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Monday, May 25, 2015

Protect One Freedom?

Most mornings, while on my way to work; depending upon the route I take, I pass a sign placed prominently at the end of someone’s driveway.  Signs in yards are not so unusual…especially considering the never-ending election cycles of Federal, State, and Local elections. Toss in the odd “Garage Sale”, “Elvis Lives!”, and “Save the common house wren” sentiments; and they have become a permanent part of the landscape.

However, at first glance, this one is a little bit odd: PROTECT RELIGIOUS FREEDOM it proclaims in bold black print against a white background.

Stark, inexpensive one-color on white stock—if this were a candidate’s sign, it is extremely bush-league.

I have the greatest urge to pull into their drive, knock upon the door, and engage in conversation. My primary question is this:  

What about protecting the other Freedoms contained within the First Amendment?

While Freedom of Religion is contained within the first line of the First Amendment; do they want to chuck aside Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Assembly?

If such were the case, their right to post this very sign would be in jeopardy. There would be no guarantee to gather with like minded individuals in order to share in their beliefs.

If we assume the other 9 Amendments are trimmed away from the Bill of Rights; what benefit would there be of keeping just a portion of one Amendment?

Would they advocate forfeiting the right to a speedy trial, and jury of their peers? Would they be willing to put aside protection from unreasonable searches and seizures?  What about the provision against self incrimination?

Would they have the Second Amendment be bartered away?

Should we toss aside the Third Amendment, and permit the quartering of troops in private homes, at the resident’s expense; whether in time of war or peace?

Would they be willing to forego the protection against excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishment? Perhaps a fine in the tens of thousands of dollars, and two days spent in stocks in the city square would be acceptable for a speeding ticket to some; however not to me.

I would ask the poster of the sign to ponder upon the Ninth Amendment, which states that the listing of certain rights within the Constitution shall neither deny nor disparage other rights retained by the People.

Also, what about States’ Rights and powers, which are found in the Tenth Amendment?

Finally, I would ask; whose religious freedom do you advocate protecting? If my beliefs are polar opposite of their beliefs; are they still worthy of protecting?

Saving just a fragment of one Amendment, while casting the remainder of our Rights and Freedoms aside would result in an extremely unstable one-legged stool at best, ending in utter folly.

As we take time this Memorial Day to observe, remember, and give thanks for those who gave their highest for our Nation and our Liberties, let us not dilute their sacrifice.

We must  protect the entire Constitution. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Schoomze

The other evening, my Lovely Bride and I took part in a very unusual event. One could go so far as to say “unique”. Personally, I would have to categorize it as down-right weird.

As regular readers may recall, LB, and by extension; Ike our dog have been enjoying some forays in the local film industry.

Don’t scoff…Cleveland is one of the hottest film centers in the country at present. Consider the recent number of Marvel films shot here, as well as other non-superhero works. Think of Drew Carey. Also, how can Betty White and Valerie Bertinelli be wrong?

So, it was due to her connections, someone’s people sent one of Cindy’s people an invitation to an industry event. Cindy’s people sent it on to her, and before you can recite the Preamble, Constitution, and all 25 Amendments, we found ourselves attending:

The Schmooze
A film industry networking event
I know, I know… pretty heady stuff.

Alas… much like Tinseltown itself; the glitter fell aside rather quickly.

Our first hint should have been the venue where the event was to be held Not wishing to plug the joint, let’s just say the name is extremely similar to a pre-med course which begins with an “A” and ends in a “Y”.

We entered the “ultra-lounge” (as it bills itself), and stood transfixed by the dimness of the lighting. It was as though one had stepped into a coal mine lacking illumination.  After a few moments, we could begin making out forms moving about. A few moments later, we were able to discern the forms as people. We eventually discovered we were standing at the registration table.

How many of you absolutely abhor those little self adhesive “HELLO My Name is:…..” tags as much as I do? Show of hands, please. I KNEW it! The overwhelming majority of thinking people find these things to be clich├ęs, and ridiculous.

However, LB dutifully wrote her full name. I on the other hand, resisted the norms of conformity as much as I could. Finally, The Look ( ask any married man about The Look) was cast my way. In a spirit of compromise, and homage to Castle; I asked LB to simply put “Writer” on mine.

Thus began our venture into the exciting world of a film industry networking event.

Perhaps “exciting” is a bit of overstatement.

As more film industry types shuffled in; all coming to a stumbling  halt by the wall of darkness; it soon became apparent that we were in very select classes; MAWG and MAWC.  Middle Age White Guy and Middle Aged White Chick, we stood out a bit.

With the moniker of Writer, I as afforded the unique perspective of being an Observer; not a real threat to all the wanna-be film stars. Oh sure, a few people asked if I was a “real writer”, to which I would briefly tell them about 1850: Death on Erie as well as a thumb-nail overview of the cabin book. Usually, however, by the time I was sharing about Johnny Rhoades cum Miller, they wandered off. Apparently, my genre was not hip enough. Oh well, such is life.

My Lovely Bride was engaging in conversation with a young lady who has political ambitions.  She has dreams of “going as far as I can”. However, having voted only for Presidential candidates; it seems that her hopes are in vain. Typically, in order to be elected, one needs to be engaged politically.

I was once again relegated to my well-worn role of “Eye Candy”. Sigh… it is a tough job, but someone has to undertake it. Besides, behind every elected official is the “political trophy spouse”

Glancing over the increasing crowd, it struck me that with more conservative attire, in a more generic and subdued setting (no nudie art work on the walls), this could be just so many accountants, or insurance agents, or respiratory therapists having a confab.

Endeavoring to meet someone, I had a conversation with Mark; a very affable young man. Turns out, he is a musician, primarily jazz oriented. A great conversation about music, and specifically styles of jazz, ensued. He was quite surprised to learn that a MAWG could intelligently discuss jazz.

Finally, the highlight of the evening was about to commence; viewing trailers from the various projects which have been under-taken.

After the third slice-n-dice slasher film trailer, we opted to paraphrase Julius Caesar; we came, we saw, we left.

So it was we strolled across the street, turned left, and headed toward our favorite Greek place.

Thus endeth the Schmooze, a film industry networking event.

In Honor of Mother's Day; an original verse by J.E. Hopkins

M is for de Many hours you cared for me
U is for Understandin’ me
D is for de Devotion you gave
D is for…uh…… Ditto Dat
E is for Everytin’ else you does
R is for Rememberin’ de good tings I done, and forgettin’ de bad

To all you Mudders out dere: