Fifty-one years ago today, at 1:20 am, six police officers arrived at the double doors of Stonewall Inn and announced, "Police! We're taking the place!" There had been a rumor that a raid would take place, but it was much later than any raid in the past. There were 205 people in the bar that night, including two undercover police officers already there. The lights were turned on, the music stopped, and the police called for backup.
Wednesday, June 28, 2023
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
Monday, June 19, 2023
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, 'all slaves are free.'"
Though the proclamation would be mailed and telegraphed across the country, there would be parts of the Confederacy that would refuse manumission, that is, they would refuse to free their enslaved people despite the order. Texas was one such state. The enslaved would not be freed until over two years later, when the Union army reached Galveston. Union Army General Gordon Granger would announce the proclamation above, informing Texas that all enslaved were free.
“You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. You may eat the produce of the field."
"January 1, 1863
By the President of the United States of America:
Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."
Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:
Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.
By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State."
Sunday, June 18, 2023
A father acts on behalf of his children by working, providing, intervening, struggling, and suffering for them. In so doing, he really stands in their place. He is not an isolated individual, but incorporates the selves of several people in his own self."
Friday, June 16, 2023
If you recognize a drawing of Spider-man, it's likely one of two people. Ross Andru, whose work was often used in licensing. Or John Romita, Sr.
Romita wasn't the first person to draw Spider-man. Instead, he would follow Steve Ditko following his abrupt departure after issue #38 of The Amazing Spider-Man. Romita would take over as the penciler of Amazing with #39, starting a run that would encompass over 50 covers and an unbroken run of story art for 56 issues. A run which would cover some of the ground-breaking Spider-Man stories, like the death of Gwen Stacy.
Though Romita never felt comfortable on Spider-Man, his art would become incredibly linked with the character. He served as the primary penciler for the newspaper strip for the first four years of its publication. He worked on the first intercompany crossover with Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, doing art corrections over Ross Andru's pencils. He would provide the cover for Spider-Man's wedding issue, and several spot issues to come."For me, John's Spidey is a design of such perfection and beauty so as to be simply the greatest-looking character in comics, by his hand."
Romita passed away in his sleep on June 12, 2023, at the age of 93. While his presence will be missed, his art and his heart will live on, inspiring us to be heroic, to be human.
Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Monday, June 12, 2023
Chief Justice Warren wrote the majority opinion, finding that "the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides within the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State."
Sunday, June 11, 2023
i will tell you, my daughter
of your worth
not your beauty
everyday. (your beauty is a given, every being is born
knowing your worth
can save your life.
raising you on beauty alone
you will be starved.
you will be raw.
you will be weak.
an easy stomach.
always in need of someone telling you how beautiful you
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
“It was unknowable then, but so much of the progress that would define the 20th century, on both sides of the Atlantic, came down to the battle for a slice of beach only 6 miles long and 2 miles wide.”
Friday, June 2, 2023
When field and wood are robed anew,
And o’er the world a silver haze
Mingles the emerald with the blue.
Summer now doth clothe the land
In garments free from spot or stain—
The lustrous leaves, the hills untanned,
The vivid meads, the glaucous grain.
The day looks new, a coin unworn,
Freshly stamped in heavenly mint;
The sky keeps on its look of morn;
Of age and death there is no hint.
How soft the landscape near and far!
A shining veil the trees infold;
The day remembers moon and star;
A silver lining hath its gold.
Again I see the clover bloom,
And wade in grasses lush and sweet;
Again has vanished all my gloom
Again from out the garden hives
The exodus of frenzied bees;
The humming cyclone onward drives,
Or finds repose amid the trees.
At dawn the river seems a shade—
A liquid shadow deep as space;
But when the sun the mist has laid,
A diamond shower smites its face.
The season’s tide now nears its height,
Now every shoal is hid from sight,
With current fresh as morning dew.
Monday, May 29, 2023
Today is a day for remembrance. To remember the sacrifice of those who have served and gave the last full measure of devotion. To honor their legacy.
"As for us, our days of combat are over. Our swords are rust. Our guns will thunder no more. The vultures that once wheeled over our heads must be buried with their prey. Whatever of glory must be won in the council or the closet, never again in the field. I do not repine. We have shared the incommunicable experience of war; we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top.
Three years ago died the old colonel of my regiment, the Twentieth Massachusetts. He gave the regiment its soul. No man could falter who heard his "Forward, Twentieth!"
