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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Complaint about the DFL endorsement process.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

One sided endorsements

Dear DNT: you need a pair of Jesus sunglasses-thru the lens of compassion.
The definition of dirty politics; Putting something in to make someone look bad or leaving something out about one's life on purpose because facts would prove their competency. So today I got nixed by the DNT and actually, my situation was mild compared to another friend of mine running. The paper said I am not experienced enough. Ha Ha Ha. The fact of the matter is at age 54, I have had more experience and jobs than all 3 candidates combined. I have been a civil rights leader, a park ranger, a public housing manager, a postal delivery clerk, a Census surveyor, a bookkeeper,a teacher, a credit and collections clerk, a secretary for the Dept of Defense, a fast pass seller at Six Flags magic Mountain, a CNA, a behavior specialist, a driver, an acting coach,a blogger, an editorial assistant, a columnist, a playwright, a novelist, an award winning poet, a state champion and (something they forgot) ...a mother. I was a mother of 2 special needs children. One died. I have enuff experience to be on the school board. My friend, Alanna, was also put aside by the same newspaper. They said she would create conflict. The only reason this was said, I believe, is because Harry Welty is suppporting her. While he emphasizes her strengths on his blog, the DNT is trying to predict alliances of whom we will be friends with if elected. This is a dangerous business. I am under the protection of Jesus Christ and God's providence will dictate the election. Not the good ole boys network which included 4 existing school board members tonight who openly endorsed another candidate in my District. But like Michael Moore states in Fahrenheit 911 "The powers that be can take a lot away, but they cannot take away - One man, one vote." The public is the candidate domain. I am disappointed in the DNT because I was former contributor and always treated well. I am still treated okay with an occasional stinging singe, but I have fallen off the throne and am no longer a golden child. It hurts when newspapers distort facts and make up lies about people. No one wants to cause division. No one. Not even the people some editorial board members may perceive to want to inflict harm. I have seen Loren openly criticize C.F. so I can understand if C.F. will fight back but I have always been loyal to those in authority at the Reader and DNT to a fault and I deserve the respect back. Apparently I got that by not being "totally dissed" but Alanna did not deserve to have negative things said about her character which are simple falsehoods. Apologize or retract NOW.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I have lived in Duluth for 3 years now.  I arrived this week 3 years ago.   It's been a navigational ride.  I met a lot of friends at Fonduluth the first 1.5 years.  Then, I retreated and the last year I have been attending a group that helped me sort out my problems and priorities.   I have caught up with all my relatives; 4 on my mom's side and 3 on my dad's side.  I recently found Regis, my dad's cousin, whom is still alive.  She went to Calgary earlier this year and she is going to France in about a month.   She is in her mid 80s.  That is pretty unbelievable in itself.  I am grateful for Toivo and his generosity to my family.   Quayle (name change) is someone I can empathize with but I am saddened for him because he never got over his childhood trauma.  He holds grudges and has a harsh opinion of people.  I've known people like him.  It means they don't have a lot of love in their life and they feel under-loved.   I know some people have ignored him but he has driven others away.   I have still not reconnected with Pritchard because he has chosen a life of solitude.   
I won't mention the others at this time even though this blog is rather obscure and only viewed by a few people from my past.
I am running for school board.  It is exciting to learn about the process of running for public office.  There are endorsement screenings we must go through.  There are interviews with the media.   There are questionaires that are detailed.  Some questionaires restrict your word count just like some face to face interviews restrict your time.  There are people who have chosen pre-destined political alliances even before the race started and there are sitting board members who think they have the power to control the future by hand picking their successors.  Nothing like that really works in real life.   Look at Jesse Ventura who won the Minnesota governorship.   He beat Hubert Humphrey's son.  A boa feather wrestler beat a Vice President's son.  Now, in the 2016 Presidential race, Donald Trump with his outlandish statements on Obama's birth records in the past, he claim that even immigrant parents who gave birth to children here won't be legitimate and other over the top comments---is ahead in the polls because of glitz and no substance.  I want to be judged on my experience as a teacher not for glitz.  But charm can win a race over.  I don't have puckered lips like Trump or media wars with people like Rosie O'Donnell.  I have more favorable amo than Trump.  However, a false ego can create false pride.  I want to theorize about my belief systems in politics, political philosophy, government and education.   I want to espouse ideas so they may register with people and allow them to ponder things.  I am glad I am involved with something exciting and valuable.  Duluth School Board needs good input and fresh blood.  With that I will close.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Los Angeles life vs. Minnesota

Living in a dual homeland

There is a division line inside my soul and it has geographic entities.  I dually exist in two locations, Los Angeles and Duluth.  One side of my soul is fed through the woodlands and a diet of visual saturation of birds, migration, birch trees and subdued twilights.  The other side of me kicks garbage through the streets, bonds with the homeless as I make my way into the indoor swap meet where my friend, Rownak, runs an aromatherapy store.  The buyers come for the low end prices of high end products.  She has oils named Beyonce, Hillary Clinton and Kardashian.  A scent of a woman underscores the endless gypsy quality of people trapsing through the multiple stores.  The stores are lined up and open every day for the bargain hunter.  I score a leather belt for $1.00 next door and a silver studded belt with rivets my son now sports at his McDonalds job.  Even in 65 degree weather in downtown L.A., there is a human rhythm of excitement, tempo and beat the weekend before Christmas.  This is what I flew here for.  I come to find the missing fragments of my soul I left behind and to treasure a few lost pieces.  Leaving Duluth didn’t seem so bad this winter.  It was around 20 degrees when I left as opposed to last winter when it was minus 40.  I have endured two and a half years now.  I wouldn’t call it home but it is an ancient home.  It is a vestibule of my memory that taunted me from age 1 to 16 when we would visit my Aunt Fanny on West 5th Street.  Her husband, Silvio DeSanto had a telescope in the attic to view Lake Superior’s ship trafficking.  My roots are half way sealed in Duluth through a ventricular vein that routes through the emissary vein to my superficial temporal veins.  What does that mean?  My emissary vein is the diplomatic context of my circulation that shield painful parts of my past and only opens the door to the windows I want to see.   My father’s family came from a place within that circular trouble in my inner world that only surfaces with some warm memories.  He was the 9th of 9 children born on the advent of the depression.  His brother, Tommy Hammerstrom, died of rickets at age 4.  His parents were 2nd generation Swedes.  My father entered WWII three months after he turned 18.  He was a limo driver for English diplomats in England.  My father contoured his life to say it had been rough but he actually was born into a Post war generation that was the most prosperous in the last 100 years.  After graduating from UMD in 1948, he worked at 3M 32 years and became a millionaire.  He invested in stocks and bonds.   But his soul rested in WWII even in his awake adult life.  The struggle of living overshadowed him.  Duluth, the city, to me is the city of archangel steeples and a jagged, hilly landscape embraced for hardship. The sun is often foggy and luminous and the clouds can cast gloom.  The houses are often turn of the century, the brick and stone are possessions of the cityscape.  I practice endurance and overcoming through towering over and observing the constructive make up of the city as I do my driving job 2-3 days a week.  I often drive 150 miles in one day.  Northern Minnesota has that self-sustinence feel as you drive through the silent country pass Rice Lake road to Fredenberg.  People who live here in my mind reap from the silence and their connection to the forest.  The low flying hawks just above me as I drive are speaking a language without symbols.  The roads wind and bend.  I find my way back to my white colonial home which I have made my own.  When crossing the country once a year to go “back to California” I am returning to my other half where my identical twin sister lives with her 14 year old son.  A place where my son can reunite with his cousin.  I can go back to First Baptist of Beverly Hills in which I first started attending in 1987.  It’s a church of about fifty members.  Faith Ford of Murphy Brown, David Choe – a famous Korean artist who designed the Facebook walls and Chance Raspberry, a cartoonist for the Simpsons all derived from church.  I was able to connect with two of them over the Christmas break.   In California, life gives flight to my dreams.  In Minnesota, I engulfed in my heritage.  I practice responsibility caring for the disabled.  I am a better citizen.  I still don’t know fully who I am but I know that I live between two places of beauty.  The coniferous forest that breeds pines and sanctuary and the wild chaos that comes from a blended flux of mass immigrants that keep my heart in tempo to the true America.  I move 4 homeless blankets to make room for my rental car behind Rownak’s store.  It gives a feel of the transience I feel.   I hold the dirty blankets which are an element of someone’s home. As I shift them to the sidewalk, I see their owner.  The exchange in handing him the blankets is an awakening to the earth I stand on.  I can comprehend that temporary delusion that life has a sense of permanence.  All I know is I have to keep moving.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Moving from Hollywood, California to Duluth, Minnesota

