both of them in some rowdy and wild adventures, danger included. Get ready for some thought provoking questions after you’re finished.

4. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is now voiced by Tara Strong who is famous for her voice acting in My Little Pony among other things. Rocky is a big moose, and I believe Bullwinkle is a squirrel, if I’m not exactly mistaken and if memory serves me right. Rocky and Bullwinkle has some interesting narration, and all that stuff you imagine them going through? They see it. Rocky and Bullwinkle had a movie, but this Amazon Prime reboot is great for the whole family.

5. Warning: This one is not worth watching alone, but the Handmaid’s Tale is due for another season. I’ve written so many references in here about the Handmaid’s Tale, but for those who haven’t yet gotten acquainted with it, here’s the premise: the United States becomes an ultra Christian republic, and every word of the book of Genesis becomes law. Gays are hanged, priests of other faiths hanged, you see a bloody mess in a lot of this, but this show captures what could happen if we don’t get off our butts and speak up sharply that our rights belong to us. The Handmaid’s Tale is on Hulu and recently became audio described so enjoy it while we have the recent seasons to muddle through.

6. The Order has a recent new season, and I’d like to thank a certain Chenelle for recommending this show for me. The Order is about a college boy who explores a secret society of magicians who may be responsible for his mother’s death. This series can be found on Netflix, and is a thrill to watch.

7. If you want some trashy comic and humor stuff, jump over to Amazon Prime video and try the Marvelous Mrs. Mayzel, in which a comedian who marries and has kids finds herself having to topple the barriers placed in front of her for being a Jewish woman in New York in the 1950s or so. This takes place at a time when women had to wear skirts, couldn’t even say the f word, and so much more. I think you guys will love this one a lot.

8. In the world of Hulu, we find Shrill, which is abouut a woman making her way in the world. If you want an adult chic flick, this is your passport to chic flick happiness.

9. There’s a good chance you haven’t seen the show Diary of a Future President, but on Disney Plus, you will meet a girl who wants to be the president and … yes, she keeps a diary about her life in middle school. This one’s good for teens and adults alike.

10. F is for family. Ugh, you want a family guy like show that doesn’t include Peter Griffin and his drunken escapades, but does include some stupid gags and such? This one’s for you. Turn it on over to Netflix, and try watching this four season show. Also similar to this one, we have Bojack Horseman, which will be doing its final things, and that is six seasons.

Disclaimer: All of these items here have been audio described for blind and visually impaired audiences, so your blind friends will be able to watch these things. If you have a suggestion about some bingeworthy content on any streaming service, please coment on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you bunches.

Beth

Ask What We Can Do For Our Country: My Concerns About Elections This Year

Dear readers,

Imagine a world that was modern, except for the race relations being that of the nineteenth century, when Africans were enslaved in AMerica, when they became the property of whites so much so that they were bred like cattle, sold like property, and the women? They had to wear dresses, skirts, and corsets, but could not vote, speak in public, or do anything to make themselves established. Imagine that you had to worship the KKK or be a member of a similar group, the Proud Boys, Daughters of the Confederacy, or similar neo-Fascist groups. Imagine you, a woman in her thirties, had to have sexual relations with a man you didn’t like, all because he was the higher bidder of your genitalia. This is a world I don’t want to see, where I wouldn’t be allowed to exist. We have a buttload of changes to do, including the removal of white supremacy from every corner of our culture, but I’ll give you an idea of what we must do if Biden gets elected.

Dear Mr. Biden, I’d write, I understand freedom of speech allows people to associate with whomever they want, but the responsibility isn’t there anymore. When I was in civics classes and social studies in fourth grade at Imperial Estates Elementary, I ended up learning that with great power, rights, and freedoms comes great responsibility. Right, Uncle Ben? I’m talking about the dude from Spiderman, not the rice bowl guy.

I’d like to propose something to my Congress peoples, but I want the President to work with Congress to establish a registry of all groups and orgs that do business in the U.S., and color code them based on bigotry and hate, which by consequence could lead some to say, but that’s against freedom of speech. I don’t care anymore because freedom has a cost, responsibility being that cost, and nobody wants that anymore. Nobody wants to shoulder the responsibility to keep your hateful thoughts and violent compulsory crap to yourself, but if you don’t, tragedy could strike. For instance, how many mass shooters write manifestos on 8chan, 4chan, and other sites before committing their crimes? I wouldn’t be surprised that the recent ones did, but these mass shooters, including the Columbine High shooters, wrote evil manifestos about their actions and why they committed their crimes. The El Paso mass shooter wrote on 8chan, a hotbed for white Supremacy, that he hated the Latinx community obviously, and he was irresponsible and hateful. It doesn’t help that you have a president that hates people from Africa, and I won’t let Trenton be deported there because it would mean no Internet contact, no sexual relationship, no nothing. However, a Norwegian immigrant, according to Trump, is more acceptable. Well, I’d like to propose that any Trump supporting hate group fall under two different color codings: yellow and red. Red means that the group might commit the most violent acts, believes in racial purity and hatred, is bigotrous towards disabled and LGBTQI+ individuals, and cannot receive government support. IF a group is yellow, all the other things I mentioned above but violence would be considered in that category. Biden would have to put aside a racist past, barring none, and work with congress to get rid of the KKK, and classify it as a Terrorist organization, which could then open the door for prosecutions of domestic terrorism for anyone who utters a single word, boogaloo. The boogaloo boys, as I like to call any followers of this, could face maximum of ten year prison sentences, spend time being monitored for life, and not be allowed to be associated with one another or the group they had ties to. LEt’s take a typical domestic terrorist, and I’ll show you what it would look like if he was even found to be associated with any fascist groups here.

