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Monthly Archives: February 2019

Betty Ballantine, who helped popularize modern paperback, dies at 99 – The Washington Post

Who -hasn’t- read a Ballantine or Penguin paperback? I never knew the whole story behind the publisher who brought us “Fahrenheit 451.”

An immigrant from Britain, Betty Ballantine and her husband expanded the market for science fiction and other genres through such blockbusters as “The Hobbit” and “Fahrenheit 451.”
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/betty-ballantine-who-helped-popularize-modern-paperback-dies-at-99/2019/02/14/8ef456cc-2fdf-11e9-8ad3-9a5b113ecd3c_story.html

Me and Lindsey Vonn on a Mountaintop

I learned to ski in Are, Sweden where Lindsey Vonn won the bronze medal in the world championship downhill, the final race of her skiing career this weekend. She’s tenacious, and I admire her determination and all out performance.

There were no crowds cheering me on as I tumbled down that mountain for the first time. My Swedish guides knew I’d been cross country skiing but seemed unaware that there are no mountains in Illinois. They chose a nice, high, wide mountain with a scenic view to help me remember what they considered the basics. Alas! I’d forgotten how to snowplow. Teaching me how not to fall took the entire afternoon (which is rather short during February that close to the North Pole). But like Lindsay, I kept getting up and was back out on the slopes the next day. After a couple of days on safer trails, I was able to keep up with my friends. Persistence wins, every time!

— Read more about Lindsay here: www.espn.com/olympics/skiing/story/_/id/25964844/lindsey-vonn-wins-bronze-medal-final-race-skiing-career

Read and reflect on “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes

m.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/let-america-be-america-again

A strident reminder of our country’s long argument with itself, this poem hits home after a day that began with Cory Booker’s presidential announcement and ended with Ralph Northam’s apology. His surely upcoming resignation may gratify our anger and disbelief, but we must not pretend it solves anything. Structural racism still plagues our country, a birth wound that never heals because we pretend all that blood, the scraped flesh and unrelenting pain is normal, inevitable, acceptable.

I was shocked when I moved to Virginia and learned that the rebel flag flew over a local city hall until the mid-1990s. Learning how segregation affected every part of life here from the schools to the churches during my own lifetime made me realize that it’s horrid legacy still lives. It compelled me to dedicate time to introspection, education and action.

I’ve always admired Langston Highly and his work inspired me to write poetry. His poems sing with clarity through their imagery, but they are not enough. Words can point us toward our shared dreams, but only hard work will lead us through the darkness to that great, shining land of liberty and justice for all.

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