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31
Mar

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged

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30
Mar

and all that jazz….

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26
Mar

Let Justice for Trayvon Shine

I’ve been very upset about the Trayvon Martin tragedy.  I’ve started to write about it a few times, but I end up so angry and frustrated that I have to walk away from the computer.

That poor child, all of seventeen, had not even begun to live his life!  A handsome and bright-eyed boy full of promise….. and he’s gone, in the rain.  Guilty of wearing a hoodie.  Guilty of walking while black down a Stanford Florida street teeming in ignorance.  The ignorance of the Neanderthal white man cannot be tolerated!

There was the sad and tragic case of Emmitt Till.  And now, some sixty, or so, years later, we have another tragedy born of the same white Neanderthal ignorance.

Jeb Bush and his ilk are nearly as guilty of the death of Trayvon Martin as is the Florida nutcase who pulled the trigger.  Zimmerman was made bold by the 2005 Stand Your Ground law in that says it’s okay to shoot when threatened.  But Zimmerman was NOT threatened, as we all now realize.  Zimmerman clearly murdered this young man in cold blood.  In Cold Blood.  This law is being misconstrued to call a “perceived” threat a real threat.  That’s what Zimmerman believed – he perceived he was threatened by a young man in a hoodie, in the rain.

This Florida law, so despicable, disgraceful and bold is often misunderstood with TRAGIC consequences that are too many to list here.

I remember 2005 and the arguments about this law’s passage.  I remember being outraged by it.  And I remember feeling hopeless because Jeb Bush was then Governor of Florida.  Need I say more?  (Jeb’s middle name may as well be NRA.)

If you live in Florida, as I do, you know the harm that Republicans like Jeb have done in this state.   Just as his brother did so much damage to the United States, so too did Jeb to Florida.

I wrote about a similar situation last year about the NRA drafting a Florida bill.  (That’s no typo – yes, the NRA helped write a Florida bill.)  I kid you not.

The Florida law makers make gun laws like the Wild Wild West because they believes more guns will improve the crime problem.

Below is a snippet from my blog post.  To read the full post, click Oh, That NRA Second Amendment.

….lawmakers in Tallahassee are pushing a new gun bill that is backed / written by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The purpose of the bill?  To loosen current regulations on the use of gun and ammunition ownership, and to prohibit lawmakers in Florida from fashioning stricter gun laws that would change or supersede the law.

Senator Joe Negron (R), has been working with the NRA for six months to craft this bill.  Negron said it’s entirely coincidental that this bill was filed this week while the tragedy in Tuscon was unfolding.

As if that is not bad enough, Senator Greg Evers (R), and Rep. Jason Brodeur (R) filed identical bills that would make it a felony for health care professionals (doctors or any medical provider), to inquire about whether a patient has access to firearms.

Currently in Broward County, a three day waiting period (a “cooling off” period) is in place, and has been law since 2001.  Negron’s bill would do away with the cooling off period entirely.  In addition, the law would prohibit all lawmakers from making changes to the gun laws once this bill is in effect.  All of Florida would have to abide by one state gun law, one standard as opposed to variations from county to county.

Trayvon’s blood is on the hands of the good ole boys of Florida.

How many more young black men have to be killed???  The media and the politicians might call this tragedy a “culture” issue.  I call it a hate crime.  I call it murder.

I can’t write anymore …..

Below are flowers for the Martin family, and for all of us who grieve….  I named this photo, Shine Shine Shine!  Let justice shine for Trayvon, and soon.

Photo by Andrea O'Connell, 2012. All rights reserved

 

25
Mar

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through …… Odysseo

 

Yesterday I had the great fortune of seeing the dreamy, magical and brilliant show, Odysseo, playing in Miami.  It was an amazing experience.  We were front and center – close enough to smell the horses and see the sweat glistening from their beatifically coiffed coats.

I didn’t have time before the show to focus on this weeks’ photo challenge, which asks us to capture an image that says”through,” but I think the glow of the lights and the complicated structure beneath the bleacher seats works pretty well for my interpretation of “through.”

I had my camera with me and as we entered the Odysseo big top to see the show, it was impossible not to notice the massive scaffold-like structures underneath the enormous bleacher seats.  The purple glow that washed through the bleacher support beams, came from the stage lighting.  I love the wild effect the purple lighting made through the bleachers.