Once a tie is detected, this person would have to spend years in jail, or be monitored by the FBI, watched by the CIA, and interrogated on every move he makes. Wire taps would be placed on his phone, the same thing we did to the Muslims but this time, it’s time for white people to be surveillance taped and stuff. Yes, it would have court challenges, but I would hope Biden would figure out the truth behind these stupid groups. I believe the KKK should be a terrorist group for several reasons: Trenton, my family, and others would not be safe. My dad might be Bostonian Italian, but his wife is part Irish, German, and others who aided the blacks to freedom. There were Germans who did that bravely, and for this we should bless their memory. My mother’s family has a slave or child of a black slave somewhere in it, but still, she’d not be safe in a world ruled by the Proud Boys, Boogaloo Boys, and other groups that want to divide our nation.

What can we do to stop these neofascists? I know the registry is only half the battle, but a green group which means the group does not advocate violence or bigotry would receive government grants and suport if applied for. For example, I’d like to applaud Soar and Denver Women’s Chorus, the Rocky Mountain Arts Association, and all other GALA orgs for their great good work and their steadfastness against bigots who want to torment their funding sources. Under a Biden or similar Democrat administration, I want to see this type of praise go to green groups, but the other colors mean the group has hints of bigotry and hate in it. Example, most churches might go under green registry colors if they can prove that they can welcome gay and trans folks, but if they are homophobic and transphobic, they will fall under a code yellow or code orange, which is a step below yellow, but orange would mean no racial hatred, but still it would be hatred of a different lens, hatred of LGBTQI+ and disabled people. People should also be able to rate orgs so that grant writers can zero in on the groups receiving more than 3 stars. I’d rate both Soar and DWC 5 stars, but St. Teresa’s Catholic Church would have to be exempt from the U.S. rating system because their church doctrinal headquarters in Rome is located in Italy, not the U.S., but Italy doesn’t have the same law structure we do. In any case, STS and the attached Catholic parrishes would have to fall under an orange color registry unless the Pope makes a serious change to policy surrounding gay marriage and married and female ministry. The Catholic church can’t escape revolutions of any kind, and must conform to human rights standards, whether their headquarters is in the Vatican in Italy or any other nation besides. I would have to subject certain Diocesan housing things to a green registry color because if they follow the teachings of Jesus they have to welcome everybody. Plus federal housing law, blah blah blah blah blah. Whatever, it gets better.

I would like to see an end to neofascism groups like Boogaloo and KKK and the Proud Boys because personally, my partner, who is African American, would not feel safe. He already doesn’t because of masks, pandemic garbage, and so much other stuff. The police killing of Elijah McClane doesn’t help matters either. I don’t wat to live in one of Margaret Atwood’s weird predictions as in the Handmaid’s Tale, I want to live in a world where I can go out and feel safe equally with my partner as well. I want no penalty from church or goverment if we marry, and I want to have children in a place of safety for all, and we need to ask ourselves many questions. JFK Sr. wanted to say this, and he said it quite eloquently when discussing moon landing prospects: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” What can we do for this country right now? First, we need to shoulder the responsibilities. We have the power of opinions, opposing viewpoints, and many debates, but we want to keep that power. As Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben once said, and I’ll say it again, “With great power comes great responsibility.” We need to hae that responsibility, and learn to coexist with our fellow man, whether black or brown, pink or polka dotted, and we need to realize MLK Jr.’s dream sooner rather than put it off till later. I have his vision, his dream, where I can wake up in a world where my kids one day will not be judged by the color they give off on their flesh, something they won’t be able to change, but by their character and what they can do for the country and the greater human race. When you go vote, whether by mail or in person, remember these things, remember that your safety and responsibilities comes first, remember that all of us are different. Ask not what the government can do for you, but ask what you can do for the government … right, JFK? Yes, the guy was a total washout, a womanizer, but whatever. His words ring true when I think of what is coming for us in a few months. What would JFK do and say if he were able? Well, honestly, I’d like to quote the words of Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty or give me death.” Well, there’s more: give me safety, responsibility, or freedom to be myself and life without penalties for who and when I get married to or whatever, or move me somewhere else. Canada probably, but I don’t see why the U.S. can’t shape itself up in November, get rid of neofascism, and start thinking about ways it can rebuild after this pandemic and racism struggle, and avoid a second civil war.

Beth

Blind Alive Fitness Review: The Importance of Blind Friendly Fitness and Why 95% of us Don’t Do It

Dear readers,

I’m writing here to encourage my fellow blind people, whether you like, don’t like, or despise the blog, you should consider this. If you’re like 95% of us, you are thinking, forget fitness, the Corona Virus has closed my local gym. Personally, I’m finding the Blind Alive fitness things a good start, and I promise you guys I’ll be on a true health journey, but first, we have to get moving. We have to get moving because 95% of us will likely die of heart attack or stroke, will not be able to do normal activities at age sixty, let alone age 90 or above, and some of us will end up dead before we turn fifty. This isn’t acceptable, and there’s many reasons why:

