What Happens Now?/Post Nine/Volume Three


Let us start with this: 
McDonald’s: “There are too many black people in the store” should NEVER be an acceptable reason for workers at your stores to be fired. Ensure NO ONE ELSE who works for you is racially harassed, and pay the 10 workers in South Boston, Virginia, fired on racist grounds, back pay and damages today.Ron10-183x300

Amazing that this kind of comment is made by people in management positions in today’s business world. Of course, not surprisingly, it seems to me that all over this country there seems to be people who really don’t get it. But are we so casual about these kinds of comments that we accept this kind of behavior by the likes of one of the largest and longest of businesses that we have enjoyed over many years? Are we missing something, or is it that the many years we have been doing business with McDonalds that we did not pay attention to their business practices? Well, I prefer to pass judgement on the premise that maybe, just maybe, there may be management people that have been replaced by former managers who did not have have these negative opinions of their employees, regardless of race. Those of us who were introduced to the McDonalds brand from its inception many years ago were very seldom, if ever from my experience, treated in this manner. Additionally, McDonalds has been a leader of diverse practices, such as their McDonald Houses, that provide services by people in need of health assistance over the years, regardless of race. Are we to believe that this is the same McDonalds that allows their management staff to make comments such as those shown in this petition?

The articles that follow will be my take on several current news items that I feel are important to readers who are interested in the art of music. I have made these comments based on the current February news that came across my desk at the time. Hopefully, you will agree that my entry is newsworthy.

Bob Dylan who has a new recording, released at the beginning of February, has caused quite a stir in the music industry. The recording, Shadows In The Night, is a dedication with songs celebrating Frank Sinatra with a few exceptions. That stir is a direct result of numerous reviews, articles and interviews since the record release because of the material on the recording that is an unusual display of artistry by the iconoclastic singer  and the songs he chose to sing. The 73 year old Dylan has been around the music industry for years now, in and out of the business, depending on how he chose to orchestrate that inevitability in the past.

I have to go back to the late fifties and when Dylan was just getting started in his late teens trying to learn his craft as a singer of various songs, and being influenced early by the likes of Hank Williams and others, and in his early twenties directed his interest to the art of folk music. The likes of Harry Belafonte and Pete Seeger that were strong performers at the time peaked, and the younger crowd, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan included were beginning to make music that made them stars in their own right, and Dylan, because of his songwriting abilities that spoke to an audience about the current scene at the time that was changing; such songs as Blowin’ In The Wind, that was made a hit, sung by Peter, Paul and Mary, and songs that were performed by Nina Simone  and others over the years.

The current issue of the Daily Beast has a thirty minute speech that Dylan made accepting a Musicares’ 2015 Person Of  The Year Award, about his life, and Bob Dylan has come around once again, and the music world is better for it. His honesty and his outlook at this time in his life is quite telling and deserves a special reading.

The following interview is from the AARP Magazine article.http://pubs.aarp.org/aarptm/20150203_PR?folio=28#pg30

Talkin’ Jazz Two of the most prominent jazz piano players in that genre,  Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea will tour together for the first time since 1978. The pianists will perform a number of duet dates in the United States and Canada beginning March 14 in Seattle, before heading to Europe in July for a handful of shows. They will also play in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The pair’s 1978 shows resulted in two album releases, An Evening with Herbie Hancock & Chick Corea: In Concert in 1978 and CoreaHancock the following year.

Jimmy Greene: Beautiful Life “Music has a unique way of communicating and healing. I’m so thankful that music is my profession – that I am able to write and arrange to create settings that convey the emotions I experience, not the least of which is the pain that my family and I have endured at a time when words fail.” 

Jimmy Greene’s new release, Beautiful Life on Mack Avenue Records, is a celebration of the life of his 6-year-old daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, whose life was tragically taken, along with 19 other children and 6 educators, on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

“I want the music to reflect the way that Ana lived,” Greene says. He fulfills that mandate with an intense, cohesive, genre-spanning program—juxtaposing the hardcore instrumental jazz for which he is best known with traditional spirituals, contemporary Christian music, standard ballads and three original songs framing his own lyrics. Animating the repertoire is a gold-standard rhythm section (Renee Rosnes, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Lewis Nash, drums), augmented at various points by guitarists Pat Metheny and Jonathan DuBose, Jr.; pianists Kenny Barron and Cyrus Chestnut; vocalists Kurt Elling, Javier Colon and Latanya Farrell; spoken word from Tony Award®-winning actress Anika Noni Rose; a 13-piece string ensemble from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; as well as an accomplished children’s choir.

