midwest thoughts

occasional musings from the heartland, removed from distractions like mountains, seacoasts, and any elevation of the land -- flat other than the several glacial ravines that run through the area.

Monday, September 03, 2012

On marriage, partnership, civil rights

President Obama recently reminded us all, strongly, that the Constitution guarantees equal rights for all citizens.  And that marriage is a civil contract; various religious groups can, of course, have their own celebrations and restrict who has access to those celebrations if they choose.  But they can’t restrict the rights of other people.  Not so many years ago my own marriage, to a Roman Catholic, would have been forbidden, since I was then a Congregationalist.  I can only add that I have never understood how what other folks did in any way threatened my own marriage, now in its 45th year.  And, indeed, the Roman Catholic Church would not marry us; luckily, the Episcopalian chaplain at Columbia University would, so that we were able to have an actual wedding in a church setting to which family and friends could (and did) come.  And, on a side note, Ohio just began to recognize domestic partnerships, and we were pleased to note that old friends Karla Rothan and Linda Schuler were the first to register their partnership in Columbus.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

So Long, and thanks for all the fish

well, it's finally happened -- I'm now retired from THE Ohio State University Department of Theatre. Not officially retired, since I haven't signed the paperwork yet-- waiting for final advice from financial planner. But that will happen in the next day or so, so I'll be cleaning out the office in Drake[!!!] and trying to get organized. Oy! Nice things said at the Department's end of year party, of course, but still pleasant--


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thoughts on Arizona, and others

Not much need to add to the waves of commentary about the shootings in Arizona, other than to note, once again, that the ready availability of firearms, of the massive ammunition magazines, and the vitriolic political rhetoric that's escalated since Obama's election, all play their parts. Wanted to add photos from our most recent vegetarian meetup, in December, but photos are formatted in a way that doesn't agree with blogger, so no go there. So above is one of us on the dome in Florence, a couple of years ago.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mid Ohio Food Bank

Had a great time touring the wonderful new facilities of the Mid Ohio Food Bank yesterday afternoon.  Here are some images.  

  Here's our guide, Elaine, welcoming us into the Mid Ohio Food Bank

 truck entrance at back, so that food pantries and other groups can pull right into the Food Bank to load up the groceries and other things

 central aisle of the Food Bank

 Our tour group in the central aisle of the Food Bank:  Mairead, Ann, Alan, tour guide Elaine, Eliza and Tim, and their two kids

 the community garden, planted and maintained by volunteers from local companies, high schools, and service groups, watered from rain collected from the Food Bank roof, and released by timers run by the solar panel on the pergola in the background; water barrels standing about, with a composter behind the cabbage on the left

stringbean towers in the community garden
 tomato cages in the community garden

eggplant starting to grow in the community garden

While the community garden is exciting, even more exciting is the fact that the Mid Ohio Food Bank distributes over 34 million tons of food a year.  Yes, you read that right:  34 million tons!!!

Much more information at their website, http://www.midohiofoodbank.org/  -- check them out.  They're performing a much-needed service, and doing it extremely well.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Farewell, Uncle Bill

Haven’t posted for a while; too much time on Facebook, etc. Also very busy with various things, including arranging readings for the Heckart plays. Plus a lot of other things as well. We also had the sadness of the recent death of uncle Bill Woods in the family hometown of Front Royal, Virginia. Ann and I drove down for the funeral on March 30th (and back on the same day, but that’s another story). Bill had been in poor health the last few weeks; he moved several years ago to Southerlands, the retirement home/assisted living community where mother was for her final years in Front Royal before we brought her here to Columbus; they provide excellent care there. And Bill was 92, so he had a full, good life. The funeral was good, and it was good to see various family members and old family friends – including Uncle Bob, Bill’s twin, and his good wife, Pauline, who we hadn’t seen for several years. Also reconnected with cousins Thelma and Les, daughter and son of Uncle Neill. Brother Gary was able to be there as well, so it was a good time, even if sad. Rest in Peace, Uncle Bill.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Summer and Smoke

just finished a run at Ohio State in Tennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke, in the Thurber Theatre; I was the older Dr. Buchanan. Terrific cast, great direction by Jimmy Bohr, one of our major faculty directors. Enjoyable couple of weeks, although learning lines isn't as easy as it used to be!  Here's cast and stage manager, with a couple of folks from Palmer Park, which was playing next door at the Bowen Theatre.  The red xxxs across the lead for Palmer Park were added by the stage manager!