Below are a few of photos of the underside of the bleachers.  The photos with a TV screen, were hanging on the outside frame of the bleachers and showed some of the dramatic moments from the show.

Photo by Andrea O'Connell, 2012. All rights reserved

Photo of bleacher support beams with TV showing scenes from Odysseo:

Photo by Andrea O'Connell, 2012. All rights reserved

Photo of bleacher support beams with TV showing scenes from Odysseo:

Photo by Andrea O'Connell, 2012. All rights reserved

Photo of bleacher support beams with TV showing scenes from Odysseo:

Below is a you tube video that I think you’ll enjoy.  There are a lot of YouTube videos of this remarkable show.  Follow this video to more YouTube links about the show.

Screen-shot image of Odysseo web page. Click photo to access Odysseo website

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21
Mar

Creative Whack #16: See the Obvious

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a “Creative Whack,” those wonderful and inspiring cards by Roger Von Oech.

This particular card, See the Obvious, reminds me that seeing the obvious is easier said than done, especially if you are unable to see the most obvious due to the little-known phenomenon, Facial Blindness.

This phenomenon was recently discussed on the television program, 60 Minutes.   If you’ve never heard about Facial Blindness, you’re not alone.  Unlike Color Blindness, Facial Blindness is a rare condition in which another person’s features are completely unrecognizable to the person who suffers with the condition.  Imagine not being able to recognize your wife or husband, or your children and parents?  Every one is a stranger.  Everyone.

Seeing the 60 Minutes program got me thinking about what life would be like if EVERYONE had facial blindness?  Can you imagine meeting a family member, or best friend for a lunch date and be unable to recognize who you’re supposed to meet?

Would the world be more peaceful if we were unable to recognize our enemies?

How would we know who to hate?  Or, would we hate everyone?

I’d like to think that society would be much more pleasant because we’d look our “enemies” in the face and they’d be unrecognizable.

Now, wouldn’t that be something!

18
Mar

weekly photo challenge: Unusual

This week, the WordPress weekly photo challenge asks us to post something that says “unusual.”

I immediately thought, ‘Holy cow, this will be an easy one, I have gobs of unusual photos!’  But there’s the rub – what says unusual best when nearly everything is unusual?!

Then I thought about the beautiful and unusual chandelier I’d seen weekend in the lobby of the Adventura Arts & Cultural Center. in Miami Beach.   I was standing in the lobby of the theatre, and after the show looked up to see this unusual and fabulous lighting design, in the picture.  (I wish I could give credit to the person who designed these unique chandeliers.  If anyone knows whose work this is, please advise – I’d like to credit the artist.)

Anyway, below is what the grouping of one set of lights.  Below this top photo, the result of manipulating the image…

Photo by Andrea O'Connell, 2012

I’ve manipulated the photo to appear like the glass bubbles are shooting up instead of hanging down from the ceiling.

Photo by Andrea O'Connell, 2012

15
Mar

American politicians make me want to puke

Like that GOP goon, Sanatorum, recently said about hearing John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech on the separation of church and state – that it made him want to “throw up…” well, I say, anyone who believes or takes these GOP operatives seriously make me want to puke!   Actually, they make me want to cry.

Any politician who also feels the need to stress their Christianity and tell everyone they are a good Christian, makes me want to puke.   Why in hell should you or I care about a politician’s religion?  Does it make a person a better person because they profess to believe in God and religion?  Never.  Never ever.

The Pope makes me want to puke because he is clearly a women hater.  The fact that the POPE can profess his hate for women on his world-stage is very frightening.

I’m angry.

I’m angry that men – in the 21st century – who are in the public eye – are actually making strides to destroy some of the basic rights that women hold dear such as the control over their own bodies.   And I’m angry that this country seems to have lost its way in the values department.

I’m so angry.

I’m amazed that we are even having a public discourse about, of all things, contraception!  I seem to recall that this is a war women already fought, and won!

Why are men again declaring war on women?  What is that about?

Why the hell can’t women in this country turn the tables on the contraceptive issue and DEMAND that ALL men who want to have sex become castrated? What’s the difference between a man being castrated and men demanding women give up their right to control their own reproductive system?  What’s the difference?