Greene himself is one of the most respected saxophonists of his generation since graduating from Hartt School of Music in 1997. He composed or arranged every selection and plays tenor and soprano saxophones as well as flute with customary authority, melodic focus and abiding soulfulness.

“In the days after my daughter was killed, playing and writing music wasn’t even a thought,” the 39-year-old saxophonist says. “I was very much in shock, grieving deeply and trying to just function coherently. Family and friends surrounded us and held us up, and we received 10,000 communications—emails, texts, Facebook messages, voice calls, letters—from people around the world. The community of musicians was front and center for that support. When I called, they responded, ‘Whatever you need, just say the word, and I’ll be there.’”

In late January 2013, Greene, feeling that “I needed to get back to some sense of routine,” resumed a regimen of practice and composition. Soon thereafter, Norman Chesky, the co-owner of Chesky Records and HDtracks, reached out with an extraordinary offer.

“An intense amount of media attention was focused on my family and all of us in Newtown, so I was fairly guarded whenever communicating with someone for the first time,” Greene relates. “But Norman offered to donate the production of a recording that I could do whenever I was ready, and to give me complete ownership. I was humbled and honored by his generosity, and began to devote my energies to the project.”

Greene decided to weave lyrics and singers into the flow for the first time on one of his recordings. “Ana loved to sing and listen to singers, and had a wonderful singing voice,” he explains. “So an album dedicated to her memory needed to have singers and songs that were important to her and me and my family.”

Beautiful Life opens with a recording of Ana singing the traditional “Saludos” (“Greetings”) at a Christmas celebration (parranda) in Puerto Rico with her mother Nelba Márquez-Greene’s family—and her father playing in the background—a year before her death. Greene segues to a section in which he and guitarist Pat Metheny perform “Come Thou Almighty King” before concluding with another family recording of Ana singing the hymn to her brother Isaiah’s piano accompaniment.

The wistful “Last Summer,” a quartet feature, evokes Greene’s impressions of the photograph of his children—captured from the rear with their arms around each other’s shoulders in the family’s backyard in Winnipeg, Canada, where Greene taught at the University of Manitoba between 2009 and 2012—that appears on the cover of Beautiful Life.

The mellow tenor voice of Javier Colon, Greene’s one-time classmate at Hartt who won the 2011 edition of NBC’s The Voice, delivers Greene’s lyric for “When I Come Home” supported by the quartet, Greene’s signifying tenor saxophone and the strings.

Greene initially recorded “Ana’s Way” instrumentally as “Ana Grace” on the 2009 recording Mission Statement. Complementing Grammy® Award-winner Kurt Elling’s characteristically penetrating, graceful interpretation is the Linden Christian School Early Years Choir, comprising classmates of Ana and Isaiah in Winnipeg; solos by Greene and Rosnes distill the oceanic emotions of the lyric. “It was brutal seeing Ana’s friends again, without Ana there amongst them,” Greene says. “But we got through it somehow, and I think the results are very touching.”

Iconic pianist Kenny Barron joins Greene for conversational readings of the Broadway songs “Where Is Love?” fromOliver and “Maybe” from Annie, the latter featuring Greene’s pure-toned soprano saxophone. “Kenny, Christian and Lewis were the rhythm section for the 1996 Thelonious Monk Competition, where I was named first runner-up,” Greene recalls. “They made me feel welcomed and comfortable, that I could do this for my life, and so I wanted them involved.”

“My daughter loved Annie, and would sing ‘Maybe’ a cappella with great pitch and rhythm in the back of the car when we were driving around,” Greene recalls. He includes “Where Is Love” in homage to Jackie McLean, his primary musical mentor, who showed Greene, then 15, the melody at their first meeting at Hartford’s Artists Collective.

The penultimate track of Beautiful Life, titled “Prayer,” is Greene’s musical setting of the text of the “Lord’s Prayer.” Cyrus Chestnut accompanies Greene’s devotional tenor saxophone; illuminating the message is Latanya Farrell (who Greene met while attending Hartt), whose powerful contralto enchanted Ana as a toddler.