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Friday, September 04, 2009

On health care and birther/deather crazies

It's ironic that we're now visiting relatives in Vancouver, BC, where universal health care is a given -- and we're hearing many tales of how our relatives and their friends here have personally benefitted, even though there are occasional waits and administrative inconveniences (not that the American system is any better -- ask me sometime about trying to convince insurance companies that two procedures last year were, in fact, two procedures, and that they weren't being double billed, even though the bills came from different providers with different dates, etc.), while the crazy people in the States are besieging and hollering about 'death committees' and spreading absolute lies with fervor, all but drowning out the sane majority who think it's high time to get universal health coverage as an option -- it is, after all, only some 70 years since it was first proposed by Francis Perkins back in FDR's second term. As a number of people have pointed out, the senior citizens most vocal seem not to be aware that Medicare and Medicaid, along with Social Security, are all examples of the government programs they violently oppose. The cynicism of the right wing commentators and congresspeople who are orchestrating all this is blatantly obvious. Which doesn't seem to matter. Barney Frank's response to the woman in Massachusetts who compared Obama to Hitler (!!!!) was classic. In case anybody missed it, check out www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGX-2oTNens -- or, for the full town hall meeting (with several other odd people, it's at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss3PnhP8cp0

And there are also the crazy 'Christian' preachers announcing that they're praying for President Obama to die; see
www.talk2action.org/story/2009/9/2/12392/06622 for the third one to surface. (This particular preacher, by the way, has no training; his church's website states proudly, "Pastor Anderson holds no college degree but has well over 100 chapters of the Bible committed to memory, including almost half of the New Testament." Wonder which half of the New Testament that is? And just wait until he has it all memorized. Then he'll declare himself a bishop or archbishop, no doubt. Organized religion again proves its usefulness in attacking anyone perceived to be opposed to some doctrine or other. These calls are so extreme that they've caused a backlash, as in a veteran of the Iraq war who compared these statements to the more fanatic calls of extremists mullahs -- www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=112785 for more details.

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Saturday, August 08, 2009


Celebrated our 42nd anniversary this week with a spectacular meal at Dragon Fly Neo-V (and no surprise that the meal was spectacular!). Below, Ann with her barbequed tofu

and me with a splendid risotto, with mushrooms and flowers and fried sea vegetable

and a closeup of the risotto

(for more about Dragon Fly, see http://neo-vevents.com/ -- we first ate there in the second week they were open, some dozen years ago, and it's truly a world-class place!)

As for the anniversary, we find ourselves vaguely astonished. Four decades? How is that possible? It seems just yesterday we were students and meeting casually as friends, before things began to change and deepen. And even more recently than yesterday when we arranged for a ceremony at the chapel at Columbia University. And drove across the country in a tiny Simca (until it died in South Dakota) to get to graduate school in Los Angeles. Many adventures and wondrous events, wonderful friends, and a daughter and son-in-law and now granddaughter later, plus satisfying careers and terrific travels (I've hit all the continents except Australia; Ann's yet to get to Africa and Australia). It's been a marvelous journey, and even more miraculous is that we're still delighted to be with each other. We are, indeed, blessed, and grateful to whomever or whatever arranges such things.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Took a While

AP Photos by Alex Brandon

. . . for enough outrage to build up! But now it has, between the murder at the Holocaust Museum in Washington on June 10th and the increase in neo-Nazi and other hate groups because of the election of President Obama. Obama's historic election has set the extremist fringe groups, mostly white power types, or Holocaust deniers, like the 88 year old nutcase who killed security guard Stephen Tyrone Powers

Stephen Tyrone Johns; AP photo by Alex Brandon

at the Holocaust Museum, apparently because the killer thinks the Holocaust never happened, into frenzies of activity, trying to assert their skewed vision of how the world should work. That von Brunn, the murderer, has a long history of far-right-wing crime, further indicates the depth of this depravity. It's a further irony that the Holocaust Museum was to host a reading of a new play, Anne and Emmett, by Janet Langhard Cohen, this week, which dealt with an imaginary meeting between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, both victims of bias and hatred, to mark Anne Frank's 80th birthday. That means Frank and von Brunn are of the same generation, to further compound the irony.

