So strike up the band! This week Sepia Saturday bloggers are challenged to find and share photos of marching bands. Here’s what I found:
Jefferson City, Missouri, 1924 | Flickr Commons – Missouri State Archives
Killybegs Marching Band in Falcarragh, Ireland, 1971 | Flickr Commons – National Library of Ireland
In the description for this photo it says: The benefits of having a marching band in a town are many and varied, keeping young people active, developing an appreciation of music, giving essential life skills etc.
High School Students (no information where they’re from) in front of the Rotunda, Arts & Industries Building, Washington, DC | Flickr Commons – Smithsonian Institute.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is of a man walking down a city street.
This photo shows members of the Pennsylvania delegation of the Republican party walking into the national convention held in Chicago in 1912 according to the Library of Congress. I’m wondering how and why women attended since they couldn’t vote in an election till 1920.
Henry Crumpton’s The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service chronicles the author’s career with the CIA. Crumpton started in the CIA working in African countries recruiting in country sources and went on to lead the CIA’s work in Afghanistan. Although many specifics are left out, no doubt to protect people and our various missions, Crumpton gives readers a realistic picture of clandestine service how important trust is, how affiliates are recruited, how brave CIA operatives and those they recruit really are.
Crumption’s writing is solid and the book feels like the real deal. I was most interested in his stories of recruiting local people abroad and American business leaders, exchange students and others who would cooperate with the CIA when they traveled overseas. While Crumpton never names names, it did seem like either Steven Jobs or more likely, in my opinion, Bill Gates has collaborated with them. Sometimes college presidents help out by allowing exchange students from programs known to be working on nefarious projects, e.g. biological weapons and their dispersal, to be watched. (Why would the State Department issue them visas to begin with?)
I also got a better sense of how important CIA spouses and families were. Not only do they sacrifice more than most, but the spouses can help out to a certain extent. The Art of Intelligence is an interesting non-fiction read, but if you’re looking for the action and sex appeal of a novel, keep looking.
One of the things I love best about family gatherings is learning about news that’s slipped me by. Here’s what I’ve learned this holiday season:
The U.S. Small Business Association has 400 offices throughout the country. No one is more than a 45 minute drive from one of these offices which offer a slew of assistance to people considering opening a business.
The Silk Road is an online black market selling all sorts of illicit goods and services. The FBI arrested its kingpin, Dread Pirate Roberts at a public library (where he no doubt conducted business online). The FBI has closed down this site that offered illegal drugs, hit men’s services, ammunition and illegal arms, etc. It’s one of many online black markets. I confess I didn’t even know there was a “deep web,” an alternative web for all sorts of criminal activity.
For internet security, it’s best to have a sentence that’s 12 or more characters long rather than a combination of symbols. Evidently, spammers can crack a shorter password within a week.
Bank of America refuses to increase loans to small businesses even when the government offers 90% guarantees. Talk about anti-American.
Nicholas Gattig wrote a fascinating article from The Japan Times on how people adopt or expect people of different cultures to behave in a certain way, to don a stereotypical mask.
On the night of April 18, three days after the Boston Marathon bombing, a side-drama to that story unfolded between three men as they criss-crossed the city, a performance staged partly in the theater of culture.
Just before 11 p.m., Danny, a young Chinese man on a work visa in the U.S., was carjacked at gunpoint by the Tsarnaev brothers, two immigrants from the Northern Caucasus. As recounted by Danny to The Boston Globe, the ordeal was a gruesome variant of the ethnic interactions that play out in America every day, with the players assigning and assuming their roles based on stereotypes.
“Maybe you think all white guys look the same,” said the older Tsarnaev, Tamerlan, warning Danny not to remember the brothers’ faces as he was chauffeuring them around Boston.
“Exactly,” lied Danny, who later identified the men to the police.
“You are Chinese,” said Tsarnaev. “I am a Muslim.”
“Chinese are very friendly to Muslims,” Danny said. “We are so friendly to Muslims!”
The exchange is surreal, especially Tsarnaev’s non-sequitur about identity. Islam is a religion, which means being Muslim doesn’t contrast with being Chinese (however friendly disposed, China is home to an estimated 20 million Muslims).