Ana became a fan of Anika Noni Rose—a high school classmate of Greene’s in Bloomfield, Connecticut—after hearing her inhabit the role of Princess Tiana in the animated film The Princess and the Frog. Rose’s recitation of Greene’s optimistic soliloquy “Little Voices” precedes another appearance by the Linden Children’s Choir.

“Many people have asked what they can do to help, and this is my answer,” Greene says. “Let’s remember what happened at Sandy Hook. We can each hold up our end of the bargain, which is to somehow learn to love ourselves, and then see past ourselves and love our neighbor. That’s pretty simple, but if we all did it, I think our existence would be different.”

A portion of the proceeds from Beautiful Life will be donated to the following charities in Ana’s name:

  • The Ana Grace Project of Klingberg Family Centers—initiated by Greene’s wife Nelba, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, to promote love, community and connection for every child and family through partnerships with schools, mental health providers, community organizations and faith leaders.
  • The Artists Collective—where generations of children and families in Greater Hartford have gained access to world-class training in the arts
  • (The two articles are the courtesy of Jazz Times Magazine)

Sinatra celebrates 100 There is no doubt that in the last century there were an abundance of singers in any genre that stood out among the many. But, one stood out above the rest as one of it’s leading exponents of the art, and that person was Frank Sinatra, who celebrates a 100 birthday this year of 2015.

There are many books available on the Sinatra history, so I do not intend to repeat the numerous pages about Sinatra and the longevity that he enjoyed as an entertainer in various positions he was part of. I enjoyed his masterly delivery of the American Songbook as a singer and this is what he will be remembered for.

From the years he spent with Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, and on his own in the forties, there were lows depending on the position he found himself in through the years, but the highs were so many that the times he had his difficulties are not worth mentioning as we celebrate his artistry. I know many who were not Sinatra fans, but I knew others who were in the Sinatra fan base and they stayed there forever.

Marveling when Sinatra came to Capitol Records and joined Nelson Riddle as his conductor, the time he spent there with masterful recordings, and the television appearances that featured him as the sole performer were astounding. That kind of television were only for those who were in the same class as he was.

Sinatra went on to produce his recordings on Reprise Records to finalize his place in musical history. His recordings have been appreciated by countless radio producers over the years, and hopefully in this new age there will be those who will continue to appreciate the American Songbook, not only from Sinatra, but from the recordings of Nat Cole who was taken away early in his career, and Tony Bennett and others who continue to record these masterful recordings for posterity.

Here’s to Frank. Happy Birthday, Ole Blue Eyes.

Highlights20050310-109CTerryR.I.P., Clark Terry. Clark Terry, the legendary trumpet player, and one of the most important jazz legends in the 20th Century, has died. Clark was 94 and was a long standing member of some of the most important jazz bands and orchestras, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, and his own accomplished recordings that will be a part of jazz’s history of that period.

Clark for many years an educator at the University Of New Hampshire and the William Paterson University in New Jersey, was surrounded by family, friends, and students when he passed away, a fitting tribute to him because he was an influential educator and held numerous high school and collegiate jazz clinics and summer camps.

Clark played with all the great musicians, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk among others.

Last year, the St. Louis native starred in the documentary Keep On Keepin’ On, which chronicled his relationship with budding student Justin Kauflin during his final years.

FeaturedUp NextKEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON, Justin Kauflin + Clark Terry Documentary with Director Alan HicksTheLipTV36:13Autoplay is paused.Up NextNaN / 0KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON, Justin Kauflin + Clark Terry Documentary with Director Alan HicksPlaylist (0)Mix (50+)

Finis I made every effort this month to make the February blog full of information and interesting subjects to read. Diversity is what I am reaching for each month for those who read the stories that I attempt to bring to you. There is much news from many resources, some bright and cheery, and some not so. The world is a difficult place and sometimes it takes a lot to get through the day without something to jar you and please you. Hopefully, there is something here in my blog that will bring you joy rather than something bringing you displeasure. I hope to bring you information that will keep you informed as you attempt to go through a busy time in your day and to inform you of information that will you may not otherwise know bout.