James von Brunn, Holocaust Museum murderer; Talbot County (MD) sheriff photo

The impact of all this is made clear by the photo from this morning, of President Obama, in a Secret Service limosine, being driven past the Holocaust Museum. von Brunn parked in front of the museum, and walked in the door with a loaded shotgun, according to press reports.

AFP photo by Tim Sloan

While it's pretty clear what motivates these white people who feel dispossessed from what they regard as their birthright to have power and control -- and it's significant that most are underemployed and undereducated, and so have no particular prospects other than their self-perceived superiority due to their ethnicity -- it's less clear how to deal with them. They can be marginalized, as they have been, even when (as in the American Nazis marching some years ago in Skokie, Illinois, in an area heavily populated by Holocaust survivors) given a platform through their right to freedom of speech. They can also be characterized as pathetic losers, which they often are. But those pathetic, marginalized losers can arm themselves, and create chaos. And their numbers seem to be growing; who'd have thought that relatively stable Riverside, California, could be home to an American Nazi barbeque, created by the new youth leader of the Riverside chapter of the Nazis? But here they are, in all their superior race glory, in a photo taken from their website, at the January barbeque in January, 2009.

2009!!!. Who'd have thought there would still be people spouting the Nazi hatred 60 years after the Nazi movement was brought to an end? One wonders if any of those happy Riverside barbequers had grandfathers or fathers or uncles who fought in the war. Or if any of them have bothered to learn what the Nazis were all about.

But we all know that anti-Semeticism thrives, both as bias/prejudice, as well as in national policies by a number of Middle Eastern states. And, of course, in the United States as well, as this cartoon, also from the American Nazi party website, indicates

One wonders when will it ever end? When will this futile blaming others for one's own inadequacies finally end? And history gives us a grim answer: never. Humans have always created an 'other' who can be blamed for failures/failings. Columbus's own James Thurber eloquently captured that in his classic fable, "The Last Flower." Why must each generation, each nation, each ethnic group, each religious group, each neighborhood manage to recreate the tensions/hatreds/inside/outside. When will we ever learn (to quote Pete Seeger)? When will we ever learn?

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chestnut noodles, a season of sorrow and of joy

In a break from politics, we return to cooking. Ordered some chestnut flour in order to make Chestnut Cake (Castanacchio), and it arrived last Friday. But instead of the cake, made Farina di Castagne (Chestnut noodles). Fairly simple: just chestnut flour, some egg replacer for us vegans, and a bit of salt. Form the dough, let it rest, then put it through the pasta machine until it's the thinness wanted, then cut into noodles or spaghetti. Here are the noodles drying on a sheet on the dining room table:

And here the finished, dried, noodles

Cooked them quickly (barely three minutes in boiling water); served with a tofu/tempeh/chili bean tomato sauce. No leftovers!

This was a good end to a dreadful few months. Ann's brother, Carl, died just after Christmas; she'd planned to fly to Vancouver to see him, but he asked that she not come, then called to say he was sorry and had made a mistake. She had a good talk with him, and remade flight reservations, but he died before Ann and her sister could get there. Ann was able to connect with Carlo and Margarita's two daughters, Yoshi and Maria, both adopted from China and whom she'd not met.
Here's Ann and Maria

Barbara Kachur, my former student, died shortly thereafter, so as soon as Ann returned from Vancouver, we were off to St. Louis for Barb's memorial service. Spent a good couple of days with Barb's longtime partner, Joann Lindsay, and several of Joann's sisters. Good to see them, just as it was good for Ann to meet her nieces, although we both wish the meetings could have been under better circumstances.

And the Eileen Heckart Drama for Seniors Competition is now underway, for the third time (it happens in alternate years). More details at www.heckartdrama.blogspot.com -- 122 manuscripts in already, and there's a month to go.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The eight year nightmare ends

So long, George! Finally!

