Archive for May, 2014

On the Pulse of the Morning

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The poem from the 1st Inauguration of President Bill Clinton [January 20, 1993]

Written and read by Maya Angelou [1928-2014]

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou [1928-2014]

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon,
The dinosaur, who left dried tokens
Of their sojournsojourn
➤ (n) a temporary stay (e.g., as a guest)
➤ (v) spend a certain length of time; reside temporarily
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words

Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out to us today, you may stand upon me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song. It says,
Come, rest here by my side.

Each of you, a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace, and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the rock were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody searsear
➤ (v) make very hot and dry
➤ (v) become superficially burned
➤ (v) burn slightly and superficially so as to affect color
➤ (v) cause to wither or parch from exposure to heat
➤ (s) (used especially of vegetation) having lost all moisture
across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.
The River sang and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African, the Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheik,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

They hear the first and last of every Tree
Speak to humankind today. Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you,
Pawnee, Apache, Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of
Other seekers — desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Arab, the Swede, the German, the Eskimo, the Scot,
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought,
Sold, stolen, arriving on the nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am that Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours — your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands,
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For a new beginning.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out and upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here, on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, and into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope —
Good morning.

Surprising Ally in the Jock-infested Trench

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The Setup


Dale Hansen is a TV sportscaster on the ABC affiliate in Dallas. He’d say he is assertive, a tough interview who isn’t shy about holding people’s feet to the right amount of campfire. Many say he’s just a bully who lacks nuancenuance
➤ (n) a subtle difference in meaning or opinion or attitude
and manners.

When he did some opinion pieces in support of Michael Sam and other gay athletes, I was surprised. He had opinions; he shared them on TV. I listened and didn’t have an urge to throw anything at the tube.

He became enough of a phenom that Ellen Degeneres invited him to be a guest on her show.

Now he has done it again. Click on the image to see his May 11, 2014 segment. My opinion: not too shabby for an old white straight guy.


A Note


Here is a note that I sent to Dale Hansen about his “Unplugged” segment…



I’ve been surprised (in a good way) at your “Unplugged” opinions on Michael Sam. In fact, I take back some of the impolite things I’ve said to your moving image on the tube over the years.

Mr Sam was drafted late in the last round, but that’s okay. I can make a case that his stats say it was right on the mark.

Whatever. What’s important is that he was drafted, and ESPN filmed him having a good reaction, sharing the moment’s joy with the people in his life. ESPN filmed it. Aired it. But they mainly discussed football.

I’m sure ESPN had a staff meeting on Michael Sam. It showed. There were no oops moments. ESPN handled things like they were covering a football story. There weren’t any derisive words that get companies all the wrong kinds of attention from activists (raising hand).

So kudos, I guess. Y’all did your jobs. Sportscasting.

I am so glad he wasn’t picked for the Cowboys. On the other hand, I thought the 49ers or Raiders might draft him. I would have loved to see him up in Boston. Sam with Tom Brady and that new QB… holy moly. For a gay guy, that roster is a heart attack just waiting to happen.

St Louis works, and I wish the Rams all the best.

Valley Ranch is another matter. I “dated” a Dallas Cowboy. He lived in terror that somebody would find out he was boinking a sportscaster from K-104. But he did boink me, and I was something of a Catch back then. It wasn’t fun being a gay player for the NFL. It was unhealthy. It drained energy that he could have used to focus his Sundays. I feel so sorry for all those guys who tried to play while lying about who they are.

There’s one other thing. Your past. You were cute back in The Day… not a run-for-the-bank stud muffin… but easily cute.

On your WFAA segment, you were whining that nobody hit on you. Oh please… wear a cup, man.

I remember a time back in the Irving stadium when you ran me out of the TV area. TV had some serious barbecue. The radio booth down at the end zone had a horrible view and zero food. None. Zilch.

And you came between me and the barbecue because you made me go down to sit with the other radio sportscasters. Not likely I’m going to hit on somebody after they deny my Texas birthright (barbecue).

I used to be a looker. Way back. Just so we have everything out there, you never hit on me.

And we are both too old now, so……


What hasn’t been said is this: gay kids rarely have sociology on their side. Kids have these raging hormones, but society hasn’t let them see examples on what to do with them. Gay kids feel like they are on their own. They make things up as they go along.

Sometimes what the gay kids invent is wrong or weird. They don’t know because they’re doofy kids with pimples, and they’ve never done a loving relationship before. There aren’t many books or owners’ manuals: “Being a Gay Kid for Dummies”

Michael Sam and Vito (boyfriend) gave these kids a role model.

ESPN recorded them kissing, like so many of the boy/girl couples were doing. Gay kids were able to say, “Ok, that’s a good way to react.”

Sportscasters, coaches, and players kept the discussion to football.

Well played, football guys. Well played.