The scrub brush of the Los Angeles Griffith Park cast a fractured shadow from the blazing sun on the Observatory Trail, closest to a vista view.  In the largest municipal park in the U.S, sunlight and dryness contrasted deeply in my soul, far from the fresh, green lawns of White Bear Lake.  Age twenty-seven, a Midwest transplant, I grasped the vastness on that hill, the low lying Santa Monica mountains that did not tower like the majestic San Gabriel range ten miles east.    Rising geographical terrain gives one a viewpoint but not a reason for transplanting to a 25 million populated metropolis.  I put into effect my past skills.  Clinging to a past identity as a long distance running star would get me through the next four years.  Finding a parking spot in Los Feliz where I lived was often a twenty minute ordeal.  The pink mansion one block away across Franklin gave me a hint of income lines.  Mary Wilson, a former Supreme, lived there and one day, I may cross the line from Harvard to Franklin into Brad & Angelina Jolie-Pitt’s future neighborhood.

I joined a Baptist church where my sister worshipped.  A Southern Baptist church in West Hollywood was a contrast in itself.  It was the largest concentration of the gay population in the U.S. and my pastor was a conservative, believing being gay was a sinful choice.  However, the church was a celebrity magnet.  My pastor’s wife was a distant cousin of Alice Cooper, Sally Struthers had visited, Faith Ford attended my church as well as Richard Karn.  Sugar Ray Leonard saw my Easter play I mounted for the pastor.  The church was a spiritual nucleus that strangely enough gave me comfort and would launch my playwriting career.  Larry Welch, a go-getter in the church with an MFA in theatre decided to open a theatre company.  I had coincidentally written a play, in the same year Dances with Wolves would create a big hit.  I had no idea my Native American play would co-opt the success of Kevin Costner’s movie.  I later saw Kevin Costner in the El Adobe restaurant across from Paramount Studies.  I told him in the middle of his dinner, “Your choice in subject matter led me to success.”  He asked me the name of the play and I told him I would send the script.   Larry produced my play “Father, Save Your Skin” for a ten week run.  It went to the American Indian Film Festival in 1990 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco then produced for cable television.  Amidst this unintended success, I logged mentally the chronology of my Hollywood acquaintances.

