An Encore Presentation
Since 2013, The Neighborhood has celebrated Veteran’s Day with a salute to the Homeless Veterans and those suffering with PTSD. In 2017, we saluted the Fallen and remembered the Forgotten American Soldiers, with a brief but personal tribute of our own.
In 2018, we present this encore presentation.
Enjoy the show. – KP
Long live the American Soldier.
Long live the fallen.
And long live the forgotten.
In memory of the Forgotten,
please stand or kneel in tribute to the Fallen.
The United States Army Band
w/ Military Taps
by Kendall F. Person
She awoke one morning, and somehow felt different.
The sickness overwhelmed her, yet she had no fever.
She wanted to walk, but her feet hurt her.
The sunshine was mild, still it did heat her.
It did not go away, so she saw her doctor.
When the news was delivered, it unnerved her.
She was carrying the child of a soldier,
and it so moved her. When she told him,
he saluted the flag, then kneeled before her.
It grew inside, and it changed her.
He smiled each time, it moved inside her.
Their love had changed, it became deeper.
The bloodline made, did forever connect them.
Her water broke, he was so nervous.
The time had come, it was predestined.
She pushed so hard, it was exhausting.
But she could feel him by her side, unbending.
She could not describe,
how her heart was beating,
when his son arrived,
it was the greatest feeling.
His father only once cried,
she now remembered seeing him.
He could not control the tide,
as the rain did tell her,
he cried now. and it calmed her.
Not in sorrow nor regret,
but in pride and honor.
Tho his spirit lived among the fallen,
his life would never dwell among the forgotten.
The Neighborhood thanks all soldiers for their service, AND Happy Veterans Day to our Veterans
Before the year ends… SMILE AGAIN
Thirteen years before Anthony Hopkins horrified audiences with his Academy Award winning performance in Silence of the Lambs, he made his mark in Magic. A lesser acclaimed motion picture, but nonetheless, a spectacular, haunting performance, that I would remember for years after.
A psychological thriller with a love story that could never be, knotted up in the insanity. Anthony Hopkins played the role of a fledgling magician named Corky, whose drowning career would take flight, after being gifted or cursed with a dummy, a doll, a block of wood with the name of Fats. Together – the ventriloquist act of Corky & Fats – knocked audiences dead. Already unhinged, but with fame came madness. And more than just fighting voices inside his head, he had a prop that brought the voices outside, and suffocated who he really was, all at the same time.
While Magic was mysterious and dark and the final explosive exchange between Corky and Fats, led many viewers to believe in the film’s false finale: or put way too much on the title Magic – that the dummy had come to life. But that is not what happened. Every vile utterance made through Fats, every violent reaction initiated by Fats, and every conversation between the two – no matter how cordial or violent – it was all Corky-the-man and not Fats-the-puppet. But the skillful direction and the stunning ventriloquism of Hopkins, I image even the camera crew was confused when filming concluded, about who controlled who.
Prior to becoming the running mate of Donald Trump, Mike Pence was actually a leader in his own right. Governor of Indiana and a radio talk show host prior to his successful foray into politics, But he rolled craps in Indiana, and may have vanished from the political stage, if not for being handpicked by the GOP establishment to eventually become the Vice President of the United States. Or if you listen closely to Mike, divine intervention is what guides his life.
In 2015, when then Governor Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, it offered a clear view into what guides him into the decisions that he makes. An instant firestorm erupted from the Hoosier State LGBT community, who noted the bulls eye, that allowed discrimination to be open season upon them. But Governor Pence was unbending in his guided-by -God stance. But love him or hate him, he appeared to be a man of conviction in the word he followed. But in 2016, his future converged with a man who does not repent, giving reason to ponder if he is the same guy. Is he led by faith or does he dance, like a puppet?
Millions of voters believe that President Trump was handpicked by God, which makes sense in the absolutism of their loyalty, although no less alarming to the millions more who cannot possibly understand or make sense of the connection (however, faith based voters, but non-Trump supporters also may believe in God’s electoral intervention, but for very different reasons). It would also explain, the Vice President’s apparent reverence toward his boss. But actions like his spectacle of flying to an NFL game, only to stage a highly publicized walkout at the direction of the President, or the way he fades into the background, whenever the two men share the stage, or in his self-defense of his conversations with God (although he does not go as far to say that God talks back, like gossips have claimed) make it a challenge to know who he follows. Or has the gap closed to such a degree, and that loss of self, make it impossible for even him to know?