  1. Gyms are not always accessible. We often think that going to the gym is a good thing for us blind folks, but it’s not always the case. Today’s exercise machines are equipped with touchscreens that don’t talk, things that drive most blind fitness enthusiasts crazy. The National Federation of the Blind, which I admit I criticize for very personal reasons, has passed resolution after resolution asking fitness places to be more accessible to blind peoples. Instead, these gyms, such as the Titusville YMCA, the ohnly Y in Florida that seems open at all, use touchscreen equipment that cannot be used independently for blind people. Do you know how much a personal trainer costs?
  2. Step aerobics is mostly done visually, and visually means “do it like this”, but I’ve found yoga and other exercise modalities to be better and such things like this make more sense. Toning is not my choice, but I enjoyed spinning at the Titusville Y, and there’s an added bonus of having accessible to use bikes. To Hell with Pellanton, the bike that makes you work out and costs thousands upon tousands that we don’t make per month.
  3. While gyms are closed, a lot of workout videos like those of Jane Fonda are still visual, so what is a blind person to do to learn good fitness moves? There are a few different things, but I would highly recommend blind alive, http://www.blindalive.com, because the moves are great, and there are descriptions of the moves. For the interval training, be sure to go through each move carefully and read or listen to the descriptions. The trainer is great, but there are a few kind of weird moves, so just give yourself time and patiently go through the descriptions. The moves are not super complicated, but then again, I’m only a level 1 person right now, but that’s okay. You don’t have to be Jane Fonda in order to be serious about exercise and fitness, but then again, Fonda’s workout videos I’ve never seen with my own blinded eyes.
  4. Sports teams don’t often include blind people. Blind people are also excluded from sports leagues because of one stupid L word: liability. Ugh, you say, but what can I do to make my child’s time with athletics more bearable? There are a few regrets I have about sports: one is that I hate football, period. I hate basketball, and all ball sports in my mind don’t bring people together. I should have been a wrestler, and I would have enjoyed it because so many of the blind dudes I know did it, but for me, I would have been too light, in the featherweight class, and a girl to do wrestling. Ugh. I only weighed 93 pounds at one point because of antidepressants, parental abuse, and a bad psychiatrist. John E. McCarthy was later found to have had sexual encounters with patients, against medical board rules, right? So my parents found the headline, and that, the dean from Neighbors would say, is “a bad one.” No doctor should ever get sexually involved with a patient, their family members, or even the maid of the house. Period. End of story.
  5. Blind people risk having comorbid physical or mental disabling conditions. Don’t ask me why, but I’ve met so many disabled people in my life. Some can walk, some can use their hands, but some others need special feed and a feed tube to survive. Some need special nebulizer meds every morning, noon, and night. Others have comorbid mental health diagnostics, most stemming from ableist parental and peer abuse. Why is this, you ask? I think this is because the moment a blind person is born blind, or even becomes blind, the expectations are low, the bar lowers into your lap so fast you can’t even get up. As a blind woman, I am told that expectations are that I won’t have children, that I should have my tubes tied, etc etc. That’s society being stupid, but the truth is that Colorado is one of the best states to be a blind parent in. Meet the Batrons, the LaBarres, and the Nietfelds, all of these people being blind parents. Some have comorbid disabling conditions and stuff, but that’s not stopping them from being parents. For Instance, my friend Maureen, who toughed it out for years in college, taught me to make my first omelet, and said that everything I cooked smelled amazing, she had a baby boy, and that baby boy has the same genetic thing she has, but still, she doesn’t care. She’s fighting for herself, her husband, and her child every day. Who wants to bet that her little boy will still get into mischief, climb the walls, and as a teen, he might sleep in? These are all normal growing up things, and blind parents are like all parents. They’re ready. But Maureen has comorbid things going on, and she will do the fitness routines that feel good to her. This is great, but what if her son went blind at an age when most boys are like, I want to be playing sports? This little guy might be left out if not for the warrior princess/queen that is his mom fighting for his inclusion where possible in sporting events at school. Her son might develop the same sequence of things going on with Mom, but still, it doesn’t stop either of them from doing normal things like running around on the floor and looking cute in his case, and in her case, the mother can still cook and she’s still a bubbly woman who, legend has it, sang and danced as she cooked. I say legend has it because I haven’t seen it actually happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised because that lady is a dynamo.

So what can we do? First, we need to make gyms accessible as the NFB has been ruthless in saying in its resolutions. Second, we need to realize that ableist abuse and vilicide must be stopped at all opportunities to do so, including that involving blind people. Down’s Syndrome babies, though not always blind, are usually the first to go. However, vilicide has been known to occur with autistic kids, blind kids, other disabled kids. We also need to be absolutely sure that society changes its viewpoint on blind people because we’re not going anywhere. I mean it, we’re existing, breathing, and kicking, we’re not going anywhere.

If anyone has any questions, please submit your comments via Facebook and Twitter. Thank you.

Beth

Love is Blind, Am I Too Hot to Handle???

Dear readers,

I wonder what is going on. I love my man, don’t get me wrong, and I believe in love beyond the look of a person. However, I think there are too many people who think I’m an ugly fool and should not be in relationships. Relationships, so I’m going to ask, am I too hot to handle? I guess so.