In fact, Tsarnaev imagined himself as a jihadist, a self-image that helped propel him through a heinous crime. In his perverted reading of the faith, killing Americans is a thing Muslims do. The Chinese Danny, in turn, obliged the views of the Chechen with the gun, so he would live to see another day. Both men were staging a performance, projecting identities to each other. Their encounter was a high-stakes version of what since the 1950s has been known as “impression management.”
Thankful. In the United States, yesterday was Thanksgiving, a holiday where people spend time with family and friends and remember the things they’re thankful for.
I think the idea of being thankful and reflecting back on good things in your life is something that naturally happens towards the end of a calendar year. I’m thankful that I’m blessed to live in China and this weekend I got to go to Beijing. I’m also thankful for a wonderful Thanksgiving on the 22nd.
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We needed to get train tickets for the second leg of our trip. After walking in circles to find the ticket booking agency near our hotel, we jumped in a cab for the station on the outskirts of town. Had we known what laid ahead, we’d have hunted for the agency with more tenacity.
At the station, there was a long line for tickets. This we expected. We didn’t expect that a raving lunatic would stand behind us.
Soon after joining the line, an American yahoo and his long suffering Chinese host got behind us. The American ranted incessantly and tried to pull us into his ramblings about how the US should bomb Syria, how the US has the best army in the world and he was going to go bomb Syria, how Obama wasn’t a good president, but W. Bush was the best ever and on and on. He asked where we were from and I responded Canada hoping that would end his attempt to communicate. Unfortunately K. said she was from Michigan.
She actually got off better than I did as this guy in his very cheap USA t-shirt started berating Canada. We didn’t look at him, though I wanted to offer a glance of sympathy for the Chinese man who was with him. The ranter seemed drunk and probably mentally ill. It soon came out that he’s married to a Chinese woman and had decided he’d never visit this Chinese man again. I can only imagine how that promise fueled the patience needed to host this guy. The ranter kept goading his friend to bribe someone so they could get tickets faster. The Chinese man kept stating that that was illegal and he’d have no part in such dealings. God bless him. I’d have been tempted to do anything to get this guest out of my house.
The ranter went on and on about how weak the Chinese military was and I hoped no one else in line spoke English. This guy was so offensive and out of control and I wasn’t sure that others would understand that he doesn’t represent the US and probably was mentally disturbed. As we neared the window, I kept hoping that the line would move faster and that the ranter wouldn’t notice that I had an American passport. Figuring out I’d lied, would have resulted in more unwanted rants.
In any travel, there’s a fair amount of travail.
Also some people come overseas because they can’t handle life in their own country. If they do have a mental problem, it’s likely to go undetected because after all, “foreigners are strange.” Alcohol is a handy self-medicater, but it also exacerbates the problem.
In episode 8 of The Newsroom, there’s a story brewing on a spy program called Global Clarity. I was alarmed to learn about a pervasive system of wire tapping that’s “probably illegal.” I had to stop the program and see if this was mere fiction.
It isn’t. There actually is a program called Stellar Wind. However it hasn’t gotten much attention from the press or the public.
Why doesn’t this story get picked up?
Years ago I read a story in the Chicago Tribune about a Chicago Public School teacher who reprimanded a student for not having his homework or not paying attention in class. She hadn’t been sarcastic or unprofessional in her choice of words, yet the boy felt embarrassed in front of his peers. I think we can all remember times when we did or didn’t do something in school and we got called on it. We were in the wrong, but it still felt bad.
This boy sought revenge. He wasn’t going to let this incident go so he took a hammer to school and when he had an opportunity, he hit his teacher again and again. This Chicago Public School teacher suffered permanent brain damage. Her family lost the woman they knew and had to adjust their lives as a family who’s father is a cop and he’s been shot or beaten. At least though, the police officer would have been trained and armed to defend himself.
Do you see why I side with the Chicago Public School teachers as they strike for a professional wage and object to accountability standards that are unrealistic given the challenges they face? Before the Chicago Public Schools test out merit pay and such new measures, Skokie, Glenview, Evanston and Waukegan and other communities with fewer challenges should see how it works first.
It does look like the parties will soon make a deal. I don’t think missing a week of school isn’t educational. I think, if they examine the situation, older students will certainly learn something quite important.