Monday, September 01, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Llittle Known Fact

Do you know it is hard to find a word that rhymes with purple?

Roses are red
Violets are purple
Your love is as gooey
As maple surple

Friday, June 27, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Interesting Observation

'In 1951 more than 10,000 youngsters between the ages of fourteen and sixteen were asked whether they agreed with the statement, "I am an important person." Only 12 percent answered that they did. This makes sense. After all, how many fourteen-year-olds are VIPs? The Dalai Lama's next incarnation? A millionaire singing sensation?

In 1989, the same question was asked, and the results were startlingly different: 80 percent of girls and 77 percent of boys believed they were important persons. Where did a bunch of kids get this inflated sense of self-worth? From grown-ups who worried that children with poor self-esteem would not succeed in life. These people meant well, but their fears were misplaced. The teenagers with the lowest self-esteem today are the same ones who usually shine as the academic stars of their schools: Asian Americans. Self-esteem has nothing to do with the practice of actual virtues.....Young egos need restraining, not encouragement. A fourteen-year-old does not have much time to think about herself when she is busy thinking how she is treating others
-Linda Przybyszewski in her book, The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summertime Is Here

Ridin' 'round town with all the windows down
Eight track playin' all your fav'rite sounds
The rhythm of the bongos fill the park
The street musicians tryin' to get a start

'Cause it's summer
Summer time is here
Yes it's summer
My time of year
Yes it's summer
My time of year

Stretched out on a blanket in the sand
Kids of all ages diggin' Disneyland
Rappin' on the C.B. radio in your van
We'll give a big "ten four" to the truckin' man

'Cause it's summer
Summer time is here
Yes it's summer
My time of year
Yes it's summer
My time of year

Young boys playin' stick ball in the street
Fire hydrants help to beat the heat
Old man feeding pigeons in the square
Nighttime finds young lovers walking there

'Cause it's summer
Summer time is here
Yes it's summer
My time of year
Yes it's summer
My time of year

In Atlantic City or out in Malibu
Or any where between, I'm telling you
When you feel those balmy breezes on your face
Summer time is the best time any place

'Cause it's summer
Summer time is here
Yes it's summer
My time of year
Yes it's summer
My time of year

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Still I Rise

RIP Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014)

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Your Theory Is Crazy

but not crazy enough to be true.
Niels Bohr

    One Big Happy by Rich Detorie

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sonny Lawson Park And Field

I was at The Denver Eye's facebook page this morning and saw this photo from the Digital Collection at the Denver Public Library:

Taken in 1911 it shows a baseball field at the corner of 23rd and Welton Street in Denver, which I remember as looking like this:

Jack Kerouac probably remembers it looking the same way, but without the sign saying Sonny Lawson Field. This is what he wrote about it in On The Road:

Down at 23rd and Welton a softball game was going on under floodlights which also illuminated the gas tank. A great eager crowd roared at every play. The strange young heroes of all kinds, white, colored, Mexican, pure Indian, were on the field, performing with heart-breaking seriousness. Just sandlot kids in uniform. Never in my life as an athlete had I ever permitted myself to perform like this in front of families and girl friends and kids of the neighborhood, at night, under lights; always it had been college, big-time, sober-faced; no boyish, human joy like this. Now it was too late. Near me sat an old Negro who apparently watched the games every night. Next to him was an old white bum; then a Mexican family, then some girls, some boys — all humanity, the lot. Oh, the sadness of the lights that night! The young pitcher looked just like Dean. A pretty blonde in the seats looked just like Marylou. It was the Denver Night; all I did was die.

Down in Denver, down in Denver

All I did was die

The field's name wasn't change to Sonny Lawson until 1972 and it was named after a prominent Five Points civic leader, Oglesvie L. "Sonny" Lawson.

Mr Lawson was born in Denver on September 12, 1893 and graduated from the old East High School. He went on to Northwestern University and attained a degree in pharmacy. After graduation he came home and worked for the Western Chemical Corporation and then as a clerk for the Denver County Assessor's Office before opening a Pharmacy at 2601 Welton Street with a man named Hulett A. Maxwell. That was in 1924. At first the business was called Maxwell and Lawson but in 1932 it was changed to Radio Pharmacy

In addition to running the Pharmacy, Mr. Lawson was an original member of the Denver Career Services Board, the first African-American to serve on Denver Public Library Commission, the district executive for the Democratic Party in east Denver,  and political mentor to many African-American politicians including Elvin Caldwell Sr. and former Lt. Governor George Brown. He was also a thirty-third degree Mason. Mr. Lawson died on July 17, 1969 and is buried at Riverside Cemetery.

Now the story of Sonny Lawson Field doesn't end with the renaming of the park. There is something else very special about the field.  The park had turned into a hangout for the homeless but one day around 2010 a man named Joe Carabello was stopped at the light at Park Ave. and Welton and spotted homeless people sitting against the fences surrounding the locked field and wondered why it wasn't being used. Then he thought, "What if we could open up the gates and give those people some exercise and recreation for a couple of hours a week?"

So he got a permit to use the field every Saturday morning that summer and got the word out to as many agencies and missions that worked with the homeless as he could. Eleven people showed up to play in the first game. The next game 15 players showed up and the numbers kept increasing as the summer progressed. The Homeless Diamond was a hit.

I'm sure Mr. Lawson and Jack Kerouac would love that.

(Westword article going into more detail about the Homeless Diamond and the almost derailed third season here.)