Category Archives: History

Antisemitism: The Original Coronavirus

While the world deals with the coronavirus and the toll it takes, the Jewish community is dealing with another disease: antisemitism.

Pastor Rick Wiles blamed the coronavirus not on the virus itself, but on the idea Jews have not accepted the Christian G-d as their holy parent and creator.

“Stay out of those things, there’s a plague in them. God’s dealing with false religions,” he said on Wednesday night on TruNews, which he founded. “God’s dealing with people who oppose his son, Jesus Christ. He’s dealing with the forces of Antichrist. And there’s a plague moving upon the earth right now, and the people that are going into the synagogues are coming out of the synagogues with the virus.”

Given what we are going through at this point in time, the last thing that is wanted or need is division. Especially division that is based on something as surface level as religion. The fact is that the coronavirus does not care about the religious faith (or lack thereof) of the person it makes sick. Everyone is an equal opportunity home for this disease.

This is not the first, or the last time that the Jewish community has been blamed for a natural phenomenon. I just wish that in 2020, we would be using our brains instead of half baked lies.

But I guess some things never change.

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Filed under History, National News

Grantchester Character Review: Geordie Keating

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the world of TV detectives, there is a certain perception of the character. He or she is hard bitten by life, excels at their jobs, but personal issues sometimes get in the way. Detective Geordie Keating (Robson Green) has seen it all. A veteran of World War II, he has seen the darker side of humanity from his time during the war and his job as a police detective. Married to Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth), they have four children and a very busy life.

The ying to Sidney Chamber’s (James Norton) yang, Geordie understands the criminal mind and is sometimes willing to break the rules to bring them to justice. This naturally creates tension with Sidney who is more intuitive in his methodologies than his partner. But, they balance each out in a way that bring out the best in both men.

On the home front, Geordie has another set of challenges. He had a mistress for a while, which obviously did not make for a happy marriage. After he broke it off and finally returned to the arms of his wife, Geordie had to face up to the fact that his eldest daughter, Esme (Skye Lucia Degruttola) was growing into a young woman. Ask any father and they will tell you that it’s not easy to admit that your little girl is growing up.

To sum it up: The character of the hard boiled police detective is one that has been seen many over the years. It is therefore, the job of the writer(s) to ensure that their version of the character is not only flesh and blood, but stands out from the pack.

Geordie Keating stands out because even though he is a hard boiled TV detective, he is so much more than that. He is thoroughly human, with flaws and mistakes. But he also knows when to make amends and tell those who he loves exactly how he feels.

That is why Geordie Keating is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, History, Star Wars

Grantchester Character Review: Sidney Chambers

My character review from Roseanne and The Conners has reached its end. Onto the next set of characters.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to clergy people of any religion, we expect them to act and think in a certain way. We expect them to be buttoned down, conservative and living as close to the tenets of their faith as they can. In Grantchester, Sydney Chambers (James Norton) breaks all of those rules and more.

A World War II veteran and a man of the cloth, Sydney Chambers’s life is more than the Church. Drawn into the world of crime fighting, his ability to read and understand the human condition puts a new spin on his extracurricular activities. Paired with veteran policeman Geordie Keating (Robson Green), Sidney is the ying to Geordie’s yang.

When he is not doing his clerical work or fighting crime, Sidney can be found with a drink in his hand and a jazz record playing in the background. He can also be found with his best friend, Amanda Kendall (Morven Christie). Sidney is in love with Amanda. But according to the rules of 1950’s England, a woman of Amanda’s stature does not marry a clergyman, especially one whose parish is in the country.

Throughout his journey, it is Sidney’s heart that both helps him and gets him in trouble. When a pregnant Amanda walks away from her marriage, she goes to Sidney. The “will they or won’t they” questions hovers above their relationship, but ultimately becomes a won’t they as Sidney chooses the Church over Amanda.

In the end, Sidney’s heart chooses his fate. Falling in love with an African-American woman, he leaves England, his chosen profession and his friends for a new life in the States.

To sum it up: Sidney Chambers is one complicated character. Though he is a man of the cloth, he is far from the stereotype of a clergy person. As an audience member, I personally find the contradictions to be interesting. As a writer, we look for ways to break molds in characters and allow them to stand out.

Sidney Chambers stands out, which is why he is a memorable character.

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Filed under Character Review, History, Television

Throwback Thursday-A Very British Romance (2015)

The ideas we have about love and romance did not come out of thin air. As our culture changed, the perception of love and romance (and marriage by extension) changed.

In 2015, the miniseries A Very British Romance with Lucy Worsley aired. Hosted by the aforementioned historian Lucy Worsley, the program explored in the history of romance in the UK and how it shifted over the generations.

I enjoyed this series. Ms. Worsley breaks down the history in such a way that it is digestible and entertaining. Whether one is knowledgeable in this subject or a newbie, this program is a history lesson that does not feel like a history lesson.

I recommend it.

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Filed under History, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

You Should Take Responsibility, Mr. President

In any business, regardless of the particulars of that business, it is known and accepted that when sh*t happens, it will be the boss who takes responsibility. He or she will step up to the plate and do what needs to be done to resolve the problem.

