Bowman Employees Spend the Day with Habitat for Humanity

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a community service project as part of a team from my firm.  I wrote an article about the experience for my company’s blog which you can read from the link below.

Bowman Employees Spend the Day with Habitat for Humanity

Employees from Bowman & Company LLP volunteered their day to build a home for Habitat for Humanity

Employees from Bowman & Company LLP volunteered their day to build a home for Habitat for Humanity

Daily Prompt: Chaos

Submitted for the Daily Prompt: Chaos

For today’s daily prompt, we are to write something based on the word chaos. Please enjoy my diamante poem.

 

Chaos

Disorder, Confusion

Rioting, Fighting, Distracting

Looting in the street, Calm city again

Reconciling, Unify, Harmonize

Order, Friendship

What Happened on May 9th – Captain Blood and the Crown Jewels

The Wonderful Story of Britain: Stealing the Crown Jewels. The robbers gag the old keeper and then Captain Blood picks up the crown as the second man grabs the orb, while the third begins to file the sceptre in two, so that it can be easily hidden. Original artwork from Treasure no. 128 (26 June 1965).

The Wonderful Story of Britain: Stealing the Crown Jewels. The robbers gag the old keeper and then Captain Blood picks up the crown as the second man grabs the orb, while the third begins to file the sceptre in two, so that it can be easily hidden. Original artwork from Treasure no. 128 (26 June 1965).

In London on May 9, 1671, Thomas Blood, an Irish adventurer better known as “Captain Blood,” is captured attempting to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.  Was he executed for his efforts?  Let’s see.

Thomas Blood

Thomas Blood

First a little background leading up to his run in with the Crown Jewels.  He was a Parliamentarian during the English Civil War and as a result of the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, he was deprived of his estate in Ireland.  So began his efforts to even the score.

  • In 1663, he put himself at the head of a plot to seize Dublin Castle from supporters of King Charles II, but the plot was discovered and his accomplices executed while he escaped capture.
  • In 1671, he hatched a bizarre plan to steal the new Crown Jewels, which had been refashioned by Charles II because most of the original jewels were melted down after Charles I’s execution in 1649.

5_9_Crown-jewels-and-Thomas-Blood-Image-Ireland-Calling

With his latest plan in place, on May 9, 1671, Blood, disguised as a priest, managed to convince the Jewel House keeper to hand over his pistols. Blood’s three accomplices then emerged from the shadows, and together they forced their way into the Jewel House. Unexpectedly, the keeper’s son showed up.  Blood and his cronies were caught in the act.  An alarm went out to the Tower guard but before one man shoved the Royal Orb down his breeches while Blood flattened the Crown with a mallet and tried to run off with it. The Tower guards apprehended and arrested all four of the perpetrators, and Blood was brought before the king. Charles was so impressed with Blood’s audacity that, far from punishing him, he restored his estates in Ireland and made him a member of his court with an annual pension.

Captain Blood became a colorful celebrity all across the kingdom, and when he died in 1680 his body had to be exhumed in order to persuade the public that he was actually dead.

Here is a bit of humor.

 

 

#sundayphotofiction Gardens of Stone and Glass

Submitted for Sunday Photo Fiction

spf

Today I am participating in the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. You can find out about this weekly blogging challenge as well as read the stories of other participants at the link above.  We are provided with the photograph below as a prompt for our stories. Please enjoy the Garden of Stone and Glass.

Credit: Al Forbes

Credit: Al Forbes

The Garden of Stone and Glass

“Mom. Why did Grandma have such strange things in her garden?”

Meredith dreaded this day. Since her mom’s passing, she had been able to keep Jeremy away from the bizarre things that had been so prevalent during her childhood but now they were forced to move into her childhood home.

“Mom did you hear me?”

“I did sweetheart but I don’t know what you mean.” Better to keep to just what he notices and not volunteer more than necessary.

Pointing at the large piece of slate enclosed in the glass showcase, Jeremy shouted, “That mommy.”

Before Meredith could decide how to respond, Jeremy let go of her hand and ran toward the object of his inquiry.  She shouted, “Don’t touch it Jeremy, ” but it was too late.

His little hand penetrated the glass as if it was made of water and in a flash of light he was gone. Meredith fell to her knees and cried out his name but she knew her son had just joined the gardens of stone and glass. Soon a new exhibit would appear somewhere in the garden.

A #MothersDay Tribute -Songs for My Mom

2016 is the second year I am without my mom for Mother’s Day. This is a tribute to her with Irish songs about mothers that she would have enjoyed.

MaryRyanPortrait_Cropped

Mary Josephine Ryan

Bing Crosby & King’s Men performing Did Your Mother Come From Ireland (1940) written by Irving Berlin.  Bing Crosby was a favorite of my mom’s.

 

Did Your Mother Come From Ireland performed by Bing Crosby and written by Irving Berlin.  Bing Crosby was one of her favorites.

