Unfriend screenshot and Dorthea Lange’s Children of Oklahoma drought refugee in migratory camp in California. November 1936.
Unfriend screenshot and Dorthea Lange’s Children of Oklahoma drought refugee in migratory camp in California. November 1936.
Dorthea Lange’s Children of Oklahoma drought refugee in migratory camp in California. November 1936. The Public Domain source is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division
under the digital ID fsa.8b31646.

If you get your news, facts and truths from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, OAN, MRCTV, Newsmax, FoxNews, Russia Today, AM Talk Radio, Parler and other alternate reality profiteers which helped inspire the Michigan “covid ain’t real” kidnappers, the Nashville “lizard-people conspiracy!” bomber, the Wisconsin “vaccines alter your DNA!” saboteur or the “Stop the Steal” domestic terrorists… please check your sources and at least look for something to cross-check your beliefs.

When family and friends say something which contradicts these sources, they’re not trying to hurt you.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of “The Power of Positive Thinking” had a powerful influence on Donald Trump’s self-made man image of himself. Donald Trump still clings to prosperity gospel beliefs, that imagining yourself as president can make it so, even after he lost an election by the equivalent of the population of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska. But at least one of Dr. Peale’s sermons never sunk in. The one where he said, “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”


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20 years after we saw a waxing gibbous moon over Bantry bay on the Bush/Gore election night I see a waning gibbous moon over the Irish sea and the U.S. election is in that indeterminate state like Schroedinger’s cat.

We stepped into a cobblestone pub to have lunch. Turf burned in the fireplace behind me as we enjoyed another excellent meal. We continued towards the southwestern corner of Ireland. Here mountains blocked the north winds and focused the remnants of the Gulf Stream to warm the shoreline of Bantry Bay. We found a sign for a B&B atop a hill overlooking the narrow bay. We arrived at the top of the hill as night deepened the blue and purple colors of the sky. It appeared that no one was home. I rang the doorbell and a cheerful woman came out to tell us that because of the rain and floods, she had closed for the season a few days early. We inquired about other B&Bs and returned to our car. As we were about to drive away, she tapped on our car window. She told us that if we don’t mind that it will take her a few minutes to clean up, she could take us in for the night. We thanked her for the opportunity and brought our bags into her home. She spoke in that high musical voice of Southwest Ireland and punctuated her sentences with gleeful exclamations such as “Oh stop it!!” and “Go on with yourself now!” We asked directions to a place for dinner and were directed to a smokey hotel that was under construction. Along the way we passed what looked like a youth hostel. We entered, hoping that we could find an internet connection.. The place was full of families who appeared to be from all over the world. One person told us that it was a place for refugees. …


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Exulansis n. The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it — whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness — which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land. (Dictionary of obscure sorrows)

March 19, 2001
My wife and I were photographers when we met in the U.W. Oshkosh Advance Titan newspaper darkroom. We have family and friends in Southeastern Wisconsin and the Fox Valley but in 2001 we decided to try something different. We moved to a village on the Irish Sea just north of Dublin, Ireland.

March 19, 2020: Exactly 19 years later our daughter made her first solo flight back from her experience as a high school student in Appleton Wisconsin. The pandemic cut her time there short and kept her granddad, aunt and cousin from accompanying her on the flight back to Ireland. President Trump’s travel bans forced us to change her flight several times, the cancellation vouchers finally came a few days ago. A few days earlier O’Hare was packed with panicked travelers trying to stay ahead of the bans but on the day she flew the world’s busiest airport was nearly empty. Less than 30 people were on the Airbus 330. She was somewhere over the Atlantic when the U.S. …


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One of Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s last dissents was against the conservative majority’s ruling that forced Wisconsin voters to decide between their own health the their constitutional right to vote.

On the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg:

May the blessing of her memory remind all of us that we many small raindrops can become a sea of change.

According to Jewish tradition, a person who dies on an any holy day is a tzaddik, a person of great righteousness. Even more so for people who die on Rosh Hashanah, which began that evening. NPR’s Nina Totenberg explains,

“A Jewish teaching says those who die just before the Jewish new year are the ones God has held back until the last moment because they were needed most and were the most righteous.”