Ainsley Earhardt: Will the new Obamacare repeal and replace bill guarantee health insurance for people with preexisting conditions, as Obamcare?
Pence: [quoting Thomas Jefferson] Government that governs least governs best,
Messenger or follower? Magic or smoke & mirrors? Will the real Mike Pence say something. As Vice President of the United States, you owe it to the public to alleviate concern, that you are not, in fact, the most dangerous man in the room.
this is… The Neighborhood
References & in-depth reading
Dec 21, 1989 Bucharest Romania
When the moment of clarity arrived for former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, it was not the sound of a crowd roaring his approval or chanting his name in reverence; Neither was it the thunderous cadence of his own voice, ricocheting throughout the cold winter air, that caught his greatness in mid waltz and froze his bravado stand. Nor was it the reverb of boos, boomeranging off the walls of the jammed-packed palatial square, from the people, that he misguidedly assumed his lies still consumed.
But in reality, it was the sound of irrelevance, that gave way to emptiness, like lies often do. In less than 90 seconds, a towering inferno of a ruler, was doused with the revolutionary might of truth. And while it would take four days before his execution, it was in that moment he fell. And it was in his falling, that the people rose above him, and took back the dance, that rightfully belonged to them.
United States December 2018
The corrosive nature of political power can be devastating, even to a stable nation, Once trusted representatives of the people, even the most committed public servants, can evolve into unscrupulous, self-centered faux leaders, whose loyal constituents may not recognize the imposter, until the damage has been done in a democracy-be-damned consolidation of ill-gotten power.
With our political attention remaining on a national level, the state legislators and lame duck governors of Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan, stage power grabs only witnessed in banana republics and dictatorial fed nations. The lack of physical violence may defy the definition of a coup d’etat, but the-in-plain-site brutalization of free and fair elections, and contributing to diminished faith, that every vote, even if counted, does not matter. make it a distinction without a difference, giving the appearance of a cracked foundation. In fact, their ugly sophistication in manipulating the 2018 midterm election results, by burying corruption, with lies and by fanning flames of fear – in an already toxic political culture – the GOP’s legislative drive, to strangle the authority of fairly elected Democratic governor of each state, while not a violent overthrow, it can be considered no longer, a peaceful transition of power.
But democracy offers paths to correct what has been wronged: (i) an impartial judicial system, whose importance cannot be overstated; (ii) a justice department, whose motto is no one is above the law; (iii) a steadfast, resistance, who believe the ballot is stronger than the bullet; and that (iv) cheaters bare the wrath of karma.
Ultimately, while the right to pursue happiness is bestowed upon everyone, by our under siege constitution, the dance belongs to the people.
this is… The Neighborhood
Four hundred feet at its highest elevation. No buildings, no roads and with the exception of huts, no infrastructure at all. No emergency responders, no sounds, no alarms. In fact, on North Sentinel Island in 60,000 years, not a single thing about it or its inhabitants – the Sentinelese – has changed. On December 26, 2004 an earth-rotation-altering earthquake and tsunami, that took the lives of one-quarter of a million people, on two continents in 13 countries, from 59 nations, yet somehow, the world’s most isolated neighborhood… yielded survivors.
from Brooklyn, New York
Asoh Black! w/ Joy
I have ventured inside of many houses of worship, a few I have joined, but most, for various reasons I moved on. So when I refer to my pastor, I speak of only one man, within a snapshot time frame, Pastor Dave Pitts of the Church of the Nazarene. I enjoyed the way he delivered his sermon, like an educational lesson, so that everyone could understand. I felt sincerity and comfort by the welcoming nature of the congregation.
But more than anything else, the sincere belief and absolute passion in his summation of a one on one conversation. “But in the end, this is what I believe,” looking down at the Holy Bible he clutched with both hands. No high horse, no judgement, yet sound in his faith; and I grabbed hold of that emotional, unconquerable belief. Though I no longer attend service, nor an unofficial member of the church, it is that walk with Pastor, within his walk with the Lord, that reminds me, that I am not alone, even when all of the air has been blown out.