 

 

 

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After the New Year/Post Eight/Volume Three

Ron10-183x300Welcome to the second edition of the blog for the year. There is a continuation of conversations regarding the events of the last year, that will go on indefinitely. Of course, it is important that we all pay attention to this discussion, because it involves all of us if we want to help solve some of the problems facing us. We cannot solve all of our problems, of course, because that is unlikely, mainly because people have opinions based on their particular circumstances and situations. But, we cannot go down this road without trying.

January was full of news, with Martin King, Jr’s holiday and the State of  The Union Speech, so this information is included in our February issue of the blog.

This article was posted in the December 17, 2014 issue of the Boston Globe newspaper. Charles Ogletree, Jr. is a well respected Harvard Law professor and community activist in Boston, MA. It is required reading for all responsibly minded people regarding the issue of race and law enforcement. http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/12/16/blacklivesmatter-protests-are-demand-for-more/kd9N3vyTP7Yu7oooacMJWP/story.html

Art News Trying to do a tasteful blog and with diversity requires an interest in many subjects. While I have been involved with artistic interests throughout my life I find the art world to be a glorious adventure from drawings, paintings, sculpture and all the various genres of that world. The immense talent of artists all around the world have been displayed for years, and books and magazines featuring the artists and their works have been available to the general public who are interested.

Sigmar Polke, Laterna Magica, 1988-96.

In the September issue of ARTNews, a new editor has emerged with a new desire to make changes to the magazine and it’s redesign. We all need change after years of providing the services we provide to the public, and the new direction the magazine has taken is worthy of it’s dedication to the artistic community. For those readers who are interested in the arts I implore you to look here to find stories about artists and their works, just as those stories were told in past publications, as well as samples of their artistic beauty created by these artists. (from the on-line comment about, Sigmar Polke, from ARTNews): MoMA’s retrospective of Sigmar Polke, which landed at Tate Modern in October, shows that the work of the late Polke, an incongruous mix of devious scientist and demented humorist, remains as infectiously likable and devilishly frustrating as ever. His orgiastic, outwardly ad hoc (but secretly very deliberate) celebration of colors, forms and toxins has made him more influential than just about anyone since Warhol. One complaint: I found MoMA’s lack of labels maddening; call me a fogey. – See more at: http://www.artnews.com/2014/12/29/its-snowing-art-advisers-kenny-schachters-best-of-2014-and-predictions-for-2015/#sthash.zbCmsJw6.dpuf. (From the

In this vain regarding design and artistic interests, because of technological changes to all these publications available to us as readers, I occasionally find an interest in looking at the current websites that the publications are offering to their readers. Those of us who are computer literate, there are opportunities that are also available for on-line reading and information. Architectural Digest that is one of the publications that I have been reading and enjoying for years has been updating their website and magazine to give their readers an opportunity to enjoy their stories regarding designers; home design, product design, etc., and their January 2015 AD Great Design issue was chock full of design ideas that were stunning and noteworthy. Again, for future reading, if interested, the AD is the place to look for ideas and information.

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Happy New Year, 2015/Post Seven/Volume Three

Ron10-183x300

New Year salutations aside, I am dismayed concerning the events that are taking place in our country. I feel as I face this new time and new year with trepidation, that to try and put a positive spin on some of the things that are bothersome to me that I would not be honest in commenting on them.

Usually, I do not use this space on my blog for venting about some subject matter that I do not approve, but I have to change that concerning the subjects that I am going to discuss here.

In the past week as I peruse the news programs that I listen to, there is a deep concern that the people who are voted in to run this country have no interest in forming positive attitudes and have no interest in governing to make things better. I have to laugh about our politicians who preface a statement with, “The AMERICAN PEOPLE…..” Are the American people really up to the game these politicians play? Is the American electorate that blind and confused with the group that they voted into the Congress that they don’t understand that they have no intention to move forward on anything they plan to do to make a better living for the nation?

Think of it. What a disaster our Nation has become. From the economy that failed us, to the financial institutions that almost destroyed us, to the politicians who have not done their jobs and used their negative efforts to do everything they can to bring down a president because they were unable to understand how he got there and should be replaced. We have seen over the years the efforts to destroy our democracy not only in this country but around the world. We blame others who we have tortured, used and abused to find fault with them rather than look to the things we have done to make things worse.

Currently, we have what seems to be the growth of a police state in our country, with the unlawful tendency to take the lives of young, Black men under any circumstance without any effort to provide justice even when it’s obvious that justice should be served. The only people that are being active to preserve our country is the young people who are demanding  what they see is the unlawful treatment of minorities who have come to this country such as those who came years ago to live a better life, and those who live here and are treated like second rate citizens. We must do better.

As I am writing this post there is the unrest regarding the non-indictment , again by a grand jury in New Jersey, on the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who proposed no threat to the officers who approached him, at the hands of a police officer who administered a choke hold that resulted in his death. Since that time as the indictment was being addressed by people all around the Nation, there have been other incidents of police activity causing the deaths of innocent victims in other parts of the country.

I have to address the current situation, regarding the Grand Jury decision, and the non-indictment regarding Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. This announcement caused a night of unrest, violence, destroying of property and fires that effected businesses in the Ferguson community. While this is unacceptable and should not have happened, we must take  a serious look at the reasons and the causes why people react to such decisions. The long history that exists between law enforcement that persists in a negative result regarding the shootings of African-American men is astounding and it must change. The Black community has got to make that change happen, because the White leadership in this country have no desire to make it happen. We must do all we can as a people to grow as a national community so that our voices are heard as well as the efforts that we put forward to make a difference. This must be a job no matter how long it takes, no matter how many leaders and voices that are heard over time, we must put a stop to the violence that perpetrates our communities because of the frustration of Black Americans, especially young people who feel disenfranchised by the current events. We owe it to them. All of the community organizations that we have in this country need to organize as a group effort and take on this problem as an ongoing project. That is my personal suggestion. Any ideas that you as readers wish to share your own, please contact me.

“Your words hit home and I hope the world learns to accept their neighbors with a much greater respect.” Those are the words of a long, dear friend of mine, who read my blog in my last post. It makes a statement that resonates with many of the people who understand how important it is for all of us to find ways to live together in our society. We do not agree with everything that confronts us, and we need to understand that. We are not clones, but real people, and depending on what confronts us each and every day and how we handle them individually is a challenge for us all. But, reaching out to our neighbor is important in this society and we have to learn to do that.

Bill Cosby-I am unable to ignore the Bill Cosby situation because he has been an important factor in the lives of many people of all races, and the fact that he is an African-American entertainer is important to those of us who appreciated his talent. What a shame that through all these years we have developed a love for this man, and now with the more than a dozen allegations that have surfaced, even though there has been accusations that have not stuck, we realize that those allegations based on the information gathered most likely are factual.

Those of us who have been around when Cosby surfaced, from his monologues on his youth, that left us howling with laughter even when older members of our families found him a superb comic, through I Spy that brought him success, and the long Huxable Family programs that we watched as the family children grew up, what the hell happened that this man was unable to sustain the credibility that we enjoyed over the years? What a way to fall down from grace.

Our disappointments are valid. Even if some of the accusations are complicated based on what the facts are, and most of us have no way of knowing, Cosby and his lawyers are made it impossible to prove other wise. The fact that so many organizations have not approved of what has transpired, and have taken away all of the awards granted him, this must be a disheartening thing for him. Actually, I suspect that the flaws he has are deeply rooted, and sometimes having so much fame can be a negative factor in one’s life.

For those who believe that this is one more spike in the heart of Black America, we still have those who stand up proudly and move forward with a special grace. We have them to find the solace in what we believe in as a people and move away from the Bill Cosby’s of the world who are unable to share that with us. What a disappointment!

 Finis: I have to finish with something that is bothering me and I wish to share it with you.

You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught

You’ve got To be taught

To hate and fear,

You’ve got to be taught

From year to year,

It’s got to be drummed

In your dear little ear

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a different shade,

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You’ve Got To be carefully taught!

The lyrics here were written by the songwriting team of Rodgers and Hammerstein for the musical South Pacific. The song was written for that period of time, but we have learned from our experiences, that well written prose by talented people often speak carefully about the moment they were written. These lyrics speak of the present, in our time, 2015, and with all of the divisions  that we are going through in our country it is apparent that we should pay attention to what it says.