My friend, De De West, was a longtime companion of Allan Nixon, who was a one hit wonder in the movie Prehistoric Women.  He was married to Marie Wilson, another Hollywood starlit whose house burned in a fire and nearly her with it.  Later, Marie died of cancer at age 56.  Allan later became a great writer whose best novel was “The Last of Vicki.”   I would sit with him in his garage and he would show me past manuscripts.  One time, he tried to look younger.  He died his hair blonde and it turned out green.  He was recruited over the age of 70 by Mary Beal, a writing agent in Hollywood, after attending a screenwriting workshop in our church.   The same night, Allan and Bill Dekle, another actor, were held at gunpoint outside the church, forced to empty their wallets.   Errol Flynn’s wife would call the American Red Cross where I worked to talk to De De.  Nellie Olson from Little House on the Prairie came to our church in 1988 to talk about HIV/Aids because her television husband died of the disease.   I met Bruce Dern and Lauren Bacall at Spagos, one of the most famous West Hollywood venues.
It wasn’t until I became a director of a play that I saw the underside of fame.  My close friend and feature lead of my play, Joseph Runningfox, had starred as the lead role in two movies “Geronimo” and “Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee”” in which he played Leonard Crow Dog.  He also appeared in Ishi: The Last of his Tribe in which has recruited off a baseball field at Brigham Young University for the role.  He was a complicated person that spoke of the modern world and what he liked versus the natural world, the identity to which he clung coming from the Pueblo tribe of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He had a drinking problem.  One night he fought with the theatrical director of our company and he left the show and drove forty miles north of the city the day before opening night.  I had to chase him in the high hills of San Fernando and never did find him.  Later, he was replaced by Darrell Redleaf (Fielder) who became a famous Hollywood hair stylist on the Style Channel.  Joe and I stayed friends for over twenty years.  At the height of his drug and alcohol abuse, I used to bring him Whoppers from Burger King to his cocaine haven, the La Pasada motel on Saticoy and Sepulveda in a seedy part of the San Fernando Valley.  He once slept on the floor in my rented house.  He made a slight comeback in some plays and movies.  He played bit roles in tv shows like “A Thief of Time” and “Sons of Anarchy.”  He later found sobriety but not until paranoia and fear almost took over.  He feared the press even when he was not a target of the paparazzi.  He thought his phone calls might be tapped and feared the press scanned his Facebook wall.  I befriended the mother of his chld who was serious with Andrew Morton, the inflated biographer of famous people from England.
I guess the strangest connection to my Hollywood exposure was with my Pastor, Milo Ken Anderson.  He had officiated at my young daughter’s funeral in 1992 in Stoughton, Wisconsin.  After relocating to California like me in about 1999, his son died suddenly from a heart attack at age 27.  His daughter, Rachael Anderson, was only 18 when her brother died.  Her brother, Kevin, had many friends attend his funeral.  Since he was a flim editor, there were some Hollywood prototypes in the crowd.  Strangely enough, Angelina Jolie’s brother, James Haven, fell in love with the 18 year old Rachael at that day of mourning.  They tailspinned into a five year romance and he proposed to her at the five year mark.  Then he got cold feet.  I resented him distantly for building up and crumbling the world of a young girl. She was too young to be wielded into the world of fame only to be crushed by his indecision.  He ended up trying to hang onto her after she dumped him.  I had two degrees of separation from Angelina Jolie.  My pastor got to go to her house for Thanksgving and meet Jon Voight for dinner a few times, counseling him on his relationship with Angelina Jolie.
Beyond my up close experiences with celebrities, I realize success may bring them comfort but not peace of mind.  I later had religious battles with Darrell Redleaf about Christianity.  He insisted I watch Zeitgeist on Good Friday and I told him I refused to do so.  I lost one of my Hollywood connections over religious conflict.  No one was trying to save eachother but he was definitely anti-Christian.  I wasn’t going to sacrifice my religious beliefs for a Hollywood contact.
Now, I am away from the Hollywood scrubbrush, the Co2 toxic traffic, the perpetual sunlight and an occassional recognizable famous face.  I am on the down low in the Midwest with no claims to fame.  Just some gravitational memories.  I drew the same conclusions of Hollywood my parents generation would have.  De De West and Allan Nixon of Hollywood’s Golden Age were the real deal.  She would wear classic red lipstick, pull her hair back, had penetrating eyes and smoked with a fancy extension on  her cigarettes, drank cocktails at night and ate at the Silver Spoon on Santa Monica Boulevard every night.  She knew her place in Hollywood and didn’t lose her sense of her earned right to be there, stemming back to the hey day of the Fomosa CafĂ© partying aura.  They grasped their Hollywood legacy while still living it.  The modern age actors got fame in the same back handed way as me but never found their direction.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Live from the NAACP convention in Philadelphia with Don and Pat Gallimore, chapter chair of Reno Sparks NAACP

We have two special guests on this episode of BlogTalk Radio.  Pastor Milo Ken Anderson of Calvary Lutheran in Cypress, California and Pat Gallimore, Chapter Chair of Reno Sparks, Nevada NAACP.  Don, her husband, is our other cohost at BTR-Tabernacle Faith.  I hope you enjoy this episode with Jon, Jane, Ken, Don and Pat....

