Veterans Day 2018 and the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice of World War I

I hope that we take a moment to reflect on this Veterans Day. Let’s do more than just say thanks to veterans; may we be able to better understand and help each other.

C-Span aired the World War I Armistice Centennial Commemoration (and will air it again for primetime).

I embedded above Yo-Yo Ma’s performance (h/t WQXR‘s Facebook page post link on November 11, 2018).

On this day of reflection, it’s a relief that we remember the arts that move us.

The Atlantic shared “How the Great War Shaped the World,” by Jay Winter, an article from 2014, to commemorate the impact of World War I (2014 having been the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I).

(h/t The Atlantic‘s Facebook page post link on November 11, 2018).

See here for The Atlantic’s photo gallery for the prep for the centennial of the Armistice, and here for The Atlantic’s photo gallery of the haunting and haunted battlefields of World War I.

See here from the NY Times about the commemoration.  See here for a very expansive look at “A 100-Year Legacy of World War I,” over at the NY Times, from 2014.

On the 100th anniversary of armistice of World War I: at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”: may we one day ever have a world without wars.

It’d be nice to hope that we learned and will learn the lessons of the war that created the modern world as we know it.

(cross-posted at

Election Day 2018

Public service reminder to go vote today, if you’re a registered voter. It is not a perfect system, but voting is a civic duty and a right (it’s not a mere “privilege”; people have died for this right).

And, for four out of five boroughs of New York City: remember to flip the two page ballot to vote on judges and the ballot questions; and tear along the perforated lines to let the scanner scan one page at a time. See here for the NY1 Voter Guide, complete with links on debunking voting myths and a video on how to complete and tear the ballot.

The NYC Board of Elections video:

NPR’s Ron Elving on how to keep calm and other last minute Election Day tips. I’d add remember to breathe.

I’m not telling you how to vote, but be sure to reflect with a brain cell, and vote. This kind of decision-making’s not easy, and we do it because it isn’t easy – that’s the nature of this democratic republic.

Time for some serious checks and balances.

The end of September 2018

After a dramatic week of turmoil with the US Supreme Court confirmation hearings (coverage of which you  may find elsewhere), I was really looking for solace.

September 29, 2018, was something for being David Wright Day, on the penultimate game of the year for the NY Mets, playing against the Miami Marlins.

I had mixed feelings because we had started the season with such positive energy – all to watch everything go to blech, and meanwhile, David Wright, the captain of the team, kept trying to come back.

“Fourteen years and over 1,500 games later, Wright is wrapping up a career that has been both brilliant and heartbreaking.” – Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News.

I was reading the above line in the dead tree edition of the Daily News and all I could think was: yeah, David Wright sums up the Mets’ years of roller coaster rides – “brilliant and heartbreaking” indeed.

More heartbreak than not (I was reminded of the recent video clips of the say goodbye to Shea), but I do appreciate happy times.

As the Associated Press report notes, Wright got a nice ovation.

It was a celebration, not merely a farewell, but I hadn’t felt that sad in so long when watching a Mets game (that is, unrelated to seeing the score). All of it was such a bittersweet TV moment.

(I watched the game on TV; I’ve managed not to go to Citfield for awhile now).

And, thankfully, after such a long game (zero to zero for so many innings, even extra innings), what a relief that the NY Mets won on David Wright Day after all (in typical, extra-innings, too many men left on base, and oh well, fashion).

Thanks for all you’ve done as a Met, David Wright. Tip of the baseball cap back right at you.

Speaking of what feels like observing changes in eras: I had been somewhere earlier on Saturday, September 29, 2018, and I heard “Free Fallin'” in the store background music.

I then remembered: oh, wait, Tom Petty’s not around.

By coincidence, I then saw from NPR that there’s going to be a posthumous release of Petty’s music from Petty’s vault.

It’s weird to realize that we’re in a world without anymore Prince or Tom Petty (see here for FC’s post from last October, and here for mine from when Petty passed last year) – and even, as of this year, Aretha Franklin.

I remain not hip to music, but still: these were performing artists who were the soundtracks of our lives.

See here over at Vulture for an interesting interview with the archivist tasked to archive and sort Prince’s vault and, unsurprisingly,  NPR covered a posthumous release of a Prince recording.

Between Petty and Prince, it’d be curious to know what is in their respective vaults…

The Star Trek folks posted a link on their official Facebook page that it’s the anniversary of a classic ST: The Next Generation episode, 27 years ago on September 30, 1991: “Darmok.”

I liked that the linked article over that the Star Trek official site, by Mark Newbold, covered how “Darmok” was made, what happened during the episode, and the significance of it on trivial and deeper levels.

I was a kid back when I first watched the episode, and I hardly understood what was going on in that episode.

But, I recognized that it was the great character actor Paul Winfield under the alien makeup, and that something very interesting was happening with how Picard, as played by Patrick Stewart, was trying to find a non-violent way to interact with another species.

As I got older and re-watched the episode, the episode became more powerful because I had a better understanding of what was happening and realizing the metaphors involved.

“Darmok” is an episode worth watching more than once, to really appreciate how shared stories – and overcoming language barriers with finding something in common, like stories – may bridge gaps.

That lesson is probably still an important thing to think about in today’s world. I’d make this episode a required viewing for leadership and negotiations courses, in addition to linguistics and literature (but that may be just me).

Plus, Patrick Stewart matched up so well with a great actor like Paul Winfield, whose charisma, warmth, and tragic aura shone brightly.

(Spoiler/not-spoiler after so many years – hmmm… kind of weird to realize that Winfield played two characters in the Star Trek world universe who died terribly sadly).

To a much lesser extent: as Newbold pointed out in the linked article, the episode of “Darmok” was the first appearance of Ashley Judd as Ensign Robin Lefler  (a character who had her moments in TNG, and in Star Trek books), and the first appearance of the Picard jacket.

The Picard jacket usually signaled Action Hero Picard – but was just as much about the active mind in Picard, because he had to be a hell of a lot clever than usual to get out of sticky situations, and that seemed to occur a lot when Picard wore that jacket.

I wouldn’t have realized either points about Ensign Lefler and the Picard Jacket until Newbold noted that, and I had to nod over how much fun that was to realize that.

We’re living in weird times. Find fun where and when you can…