But the mind, controlled by the imagination, led by free will can begin to play tricks on us, yet nourishing our mental health, does not often find its proper place in the conversation. And even as doubt begins to surface, causing our self-confidence to drain, and while we notice the difference, our minds may interpret it as something else. The stresses of life, the gravity of faith and an awakened mental disorder do not always intersect. Sometimes they merge.
Every so often, a larger than life personality captures the spotlight, and barnstorms over our lives. When it first started, the Michael Jackson craze was fun, until some radio stations turned MJ music weekends into every single day. Many jumped ship early, even before his darker days. But some became fanatics, and Michael became their world.
An entertainer is one thing, however, but what if crazy or God traps you in a false reality, until a zombie is all that remains of a healthy soul..
In churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and chapels all around the world, is where many of the civilized invest our faith. But only a precious few truly believe in the teachings of the word, for most of us simply follow the leader in blind or trusted faith. But time has proven, over and over again, that faith in man alone is like shooting at a moving target, when your life depends on it.
Consider the transformation of Jim Jones; from charismatic minister to stone cold nut, who in plain sight, walked his congregation into an unimaginable disaster. But it is a fair question to ask, how could we ever know, that the man we deem crazy, who shouts from the street corner, is not only sane, but an Apostle delivering the message we seek?
The answer is faith, but it must begin by trusting and having faith in ourselves. By diving inside our own private North Sentinel Island, for as long we need.
I did not know John Allen Chau, from near or afar. So any analyzation of who I think he was, would rest on good intentions, but empty words nonetheless, I will offer a few words. I do not believe for even a moment, that he was on a mission of God. What I do believe, is that he believed he was.
In the final seconds, that John Allen Chau had left of his life; with the spear piercing through the air, and a bullseye across his heart, what were his final thoughts? Did he scream out “Oh Lord I tried and failed you!” Or did regret overwhelm him with such a tremendous force, that he stared into the eyes of the Sentinelese who he claimed to love, now saw only an enemy? Was he sound in his belief, where there was comfort to be found, or was he a victim of religious bombasity, shocked into reality, only when death was imminent? “Why didn’t they tell me, to seek out help?”
For his sake, I hope that John Allen Chau held steady in his faith: that during the last terrifying seconds of his life, he remained steadfast and unwavered. But if he was nuts, then the question becomes a societal one, Did those close to him smile in his face, then cowardly laugh once his back was turned? Did his counselors and mentors, support his calling, but inside knew that something was wrong? And what shall we do now? Search for answers in his death or spin a tale to glorify or renounce religion, as historical records?
Rather our journey has taken us deep inside the vast unknown of belief in a Higher Power, or on the never ending quest of science we ride, to lower the boom on faith at last; or maybe its philosophy, and the centuries old search to find the answer to the meaning of life, is where we are most settled. But truth, as John Allen Chau learned, is not an individual endeavor. And perhaps, that is the difference. God says walk with him. Crazy says walk alone.
The people living on North Sentinel Island, whom we call the Sentinelese, have an unbroken lineage, that is 60,000 years long, catapulting them back to the Stone Age. But this time, it is not the story of the Sentinelese that has drawn us in, but the story of us and a not so subliminal longing, to live as free, even if only for a moment.
this is… The Neighborhood
from 2012… Let Her Go by Passenger
“In the real world there is no nature vs. nurture argument, only an infinitely complex and moment-by-moment interaction between genetic and environmental effects” ~ Gabor Mate
Nurture Versus Nature
by Kendall F. Person
There are irrefutable differences between nature and nurture. Nature is passed down through the blood and especially prevalent in the wild, it is the instinct that enables animals to survive. In us, it may be the way we think, or how we relate to the world, and according to Professor Paul Bloom, a researcher at the Infant Cognition Centre at Yale University, it may dictate our moral code. Nature just happens, all by itself. But nurture, on some levels, is much harder, more complex. Nurture must be taught and it must be learned. It is what a child sees in his immediate world, during the all to important formative years.
The fortunate are raised by parents who are wise, healthy, ambitious and caring. They also are nurturing, instilling within us self-esteem and whatever nature may have left out. Giving their offspring a chance to grow up knowing right from wrong, and understanding, that we are someone. But when nature has not gifted us a fair shot, and when we are not born into nor arrive at the doorstep of a nurturing home, than how do we learn to live a fulfilling life; and is there a way to keep from tearing ourselves apart?