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Am I Charlie? No, I am Lassana Bathily

Am I Charlie? I am Lassana Bathily

If my freedom were ever at risk or if my choices to express that freedom were limited, I probably would not be drawing a Muslim in a turban with a Jewish star on his ass.   Many of the cartoons at the liberation newspaper coined Charlie Hebdo were not funny or even mind grappling.  They were downright crass.   The offices were fire bombed in 2011 and they did receive threats over the years.  Charlie Hebdo’s executive editor Stephane Charbonnier quoted Emiliano Zapata “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”  \

Remarkably so, any number of journalists can stand by their credo but the carriage of the message comes through in the heart of the intended core of the subject matter.  What was Charlie Hebdo’s message?   Was it just to diffuse different sects of the Catholic, Jewish and Muslim faith by alternately making them look bad each week?  Was subscription to an organized book of truth (People of the Book) who lay claim to the Abrahamic promises all potentially misguided? To lay blame on the publisher himself may be a dangerous task.  To fully understand that mind to lips to pen can exert an invitation to death is potentially the most lethal element of modern debate.

 The Huffington Post made the argument that Hebdo’s edgy challenge on right wing French values are legitimate when pushing the boundaries of collective social principles.   Liam Smith wrote “We must recognize the value that comes from pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, of breaking taboos, of standing up to thugs. Not to do so speaks to a form of cowardice only supplanted by the news outlets who have refused to show the cartoons and the even more pathetic attempts to justify that decision.”  I was able to google the cartoons and find at least 100 images.   On a more intimate scale, Salah Khadr, a London based editor of Al Jazeera, wrote “I am Al Jazeera” challenging his employees to ask if this was “really an attack on ‘free speech,’” discuss whether “I Am Charlie” is an “alienating slogan,” which promotes the conflict between European values vs. clash of extremist fringes.  Khadr wrote“ Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile.”  The rest of the world who somehow evenly grafted the phrase into geographic strongholds of “Je suis Charlie” vs.  “Je ne suis pas Charlie” created a hemispheric divide between countries subscribing to Judeo-Christian exaltation vs. Muslims who may or may not condone the violence seems decisively clear.  All the prominent members of NATO were at the French unity march last Sunday on January 11, 2015.

 I felt a sense of world division as the former allies of WWII bonded in arms and a gaelic spirit to demonstrate the disapproval of the brutal killings. There was a subliminal line drawn of a broken world order that bled through old tempered scars.  I had a sense of dignity that Russia and Ukraine joined the ranks.  Yet I do not want to be aligned to an international coalition or in this case, one religion of solidarity.  I believe “I am Lassana Bathily.”   Lassana Bathily was the 24 year old Mali-born Muslim grocery clerk who hid a group of frightened shoppers inside the Jewish store Hyper Cacher before sneaking out through a fire escape to speak to police.  The store was attacked by gunman Amedy Coulibaly who killed 4 people and attempted to take more hostages to protect the two men who had killed 12 people at Hebdo’s offices the previous day.  He stated that we are all in this together.  Jews, Christians and Muslims must unify because we are all in the same crisis. 

The question is how did the crisis begin and where will it end?  No killing can increase the integrity of one’s soul or attitude.  I believe we should all desire to be like Lassana Bathily who protected lives while surrounded by death.  His actions while in a crisis drove him to heroism.  By breaking down the barriers and accepting people where they are at and eliminating labels that draw defense is the only way humanity as a whole can come out of this crisis.   One’s true identity is in the action of generosity and curiosity, reaching a little further to find out who that stranger is without trying to identify or label them.