Saturday, November 01, 2008

Studs Terkel....."Curiosity didn't kill this Cat!"

So farewell then Studs....

When I first came to this country, I was in Borders & there in the discounted books, I discovered a gem...."Will the circle be unbroken...".

In summary, it was a reflective work. Studs doing what he did so best & so effortlessly- putting ordinary Americans at ease & acquiring their lifetime of insight on the topic in hand...this particular topic was on life, death & we get older we tend to focus on our destiny & ultimate journey.

It was a comment on American Society of that snapshot in time then that such a book be discarded & ignored so easily , to be put in the “marked down” section so soon after publication.

The humanity of Terkel's prose & his ability to let the true America speak....softly, quietly in these pages....away from all the chattering classes & masses, the talk-radio clan - the diatribes, the wingnuts of either side - made me realize and thankful for this country that I am honored to be a resident.

As I began to voraciously read this & his other "tomes"...the Pulitzer prize winner "The Good War", "Hope dies last", "American Dreams", "Working" , "Hard Times"...among others, I found one, "Coming of Age" to be his unbidden was reflections on the 20th century by those who had lived it...It's still a work that I read from time to time...simply for grounding myself & realizing how fortunate we are for the previous generations' toil, effort and sacrifice before us.

We were out (the better half & I) last night - It was our anniversary. On the radio, it was announced that Studs had passed to that "big rally in the sky". As we got out of the car, I said to my ironic that he should go just before the election on Tuesday to see a son of an immigrant, a community activist from his own town of Chicago be on the ballot of President of the United States. As I said this, I felt a chill , not a chill of cold or some eerie Halloween phenomenon but a shiver no a tremor of emotion on the whole import of the moment of his passing in such a time in our history.

The fact that the candidate is of African heritage would be a celebration of all that Studs believed & espoused about this wonderful, wonderful country. Studs was a light to me & countless others in some dark that he is gone, it's time to pick up his torch & lead on. Studs Terkel was a true American superhero.

Leading is not some ego filled pastime but simply to do good in your life & the lives of others. It's time for our generation to do the same as previous ones and work for our kids & grandkids. Ensure that they have worthwhile lives too!

To those of you reading this, read Stud's work, read it & be filled with hope..the hope that good always wins out in the end.
This is a clip from interviews he did on a train ride to Washington DC for a civil rights march. 54 weeks before I came into the world...a fitting finale before next Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Super Sunday 08 reminds one of the Schalke O4 debacle in 2001 (click here after reading the post)

So the endgame to all endgames happens this Sunday, Chelsea & Man United go into the last day equal on points. Man United having a better goal difference must at least draw if not lose against Wigan (yeah, right!) while Chelsea have to win v Bolton....anyway the following happened in 2001 in Germany, read the following & then click on the link which is the above title.......

Hope nothing like this happens on Sunday...

Last day of Bundesliga season 2000/01.

Bayern 3 points ahead of Schalke.

Schalke leads their game.

Bayern plays in Hamburg.

Hamburg scores in minute 89 for their 1:0.

Schalke is champion on goal difference.

Radio gives wrong information, that the game in Hamburg is over.

Tens of thousands of Schalke fans storm onto the pitch to celebrate.

Pay TV coverage is switched on on the big screen in the Schalke stadium.

Pay TV field reporter interviews Schalke co-manager. Gives his congratulation to the manager. Manager asks "is it over in Hamburg?". Reporter: "Yes, you are Champion". Manager "Thank you, Hamburg."

Another reporters voice from the off: "The game is not over in Hamburg".

The bigscreen switches to the Hamburg game in front of the thousands celebrating on the pitch.

Hamburg goalie takes a backpass to his hand. Indirect free-kick from 10 meters for Bayern.

Bayern scores.

Fans, players, managers in Schalke fall to the ground crying. Rudi Assauer, the legendary Schalke Direktor in tears like a little child.

Bayern go ballistic in Hamburg.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Keeping it in the family.....


Taken before the game versus Derby County....makes me all sentimental like....the torch is passed to the next generation, another part of the world is forever blue etc, etc!
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Turn a different corner....

No, not the George Michael song...a very interesting interview in Newsweek today.
A message of hope on Easter weeekend!

