Friday, January 27, 2017

When You Bet Against American Education

You've heard it, again and again. American education lags way behind other countries. Look at the test scores, and they tell the whole story. American students just can't cut it. There are little nations in Europe that leave us in the dust.

Whew! I'm so damned glad!

I'm pretty sure the United States has led the way in research on climate change. Maybe our nation has done the heavy lifting so far. But think of all those smart people in all those other countries. They will be able to pick up the baton, carry on the research, and publish it far and wide. I further have confidence that the people working inside the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC made the best of the two months they had between election day and inauguration to disseminate any data they had been keeping just for Americans.

There are smart people everywhere, and if the Orange Menace shuts down the EPA, the science will continue.

What won't continue is the cleanup of our nation. If you're under 40, you can't even remember what it was like back in the day. Let me tell you: It was horrible. Our air and water is so much better now. I wonder if people will be willing to sit by and let everything go all smoggy and carcinogenic again.

Oh well. I'm looking for the silver lining here. For the first time in my life, I'm placing my faith in the smart students, teachers, researchers, and scientists in other countries. You go, Finland!

Monday, January 23, 2017

What a Day!

You've got to understand. I grew up in a different century. We knew how to protest, all right, but the whole taking pictures thing? Not so much.

I went to the Women's March on Washington. I was surrounded by a sea of people, and the pussy hats were a great touch. But my experience of the event was limited by the crowd, by being literally stuck in one spot for two and a half hours and then being lugged by the determined Heir all the way to the White House.

I walked eight miles and stood for 150 minutes. Holding my working wand in one hand and my Heir in the other. I didn't take many photos, and the ones I took didn't turn out.

Words must suffice. Sort of.

Heir and I boarded a rally bus in Martinsburg, West Virginia at 7:00 a.m. We were each given a WV Resist button that I will treasure forever.

EXHIBIT A: On the Bus

As we rolled down the highway toward the capital, the road became chock-a-block with rally buses, from all over the place. The closer we got to DC, the more buses we saw. And then, gosh, the lot at the stadium! Acres and acres of buses, all alike! More than 1200 of them. This would become an issue later.

My eldest daughter is The Heir. I have learned this about The Heir: She wants to dig in and get the most out of any extreme experience.

We walked from behind RFK Stadium to the Capitol building. And that's when it became surreal for me.

I live very near Philadelphia. It is an historic city. I am used to historic buildings either being modest little brick structures like Independence Hall, or Victorian extravaganzas like City Hall and 30th Street Station. I hadn't been to DC in a decade, and I had never walked all around it.

The buildings are huge. They are imposing. They are gigantic. And they're all epic. Half of them are built to look like Ancient Greece. They lie across the landscape like sleeping giants. When your historical compass is set on Independence Hall, the Capitol building seems like an entire planet.

EXHIBIT B: Independence Hall, Philadelphia

EXHIBIT C: U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, DC

Well, I guess you had to be there. It just felt monstrous, this great big building that I'd only seen in pictures before, or maybe once when I was in grade school I went to see my senator.

Heir is big on surreal stuff. She saw the stage, and a crowd that even Godzilla wouldn't attack, and she waded right in. I got out my working wand (I carry it everywhere) and held tight to the sleeve of her coat. And in we went, right to the thick of things.

I work with a co-teacher in one of my classes. She, like me, is politically active. She and her daughter took a bus from New Jersey. Before we went our separate ways at school on Thursday, she teased me about running into her, predicting that I would. In all that crowd. And damn. I can't believe it.

EXHIBIT C: What Are the Odds?

See the pussy hats in the background? They made the march. If you see a crowd of a half million people, and the crowd shot is mostly pink, that is beyond a doubt the Women's March on Washington.

Heir and I bused in with a good friend of mine from West Virginia, and then we ran into my colleague and her daughter, but Heir was not in the socializing spirit. She wanted to DO THIS THING. So we went our way and wound up gridlocked on the far side of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. There, people were climbing the trees to scope out the crowd. Heir found a high spot that wasn't in a tree, and we camped there for a long time. We couldn't move. The people around us couldn't move. We did what we could to ferry the people who were panicking to a less gridlocked area, but there wasn't much we could do.

There were no police in the crowd.