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William Jennings Bryan — Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2001697078/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57368360

My great uncle John was born in Germany in November 1895. He brought knee-slapping laughter to our family and always called me William Jennings Bryan. It was the first thing out of his mouth every time we met, spoken with the deliberate timing of a comedian who knows exactly how to prime a joke told so often that laughter was a reflex.

“William — Jennings — Bryan!” He would pause and seemed to expect that a child born almost four decades after Bryan’s death would understand exactly who he was and why his nickname for me was as good of a joke as all of the others. Today I read the obituary H.L. …


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The Titanic at the docks of Southampton April 10, 1912

It is now 111 years since the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic and we have learned… nothing. 1500 people tragically lost their lives when the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. And so far 154,000 human lives have been lost to the terrible Covid-19 virus.

Imagine more than 100 Titanics sinking since the beginning of the year, 20 of them with American passengers (30,000+ U.S. Covid-19 deaths so far.) If you were captain, what would you do?

Full steam ahead for the economy, because that’s what matters right? There never were enough lifeboats/masks/respirators, the captain/president was in the best position to see the iceberg/pandemic but he blames the people in steerage, thinks he can fix it by locking them in their cabins/countries. De-funding the WHO is like firing the workers who are patching leaks in the boiler room and saying you’ll only fix leaks in the cabins of first-class passengers who are nice to the captain. The sooner we all see that we’re all in the same boat, the sooner we’ll get through this and get the economy and our lives back on course. But I fear the ever-Trump crowd share his ignorance and hubris. …


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Faery, green things, Italian coffee to express solidarity to our Italian friends… no reason to go out today. Sláinte. To your health and all of ours. Until we meet again may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Faery, avocados, limes and other green things are still available here in Ireland. So there should be no panic to buy toilet paper and guns back in the land of Colt and Kimberly Clark. We have no Guinness or rashers in the fridge but we have toast, Irish butter and Italian coffee (to support our neighbours there.) So if there’s no reason to leave the house, we’ll enjoy a quiet St. Patrick’s day from here at home in Ireland. We hope you do the same from wherever you are. Here’s to your health. Sláinte!

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


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All set up for Dublin’s 2020 Saint Patrick’s Parade which won’t happen

The spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Ireland and other banned parts of Europe are at most two weeks ahead of the U.S., probably much less because Ireland (population 5 million) has tested more people than the entire United States. (population 330 million.) South Korea tests more people in one day than the U.S. has since the beginning of this outbreak.

First of all, anyone who believes Covid-19 is a media conspiracy should know that Ireland cancelled St. Patrick’s day parades, closed pubs, schools, day care centers and is considering further actions. Parts of Spain and Italy are on lockdown with many people unable to leave their homes. China shortened Chinese New Year, Venice cancelled Carnival, the pope gives his mass via television to an empty St. Peter’s square. Thousands of people have died. No, this wasn’t a political trick to make anyone look bad. And borders, walls, and immigration policy are a political delay and distraction, not an inoculation. Viruses don’t carry visas, they don’t care about the color of your skin or how much money you have. They can slip over a wall or through a HEPA filter as easily as a cat gets through a hedge. As of the beginning of the European travel ban, computational biologist Trevor Bedford estimated that approximately eighteen times as many new infections come from within the U.S. compared to newly introduced via flights from Europe. …


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Poster for David Wall’s Noëlle (2007)

Disney’s Christmas movie “Noelle” released in November 2019 will almost certainly bring in more money than David Wall’s Noëlle (2007) also known by its working title, “Mrs. Worthington’s party.” Not every Christmas movie is for everyone and David Wall’s screenwriting, directing and Robert Redford look-a-like acting doesn’t fit neatly into the the mold of a typical Hollywood Christmas movie, it’s not silly, sappy or sardonic.

A Christian distribution company gave Noëlle (2007) a limited U.S. release but it also doesn’t fit neatly into mold of a Christian Christmas movie — in fact some Christian reviewers gave it strong negative reviews. …

Brian Nitz

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