If You Want to See the Brave….

If you want to see the brave, look at those who can forgive. If you want to see the heroic, look at those who can love in return for hatred.

We seldom see this kind of heroism, but it does happen. Vice President Joseph Biden, who is mourning the recent death of his son from brain cancer, spoke to the members of the Charleston church that was still coping with the massacre of nine of its members by a white supremacist.

Vice President Biden paid a surprise visit to Sunday morning services at Emanuel AME Church here, telling congregants that he came to support them and to help get through his own mourning.

“My family and I wanted to show our solidarity,” Biden said during five minutes of remarks.

Standing next to one of the church’s pastors, he said: “But to be selfish about it, reverend, the reason we came was to draw some strength from all of you, to draw some strength from the church.”
Washington Post

Later he talked privately with Joseph Riley, the mayor of Charleston. When the mayor was asked what they had talked about, he said,

He just talked about the wonderful example this community has given the world about how to respond to tragedy with peace and unity.

Love doesn’t always win over hate, but it does sometimes happen. Some people do have that kind of courage.


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Road Rage

We mostly think of our little mountain town as a safe place to live. So did a fellow driving a Honda up the curvy hill road the other night. A fellow in a truck tailgated him the whole way, and when they got to the place where the road leveled and straightened out, the fellow in the truck revved his motor. The Honda driver rightly assumed the truck was going to try to pass even though it wasn’t a passing zone, so he moved over to the right to give the truck driver more room. Wrong move. The truck driver actually was trying to use the short turning lane on the right to do the passing. The truck scraped the Honda and tore off the side mirror, but no major damage.

The Honda driver stopped his car, and the other fellow stopped his truck then came running back to the Honda screaming. The Honda driver rolled down his window, and the truck driver punched him, went back to the truck, put it in reverse and rammed the Honda — hard enough to flatten one of the tires, crumple the hood and bend the radiator and frame. The Honda was totaled.

The Honda driver phoned the police and gave them a general description of the truck and the last three digits of the license plate. It isn’t enough to determine the truck driver, so they’re asking people in town to be on the lookout and phone them if they see a truck that fits the description.

Who would have guessed? Have you ever had or been a victim of road rage?


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The Islamic State and Social Media

It’s clear that the Islamic State is incredibly successful using the internet and social media to gain recruits. The New York Times explains exactly how it tried to recruit one young American woman: ISIS and the Lonely Young American.

Even though the Islamic State’s ideology is explicitly at odds with the West, the group is making a relentless effort to recruit Westerners into its ranks, eager to exploit them for their outsize propaganda value. Through January this year, at least 100 Americans were thought to have traveled to join jihadists in Syria and Iraq, among nearly 4,000 Westerners who had done so.

The reach of the Islamic State’s recruiting effort has been multiplied by an enormous cadre of operators on social media. The terrorist group itself maintains a 24-hour online operation, and its effectiveness is vastly extended by larger rings of sympathetic volunteers and fans who pass on its messages and viewpoint, reeling in potential recruits, analysts say.

Alex’s online circle — involving several dozen accounts, some operated by people who directly identified themselves as members of the Islamic State or whom terrorism analysts believe to be directly linked to the group — collectively spent thousands of hours engaging her over more than six months. They sent her money and plied her with gifts of chocolate. They indulged her curiosity and calmed her apprehensions as they ushered her toward the hard-line theological concepts that ISIS is built on.

In this case the girl converted to Islam, but the family intervened before she left to join IS. She hasn’t completely cut off conversing with her IS “friends” though. The attraction is just too powerful.

We do live in interesting times.


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Learning to Swim

This is Obi (which means “heart” in the Nigerian Igbo language) experiencing his first swim lesson at the Melbourne zoo.

Hurrah for babies! They do warm our hearts.


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Best Friends

Glenn and Buzz are two dogs up for adoption, but they’re a package deal.

That’s because Glenn, a Jack Russell Terrier, is blind. He gets around with the help of Buzz, a large Staffordshire Bull Terrier who acts as his guide dog.
ABC7 Los Angeles

The two were rescued from a tunnel in northeastern England and are now at an animal rescue center. They both get upset when they’re apart for even a few minutes, so when they find a loving home, they will go together.

That’s the kind of news I don’t mind reading!


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Andy and I laughed at yesterday’s Blondie cartoon.

Dagwood: Gib Glickman? Who is Gib Glickman?

Blondie: Don’t you remember? He lived 2 houses down about a dozen years ago. You and Gib went out for pizza the afternoon before he moved away.

Dagwood: Oh, yeah! I didn’t remember the name, but I do remember we had a pepperoni pizza with a crisp garlic crust!

In our family I’m the one more apt to remember food. When we go grocery shopping and something catches Andy’s eye, we’ll either try it or I’ll say, “We tried that once and you didn’t like it.” He doesn’t remember. I’m also more apt to remember events that happened in the past, especially if they involved people.

Andy, on the other had, still remembers the specs of transistors he used years ago. And he even remembers the bolt sizes of his first car — a Model T Ford he had when he was in high school.

People do tend to remember different things. What sorts of things do you remember?


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(Click on cartoon for larger size.)

This cartoon reminds me of a spoof marriage quiz I read almost 50 years ago.

Q: Do you and your spouse agree about money matters?

A: Yes, we both deplore extravagance. I deplore his and he deplores mine.

I still laugh when I think of it. Do you still remember any jokes from years ago?


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Father’s Day Card

This past Sunday was Father’s Day here in the U.S. (and in India), so Randy Glasbergen drew this cartoon. A man is sitting looking at a handmade card with a childish picture on the front. The words inside say,

Deer Dad, I hoap you have a nise Fathers Day. You are smart and funny and mom is two. Have a reely grate and speshul day tooday.
PS Thank you for sending me to collige!

Yes, our American educational system does have its problems, but I hope it’s not as bad as that!


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Needs a Bit More Work

Yes, it needs more work, but it’s amazing that it can get up by itself.


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Connection and Exclusiveness

Linda has mentioned that she’s disconcerted when people she had viewed as kind and loving turn out to be prejudiced about people who are different from them. I know how she feels.

I was excited when scientists started talking about oxytocin, the hormone that lessens stress and anxiety and fosters trust, cooperation, forgiveness, generosity, and empathy. All good things, right? Just what the world needs. Some people even jokingly suggested if we put the hormone in water supplies it would solve a lot of problems.

Of course, it was too good to be true. Yes, ocytocin tended to make people feel kinder and closer to members of their own group, but it also tended to make them more unfriendly to outsiders. Strong social bonding often means exclusiveness.

I tend to have warm, friendly feelings towards people, but I’ve mostly not joined groups. And when I’ve experienced cliquishness I’ve been lucky enough to be able to ignore it or to leave. What has your experience been?


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