In the United States of America, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. It is the busiest travel day of the year as family comes together, bonding over a traditional dinner. Most will offer thanks in prayer, either for good fortune or simply because we are here. But to those who are able, we should also use this time, to assist a child in need, so that they too may be thankful, and enjoy the innocence of their younger years.
We each have our own struggles and our own pain, but most still have something left.. We may think because we have achieved, all can do the same, but what we ignore, is that there is life on every level, and some of our kids are in need of our help. If we each offer a little, nurture will fill the gaps of nature, giving all of the children, at least a fighting chance.
I understand if you are thinking “Why so thanksgivy?” Because without reminders, the meaning of the day gets away from us and becomes another opportunity lost, for what I have no idea.
this is… The Neighborhood
“We must stop and find time to thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” – John F. Kennedy
by Kendall F. Person
On November 12, 1985, she was 13 years old, so most likely in middle school, about the 8th grade, I assume. She and her brother Alvaro, lived in the prosperous agricultural region of Tolima in the city of Armero, with their parents Álvaro Enrique & Maria Aleida, along with her Aunt Maria Adela. There was some concern among the elders, about Nevado del Ruiz, a volcano that last erupted 140 years before, as it was starting to make noise. But at 13 and an only girl, Omayra Sánchez Garzón was probably more concerned about her mother who had traveled 100 miles southeast to Bogota on business, but she made it home before the morn. And no doubt, there was some comfort blanketing the villages that lived in the volcano’s shadow, for the federal government had sent experts to monitor the activity and establish – I assume – precautions for the citizenry, as an eruption was imminent, for erupt is what volcanoes do.
On November 6th – one week before the world would be introduced to Omayra – a beautiful and courageous teenage girl – a guerilla organization known as M-19 would storm The Palace of Justice in Bogota, by deadly force. They seized the chambers, capturing all justices of the Colombia Supreme Court and held over 300 hostages, in a two-day seige, that demoralized the country, and depleted its resolve, leaving the calvary running on fumes, just when Omayra would need them most.
On day two in Bogota, the order came from the top. Led by General Jesús Armando Arias Cabrales, commander of the Thirteenth Army Brigade, the government would counter attack in what became one of the bloodiest shootouts in Colombia’s maiden voyage in domestic terrorism. When the Army finally retook the building, over a hundred people including 11 Supreme Court Justices were dead. Before the nation could sort through what happened, one hundred miles northwest, the volcano erupted. It was not the initial explosion, but the combination of mud, rock and lava, that laid waste to 85% of the city of Armero, killed 21,000 of its 29,000 residents, and trapped 13 year old Omayra Sanchez Garzon under hardened sediment, that the would be rescuers could not cut through. For 60 hours she held on, dazzling the world with her courage and charm. But before her departure – with peace and grace – she told her supporters to go home and rest. And the arrival of death came soon after.
As it turns out, it was not her choice alone to give up the ghost. Bogota was still in a state of shock from the Palace of Justice massacre and was unable to immediately regroup; to respond to a SOS, thereby would be survivors perished under blankets of mud. On the ground, the region did not own the type of machine needed to break through the lahar and were helpless, so they talk and fed Omayra. But even if she had been freed, her broken legs were caught under a door made of bricks, with her aunt’s arms clutched tightly around her legs, leading medical personnel to the realization, they were not equipped to deal with a double amputation. So they announced to her mother, a recent widow herself, that it was best to let her die.
What if the resources used to fight and argue with one another, not just the money, but the time and the brain power and the shared imagination of united countrymen, had been put forward in planning for a natural disaster, that they always knew one day would come? Perhaps, it would not have ended in a double national tragedy, both of epic proportions. And maybe if the arrival of help had come in time, Omayra Sanchez Garzon’s departure would not have been so breathtakingly tragic at only 13 years old.
So what do we do upon the arrival of Thanksgiving Day? Do elevate our hearts above all else and give a dollar to a poor or lost or lonely soul? Do we drop to our knees and thank our Higher Power or the trees for what we have accomplished? Or do we seek out to please me, myself and I like any other day? An individual choice that affects the world.
Happy Thanksgiving and may our choice shine a light.
this is The Neighborhood