Saul Loeb / Pool via Reuters

perhaps the most inspiring words from an inspiring day

the Obamas dance. (Charles Dharapak / Associated Press)

and so long, George! At last!

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audio description training again

Just finished a weekend of training for the Matrix Theatre in Detroit; here are the trainees--

from the left--Queen, Sean, Daniel, Melanie, MaryBeth, Jen

I described the Stagecrafters production the "La Cage aux Folles" as part of the training-- a very credible community theatre production, with a cast of about 40 and a huge number of very elaborate and sophisticated costumes (there were 26 people on the costume construction crew!). And the theatre, a beautifully and carefully restored 1927 vaudeville house, all blue and gold leaf, is itself spectacular.

The Baldwin Theatre, Detroit

Adding to the pleasure was the luxurious B&B I was housed in, the Woodbridge Star, in a lovingly restored 1891 mansion, with opulent furnishings and very complete and gourmet breakfasts (the co-owner/chef is an award-winning pastry chef and cook); more about the Woodbridge Star at www.woodbridgestar.com -- a terrific place to stay if you're in Detroit.

The Woodbridge Star

But I must remind myself that scheduling a workshop in Detroit in Mid January is not a good idea. Housing great, training went well, good production to describe. And cold, snowy weather!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's That Time Again

It's Christmas. We're surrounded by Christmas music, Nativity scenes, Salvation Army kettles, plastic ice decorations, and relentless Christmas cheer -- all of which is supposed to be non sectarian. Right.

This has been an awful few months. My mother died just before Thanksgiving (which was not awful; at 96 1/2 years, she'd lived a full life, and had a peaceful and calm death -- the sort of death we all hope to have -- but it was still wrenching), we learned that Ann's brother Carlo is suffering from liver cancer with a not-positive prognosis, and that a good friend (and Ohio State alumna) is in the final stages of lung cancer. So it's not been a great time. Plus, an external review of my workplace done this fall identifies me as one three people who are an impediment to any approval in our area, and that nothing will change until we retire, or leave, or . . . Well, that was a cheerful holiday present!

And on top of all that, problems at the Coop, which take up an enormous amount of time. They will, I believe, eventually be resolved. But it drags on and on, ... and on. Although why, if I'm an impediment to any change at Ohio State, am I spending all these hours on Coop business? Surely an impediment one place will still be an impediment at another place 1 1/2 miles distant? And, if so, shouldn't the impediment simply resign, so that progress can continue unchecked?

Oh, well. the holiday season is here. The controversy in Olympia, Washington, about what the city government should or should not display (Christian, Jewish, Muslim signs, but no atheist), resulted in this sign being posted>

and posted it was. And torn down. And reposted. Sigh. When will they ever learn? when will they ever learn??

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ginger's Passing

Virginia Kathryn Sloane Woods -- best known as "Ginger" -- passed away last Friday, 11/21, at about 4:30 in the afternoon. She'd been unconscious for the last three days of her life and was not in any visible discomfort or pain -- simply slipped away. Ann and I were with her most of the time on Thursday and Friday, and were holding her hand as she drew her final breath. And although she was not conscious during her last three days, it was not until a few minutes after the last grandchild called that she finally let go.

Ginger on New Year's Day, 2007

She'd celebrated her 96th birthday last May, and was able to hold her newest great grandchild, Summer Grace Woods Prentice, on her birthday. It was a quiet and peaceful end to a long life, filled with love and good works. Rest in peace, mother.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Yes, We Did!

Haven't had time to add to the blog of late; too busy campaigning! And it worked! We're still floating with the joy/surprise/shock/elation of the landslide that Obama pulled off on Tuesday. We spent election day at our precincts in Gahanna, then went to the Ohio Democratic Party celebration in downtown Columbus. And here's part of the crew from our ward, having just learned that Obama won!