When you're stuck in a mob for hours, a lot of things run through your mind, especially if you're an anxious person. Like, what if someone sets off a bomb? Or, what if everyone has to run from something? Or, how can I get out of here and back to my bus?

But it didn't matter. We were all in this together. Everyone was polite, everyone was kind. Lots of people were very old! I couldn't believe all the senior citizens, the retirees. (One sign: "I did this in the '60's! I'm Back!" And of course: "Now You've Pissed Off Grandma."

Almost everyone had a sign. My favorites were "Never Underestimate the Power of a Faggot with a Tambourine" and "Resist, hon ... Baltimore." I also saw about a dozen people in various iterations of vagina costumes (head, whole body). Some folks will be creative!

You know what I may mostly remember about the Women's March on Washington? Talking about curriculum and standards with three retired teachers from Connecticut. We had lots of time to bond.

Finally, around 3:30, Heir reported that she saw movement. The pack started to break up a little bit. Some people went one way, some another. Someone told us that the march part of the day had been cancelled because there were too many people. Heir wasn't hearing it.

We surged off toward Pennsylvania Avenue, me clinging to Heir, and in 30 minutes we found ourselves marching and chanting right up the route the Orange Menace and his poor, sad spouse walked the day before. We knew this because the bleachers were still standing, and they were full of pink-hatted, screaming, chanting, sign-waving protesters.

Here is what we chanted:
*This is what democracy looks like.
*My body, my choice.
*Hey ho, hey ho, Donald Trump has got to go!
*Donald Trump, go away! How do you like your first day?
*Black lives matter.

 Heir and I walked the whole way to the White House, and we even saw it off in the distance through about six fences. We left our signs there.

EXHIBIT D: We Left Some Reading Material for the Orange Menace

That's my Heir. Isn't she beautiful?

By this time we had marched four miles. All that remained was to retrace our entire route in time to get back on the bus at 6:00.

Heir seemed to know where to go. We walked and walked. Then Heir said, "Oh, look!"

It was the Environmental Protection Agency.

I had been near tears many times during the day. But this is where I lost it. I took my working wand, and I held it to the building, and I spoke intentions into the bricks. Stay put. Stay put. May all those working inside stay put. (I hope you'll add the EPA to your spell work as well.)

EXHIBIT E: Anne Doing Spell Work at the EPA

You can tell that's me because of the gold sneakers. Those are the shoes I wear to the Mummers Parade. I was sure I could walk miles in them, because I've done it before.

It got dark while Heir and I walked back to RFK Stadium. By the time we got to Lot 7 to find our bus, we had done eight miles or more. We had a tough time finding our particular rally bus, but with the help of my WV friend we finally collapsed into a seat, clutching the peanut butter sandwiches and water bottles the bus captain was handing out. Heir and I were the last ones back to the bus.

We rode back to West Virginia. The traffic was bumper to bumper almost the whole way. Heir and I were totally exhausted. We did it, though. We rallied, and we marched. I even did a little magick.

Sunday, Heir and I took the scenic route home. We passed my great-grandmother's house, which has not hardly changed at all from the old pictures from 100 years ago. We stopped by Baltimore, hon, to see Heir's grandmother. Then it was a long drive home in super heavy traffic, and then it was over.

Heir and I prepared for the worst. We wrote Mr. J's phone number on our arms in sharpie marker. We wore bandannas to protect our faces from tear gas. We didn't know what might happen. When push came to shove, though, I never saw a more benign crowd. Everyone was kind and gentle. Everyone drew energy from everyone else. In a crowd that size, such good will is essential. Any nastiness would have produced unparalleled mayhem.

Where do we go from here? As for me and my house, we will use our talents to oppose the Orange Menace. I imagine I'm preaching to the choir here. Please climb aboard.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's All About Justice

The prayer that unites all Druids has lines about justice, the knowledge of justice, and the love of justice. How can a species be endowed with an understanding of justice and then just disregard it?

When a handful of families control more wealth than all the rest of the people on the planet, this is injustice. They can use any tool to divide the rest of us, to have us quarreling on any number of issues, to encourage us to form tribes based on birth, location, ideology. While we fight and die, they watch.

If our species engaged in egalitarianism, with level heads and warm hearts, we would soon set this planet right. We would have respect for animals, plants, the soil, the water, and our population growth. Employers would pay workers a living wage, and the bosses would live modestly themselves. Respect and camaraderie would rule, and justice would follow.