I went to his funeral. From a side door of the church a body of little choir- boys came in alike a flight of careless doves. At the same time the doors opened at the front, and up the main aisle advanced his coffin, followed by the few gray heads who stood for the men of the Twentieth, the rank and file whom he had loved, and whom he led for the last time.
The church was empty. No one remembered the old man whom we were burying, no one save those next to him, and us. And I said to myself, The Twentieth has shrunk to a skeleton, a ghost, a memory, a forgotten name which we other old men alone keep in our hearts.
And then I thought: It is right. It is as the colonel would have it. This also is part of the soldier's faith: Having known great things, to be content with silence. Just then there fell into my hands a little song sung by a warlike people on the Danube, which seemed to me fit for a soldier's last word, another song of the sword, but a song of the sword in its scabbard, a song of oblivion and peace.
A soldier has been buried on the battlefield.
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Today is the Indianapolis 500. Not something I normally would have kept up with, but living here, it's hard to ignore. There are yards that have been decorated all month for the celebration. And references everywhere. And you will be able to hear it for miles.
It remains one of our goals to attend to feel like we've really experienced Indianapolis. Hopefully next year.
For now, hopefully, it's a great race.
Saturday, May 27, 2023
Generally, yesterday represented the end of the school year. The last day of class and many graduations across the state and country. And my thoughts go to the wisdom that many will try to impart last night and today through those ceremonies in commencement speeches, while the newly free minds will be focused on one thing and one thing only: walking across that stage so that everything is finally finished.
I know of no reason why I would ever be asked to give a commencement speech, but were such an occasion ever to present itself, this is what I was say. (I should note, that the speech itself probably gives good reason why I'll never be asked to do so.)
Thursday, May 25, 2023
It's finally here...
Today is the last day of school. It's hard to believe it is already that time, and yet, it feels like so much has happened in this past year. It's easy to imagine why the kids and teachers are so ready to be finished.
Just as with every year, I think it is important to show our teachers that we recognize how they continue to be challenged and that we appreciate how much they have done. Instead of constantly second-guessing their professionalism and ability. Instead of continuing to heap on requirements that make their jobs more challenging, and less rewarding.
Hopefully everyone has a teacher that they can thank in their life for inspiring or motivating them. Recognizing the impact teachers have on the lives around them.
I feel blessed to have had so many wonderful teachers throughout my lifetime, at all levels. There really are too many to mention here in any meaningful way. I'm proud to have so many teachers that I would consider family and I'm proud to have teachers that I call friends. I'm especially proud to have married one.
The hours go way beyond whatever you imagine a regular school day is. The pay is far too low for what we ask of them. They cobble things together from duct-tape and baling wire to make sure they have what they need for the class. And they succeed in spite of the ridiculous tests that we ask them to prepare students for.
So go hug a teacher. Go shake their hand. If one of them truly made a difference in your life, please let them know. You cannot imagine how much it means to them.
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
While her party was a few days ago, today marks the birthday of a very special lady in our family. Our matriarch. Our cinnamon toast maker. Our harmonizer (I know she’s why I can hear a tenor and alto line so well). Our boss. Our rock.
Today, Grandy Sheppard celebrates another birthday and another year of memories, life, and love. These are the times that the distance gets tough for us, because this is where we’d love to be a part of the party. But we are thankful for the technology that allows us to video in and celebrate. To share our well wishes and love. And to spread that to all we know.
We hope today was truly a Grand one and hope to physically celebrate together soon.
We love you Grandy Sheppard! Many blessed and happy returns of the day!
Sunday, May 14, 2023
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Thank you! We love you! 💕
One bright and guiding light
That taught me wrong from right
I found in my mother's eyes
Those faithful tales she told
Of streets all paved in gold
I found in my mother's eyes
Just like a wandering sparrow
One lonely soul
I'll walk the straight and narrow
To reach my goal
God's gift sent from above
A real unselfish love
I found in my mother's eyes.
Saturday, May 13, 2023
It's been a while since I've done one of these posts. I honestly thought I exorcised all of these ideas already. I admit, I've wanted to touch up the old articles so I could submit myself for the role now that Iger has a two year limit (tongue firmly in cheek), but there hasn't been a lot I've felt I've needed to express in this area.
Then, over the past couple of weeks, I've watched an AstroWorld documentary, highlighting the rise and fall of that park in Houston. That lead me to the Wikipedia rabbit hole of articles on AstroWorld and the Astrodome. That lead me to investigating the current use of the land in the former AstroDomain and learning how much is sitting unused or ill-used.
Combine that with a healthy dose of nostalgia, and the news that Universal is getting into the regional parks business with a park in Frisco and a year-round haunt in Las Vegas, and the gears started rolling in my head. I kept thinking through how best to use the current NRG Park-former AstroDomain area to its fullest. And in that process, my brain kept coming back to one owner who could truly maximize the potential of that area.
I've written before on my thoughts for a Disney park in Texas, but that focused on starting from scratch. Building an entire resort in a new location somewhere around Central Texas. The thought was to give Texas a resort somewhere between Disneyland and Disney World. What makes more sense to me now, is for Disney to look for an area in which they could quickly ramp up and entire the theme park business in Texas.
Especially when Disney is reconsidering where to spend its $17 billion in park expenditures given its current fight in Florida.
What's better for that, than an area that has an empty theme park parcel of land, plenty of parking, the infrastructure needed to move people across a highway to the theme park, a light rail stop, and current venues that would generate revenue from day one?
With that in mind, I think it's time for Disney to buy the AstroDomain from Houston.
Welcome to AstroDisney.
Friday, May 12, 2023
A bit of silliness today, to ignore the news of the day for discussion tomorrow. Today is Limerick Day, celebrating Edward Lear, who made the short poems widespread. Born on May 12, 1812, he wrote 212 limericks, not all of which follow the strict construction we think of today, but nonetheless helped popularize the short poetry.
To celebrate, I thought I would share a couple.
First a favorite of Lear's.
"There was an Old Man of Peru,
who watched his wife making a stew;
But once by mistake,
In a stove she did bake,
That unfortunate Man of Peru."
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
"Long live King Charles"
Monday, May 8, 2023
Once louder for those in the back, and for those who are intentionally refusing to listen...
IT'S THE GUNS!
When, when can we admit that the guns have at least some part to play in the continued rise in deaths from gun violence. Are we that far gone?
This is tough to write, as the topic continues to make me want to swear or be uncharitable. My anger over our inability to act continues to rise with each and every event. Particularly following the ridiculously predictable response we get every single time. Even down to being able to write the tweets our leadership will share.
Saturday afternoon, May 6, 2023, a gunman opened fire at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, murdering eight people and injuring seven. The victims range in age from 5 years old to 61 years old. The attacker was killed by the police.
There have been 199 mass shootings in the country since the beginning of the year. This is the second most deadly shooting this year.
And just like always, we see the same response. Thoughts and prayers. It's not the guns, it's mental health. We can't do anything about the guns.
Blah, blah, blah.
All such drivel.
First, I don't want to diminish thoughts and prayers. They are powerful. Prayer can move mountains, truly. I can point to the times of my life where I have been prayed through. Where I only survived because of the prayers of others.But we belittle the very purpose and power of prayer when we make it the very least we can do and leave it there. When we leave it as a simple bon mot response. If we do nothing else, the faith behind those prayers is dead. Our faith should be compelling us to some kind of change to make this stop.
We just have the willpower to actually make a change.
If we did, we might discover the impact guns have on us goes way beyond the mass shootings that really bring the issue to our attention. We need to explore the impact of mass homicide, on domestic homicide, and on suicide. On accidental gun violence.
Saturday, May 6, 2023
Today is one of the great days in nerd culture - Free Comic Book Day. First started in May 2002, the day is an annual promotional event for North American Comic Book publishers to attract new readers to independent comic book stores. The event is typically held the first weekend in May and generally coincides with the release of a new comic book movie. This year sees the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
To truly make it a free comic book opportunity, each year, the major (and many minor) publishers create special comics designed to be given away by the comic book stores. Sometimes, this new offering just contains reprint material of popular comics made by the publisher that tie into their promotional activities for the year. Often though, they create an entirely new offering that sets the stage for their events for the year. Either way, it's possible to find a store and rack up several completely new comics that you can obtain for free.
Stores usually join in with sales, promotions, and the like to help make it truly an accessible event for all. This event is really for the local comic book shop after all, helping to drive traffic their way.
So, if you have one, support your local comic book shop today. If you need to find one, you can use the link below to find one near you.
Happy reading everyone!