John McCormack – Mother Machree 1911.  Recorded before my mom’s life but I remember that she had albums by John McCormack.

Bridie Gallagher – A Mother’s Love’s A Blessing. 

This Week in #WW2 – US Surrender in the Philippines

 

USA-P-PI-25

THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II

US Surrender in the Philippines

On May 6, 1942, U.S. Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright surrenders all U.S. troops in the Philippines to the Japanese.

The island of Corregidor remained the last Allied stronghold in the Philippines after the Japanese victory at Bataan (from which General Wainwright had managed to flee, to Corregidor). Constant artillery shelling and aerial bombardment attacks ate away at the American and Filipino defenders. Although still managing to sink many Japanese barges as they approached the northern shores of the island, the Allied troops could hold the invader off no longer.
General Wainwright, only recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and commander of the U.S. armed forces in the Philippines, offered to surrender Corregidor to Japanese General Homma, but Homma wanted the complete, unconditional capitulation of all American forces throughout the Philippines. Wainwright had little choice given the odds against him and the poor physical condition of his troops (he had already lost 800 men). He surrendered at midnight. All 11,500 surviving Allied troops were evacuated to a prison stockade in Manila.General Wainwright remained a POW until 1945. As a sort of consolation for the massive defeat he suffered, he was present on the USS Missouri for the formal Japanese surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945.

JONATHAN M. WAINWRIGHT (1883-1953). Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright. American army officer. President Harry Truman decorating General Wainwright with the Congressional Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony, 10 September 1945.

JONATHAN M. WAINWRIGHT (1883-1953). Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright. American army officer. President Harry Truman decorating General Wainwright with the Congressional Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony, 10 September 1945.

He would also be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman. Wainwright died in 1953-exactly eight years to the day of the Japanese surrender ceremony.

 

What Happened on May 4th – Riot in Haymarket Square

The Haymarket Riot

The Haymarket Riot

Throughout history, struggles over labor have often ignited into violence.  Such was the case on May 4, 1886.  In Haymarket Square in Chicago, Illinois, the police came to break up a labor demonstration and someone threw a bomb at the policemen.  The police responded with gunfire, killing several people in the crowd and injuring many more.

More than 1,500 Chicago workers came to the rally which was organized by German-born labor radicals.  They were protesting the killing of a striker by the Chicago police the day before. Due to rain, the crowd was thinning and a force of nearly 200 policemen arrived to disperse the workers. As the police advanced toward the 300 remaining protesters, an individual who was never positively identified threw a bomb at them. After the explosion and subsequent police gunfire, more than a dozen people lay dead or dying, and close to 100 were injured.

wo page spread from Frank Leslie’s illustrated Newspaper showing police charging rioters in Chicago’s Haymarket Square and bust portraits of seven policemen

wo page spread from Frank Leslie’s illustrated Newspaper showing police charging rioters in Chicago’s Haymarket Square and bust portraits of seven policemen

National xenophobia was the result.  The fear of anything foreign and hundreds of foreign-born radicals and labor leaders were rounded up in Chicago and elsewhere. A grand jury eventually indicted 31 suspected labor radicals in connection with the bombing, and eight men were convicted in a sensational and controversial trial. Judge Joseph E. Gary imposed the death sentence on seven of the men, and the eighth was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On November 11, 1887, Samuel Fielden, Adolph Fischer, August Spies, and Albert Parson were executed.

Of the three others sentenced to death, one committed suicide on the eve of his execution and the other two had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment by Illinois Governor Richard J. Oglesby. Governor Oglesby was reacting to widespread public questioning of their guilt, which later led his successor, Governor John P. Altgeld, to pardon fully the three activists still living in 1893.

What Happened on May 3rd – MADD @MADDOnline

MADD

What must it be like to lose your child to a drunk driver.  So many have.  On May 3, 1980, 13-year-old Cari Lightner was walking along the road to attend a church carnival when a car swerved out of control, struck and killed her.  Cari’s tragic death compelled her mother, Candy Lightner, to found the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which would grow into one of the country’s most influential non-profit organizations.

 

Candy Lightner, president of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, holds a picture of her late daughter inside her office in Sacramento, Calif., on Feb. 26, 1981. Lightner's daughter was killed by a drunk driver. (AP Photo)

Candy Lightner, president of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, holds a picture of her late daughter inside her office in Sacramento, Calif., on Feb. 26, 1981. Lightner’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver. (AP Photo)

When police arrested Clarence Busch, the driver who hit Cari, they found that he had a record of arrests for intoxication, and had in fact been arrested on another hit-and-run drunk-driving charge less than a week earlier. Candy Lightner learned from a policeman that drunk driving was rarely prosecuted harshly, and that Busch was unlikely to spend significant time behind bars. Furious, Lightner decided to take action against what she later called “the only socially accepted form of homicide.” MADD was the result. (Charged with vehicular homicide, Busch did eventually serve 21 months in jail.)