This cannot be achieved by coercion (it's been tried), which is why I despair for our species.

All the same, I will march for justice.  This is the sign I will carry to the Women's March on Washington.
The last resort for the few at the top is to abolish group efforts toward seeking living wages and respectful treatment. People living in fear can be controlled. The end game for the billionaires is control. They are truly supervillains.

So, while I feel that destruction of the environment is the most pressing issue facing the human race at this time, I am moved to speak for justice. For collective bargaining, a process that helps anyone within its gates -- Black, White, Muslim, Pagan, man, woman, child.

It's 5:00 and I've been awake two hours. I'm frankly scared about the march. But I will go anyway. This is my last post before I leave, so if you have an extra moment or two over the next few days, I beg you to watch this wonderful scene from the film "Matewan," by John Sayles. It perfectly articulates my philosophy, and it's why I'm carrying my union sign.

Peace to you all,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Why I'm Marching #4: Cosplay Time!

You know what I love but have never been able to do? Cosplay.

I can't sew. My hair is thick and unruly. And -- probably the biggest reason I've never done cosplay -- I don't interact with anime. At all.

Nevertheless, I do have a screen character that I have idolized for most of my adult life. I have loved the actress and the role so much that the opportunity to attempt a cosplay of this character is too good to pass up.

I've been reading everything on the Internet about the Women's March on Washington, and don't ask me why, but the organizers really want us to bring signs.

I gave the sign a lot of thought, since I'm a teacher and I know my way around those punch-out alphabet letters you get for bulletin boards. What in the world could I put on my sign that would simply and totally express my deepest wishes for this nation?

And then it came to me. I will cosplay.

I've got my piece of white cardboard. I've got a black marker. This, this is my sign.

Now, to really cosplay this properly, I would need the sleeveless t-shirt, white high-rise jeans, orange ear buds, and whatever that is around her waist. But I do think the sign says it all for this character.

And for me, too.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Why I'm Marching #5: Because Spiders Bite

I know someone, a single person, who lives on $12,000 a year. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. This person has a college degree and $30,000 in student loan debt.

But other than that pesky federal debt, this person I know makes ends meet on $12,000 a year. It is possible to do this if you are single, share living space in certain urban neighborhoods, don't own a car or a smart phone, and you have a keen eye for trash picking.

The biggest problem for a person like this is the catastrophic health issue. So verily, the Affordable Healthcare Act is a Gods-send.

This person I know got bit on the hand by a smallish spider. It wasn't a black widow or a brown recluse. Let's just call it the Itsy Bitsy Spider.

After 24 hours, the Itsy Bitsy spider bite was a small red pimple. Another day later, it was bigger, redder, and tender to the touch.

At that development, the person was persuaded to go to urgent care and get the spider bite checked out.

The doctor prescribed a pretty strong round of antibiotics for the spider bite. Itsy Bitsy Spiders, while not necessarily venomous, can leave some weird bacteria behind when they bite. It's this kind of thing, the doctor said, that needs to be caught early.

My dear friend recovered from her spider bite without incident.

Let's imagine, though, that my friend had no health insurance. Even that initial visit to the doctor would run $100. Then the antibiotic, depending on what kind it was, might be another $100. So it would be very, very easy to ignore an insignificant little spider bite, even after a week when it got larger. It might even be worrisome but not actionable when the bite got really large and the whole hand started to swell. After all, a swollen hand would cost more to treat than a little pimple, so the price tag gets larger.

A person with a spider bite could wind up with a grossly swollen hand and arm, and a fever. Treatment might or might not be successful. It could include amputation. It could end in tragedy, if the victim let it go long enough.

Friends, I can tell you that, in the population of students I teach, there are many stories of grandmas and grandpas (usually in their 40's or 50's) who went untreated for treatable illnesses and then died young. This is shameful for a First World country! Absolutely shameful! Talk about right to life! Despicable.

I am going to Washington, DC. I will be marching for single-payer health care that is affordable for everyone. No one should prosper from the sickness of others, except the people who actively help them to get well. Hospitals and medicines should not be a business!