First, my relationship life hasn’t been the best, and I’m serious, I’ve said it enough. I believe I’m a beautiful person inside, and trust me, I know what I should be saying, but I love my partner. He has been extremely supportive of me, and he’s even been encouraging of my singing and music. Now the point is almost close, and I’m aiming my arrow at the sun, and that target is success, but there are blind people who don’t want it for me because they think it is just not for women, blah blah blah blah blah. Well, I’ve got a bit of advice: don’t scam my friends, don’t scam anyone out of the product you’re selling. Trust me, just freaking don’t. I’m serious, just don’t freaking scam people. And this is coming from probably the only person who is a blind singer who actually has potential in the town of Titusville. Sorry, but Titusville is not a place for me to find love, marry, and do the things I want to do. I found love in Denver, got it, boys? That includes all the scammers who are itching to add me on Facebook. Itching to add me? Well, if your name isn’t familiar to me, or if you’re in a group with me, you won’t be added. In any case, if you think I’m hot enough just shut up. My relationship with Trenton is good, and yet we’re just trying to work things out. It’ll be good when we have a house, with a video doorbell so you people who think you can steal packages will find yourselves on cue licking my doorknob like the dumb criminals you might happen to be. I have male friends that I get along with, and outside the relationship with Trenton, I don’t know where my life will head, but I hope it will help myself and Trenton. In any case, you who are strange to me won’t be added, you who threatened me won’t be added, and yes, love notes are love notes. What ever.

In any case, I think love can be fun, and if done with the right people, amazing. Trust me, I don’t know. I don’t know where my life is, but Trenton has helped me steer the ship and we’re looking to have a great life together. We’ll be good forever, I hope. Honestly, it’ll be the bomb if anyone does something for our celebration, but the thing is I can’t figure out the guest list because of Covid numbers and such. I don’t know who to invite this fall, but whatever. We’re not going to Disney land or Disney World until Splash Mountain is rethemed, which I have news about that. It will be rethemed just as I thought, to Princess and the Frog, but it’ll have a Mardi Gras thing in it. That will be amazing, and I hope Trenton and I will have audio of this.

Beth

Should Splash Mountain Be Rethemed? I Think So, and Here’s Why

Dear readers,

I have been on the popular Disney ride called Splash Mountain before, but there’s a troubling aspect to this particular ride. It is themed for Song of the South, which has been dinged with racist stereotypes, and a lot of black people could tell you they really weren’t “happy” as slaves, so why Disney even made that stupid movie I won’t understand. I’ve read the Brer Rabbit stories, took them seriously, and studied some African American folklore, but I don’t think Splash Mountain should be themed with Song of the South. Here’s a proposal, I hope the Disney folks are reading this, that might put a black woman in the lead and allow Disney to best recycle the animal creatures from the old theme.

For the new theme, let’s try the Princess and the Frog, and you would be able to meet all the creatures you thought you knew from Song of the South, but they’d be repurposed and reused for this new theme. In the old theme, you had a bayou or swamplike setting with animals in it, for sure, but in the new theme, all you’d really have to do is add a couple of new creatures doing new things. For example, Louis, the alligator in the Princess and the Frog, wants to play trumpet with the big boys, so take the gator in the old theme and repackage that bad boy so he’s playing a trumpet and you see him on a riverboat with a band of other creatures, and you’d hear different theme songs from the Princess and the Frog instead of Zippity Doo Dah, which is from the old theme. I think Disney should seriously do this, and add a little bit for Princess Tiana at the end of the ride so that guests get a glimpse of the black princess somewhere in the end. And, oh, if you repackaged at least one restaurant, it should be appropriately named Tiana’s Place, so we can bring Tiana’s dream to life. With the new ride theme, it would be pretty interesting to see what Disney might do with it. You could use the voodoo or “hoodoo” as it is called … the doctor would be the villain as usual, and he’d cause the guests to drop, much like the Brer Fox character tries to throw Brer Rabbit into the Briar Patch, and we drop into it in the old ride theme. But in the new ride theme, I think Disney has something serious to work with. I think I’d like to hope and pray they actually retheme Splash Mountain, but I think we’re going to go serious with this one. Racism has no place in Disney history or in its theme parks, and I’d be a lot more comfortable sending my children on a ride that reflects a bit of female black empowerment, and doesn’t contain outdated cultural stereotypes. Yes, I’d read the Brer Rabbit stories, but who needs the damn movie anyway? I’d still encourage everybody to check out Mules and Men, a collection of African American stories and folktales compiled by Zora Neale Hurston. There’s also some stuff in there about voodoo, or what she calls, or they would call, hoodoo. African drumming is also a big part of voodoo sacred ceremony, and I’m thinking I could totally get into that myself.

If anyone thinks that Splash Mountain might need a fresh coat of paint, it might be me. I hope everybody else feels the same, and if you have any ideas about this, please comment on Facebook or Twitter. Comments here have been disabled because of frequently dirty trolls. Thanks.

Beth

What to do About Prejudice, Color Based Violence, and Ableism

Dear readers,

I’m first going to talk about WordPress related stuff. My friend Hailey has deleted WordPress for now, but I hope she can get a new PC or laptop she can more easily rely on, so that she can still contribute to the blog. The editor is amazing. However, I think it’s rather trying to try and teach how to use this editor to very wide ranges of people. I feel a bit impatient that people don’t learn as quickly as I do, so if I were a teacher, I would have to do a more advanced class of peoples and other sorts of students that are interested in doing advanced stuff.