My body is my body no one has a right to tell me what to do with it – just like I have no right to demand a man be castrated.  If government and the church wish to control my female body, why won’t it then control the male body and require castration?

What’s the difference?

How can someone as morally corrupt as Rush Limbaugh, drug addict that his is, feel as if he can call women who use contraception sluts and whores, etc.?

If a woman has sexual relationships with men who are castrated she’d not need contraceptives and thus, using Limbaugh’s logic, they’d not be considered sluts or whores, correct Rush?

How dare any man or any church or any religion tell a woman how to respond sexually while a man can pop out his willy nilly willy nilly?

I need to talk about this but it’s late and I need sleep.

Here is a listing of my rants – for another day…..

I need to talk about immigration and the hate that goes along with that issue.  I need to talk about the killing of homosexuals in Uganda, and elsewhere. I need to talk about the war on women in this country.  I want to tell women in this country TO WAKE UP!  I want to tell idiots – total IDIOTS like those running against each other in the GOP race to SHUT UP and leave women, religion, marriage, and all social issues alone because you have no right to push a social agenda that is clearly meant to inflame those in our country who are uneducated because of the school system GEORGE CRIMINAL BUSH AND HIS ILK HAVE DESTROYED.

I need to yell and let loose with my anger about the dumb-ing down of America by the “Haves” who want it ALL and MORE.  I need to talk about what greed has done to this country.  Greed and Power, Power and Greed make this country tick and to hell with those living below the poverty level.

Money and power.  That’s it folks.

That’s why we cannot have a decent healthcare system in this country…. what would happen to the insurance and drug companies if healthcare were free?

If Americans would stop thinking about their next meal and get off the couch long enough to figure out what’s going on in this country, maybe they’d do SOMETHING to promote positive change?

Below is how I feel as a result thinking deeply about America and its politics, its religion, its values or lack thereof, and its MEN who want nothing more than  to see women BAREFOOT and WITH CHILD.

13
Mar

Sweet Hummer

Loving Jazz Photo Blog

Hello Bird lovers!  Here’s a sweet little Hummer that I captured a while ago.  He got lost in the shuffle of my files and files of birds pics.  He’s very sweet, I think.

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10
Mar

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

This week the photo challenge is to find something that represents “contrast.”    I’ve chosen a photo of this fellow contrasted against the blue of the sky and the screen netting – which is keeping him inside the butterfly garden at Butterfly World, in Coconut Creek, Florida.

The butterflies in these gardens have lovely surroundings and lots of flowers and fruit to enjoy.  Seeing this picture, which I captured almost two years ago, again makes me wonder… Is this particular butterfly maybe dreaming of using his large wings to explore a bigger landscape?

Could be.

It’s never good to rob any creature of its freedom…..

Blue sky against a butterfly by Andrea O'Connell

Afterward:  But then again…  I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of this moment if it weren’t for Butterfly World keeping him in…. that’s my dilemma…

3
Mar

Weekly Photo Challenge: Distorted

The photo challenge this week is to define what “distorted” might look like.

The first thing that came to my mind?  Politicians and supposed “entertainers” like the horrible Rush Limbaugh.  A picture of Rush Limbaugh does embody the word distorted, distort, distortion, like non other I can think of.  But, I have never photographed him, nor would I ever want to.

Limbaugh’s recent on-air comments about a Georgetown law student’s appeal to Congress on the contraception issue, were so twisted, so hateful, and so misogynistic that it baffles the mind. We are in the 21st century, correct?

Limbaugh called Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke “a prostitute and a slut” for arguing that birth control should be covered by insurance at religious workplaces or institutions.   But, more troubling than his sick, sick words?  Some GOP politicians see nothing wrong with what Limbaugh said. I kid you not.

That’s not only distorted, it’s incredibly troubling…..

Anyway, about my entry, I captured this beautiful fellow (the zoo docent said though he’s mighty pretty, he’s a real pest!) at Zoo Miami while he was shaking his lovely plume. I am sorry I cannot recall the name of this bird…. I also don’t recall if he is a pigeon or a dove… I will attempt to find the answer though.

1
Mar

the path of happiness is measured by human kindness

So the Academy Awards are decided.  I enjoyed the show and agree with the outcomes.  I don’t care about the fashion or the best or worst dressed – everyone was beautiful as far as I’m concerned.