It's a little less than a week until the march. If you want me to carry an intention for you, leave it in the comments box. I will write or copy out all the intentions and put them in my pockets, so that your concerns will go with me to the march. Once more unto the breach.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why I'm Marching #3: It Wasn't That Great

I'm a woman of a certain age. Must admit, past my prime. It's all good, though. With age comes wisdom. With age also comes ... age. I've been around the track a few times. Heck, I can even remember when America was "great!"

Here's a little story about that time.

I grew up in that part of the world where Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania are all three only a few miles apart. It's pretty rural out there, and in the 1960's it was definitely a place where people over-respected the Confederacy.

It must have been 1964 or 1965 when the nearest large municipality to my house, Hagerstown, Maryland, was ordered to open the large municipal pool to Black people.

In those days, all the Black people in Hagerstown lived in one neighborhood. That neighborhood had its own "separate but equal" pool. But it wasn't exactly equal. It wasn't even near equal. It was so far from equal you would have had to use a homing pigeon to find equal on the map.

I was a little kid, but I remember the moms in my neighborhood, swearing that they would not take their children to the municipal pool to swim with those "dirty n*****s." Yes, that is exactly what I heard. Middle class White ladies actually thought Black children were literally dirtier than their own kids. Full of diseases and who knew what?

My mother rounded me and my cousin up. She gave us each a quarter. She said, "I'm going to drive you to the pool. And guess what? It won't be nearly as crowded today as it usually is! You'll have a great time!"

Off we went to the pool, which opened at noon. There was always a line of kids waiting to get into the pool the moment it opened on a hot summer day. Sure enough, there was a line that day, too -- almost all Black kids.

I lived in a segregated world. I had never been near a Black person before. (My elementary school principal retired when she heard that "her" school would admit Black students. That was after my time.)

My cousin and I took our place in line, and it was somewhat awkward on everyone's part. But once we got into the pool, lo and behold, Mom was right! There was way more room than usual. No lines at the sliding boards or anything!

You would think that the moral of this story is going to be about equality. And you would be right. There was nothing, and I mean nothing great about America in the 1960's, if you were Black. This was a hostile nation then, bent upon keeping Black people at the rock bottom. I'll be damned if I call that a great time. It was an awful time.

But wait. There's more.

The Hagerstown Municipal Pool had three metal sliding boards with jets of water that shot out from the top, to make them more slippery. There were a few signs that said, "Do Not Go Down Head First" scattered here and there, and if a lifeguard saw you attempting head-first, you would get thrown out for the day. Nevertheless, three or four kids died of broken necks going down those slides. Another kid died falling off the top.

Government regulators shut down the Hagerstown Municipal Pool, I think around 1970, because of the metal slides. The pool did not re-open until it had been rehabbed and brought up to the strict codes of safety that should apply to public swimming pools.

Black Lives Matter. Government regulations matter. Want to see America become "great" again? Turn the clock back to 1962, and break your neck on a sliding board in a swimming pool full of White kids.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Why I'm Marching #2: I'm Part of the Problem

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," clumping along with a too-large carbon footprint since the mid-20th century! I'm your host, Anne Johnson, wasteful and privileged American.

There have been so many studies done of climate change, using ice cores, tree rings, pond scum, temperature and rainfall data, glacial melt, sea level rise, unicorn extinction, and species migration, that a sensible person could not possibly doubt that the globe is warming.

(Yes, I know that unicorn extinction is unrelated to climate change, but shhhh! Maybe the deniers will believe it.)

Remember when we were kids, and our parents said, "Eat those carrots. There are children starving in China who would love to have those!" and we said, "Can't we just send the carrots to them?" Well, honestly, nothing has changed. My cats eat better than the vast majority of Third World humans. I'm sitting here in an oil-warmed house (okay, the thermostat is set at 60), with two cars in the driveway (okay, my commute is 9 miles round trip, and my husband works at home), getting ready to eat a pretty doggone good dinner, and my lifestyle is harming the planet.

Every Sunday there's another story in the New York Times about how climate change is affecting other parts of the world. And I weep for the poor families whose lands have gone to drought. But just like I can't mail my carrots to China, I can't reverse climate change on my own.

That's what we want the world governments to do.

Our government had made some strides over the last eight years (thanks, Obama!) but is now poised to renege on all the half-assed promises we've been able to make (#notmypresident). Instead of investing in alternate power sources, we are going to drill, baby, drill. Emboldened by our indifference, the other world powers will follow suit.

By the time America starts to fry, some other countries will be baked to death.