As a blind person, I want to point out something very blatant in our society and something that needs to change. But first, let me tell my own story of overcoming misunderstandings about people of color and other people who are considered “black” or “brown.” I’ll start at the beginning. I didn’t know much about my own heritage, but I was nine years old, and my mother later told me stories about how my and her family’s heritage affected job placement for her grandfather at the post service in Texas, but that’s a whole other ballgame. My personal story begins at a dorm in St. Augustine, and unfortunately, I wasn’t aware that my roommate was black. Hell we fought like cats, I don’t want to say cats and dogs. But girls are compared to cats anyway. I think cats fight worse than dogs, but still, I went away feeling guilty that I hadn’t bonded properly with the roomie in a way that was satisfactory. I later joined the girl scouts, and things got really fishy for me because I was learning things in the Girl Scouts of America handbook that school wasn’t exposing me to at all. For one, learning about black people and brown people was a moot point at the private school I attended because all they had were lighter skinned rich folks, including several Puerto Rican children from the same family taht delivered my baby brother, my oldest younger sibling that is. I think he did a fine job, otherwise my brother wouldn’t be here, but Dad said that the doctor responsible for delivering his firstborn son was sending his kids to school with me, and I thought it was strange but didn’t think about race and stuff. The brother of the classmate whose father delivered my brother into the world was a science nerd, a big whiz with weird inventions etc. However, that had nothing to do with being Puerto Rican, not at all. I think the doctor provided a steady mentorship for his own son, daughter, and other kids. I’d like to say that no matter who does what, though, race was not taken into account.

While Cubans and Puerto Ricans populated my private school classes, there was something notably missing. African Americans were noticeably out of the school’s student and teacher rolls. There were several reasons for this: money and perhaps the black potential students weren’t attending Catholic church. This didn’t give me any opportunity to learn about Black and African American cultures, so I relied on books and magazines, but that wasn’t enough. I personally wish there had been a better avenue to a gateway to black culture for me. That gateway came when I was in eighth grade, however, or maybe seventh or sixth, but it was the annual Zora Neale Hurston festival, which takes place in Eatonville, barring any weirdness with viruses and such. Thet Hurston festival opened my eyes to something very special, and the first things I was introduced to were black arts, no not the wickedly evil stuff. I’m talking about the African American heritage of many people who were forcibly brought here as slaves, and believe you me, they developed some amazing resilience despite the great suffering the people bore. The same could be said of the Jewish and Muslim peoples, but let’s focus on the african Americans for this story. I realized that the story, craftsmanship, and culinary delights I was being exposed to was not all of the culture together, but it was surely what some whites might refer to as a gateway drug. I ended up reading Hurston’s literature, and thought, well, black or white, we all experience love. I ended up reading books about interracial dating and marriage, and discovered that even after Loving V. Virginia had been decided, America was still hanging on the threads of segregation. I saw it firsthand, and it was mostly my dad, who grew up in a Bostonian Italian family, completely white, no knowledge of privilege and other things. He even went so far as to declare that I had all my civil rights, which was bullshit, on a bike ride we did one evening. My father is learning, as are countless other Italians, English peoples, and so many others, that white privilege doesn’t mean go out and kill your neighbor who’s black. My dad has come to realize that even though he put a stop to me being with a couple black friends, I think he’s coming around slowly but surely because Trenton does get hellos, even though they seem empty to me. The thing to remember about my overcoming prejudice is that I never thought that someone could just grab a weapon and kill someone they didn’t like, whether it was Cassie Bernall in Columbine, or the Mexicans in El Passo. I personally don’t care, I wouldn’t kill a soul, wouldn’t hurt a fly. Not unless that fly bit me in the ass, and then I’d have to either kill it or maim it because bugs are bad, right?

When I went to high school, I met many a black person, white, Hispanic, etc. No more hanging out with the select private school group, and in the cafeteria, I could try and make friends with the jocks, I didn’t care who it was. I had my band friends, of course, and I had my chorus friends. But there was still something nagging at me. I wondered why de facto segregation still existed. I observed at THS, on no uncertain terms or conditions, that the black students always hung out together. This included a subgroup of the black jocks, the Nazarene folks, and countless others, but I felt out of place and there was no diverse hanging out at THS. I hate and still hate to this day the fact that THS just doesn’t have enough diverse hanging out. If I were the principal, I would have instituted rules to encourage classes in social sciences and any other life skills selection that allow students to talk to one another blindfolded, and I’d have to break down the racial barriers that plague the school, but it’s a statewide problem. Racism is structural, built in to the system sadly. I could do nothing for the students, even though I spent one lunch with Orien, and we shared a bag of funions, oh well. However, Orien and I have since matured and he got a slick job as a flight attendant. He’s also survived cancer, and his family supports his every decision. I’m glad Orien has gotten through life itself, and Ii’ve seen my parents realize that I now love my current, and I didn’t care if Trenton or his family had been black or white or polka dotted or purple or orange. Color means nothing to me now that I see whawt humanity needs to do.

With the recent killings of black men, as recent and as old as 2010 that I’ve observed, I’d like to offer a proposal as to waht to do with all the police officers involved in shootings with minorities, how to prevent such shootings, and what we can do to better humanity all around.

