It CAN happen in your town. It happened in ours.

Our home town of Winthrop, Massachusetts is normally a pretty boring place, at least in terms of crime. Kelly and I read the police blotter every week in the local paper, and most of the time it is pretty vanilla. Don’t get me wrong, we like the fact that Winthrop does not have the levels of crime that other places do. We somewhat affectionately refer to Winthrop as “Mayberry-by-the-Sea” because the sorts of things that happen around here are usually pretty small.

Last weekend Kelly and I were away from home at a craft fair in West Medford, Massachusetts when we got word that something had happened just around the corner from our house in Winthrop. It first it was not very clear – something about a truck crashing into a building, and then someone involved in that crash shooting at people. It took a few hours before we started getting a clearer picture of what had happened, and even then it was still just bits and pieces.

When we got back to Winthrop that Saturday evening, we had to find a different way to get home because the cordon around the crime scene extended far around the area, including parts of Cross Street, where we normally would have pulled up to get to our house on Almont. We knew things were bad because there were police cars everywhere, and not just from Winthrop. We saw State Police, Boston, Revere, and Chelsea police in addition to Winthrop police.

Within the next day or two, things had cleared up significantly. A guy had stolen a plumbing supply truck and sped through the streets of Winthrop, going about twice the speed limit. He turned from Revere Street onto Shirley Street, speeding down the street past all of the parked cars that narrowed the road considerably. As a result he hit a white SUV more-or-less head on, causing it to crash into a fence and some hedges literally within sight of our back deck. He then lost control of the truck and crashed it into an unoccupied brick building at the corner of Cross Street and Shirley Street. After he got out of the truck, he was met by people who had come out of their homes thinking they could help after the crash. But the guy was armed with two pistols, and at some point he started shooting. First he shot Ramona Cooper, an Air Force veteran and current VA employee, three times in the back. Then he apparently bypassed the opportunity to shoot several other people, and instead went after David Green, another Air Force veteran and a retired Massachusetts State Trooper. Both victims were black, and the shooter whose name I refuse to use was white. It became clear by Monday that there was some sort of racial motivation for what this man had done. He had targeted only black people, and had apparently was responsible for numerous racist and anti-Semitic writings.

Last night there was a memorial service, and it was pretty well-attended. Unfortunately I am heard of hearing and could not hear much of what was said, but it was still a lovely event. I hope people are a little more aware of what is happening around them, and I sincerely hope that people around here will stand up against racism when they see or hear it. That’s what needs to happen.

Try to do right, and be the kind of person your kids (or your dog) thinks you are.

Much love to all,

~Geoff

A Summer Weekend in Vermont

Kelly and I took Dash and Nymeria with us to southeastern Vermont this past weekend. The weather was mostly sunny and actually got quite hot for Vermont. But the dogs generally enjoyed themselves, as did we.

We have become particularly fond of that part of Vermont, basically between Springfield and Brattleboro, and are doing a lot of sightseeing and antique shopping in it. It’s amazing how much greenery there is. I can imagine why so many people come here in autumn.

Our Holiday Card, and by the way, GOOD RIDDANCE to 2020

Well everyone, today is the last day of 2020, and I have to say Thank GOD it is finally coming to a close.  This has been a tough year for virtually everyone*, and for some people it has been just horrific.  Kelly and I have managed to make it through the year without getting COVID (at least as far as we know) and we are both still employed**.  But we did lose one of our beloved fur-kids – our little Thumbelina: the princess; the Khaleesi; the mighty little Emperox of our universe.  We miss her and still often think about her.  

2020 melting onto a dumpster with a fire raging in the foreground. There is a night sky in the background with COVID virus particles falling like snow, one of which is on the moon.
See the blazing dump before us fa la la la la, la la la la.

Continue reading “Our Holiday Card, and by the way, GOOD RIDDANCE to 2020”

RIP Denise Taylor

Some years ago, my Neurologist said to me, “You sing, right?” And the rest, as they say, is history. I’m not sure how many years it has been since that fateful question, but this Plague Year is the first year since then that I’ve not been a part of the When Patients Heal You annual concert. COVID kind of got in the way of that.

Continue reading “RIP Denise Taylor”

Today in Civil War History

On this day, December 1st, in 1864, a weary column of Federal troops arrived in Nashville, Tennessee, having marched directly from the battlefield of Franklin. In that short but fierce battle, Union troops fighting behind fortifications had succeeded in repulsing several attacks by Confederate troops the previous day, November 30th. Casualties were lopsided: 189 Union dead and just over 1,000 wounded versus some 1,750 dead and at least 3,800 wounded Confederates.

The spectacularly grand but fruitless charges had annihilated much of the experienced leadership of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. The rebels lost 14 generals that day: five killed outright, one mortally wounded, seven wounded, and one captured. Somewhere around 55 regimental commanders were killed, wounded or captured as well. By the evening of November 30th/December 1st, there were Confederate regiments commanded by sergeants and brigades commanded by captains.