(It is good news for my Canadian readers. Go, therefore, and lead the free world!)

I am attending the Women's March in Washington to protest indifference to global climate change. I stand opposed to rollbacks in environmental protection, to increased use of fossil fuels, and to unbridled greed for finite natural resources.

Having studied my geology, I know that the Age of Humans will be a brief blip in the long and storied history of Gaia. Nothing we can do short of setting off every nuke simultaneously will be enough to destroy the planet thoroughly. (On the other hand, one burp from the Sun could crisp us instantly.)

It's not that it doesn't matter in the geological history of Earth. It's that it does matter in the human history of Earth. We are riding on this rock, and we should take better care of it. And that starts with laws and regulations curbing carbon-dioxide-producing chemicals.

I'm marching to protest indifference to global climate change. Once more unto the breach. Who's with me?

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Frank Talk about Stripping

Wow! I had forgotten the many fun categories of post I used to write for this blog! One of my favorites is "frank talk." Way too often, people beat around the bush about things like stripping.

You might not believe this, but I'm a woman of a certain age, and I've never stripped before. I've painted, spackled, and even done light carpentry. Never stripped.

But you get to a time in life when everything must go. The old is dingy, and the new beckons. That's when stripping becomes not only preferable, but absolutely necessary.

I spent this whole weekend stripping. It was a rocky experience. I'm a novice, after all! You can't master these techniques overnight.

One of my downfalls was that I watched a ton of YouTube videos about stripping. Every one of them made it look hella easy. That paper was coming off in long, sweet swathes, and all the vloggers were either ruggedly sexy (men) or sassy and blonde (women). Both genders made stripping look like a stroll in the park.

It isn't.

I stripped for four hours on Saturday and three on Sunday. I worked up a sweat both days and got my arms soaking wet on Sunday. The only feedback I got from Mr. J was that perhaps I should try some chemicals from the basement.

Can't say I made much progress towards being a master stripper. However, some stripping was done, and my technique had improved a little bit by 5:00 on Sunday.

At the rate I'm learning, I'll be stripping for quite some time. Anyone who wants to help me, or even keep me company while I'm stripping, is welcome to contact me. As with so much in life, stripping is a lot more fun in the imagination than in real life, and it always looks better when the professionals do it.

Have you ever stripped? If so, can you give me tips?

Friday, January 06, 2017

Why I'm Marching #1: Production for Use

I thought I would give my reasons for marching in order of importance. I've changed my mind on that. There are so, so many reasons to brave freezing temperatures and a long day on flat feet in Washington, DC for a march against the Republican juggernaut. No use to front load all the big ones.

Here's a reason that I would put on the lower end of the "Why I'm Marching" scale -- probably because I live in a state with tough gun laws.

I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Guns don't kill people. People kill people."

Well, folks, I don't believe that. Here is a meme I had to make myself, because apparently no one else has thought of it:

What is a gun? It's a tool. What does this tool do? It shoots bullets. It has been produced to shoot bullets that can kill things.

Gun owners can spend their whole lives shooting tin cans off fence posts, but bottom line, the whole reason for gun production is to be able to kill another human being. You shoot at the tin can so your aim is good when the time comes to use your tool for its primary raison d'etre.

I call that "production for use."

President Obama called constantly for comprehensive background checks as a precursor to gun ownership. Candidates Clinton and Sanders were both anti-gun. Candidate Trump enthusiastically endorsed gun ownership.

A government run by Republicans will be very tolerant of rampant gun purchases with little to no oversight of the individuals purchasing the tools.

What is overlooked in the heated discussion on the free purchase of firearms is how profitable they are for the factory owners who make them. Each weapon costs a lot of money. Someone is making bank. And there are those who profit from the sale of ammunition and the rental of target practice facilities. Somewhere out there, a person is living large on the profits of these tools, while other people are mourning the deaths of loved ones when the tools were put to use. Don't ask me how these people can sleep at night. They must have "Guns Don't Kill People. People Kill People" written on their mirrors with shaving cream.

I will be marching on January 21, 2016 in Washington, DC because I believe that no individual who is not on active duty in the military should be allowed to own a semi-automatic weapon. This is my reading of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Guns should only be in the hands of "a well-regulated militia."