  1. First, we need to think about the gifts of color and vibrance. How do we use them? I read the Giver more than my share of times, and in the book, spoiler alert, Jonas learns about colors, and learns why his community can’t or won’t see them. In the communities, the sameness applies to everything: clothing, skin tones, hair and face complexion. Jonas has a different appearance but nobody talks about it because it is deemed rude. However, the community does have its flaws. The more important part though on my mind is the use of colors and how we can better ourselves, and how it is dangerous to have sight and see the colors with our eyes. Yes, a rainbow is pretty to look at, but the darker colors are always seen as undesirable, and the eye is taught to see the darker color as “black”, the brain then registers the color as “bad” or negative in some way. There’s also a lot of prejudice because people have the ability to see colors. I can say, if I were a sighted person who could see the color blonde for instance, “I don’t want to associate with blonde haired girls.” What does that statement show? Now I do have smart blonde friends, dumb blonde friends, but do I care? No, but I could care less what blonde hair looks like. Blonde doesn’t mean dumb or smart either, it just has this golden hue in your hair. However, it took me a while to set aside my blonde jokes, and I now ask if it’s okay to even speak them because it brings attention to blondes. Black haired people get the same attention in some other cultures, but color of skin and curl of hair should never be considered in hiring of jobs either. Hijabs, either the ones worn by Muslims or other such cultures, should also never be a kicker when hiring people. If we see that a person in a profile pic is black, however, I think it really needs to be duly noted that it doesn’t mean you should be afraid of them. One way we could stop police brutality against darker skinned blacks might have to involve taking away the colors, going to Sameness like in the Giver, and I wrote about this in a post to a friend whose sister died in such a confrontation. Sadly, the person who died was disabled and multiracial, which really doesn’t help the other side. There are good cops, but that’s hard to find in terms of black people trusting them. I would rather see a community that trusts based on the content of character and not color. Educational curricula should be changed to reflect the pros and cons of taking and using colors. Should we be able to bother learning about and perceiving color? Sure, to a degree. However, I don’t want any child of mine to look at a pale skinned woman and think, why does that lady look like she just came out of the freezer? The other thing I don’t want is that same child looking at someone darker than them and saying, did they put dirt on themselves? I would calmly explain that skin has different hues, and that if your face isn’t dark, it is disrespectful to copy a darker person’s look. For example, when you play Harriet Tubman in a play, it’s fine to wear the shift tunic that slaves wore, give the audience some sort of authenticity. However, black children should be recruited in that effort, not a white child, because it would allow a black family to see their roots in that child’s authentic portrayal of such a wonderful hero. Education and schools must integrate, and for kindergartners, I want to see kids learning songs in different languages like Swahili, Somali, Masai, and other african tribal dialects, and not just English. There’s a very simple Swahili song called Jambo Bwana, which literally means, “welcome”, and my choir director taught this to her students. The youths sang it well, and I must admit it was fun hearing it sung. Jambo was done to the accompaniment of drums. The djembe drum is very important and still plays a very important role in many African tribal ceremonies and dances, and all kids, from two on up, should learn to drum and dance like fools if they so desire. When I say dance like a fool, I mean just go with it. Feel the rhythm, dance like you never danced before. Trenton plays the djembe drum, and I can’t wait to get to my drum so that Trenton and I can one day play in the park. We’d drum all day if we could, but this excitement about drums did not start in music classes till fourth grade. I did learn about Australia, Beethoven, and many other things in Christy Scheiner’s elementary music classes, and I’m glad to say she taught me to be the best pianist I could be … and that was besides my regular piano teacher, who was really excited about me playing Beethoven, and Mrs. Scheiner chose me to play the Beethoven pieces because I exhibited good skill at the piano. I had always wanted that, and I got that. There was a fourth grade program we did that incorporated the life of said composer, and the third grade that year did a story about the Capeti Plane, and it was about an African rainmaking thing of some sort. They learned a simple African folk piece that accompanied the story, and Mrs. Scheiner narrated the rest, which was fun, and it involved a lot of percussive instruments, this befitting an elementary music school class. Why am I talking about this? We’re losing all this to testing demands, and if we talk about it, it might come back. I want to archive my memory of such things in this blog so that people can understand what culture education does. In high school, Professor Husted, the Spanish instructor I was assigned, taught us not only language, but culture. Yes, he threw in a few expletive words, but taught us about Spanish speakers and how they normally use expletives, not so much the words themselves. He also taught us about how to love in Latine cultures, which believe it or not, whawt we say as “I love you” really means, if translated more direct in Spanish, it means, “I want you.” Love is serious in Latine cultures, as I learned later. Te amor is one way to say I love you, but then there’s more precise words for like, love, and want in the romantic sense. All this I wouldn’t have learned if it weren’t for Spanish class, even though I received a B. Spanish has too many verbs, but I’m glad I took the time and effort to learn a bit of that language. I confess my Spanish sucks, and I have since lost some. However, thanks to a Cuban friend of mine, I now understand a bit of reggae tan, what it talks about. Again, a culture lesson was learned. This helped me overcome a lot. Now I could tell my Puerto Rican friends that “Okay, I know you love this kind of music, but it sounds a bit cheap. Let’s try some more formal Spanish ballads if you want a good party.” I’d especially be able to help someone plan a quinceniera for a daughter if I knew anyone currently having one. This is cultural integration our children are not getting. Okay, on to the next item.
  2. Cops are using militarized weaponry. What if we encouraged law enforcement to put down your arms and pick up books and stun batons only? Yes, if a really out of control criminal drives you bonkers, you can stun him with a taser, and I wouldn’t recommend Aunt Lydia’s little electric cattle prod. Those things are dangerous, but tasers or just light stun guns would be okay but not to be used in certain circumstances. If a cop walks into a classroom with black children, he is to calmly escort the recalcitrant person out of the room without handcuffing them as well. Perhaps for a six-year-old, cops should never be used, however I must say that middle schoolers do have raging hormones. There are ways to neutralize kids without violence, however. Instead of cops, why not hire only one school officer to protect the campus from outside weirdos like the guy who shot up Parkland that one year? However, we need more counselors and evaluations so that kids can get help, not be punished for being dark skinned. Let’s incorporate Brian Crosby’s idea of eliminating the Malcoms in the Middle thing. No more middle schools, so we would have the seventh and eighth graders doing things with kindergarten children, and the kindergarten teacher watching over the older kids might encourage them to behave properly. Smaller schools might also be the key to fighting policing of kids’ behavior. For one, if you put too many people in a space, they’re gonna fight, go violent, and perhaps go bonkers on each other. Teenagers are highly sensitive individuals with hormones, brain cortex shrinks and expansions all the damn time, and changing bodies and their changing voices. I couldn’t recognize my seventh and eighth grade boy classmates when their voices changed. It made me nervous, and then my brothers’ voices dropped. Oh no. Teenagers need lots of space, and tracking educational routes might be needed in this case. For example, Trenton would have a huge aptitude for math, science, and computer information tech, so why not throw a guy his type into those classes? Tech classes would involve coding, computer basics to start with, but coding and language and programming and development of apps, something I never saw growing up. Trenton would have benefited from tracking, and staying in one room at a computer station while the teachers moved about the school grounds instead and no bells ringing. All this would then lead to my next proposal.
  3. What if we still have police brutality and officers still kill children, arrest little ones, and shoot black people? If we don’t go with the first two items, the third item I’m about to propose might not work as well, but at least the Minneapolis police force is four officers down, and they had been fired after killing the latest victim of the brutality pandemic in the United States. Don’t blame the Corona virus, it’s worse than that. My own partner is afraid of being shot by the cops, and it’s obvious in some of his demeanors and speech when I bring it up. Here’s another idea.
  4. If we train our children to respect different cultures, colors, hues, etc., and demilitarize the police, and then go as far as changing the structure of education, we might be able to do about 75% good on this promise. However, we also need to be mindful of laws and law school. Black lawyers are in short supply, and I want to see more of those people in law. When someone is brutalized by the police, the officers should indeed be fired and then charged with murder, prosecuted by an impartial jury of their peers, and sent to jail if found guilty, which should be the case anyway because the evidence is not something that would lie as easily.