There is no doubt that todays children see their world differently, especially where diverse opinions about people in their lives who are of different races. Mostly, our children get it. However, there are those who were carefully taught, like the lyrics of the song says, to carry on a tradition that they were brought up in.

When you see races of all people stand up for others that do not look like them because they know it is not right to think that way, then there is hope for a better world. It is a sad place to be an American now. As we believed that people would work to make a better understanding of ourselves, there are others that are hanging on to old traditions and stereotypes that prevent us for moving forward in our relations.

Close to the end of December, and we are still suffering through tragedies in this past few days; the killing of two innocent police officers in New York doing their jobs admirably. There is no excuse for it and even though the person who took their life took his own and was mentally ill, we cannot accept the fact that it happened and may happen again.  There is a lot of pain in this country and in our communities, and we need to address them honestly and truthfully and with compassion. We cannot continue to look the other way because no matter what our status is in this country, it can happen to any one of us.

To close, there are people in our political structure who believe in negative stereotyping, and pass on in their statements to others what they believe. Those politicians who propose these ideas to their constituency and to the electorate should be called out as they were in the past when this country was struggling with segregation problems, voting rights, etc. They will bring this country down with their comments and efforts and destroy the very things that America stood for and stands for now. Our differences will not go away unless we confront them regardless of the negative opinions that others propose. Our world is a new world with others seeking a better life of all races and nationalities. We must see our world in the reality of the moment. If we don’t we will fail as a democracy.

Just a bit of good news, the President awarded the Medal of Freedom November 24 to 19 people that included actress, Meryl Streep, the three civil rights activists, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and vocalist Stevie Wonder. I wish to point out that I loved the idea of Wonder being part of that award, because his whole musical career has been all about love, peace and freedom, and in the words of his music there are layers with his devotion and dedication with this subject. I congratulate all who received this award, but I appreciate what Stevie Wonder has brought to the world with his music.

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Happy Holidays

Hope you and your family have a wonderful season, from my family to yours.

Ron10-183x300I wish all of you a very blessed holiday season. These are troubled times that we are going through, and those of us who think positively about our lives and the people in our lives must continue to do that because it will help to make our lives better and for those around us. So, enjoy the holidays and be safe in doing just that.

I have shared pictures before with you concerning my talented grandchildren who I am so obviously proud of. Here are some pictures over the Thanksgiving holidays when they came to visit for turkey dinner.

 

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This is a group picture after dinner on Thanksgiving Day. All of the family except one of my sons who was away that day.  My two grandsons came from Atlanta, especially my grandson, Deion who is living in LA now persuing a singing career. Pictures are (top left), grandson, Deion, grandmother Gill, granddad Gill, grandson, DeVaughn, (left), aunt Shauna, mother of grandsons, Kathy, (bottom, left to right), granddaughter, Lauren and oldest son, Stephen. (Top right), Aunt Shauna and Deion), the cousins, DeVaughan and Deion.

Especially on the holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is a great opportunity to share our moments with friends and family. To most of us this has always been special times, especially our children who know the value of this special time each season. It becomes traditional in all of our families and as we pass these traditions down to our children who will pass them to their children as well.

Major, my grandson’s family dog is in ill health and has some major challenges with his age. He has been in the family during the time the boy’s were very young, and has been a wonderful pet with a vibrant and friendly personality. He will be surely missed. Hail! to Major.

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Finis: As December 2014 fades into oblivion, looking back at this year, IMO, has not been a good year. 2014 was full of fear, anguish and despair. Americans want to feel that they are moving forward, that things are getting better for them in their lives, and that there are positive things in the future for them.

While there are indications that the economy is getting better, Americans don’t see that improvement because their finances have not improved and they see the improvements enjoyed by others who are more fortunate than they are getting a better break. The anguish they are feeling in minority communities is the lack of understanding by those who judge them unkindly and the common factor that death and destruction is all that they are constantly facing in their daily lives. That kind of activity causes despair and prevents people from moving forward. We, the people, who live in this country seem to take it for granted that the things of the less fortunate cannot happen to them. Our World is made up of all kinds of people, some who are willing to damage our way of living, and others who are most concerned with their way of life and how they can do better. This holiday season and the others that will come in the future will determine how we help and provide for our brothers and sisters here on Earth, and how we treat them. If we continue on this path of not caring for others we will pay the price for our failure.

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