I've written a lot about this, mostly after senseless shootings of unsuspecting, innocent Americans. Today was one of those days.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

My Next March Won't Have Satin Parasols

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm Anne Johnson -- white, female, worker.

In 17 days I will be heading to Washington, DC to participate in the Women's March on Washington. The very day I heard there was to be such a thing, I signed up to go. Since then I have read everything on the Internet about the march, both positive and negative.

Day before yesterday, I read a negative. It is called "The Women's March on Washington Has Already Failed."

Long story short, the article suggests that the march lacks focus. What is the main aim of this protest? There are so many factions! For some people, it's about women's health. For others it's about health care in general. Some people are worried about the environment. Some people are opposed to tax cuts for the rich. There are LGBTQ folks and Black Lives Matter folks and gun control advocates and opponents of charter schools. So, who's in charge here?

Who's in charge? Who cares! Look at all these concerns! Which one is more important than the next? Do we need to prioritize them?  Okay, then. I offer my own humble prioritization:

1. climate change
2. social safety net
3. human rights

This is just my opinion. I mean, really. This is just me.

It would be really nice if the only purpose for the Women's March on Washington was the preservation of women's individual rights to choose what happens to their bodies. One issue! Great! Except that, all at once, all of these huge issues are crashing down simultaneously. To choose one, and focus just on that one, would marginalize the others. And that goes for any one of the concerns listed above.

Plenty of people will line up to tell you that protest marches have no lasting effect on public policy. The marchers gather, shout, disperse, and that's it. No one needs to pay attention to silly marches. They don't matter.

Bamp! Wrong.

Let's run the highlight film of the twentieth century, shall we?

Oh my goodness! This march on Washington had no lasting impact on public policy! Heck, the guy in the photo wound up getting shot! (*Anne being sarcastic*)

Marches can, and do, change things. The changes don't happen overnight, the moment the tired protesters go home and take off their shoes. But the changes do happen. Marches can become defining moments in history. Not all of them do, of course, but enough of them do.

I suppose when some cheeky reporter tells me that a women's march has already failed, I just have a hard time believing it. Yes! Maybe on January 22, 2017 the march will look like a failure. But maybe, over the long haul, gathering 200,000 (or more, I'm hoping more) citizens in the nation's capital, for a dizzying array of serious issues, will influence public policy in the decades to come.

Does this march need a unifying theme? A focus? I don't think so. In fact, the more voices we get, and the wider diversity they represent, the better. Not one issue, not one person, should be left along the margins.

Over the next two weeks, I'll be giving you all of my many reasons for marching. When I'm all through, maybe you can help me decide what to write on my sign.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends. Will I see you there?

Monday, January 02, 2017

Mummers Parade 2017

Wow, what a beautiful day! Look at that sky!

It's Spare and me, out with the Two Street Stompers on New Year's Day, brightening up Broad Street in the City of Brotherly Love! Our routine was amazing. At some point I'll be able to upload a video of it, but it hasn't been made public yet.

Our routine went something like this: The Redcoats marched out first, behind Lord Cornwallis. (The tiniest tots carried fifes and drums. It was adorable.) Then the Colonials came marching out behind George Washington to some badass music. Then there was a dance off between the two armies to see who could bust the best move. Then, we ladies -- led by Betsy Ross -- came out to sort things out. To the strains of James Brown ("Living in America') the troops mixed and mingled in an orderly fashion, until the whole unit was all conglomerated. Point being that everyone is welcome in America.

Nice point, don't you think?

Here's a photo of our fighting Colonials. Check out the darling tot.

If you judge a person by the company they keep, here's my posse. Come to your own conclusion.

We had over 200 participants this year. The Two Street Stompers is one of the largest comic brigades. I think I counted seven school buses that we filled in New Jersey for the transit to Philadelphia.

So this parade is a competition. We finished in third place. Today I watched a recording of the entire Comic Division, and I didn't see the two clubs that finished ahead of us. Not every club gets on t.v. If there are commercials while you're performing, it's just the luck of the draw.

You would think, given the current political turmoil, that I wouldn't be in the spirit of a patriotic routine just now. But this did my heart good. This country is just as much mine as anyone else's. I'm an American, proud of it, and I won't back down. I live here, with my opinions that I'm entitled to.

Next year is the 40th anniversary of the Two Street Stompers. I'll be saving my pennies from this day forward. Wouldn't want to miss that!