But, I’m so sorry that a wonderful, wonderful film was not on the award list. The wonderful movie, Happy, (thehappymovie.com), may not be Academy Award material, but it’s material that says a great deal about the meaning of life.

Happy is a documentary about the meaning and the search for happiness. When I saw the film recently, it reaffirmed for me that the path toward happiness is measured in human kindness.

To be happy, to find happiness is what we all want as human beings.  The filmmakers – psychologists and other professionals, tell us that the pursuit of happiness requires us to live a life in which performing acts of kindness is so ingrained in us it comes naturally and happens often.

When artists create, or writers write, they enter what’s best described as “the zone.”  That zone is where happiness happens and is measurable.

Depression, as we know, is an illness that is talked about, and talked about, and talked about. Depression is measured, diagnosed and medicated.  Acts of human kindness result in elevating the brain chemicals and systems that produce “happy endorphins and serotonin messages.”  When the brain is stressed-out and the happy chemicals in our brains go haywire on us, leaving us low, sad – depressed, medicine can turn it around.

Scientists and psychiatrists measure the level of depression and attempt to cure it with medicine that stimulates happy brain chemicals once again.   Granted, there’s much, much more to mental health – it’s serious and important and I don’t mean to make light of the topic… Instead, I wish to illustrate what the filmmakers of Happy tell us about how to create happiness, and that it can be measured and improved, too.

The main message of this film (for me) revealed a truth that simple human kindness, being grateful, sharing and giving to others, is a critical reality for living a life of happiness.  It’s all wrapped up in empathy, compassion for others; giving of ourselves, serving others, being passionate givers and knowing the return on that investment is our happiness.

In our daily lives we hear and read about hate and ugliness constantly.   Sadly we don’t hear about happy things such as examples of giving and compassion often enough. Rather, we hear and read news reports filled with politicians and criminals spewing hate.  They seem to embrace negativity and hate with a real passion.

Nearly every day this blog is used for people to talk about the Casey Anthony case.  Remember the Casey Anthony trial?  It was about determining who senselessly murdered a beautiful little child – Caylee Anthony.

In this Orlando, Florida case about the death of little Caylee Anthony, it was pretty clear that the toddler’s mother, Casey Anthony, single-highhandedly murdered her own daughter.

But, Casey Anthony was found not guilty by a jury of twelve people.  Granted, that was not a verdict anyone expected, least of all me, the reality of the trial’s outcome is something I’ve completely accepted.

Casey Anthony is not guilty of murder in the eyes of the law.

No one can punish or try her with this crime ever again.  No one…. That includes Federal entities, too, for those who are petitioning the government to try Casey Anthony in Federal Court.  It will not happen. And we need to thank our lucky stars that our justice system gives Casey Anthony that protection.

There are too many cases of truly innocent people punished by our system, and that is wrong, too, clearly.  The facts are these: The application of our state laws and our constitutional rights are often abused by over=zealous lawmakers.  There are prosecutors and law enforcement agencies out there who don’t always care about the innocent, they want to solve cases by any means possible.  It is up to us to VOTE for lawmakers who RESPECT the HUMAN Rights of all people, who apply the LAW evenly to ALL people.  That includes immigrants AND all ARAB human beings, by the way.

There are people in this country who believe in an eye-for-an-eye justice, like in Biblical times.  There are lawmakers who feel this way, too.  In fact, there are people with political power in this country who are so twisted, they’d like to give angry mobs the ability to hold be-headings, or hangings.  There is one GOP lawmaker in North Carolina who’d very much like that to happen. Republican Representative Larry Pittman says, “Let’s round up the (so-called), abortionists, rapists, kidnappers and murders and hang-em high.”  More specifically, Pittman said:

We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.  via North Carolina GOP Lawmaker Calls For Bringing Back Public Hangings, Starting With Abortion Providers.

As America gets dumber it’s reflected in the people WE VOTE into office.

There are Americans who feel just as Representative Pittman does about forms of punishment.  There are people who want Casey Anthony dead. These angry and sick people would like nothing better than to see Casey Anthony face the ultimate punishment, and no doubt they’d like it to happen publicly.

God help them.

God help us all if haters, in the name of religion, seek justice their way.

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