  • In 1980 some 27,000 alcohol-related traffic fatalities occurred in the United States, including 2,500 in California alone.
  • Lightner began lobbying California’s governor, Jerry Brown, to set up a state task force to investigate drunk driving.
  • Brown eventually agreed, making her the task force’s first member.
  • In 1981, California passed a law imposing minimum fines of $375 for drunk drivers and mandatory imprisonment of up to four years for repeat offenders.
  • President Ronald Reagan soon asked Lightner to serve on the National Commission on Drunk Driving, which recommended raising the minimum drinking age to 21 and revoking the licenses of those arrested for drunk driving.
  • In July 1984, she stood next to Reagan as he signed a law reducing federal highway grants to any state that failed to raise its drinking age to 21.
Since that time, the 21 minimum drinking age law has saved about 900 lives per year as estimated by the National Traffic Highway Administration (NHTSA).

Since that time, the 21 minimum drinking age law has saved about 900 lives per year as estimated by the National Traffic Highway Administration (NHTSA).

  • The following year, all 50 states had tightened their drunk-driving laws.
  • By 1985, MADD had expanded to some 320 chapters and 600,000 volunteers and donors nationwide
  • MADD went on to wage a campaign to lower the nation’s legal blood alcohol content from 0.1 percent to 0.08.
  • The group won a major victory in 2000, when the Clinton administration passed a law tying federal highway funds to states’ adoption of the 0.08 standard.
US President Bill Clinton applauds Millie Webb (L), National President of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), 23 October 2000 at the White House

US President Bill Clinton applauds Millie Webb (L), National President of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), 23 October 2000 at the White House

  • By that year–the 20th anniversary of MADD’s founding–alcohol-related fatalities had dropped some 40 percent over two decades, and states with the toughest drunk-driving laws were beginning to treat alcohol-related fatalities as murder.

What Happened on May 2nd – Lou Gehrig Benches Himself @alsassociation

The Yankee duo reunited – Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939. Within a decade a similar testimonial would honor Ruth, who died from cancer in 1948. Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth (right) on "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day" (July 4, 1939) at Yankee Stadium, following Gehrig's retirement.

The Yankee duo reunited – Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939. Within a decade a similar testimonial would honor Ruth, who died from cancer in 1948.
Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth (right) on “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day” (July 4, 1939) at Yankee Stadium, following Gehrig’s retirement.

Probably one of the greatest players to ever walk onto a baseball diamond, Lou Gehrig put down his bat on May 2, 1939.  He benched himself for a poor play and ended his record of 13 consecutive years of never missing a game.  That is 2,130 games.  As the world knows, it was more than a bad play.  Lou Gehrig developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and he would never play again. Gehrig began to experience symptoms of ALS during the 1938 season, but doctors initially struggled to diagnose him.

How great was Lou Gehrig?  His offensive output was as extraordinary as his consecutive games streak. The left-handed slugger led the American League in RBIs five times, driving in at least 100 runs 13 years in a row. He led the American League (AL) in home runs three times, led in runs four times and led the league in hitting once. In the Yankees first golden era, Gehrig batted cleanup, right after Babe Ruth, the bigger star of the two. It was Gehrig, however, who was named American League MVP in 1927, on a Yankee team considered the greatest team in history; he won the award again in 1936, another championship year for the Yankees. In all, Gehrig won six World Series titles with the Yankees.  I wrote about Lou Gehrig previous in honor of his debut in baseball.

On July 4, 1939, the Yankees held Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium. With over 60,000 fans in the stands and his former teammates there to honor him, Gehrig was overcome by emotion, and his legs shook from his developing paralysis. Gehrig stared hard at the ground, unable to speak, until his longtime manager Joe McCarthy and teammate Babe Ruth encouraged him. Then, in gratitude for his great career, and knowing he was dying from an unknown disease, he said: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”  Lou Gehrig died on June 2, 1941, with his wife Eleanor by his side.

#sundayphotofiction #poetry The Race

Submitted for Sunday Photo Fiction

spf

Today I am participating in the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. You can find out about this weekly blogging challenge as well as read the stories of other participants at the link above.  We are provided with the photograph below as a prompt for our stories.

This week I try my hand at a Villanelle poem.  Please enjoy The Race.

Credit: Al Forbes of A Mixed Bag

Credit: Al Forbes of A Mixed Bag

The Race

Why do they go so fast?

Stirring up dust in the sunlight

In the stands the fans are vast

 

The race starts but it cannot last

Won’t give up place without a fight

Why do they go so fast?

 

No results assured, don’t look at the past

They speed by and fly to the right

In the stands the fans are vast

 

In this moving tableau, the cars are the cast

Racing for place with all their might

Why do they go so fast?

 

One of them is done now, its engine did blast

Look at the flames, the driver’s plight

In the stands the fans are vast

 

The race goes on, the wreckage bypassed.

The driver lives, what a glorious sight

Why do they go so fast?

In the stands the fans are vast