Over the weekend, our illustrious President stated the following:

“I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said defiantly, pointing to an unspecified “set of circumstances” and “rules, regulations and specifications from a different time.”

When the late former President Harry Truman was in office, he had a plaque on his desk with the following statement The buck stops here“. In order words, he took responsibility for what was happening in the country.

It’s true that you know is not directly responsible for the coronavirus to entering the United States. But he is, for better or for worse, President. The buck stops with him whether he likes it or not. The nation looks to him for comfort, guidance and support as we try to get through this challenging time. The fact that he is stepping back from taking responsibility should be the final nail in the coffin that is his Presidency.

Let’s hope that voters remember this statement come November.

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Filed under History, National News, Poldark

New Randy Rainbow Video-“The CORONAVIRUS Lament – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody”

It has been said that in challenging times, how one responds to that challenge speaks volumes.

Last night, Randy Rainbow released his newest video, The CORONAVIRUS Lament – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody.

Based on the song Adelaide’s Lament from the 1950’s musical, Guys and Dolls, Rainbow paints a picture as only he can of a President and a Presidential administration whose head is in the literal sand.

I read somewhere (though I don’t recall where and I cannot find a link) that the comparisons between for President Jimmy Carter and his handling of the Iranian hostage crisis and the way you know who is not reacting as he should to this crisis. The writer predicted that like Jimmy Carter, you know who will be a one term President.

From this person’s mouth to G-d and the voter’s ears.

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Filed under History, National News, Politics, Randy Rainbow

Throwback Thursday: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

We all want to be in love and most if, not all of us, would like to say “I do” to someone at some point.

In the 1954 movie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Adam (Howard Keel) married Milly (Jane Powell) after knowing her for less than a day. When Milly arrives at her new home, she discovers that her husband is the eldest of seven boys. Inspired by their eldest brother, the rest of the Pontipee men are eager to marry.

While watching his wife turn his brothers in gentlemen, Adam is inspired to find wives for them. The method of finding wives comes from the story of the capture of the Sabine women by the Romans.

There are many musicals from this era that are considered to be classics. They are also slightly misogynistic. For its time, this movie musical is fine. But what bothers me is that the screenwriters gloss over the fact that the Sabine women were according to legend, raped, not captured with the intent of marriage.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies

Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang: Fifty Makers, Shakers and Heartbreakers from the Victorian Era Book Review

There is a myth about women and art. We can be the subject of the art, but we cannot be the artist.

In the mid 19th century, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood decided to put their own spin on art. Mostly made up of men, their work consisted of bright colors, an ornate attention to detail and subjects that looked like they could be real. But in spite of the impression that this movement was mostly made up of men, there were also a good amount of women artists and models who had a hand in creating this new form of art.

Pre-Raphaelite Girl Gang: Fifty Makers, Shakers and Heartbreakers from the Victorian Era was published in 2018. Written by Kirsty Stonell Walker with illustrations by Kingsley Nebechi, this book highlights the work of fifty women who should rightly be given the spotlight.

I picked up this book because the women whose stories are told have as much right to be recognized and appreciated as their male counterparts. To be honest, it was ok. If I was more a fan of classical art, I think I would have enjoyed the book more.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History

Purim, Queen Esther, and the Fight to be True to Yourself

We live in a culture and a world that values conformity over originality. To be different, to be an outsider is not ideal.

The story of Purim and Queen Esther is about being an outsider.

Esther is an orphaned young woman growing up in ancient Babylonia. Jewish by birth and by practice, she is drafted to be one of the young women presented to the King Ahasuerus as a future bride. Chosen by the King to be his Queen, Esther must hide her identity. When her people are in danger, Esther must make a choice: continue to hide her true self or put herself in danger to save her people.

There are very few stories in the Bible in which a woman is not only front and center, but she is the heroine. The fate of the Jews rests on her shoulders. She knows that remaining silent would save her life. But she also knows that deep down inside, she cannot stand by and watch those she loves being slaughtered simply because of their faith.

My personal takeaway from the story of Purim and the courage of Queen Esther is that being yourself in the face of conformity is the hardest thing anyone of us can do. But, if we are willing to take the risk, the results may just outweigh the fear.

Happy Purim!

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Filed under Feminism, History

The Yellow Bird Sings: A Novel Book Review

The bond between a mother and her child is powerful. In times of war, what will a mother to do protect her child?

The Yellow Bird Sings: A Novel was published last week.

Written by Jennifer Rosner, the novel is set in Poland during World War II. Róza and her 5-year-old daughter, Shira, are hiding in a barn owned by their Christian neighbors. Her husband, parents and the rest of the town’s Jews have all disappeared. To keep her daughter quiet and calm, Róza tells her the story of a yellow bird. The story works, but not forever.

Soon, Róza must make a choice. Keep Shira with her or send her away with strangers to give her a chance to survive.

This book hits all of the emotional and narrative points that is standard for the genre. However, it did not tough me in a way that other books in the genre do. I wanted to feel the tension as to whether both characters would survive and find their way back to each other. Unfortunately, I did not.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History