Much of the battlefield has been developed, sadly, but in recent years more and more of the site has been recovered and returned to what it looked like at the time of the battle. Years ago I did some living history programs at the Carter House there in Franklin.

For more in-depth information, try this book: The Confederacy’s Last Hurrah; Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville by Wiley Sword.

Geoff

Election Day 2020

We have been waiting four long years for this day to arrive. Frankly, I am so nervous about the whole thing that I had trouble sleeping last night (as I knew I would). Good thing I have today and tomorrow off from work.

 

Continue reading “Election Day 2020”

Today in History – the PTBT. Plus commentary on current events.

Today, October 7th, is the 57th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy signing the Partial Test Ban Treaty, officially known as the Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water.

Considering how dangerously close we had gotten to World War III during the Cuban Missile Crisis the previous October, this treaty was a long step towards a permanent solution to the dangers of nuclear war. I am old enough to remember the last few times we really had to worry about nuclear war, like back in 1983. That was the year the TV movie “The Day After” came out, and also happened to be the year we had a couple of close calls of which the American public was blissfully unaware.

One of our more interesting Brimfield finds. Although you can find similar Fallout Shelter signs online for sale, I have not seen any others that include the “Capacity” markings.

Continue reading “Today in History – the PTBT. Plus commentary on current events.”

Today in History: The Great New England Hurricane of 1938

Today is the 82nd anniversary of the day the “Long Island Express” came ashore on Long Island, New York.  This is the storm that my grandparents’ generation always talked about when they talked about how bad hurricanes in New England could get.

Pretty damn bad.

Continue reading “Today in History: The Great New England Hurricane of 1938”

I have to vote for Joe. So do you.

Joe Biden was not my first choice as the Democratic Presidential Nominee. He wasn’t even on the list to be honest. But I will vote for him and Kamala Harris on or before November 3rd with my last breath if necessary. Anyone who is a registered voter in the US who does otherwise is a fool.

There have been a lot of people writing think pieces both before and now after the DNC about how Joe is reaching the “middle of the party” and Kamala is reaching out to the “Black vote” and how that “will heal the party”. I’m also personally seeing a LOT of folks on twitter and elsewhere who are angry. They’re angry that out of a field of Democratic candidates that included LGBTQ and BIPOC candidates for the top of the ticket we ended up with yet another old white guy.

I get that. And yet I’m still going to do whatever I have to in order to make sure that my vote for Biden/Harris is counted for November 3rd. This isn’t quite a hold my nose a vote situation, but it isn’t far off.

Here’s the thing, our country is literally and figuratively on fire right now. We’ve got nearly 200,000 dead of COVID-19, a number that could have been So. Much. Smaller. had we a competent administration in office. And that number, which is likely wildly low thanks to intentional failures of reporting in lots of states, doesn’t including “unrelated” but absolutely caused by COVID deaths such as suicides, domestic violence, overdoses, and the like.

Millions are out of work, the rights of humans all across this country are being stripped away in myriad ways, people are marching in the streets to try and, as I saw someone say the other day, “Legalize Blackness” and yet actual Nazis walk free in this land that fought to bring down the Third Reich. We have white supremacists and Nazis in our highest offices in the government and they’re enriching themselves and their billionaire friends at unprecedented rates all at the cost of the rest of us.

And yet I hear people saying that they won’t vote for Biden/Harris because, “she’s a cop” “he’s a white man” “he wasn’t my top choice” “I would have preferred X” “I can’t vote for someone who put black people in jail” etc, etc.

Here’s the thing. Biden/Harris are not gonna save us, they’re not gonna fix it all. No administration in the history of ever has done that. Not in one term, not in two, not in three.

But another term with Trump will kill us. That’s a fact.

And sitting in a position where you put your personal distaste of Biden or Harris over the good of this nation is a position of extreme privilege. If we expect the Republicans to put country over party then we should expect the same of ourselves, especially right now.

I want ranked choice voting. I want more than 2 parties. I wish it wasn’t this way. But right now, this is how it is. Right now, is not the time to try and make those things happen. Right now we’re voting for our very survival. We’re voting for our lives.

People are dying. If you don’t know someone who has died of or been ill with COVID, just wait. You will. And another 4 years of looting the American public, deaths en mass, and a destroyed government infrastructure is going to be the least of our worries if Trump isn’t beaten in a landslide.

Trump and his cabal are the greatest danger to our country, to each of us individually, and to the world any of us has seen in our lifetime. Every vote for anyone other than Biden/Harris is a vote for Trump. Hold your nose and and do your job as a citizen of this Republic and vote to save it.

Then, let’s get to work on fixing it.

Kelly

 

Civility and the High Road

Maybe it’s the way I’m feeling today, but I’m tired. I’m tired of fighting for my life, my health, and my right to exist as a full and wholly actualized human being with the expectation that I be “civil” or “lady like” to those who oppress me. Those who name me less than.

Continue reading “Civility and the High Road”