The first item on my list might sound a bit darn radical, but let’s face it. We have a problem with ableism of all kinds for disabled people. We need to have disability studies courses available to children as young as sixth grade, and then maybe as young as kinder, put the children together with special needs/disabled kids in the same room. While developmentally disabled children need an extra boost in learning basics, there are many blind people who run the gamut of geniuses to the dumb as a fence post types. I have many friends who run the gamut of easy to explain things to to harder to teach things to, and I confess I’m nuts about some things and many others about blind people, but they are a microcosm of the sighted universe, and that’s a fact. There are radicals, apologists, and weirdos of every kind in every community. Oh well, I confess I am weird in some ways, but weirdness should be the law to me at least. The thing I hate about the community of blindness is the inability to work together. To stop police brutality, we all, disabled or nondisabled, black, brown, and white need to work together. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are, where the hell you come from. We need to put privileges in check, work with people we don’t necessarily like or respect, and furthermore, we need to overcome the prejudices. We need to separate the words “liar and cheater” from the word Italian, for example, and other such associations with black people. Try this exercise as I close this entry.

There was a list of ethnic groups in social work class, and our task was to associate words with those groups, and it didn’t stop there. We talked about disabled, religion groups, and other such subgroups of human beings. So think about every manner of human being and classify some things in your head that come first when you think of words like black, Africans, Asians, white, Italian, Irish, etc. What word comes up in your head at first? It might be a sign of bias, and if you are struggling to overcome such bias, that’s okay. You have a lifetime to do something about it, so why not research the groups you’re concerned about: Somalis, Native First Nations/Americans, Spanish, Mexicans, and other things you could associate with words depicting bias. Thank you all for reading this post, and I hope to start a good discussion, albeit a good one, in the Facebook or Twitter threads.

One final note: I can’t forget to mention that disabled people come in all shapes and colors, but if only one word comes up for disabled people in your association evaluation exercise, you might want to spend time with disabled people. Same applies with black, gay, and other minority groups. Get involved with GALA choruses, pride orgs, and disability related volunteer or paid work.

Thanks again, and have a great rest of the time I haven’t written much. I might write some more depending on the news.

Beth

What Quarantine Time Has Done for Me

Dear readers,

It is with great pride that I reflect on the things quarantine has done in my life. Besides the disbanding and temporary closures of choirs and stuff, well, nothing’s really disbanded, but the choirs aren’t able to practice, but besides that, and temporary closures and masks, I’m doing good. I’m personally taking it one week, one day at a time. My podcast is rebooted, and I’m going to work on a new season this fall, but maybe in January of next year, there will be a season ending or something. I’d like to go through the best feedback and interviews and so on. Stay tuned for more.

As for quarantine, I think it saved me from a serious threat to my dignity. As for the friends who’ve departed my life, they haven’t said a word, and through the whole thing, they got unfollowed and unfriended by my own fiance. This is a good thing as I can’t have unsupportive people in my circle.

In other news, I have choir meetings on Zoom, which is pretty easy to use. I like it, though Trenton? Hmmm, that’s a tough nut to crack, but maybe not. He doesn’t like Zoom but that’s about it.

Stay tuned for podcast announcements and more tomorrow.

