Category Archives: Education

Introducing an Orange Alligator: the “Trumpagator!”

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*I still remember the “horse of a different color” scene in the 1939 Hollywood remake of The Wizard of Oz. 

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Remember it?  That horse changed into several bright colors during that segment, and has prompted smiles for generations of movie lovers.

Well, THAT was a horse…in a movie.   I wouldn’t have been smiling at the sight of this:  a 4- to 5-foot orange alligator.  He or she — you can’t blame anyone for not wanting to get close enough to discern the beast’s gender! — turned heads earlier this week near a pond just outside of Charleston, South Carolina.  Residents have begun joking that it should be called a “Trumpagator.” Continue reading

‘Walking While Black, L.O.V.E. is the Answer’ — The Must-See Doc for Anyone Truly Willing to Affect Change (Watch)

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*Don’t get it twisted. “L.O.V.E.” aside, this documentary will be hard to take… at least within the first five minutes. It doesn’t necessarily get any easier throughout, but it does shift consciousness along the way, and asks that you do the same.

You may think twice about going to see, ‘Walking While Black, L.O.V.E. is the Answer.’ At least those of you who may find it hard to wrap your brain around anything that immediately brings to mind (and dare I say unites) the words cops and love in the same sentence.

But let me put your mind at ease.

In this sense, LOVE is an acronym for LEARN (about your community and the people in it), Open (your heart to the humanity within), Volunteer (your service and skillset where you live), and Empower (others to do the same).

Created by producer/director AJ Ali and Academy-award-winning cinematographer Errol Webber as director of photography, ‘Walking While Black, L.O.V.E. is the Answer’ features interviews with police officers, faith leaders, educators, activists and more. There is nothing ordinary about this film. It’s a documentary that doesn’t ask that you go to your nearest movie theater and check it out, then file it under the “Oh yeah, I saw that film” category as you move on with your life. It’s a film with a goal in mind. A film with expectations. A film that begs you to stay present (as in aware), as you move forward.

It may cause you to think of something Barack Obama said in his Final Speech as president.

“If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing.  If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.  Show up.  Dive in.  Persevere.”

You want to see things change as it relates to walking while Black?

This film will test just how bad you want that to happen. Continue reading

94-Year-Old, Hearing-Impaired, Wheelchair-Bound Grandma of 12 Earns College Degree…with Perfect 4.0 GPA!

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*This one’s for all of the procrastinators — present company included!  

94-year old, hearing-impaired grandmother of 12, Amy Craton, earned her Bachelor’s degree — and a 4.0 GPA

“You can’t live without knowledge!” Craton told PEOPLE magazine.  “Education is living.”  

Craton earned her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and English — I’d better watch out!  She’s could be coming after my job! — from Southern New Hampshire University’s online program.  SNHU’s president flew to Craton’s Hawaii home to present her with her diploma.

“I’ve always wanted to have my degree,” Craton said.  “In the back of my mind that goal has always been there, but things get in the way, life gets in the way.  But now I did it!”

Damn, grandma!  Please allow me to be among the chorus of family and friends who extend a heartfelt congratulations!   Continue reading

The Legacy of President Barack Obama…and an Apology to President George W. Bush

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*Prior to 2008, Barack Hussein Obama did what I’d thought was impossible, or at the very least improbable during my lifetime: he, an unapologetically brown-skinned man, got elected President of the United States. In doing so, he began an eight year journey that led our country to a better place, while affirming a declaration my mother made to me when I was a little boy about everyone being able to be president. Continue reading

TNT Film Review: Hidden Figures Is The Year’s Best Movie

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*I’m tempted to tell you that the exceptional new Hidden Figures is the best movie I’ve seen this year. Since 2017 is just out of the gate, that comment might be seen as more than a little glib.

So I’ll go out on a limb and say this: Hidden Figures is the best movie I WILL see this year.

Usually, period pieces that are based on history don’t hold my attention, largely because we already know how the movie’s going to turn out. (We KNEW the Titanic was iceberg-bound and doomed, right? So who really cares about Leo DiCaprio’s “I’m the king of the world!” moment?)

With the story behind Hidden Figures, we already know that Neil Armstrong helps America win the space race, and that he walked on the moon eight years later. What most of us didn’t know was that a group of black women — “Colored Computers” they were called — were largely responsible for getting him there. Told from their perspective, THIS period piece kept me, literally, on the edge of my seat through the film’s final act. Continue reading

Danny Glover on Board As L. A. Women’s Theatre Festival Races to Reach its ‘Kickstarter Goal’ in 4 More Days!!!

"Women. What would life be without them? Well ...there would be no life without them." Danny Glover LAWTF Honorary Co-Chairperson (Twitter photo)
“Women. What would life be without them? Well …there would be no life without them.”–Danny Glover, LAWTF Honorary Co-Chairperson (Twitter photo)

*(Hollywood) During this time of gratitude, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival (LAWTF) thanks those who have contributed to their 2016-17 Kickstarter Campaign.

As they gear up for their 24th Annual Festival, “TAKING FLIGHT” they welcome 18 phenomenal women performers who will share their stories through dance, theatre, song, spoken word and laughter. Some of these performers will come from as far away as London and Israel to be a part of this magical event.

Presently, the festival has 34 backers and it has raised $4370.  They are $5630 away from their goal of $10,000 and they have until midnight January, 14th to accomplish this. 

It can be done!  It must be done! Otherwise, they stand to lose all of their contributions from those who have pledged thus far. 

If you have not become a backer yet, they hope you will do so today? Continue reading

Minnesota Braces for Arctic Blast After More Severe Winter Storms

winterJust a day after winter storms brought fresh ice and sleet to Minnesota, the state had to brace itself for arctic cold on Tuesday. The National Weather Service reported that a cold front moving down from Canada is what brought the frigid temperatures to the state.

In normal circumstances, a roof should be inspected once or twice annually, but these severe low temperatures combined with winter storms just may call for an extra inspection this season. Tuesday brought single-digit temperatures to the Twin Cities.

Strong winds at speeds of up to 35 MPH made it feel much colder than just single digits. The cold followed a night of freezing rain in parts of Southern Minnesota and many commuters were discouraged from driving as a result. Travel on Interstate 94 north wasn’t advised at all due to issues with black ice.

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Family Adds Baby To Transplant List at 10:15am. At 10:55am, A Match

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*One of my former in-laws used to talk about needing to know someone who knew how “to get a prayer through” to God.  After reading about the McCabe family of Chicago, you’ll agree that they’re on that list of folks!

Five-month old Daniel McCabe had been fighting a rare liver disorder since he was born.  Just before Christmas, things got so dire that doctors placed him on a waiting list for a new liver, and prepared the family for a wait of several weeks, if not months.  (The average wait for a liver is 86 days for kids and up to 149 days for adults.)

Paperwork was processed and little Daniel went on the donor request list at 10:15am one recent morning.  At 10:55am a doctor received word that a donor match had been identified and that Daniel’s new liver was on the way.

The infant had successful surgery the following evening and is now recuperating.

“I was just speechless,” mom Melody McCabe said.

Continue reading