Shifa Al Qudsi was arrested on her way to detonate a bomb strapped to her in Israel. She spent 6 years in an Israeli prison and came to another & braver realisation. The former hairdresser turned "a different corner" so to speak....this is her story as related to Joanna Chen;

Words Over Weapons
A would-be Palestinian suicide bomber explains why she has changed her mind about violence against Israelis

Joanna Chen
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 6:11 PM ET Mar 21, 2008
In an audiotape released this week, Osama bin Laden urges Palestinians to shun negotiations with Israel in favor of armed resistance. In spite of such calls, however, pleas for talks are coming from unexpected players on both sides of the divide. One of them, Shifa al-Qudsi, recently finished serving a six-year sentence in an Israeli prison for planning to carry out a suicide bombing. Back in 2002 the Palestinian had been fitted with an explosive belt by Fatah's Al Aqsa military brigade but was arrested shortly before carrying out her deadly mission. Since then al-Qudsi, now 30, has undergone a radical change of heart and today insists that a solution can be achieved only through dialogue. NEWSWEEK's Joanna Chen met with al-Qudsi at her family home in the West Bank town of Tulkarem and heard why violence isn't an option and life is worth living after all. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: What made you want to blow yourself and other people up six years ago?
I was motivated by all the suffering that was going on around me, and at the time it seemed the right thing to do. Palestinians were getting killed inside their own homes, farmers were unable to work on their own lands, innocent children were being oppressed. All of this created an atmosphere of violence.

What did those years in prison do to you?
It was very difficult for me. I sat there for a long time and came to the conclusion there must be an alternative to this path of death and violence. We have to find a better way to reach our objective.

Was there a certain moment when you realized that blowing people up might not be the right way?
I had the chance to read a lot while I was in jail. I read about Mahatma Gandhi and how he obtained his objective of peace without raising a weapon or throwing a stone. I tried to think of a way to do the same in my own country. I think words can express better the suffering of Palestinian prisoners and the wish for peace between two peoples. I don't need to blast my body to bits and kill other people. Today I believe that words are more powerful than weapons.

Even between enemies?
The reality has already been imposed on us. We can't start talking about getting back historical Palestine, and I'm resigned to the fact that there are two nations who can live on this land. There should be peace and quiet not just for the Israelis but for the Palestinians.

What would you say to people who still think that attacks are the way to go?
Many people before me carried out suicide attacks and others will continue to do so if the situation doesn't improve. However, I tell them now: enough. We have created a lot of problems and a lot of destruction on both sides, and the time has come for us to engage in dialogue.

Would you say that to your brother, who's serving 18 years in an Israeli jail for an attempted suicide bombing?
My youngest brother is in jail because he was caught inside Israel wearing a suicide belt. He was only 15 and a half. I consider this blackmail and exploitation of my brother. He was too young to have been able to make this decision on his own, and so I consider what happened to him a crime from our own side. He should never have been exploited this way. When I decided to blow myself up I was convinced this was right and I was old enough to make my own decision, but not my brother.

Your daughter was just seven when you were sent to prison. How did you explain your willingness for her to grow up without a mother?
We've talked about it a lot. She blamed me for leaving her, although I tried to explain to her that I had bigger issues to deal with. I don't want to say that I regret my former mission, but at the same time I know I should have thought of my daughter more and should have made her [my] priority. What will make an impact is not a suicide belt that I strap to myself but education. A bomb only creates casualties and more violence. If I can equip my daughter with education, that will make a change.

What do you tell your daughter today about Israelis?
The most important message for my daughter is that Israelis are not all carriers of weapons and not all of them want to kill Palestinians. There is a big sector that wants peace.

What are your plans for the future?
The day after I came out of prison I went to register [at] university. I feel like there's no time to waste, and my objective is to study and to be able to give my daughter and other children a better future through education.

Do you think that's going to be possible?
I say it in three languages: yes, ken and aywa. I want to talk, to tell people that I did time in an Israeli jail and learned Hebrew and communicated with a lot of Israelis. I want to continue this communication and also to carry the voice of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners to the world.

Do you think your change of heart reflects a change in the Palestinian people?
I think my position reflects the desire of the Palestinian people for peace. People are tired. They want to live. And they really want peace but are struggling in order to make the world understand.

If you could speak to the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, what would you say?
My message to both is peace. We need to engage in real dialogue. Everybody needs to come down from the tree and to enter into a solid, realistic negotiation. This is the only way.


I fear for this woman's safety...I just hope more & more stand shoulder to shoulder with Peter Gabriel wrote/sang in "Biko";
You can blow out a candle, you can't blow out a fire.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

IKEA comes to town....(Click here for some fun!).

Well it came, It saw, It bloody well conquered....

Well worth the hype, IKEA is now located in Westchester, just North of Cinci & about 40 miles from home so off we popped in after a safari in Jungle Jims (

WE came out with thousands of ideas for our hovel plus a few sticks of furniture...her indoors was very pleased with a kitchen cart I espied as we were leaving, The young fella got a black-board & a train set plus a lot of other "odds n sods" for the home...the rugs are sensational...we bought one for the living room...the family room will have to wait for now!

Click the title above for some more fun from a disciple of the new store.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chelsea Crossbar Challenge

Some of these efforts were a bit worrying to say the least...still good fun in aid of charity. Click on the title for a viewing!

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I always wanted to be a director....

A rather interesting website, create your own Bollywood movie. On the day that Chelsea got dumped out of the FA cup by the tykes of Barnsley...I had made this one earlier to send to a scouse supporting pal....