Beth

A monumental Place

Dear readers,

IF I were to go someplace after the pandemic is over, there is one place I want to visit. It’s in Tennessee, but it’s worth it. Either this or Atlanta in Georgia. There is a civil rights museum in one of these two states, and one of the cool things about it is that you get to experience what it was like to be segregated against in a cafe. You put on a pair of headphones, and you get to hear the protocol that most white cafe and restaurant lunch counter owners did back in the day of “whites only” counters and such things as this. I heard about it from a friend, but I’d like to visit the Civil Rights museum because of what happened to many a black comrade across recent modern history. I’d like to take a few white friends over there, and I’d like them to experience the horrors of segregation firsthand, well sort of firsthand. There is no civil rights prop that can really tell you how it is to get shot, however. No museum piece is going to simulate death or anything that similar to it, but it does help to educate the public if we start with the lunch counter incidents. There is a famous movie scene I’d like to point out as well. So in Remember the Titans, some of the Titans football players went down to a cafe, and the white proprietor said not so kindly, and this is just me paraphrasing, that Petey could just go outside and out back because he was black. The white players were served, of course. This is just one of many incidents that even Jim Jones addressed in Indiana, and no matter what anyone thinks about the charismatic leader, there is one good thing he did in Indiana. He was diplomatic about desegregating restaurants and cafe establishments in Indianapolis and other places. What’s more, he desegregated gravesites and adopted a black kid, which goes against what white people would have wanted. Jim and Marcy, his wife, had a rainbow family, but at least the kids will tell you the guy was nuts. Anyway, back to what I was saying before.

If I visit any place, it would have to be the Civil Rights Museum, and I’d encourage all people to visit this place because whoever mentioned this to me at Soar dinner was on to something. It sounds like a good place.

Podcast announcements

Dear readers,

With comments disabled, seems the wind of bad comments has blown down to zero. I’m happy about that. For those who want to comment, do so on Facebook and Twitter. I have a big announcement to make.

I’ve rebooted the Throne Room with Beth Taurasi, a show that comes on every so often every once a week.

Also, I will be interviewing and taking inquiry for interviewees on the podcast. Please see the website for details, that would be the main page where you found this blog.

If you are considered for interviewing or making an appearance on the podcast, just make sure you are good.

So what’s coming up? We have a five minutes for my friend John, an interview with a hip hop artist I know and love, and we’ll also have some serious stuff to talk about in the juvenile justice system. This is inspired by the new Sintoya Brown documentary, and I also will cover some structural racism in the mix. I’m planning a few different things: post Eid, I want a Muslim roundtable where I discuss my vision for Islam, where women can wear what they want, be with whomever they want, etc etc. Then, I plan to interview actual Muslim converts and born in the religion persons alike. So if you would like to help educate people about the peaceful aspects of Islam, about the idea of Islam being a legitimate religion, I want to hear from you. I can only have five people total in ann anchor recording, of course.

In the Thanksgiving week, a special surprise project will be discussed, and my buddy Rod will join us to talk about that special project he’s been working on. Of course, there will be a talk and discussion of his released works, and will he do more? Just tune in and find out.

With Thanksgiving, I will have a serious decoding of the mythical “pilgrims” who were actually Quaker and Puritan refugees, and decoding the relationships these settlers had with the Wampanoags, other tribal issues, and so on. Note that the Oneida and other Northeastern tribes have participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade before, but there still needs to be a decoding of Native American relations with white settler folks who settled Plymouth Rock and the former Massachusetts Bay Colony, now known as a state in our great country. What I also want to discuss is the story we are not learning correctly. There’s also going to be something about the Salem Witch Trials, and I’ll include a book review there too. I have read several books about the Salem Witch trials, one fiction but based on letters, the other a nonfiction one with lots of historical sources used.

There’s going to be a lot there, so tune in.

Beth

Casting a video of 20/20 to my Roku and other weirdness

Dear readers,

What was I thinking? I watched Slender Man, and the movie, not surprising at all, got a bad Rotten Tomatoes rating. The reason I think was the high profile cases of Morgan Geyser and Anisa Wire, both found not competent to stand trial last I checked, and their supposed sacrifice they tried to make on behalf of Slender Man, who is a fictional character. I’m kind of glad those girls were not found competent, but for Peyton Lightner, their victim, I’m happy she survived, but the lesson here is that parents should be very careful of what kids see on the Internet, but truth will set you free as wel.

I’d like to leave a message for Peyton Lightner in this blog. If you do find the blog and you see this entry in particular, I’m so sorry you can’t comment, but if you want, my website will go on the bottom of this post. For you Facebook friends who want to comment, use the thread on Facebook.

My message is this: Peyton, I’m super glad you survived. You are a survivor, and I could not imagine going through what you did. Just put this aside and when you have your own little ones, tell them to be on their guard all the time, don’t always believe what they see and hear on the Internet, and keep an eye on those things they get scared of. All kids have monsters under the bed, but it should only be a monster under the kid’s bed, not something that could kill the kid. When you become a mother, just tell them what you went through, and keep them clear away from all things Slender Man. Show them the headlines, the newspaper clippings, and the pictures in the news videos. Peyton, you are heroic, and one day, when you become Mom, I hope the future grandma will also be on hand to warn those little ones, the precious lives that one day you will have, about the dangerous myth that was almost the end of your life.

IF you want to see my website, Ms. Lightner, it is http://www.denverqueen.com and you can hit me up on social media. I’ve followed your story because I found it so incredible that at least you survived, and I face demons every day. Thank you for your story and your survival. Hugs, and looking forward to helping spread the word that your life has value over a fictional creepypasta.

Beth