The party was terrific, and there was literally dancing in the streets of downtown Columbus--at least near the Renaissance Hotel where the Democrats were! A different story at the Republican headquarters a few blocks away; more about that in The Other Paper -- for details, see http://www.theotherpaper.com/articles/2008/11/08/cover_story/doc49122d18310e6004426032.txt
Still a bit surprised that, despite lots of indications of efforts to suppress votes (some apparently successful), Obama carried Ohio. Our celebrations were as festive as those in New York: here are a couple of photos of Times Square on Election Night, courtesy of OSU alumnus John H. Johnson:

(A portfolio of John's terrific photos of New York City is available at http://www.h2gphotos.com/)

Back in Central Ohio, we're still waiting on the results of the close race that has Mary Jo Kilroy only a few votes down from her Republican opponent, now going into a recount. And despite a desperately dirty campaign from the McCain/Palin ticket, the general voting public clearly didn't buy the smears, the guilt-by-association ploy, and the outright lies. The satirical photo below, which was sent me by Mary Steelsmith, a wonderful playwright from southern California, sums it up nicely:

Our local organization, Ward 19H in Clintonville, was exceptionally active and effective in getting out the vote -- 70% of the registered voters actually voted, and the precinct went 78% for Obama! -- and the early voting that was possible here in Ohio for a month before Election Day clearly made a difference. Democracy works again, finally, after a hiatus of some eight years--

And the enthusiasm continues; we were scheduled to phone bank tonight (11/8) to contact people who'd voted on provisional ballots to make sure they got the needed information in to the Board of Elections by the deadline -- but when we arrived at the Democratic headquarters, we were told that there'd been such a huge turnout of volunteers that the phone lists had all been completed -- so we came home. Terrific to experience such involvement again -- hasn't been this exciting for several decades--

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Another War Casualty

Associated Press Photograph by Warren Zinn

Joseph Dwyer, an Army veteran who was photographed carrying a wounded Iraqi boy to safety from fighting in 2003, died June 28th of an apparent drug overdose. Dwyer enlisted after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. A member of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, which was among the first American units sent to Iraq, he saw constant action during his three-month deployment, and soon was showing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. His marriage collapsed, and there were occasional brushes with police. He’s another clear victim of this illegal war.

Warren Zinn, the Associated Press photographer who took the photo, records his reaction to learning of Dwyer’s death, and writes movingly of his contact with Dwyer over the years since the famous photo was taken.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day

Fourth of July again, and again we celebrate the founding of the United States. And count down for the end of the Bush presidency, marked today by protests at Monticello, where the President went to swear in new citizens, a tradition each year for new citizens, if not for Presidents (according to press reports, Bush is only the fourth president in history to attend; it was his first visit; the previous president to attend was Gerald Ford). The protesters were part of the "Impeach Bush" movement; one of them, David Swanson, has provided and explanation and photos and videos of his actions at http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/34528 -- well worth looking at.

We celebrated a bit more quietly. Very rainy in Columbus today, so didn't get to the DooDah Parade this year. A good neighbor, Jan Fleming, had a gathering at her house, so we spent some time there (and ate far too much) -- good talk, good people, and, of course, good food. We also talked to our folks in Japan last night, July 4th by their schedule, and learned that the world's most adorable baby took her first independent steps on Independence Day; all details (and photos!) of this momentous event at www.summerprentice.blogspot.com
here's one--

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Senior Theatre Festival USA

Just back from the Senior Theatre Festival USA in Baltimore (June 10th-14th); I'm on the board of the organization, and put together a playwriting workshop, which met each morning of the festival. Playwright Stuart Hall joined me in conducting the workshop; the festival also heard a reading of his new short play, "Spindrift Way," on Friday night. We had between five and ten writers (some came and went, because of other programs), and gave them various exercises and assignments. Lots of creative work, from both accomplished and frequently produced playwrights, as well as from people hoping to get started.

some of the group assembled; that's Stuart in the red shirt

Stuart started us out on the first day; he'd prepared three envelopes. One had professions, the second had an emotion, and the third a line of dialogue. So a writer could draw "carpenter" "frustrated" and "where is the exit?" and then have to write a short piece incorporating those details. Great fun. A couple of folks had brought short pieces, which we read aloud, and then talked about. At the end of the first day, we gave the writers an assignment: to produce a short monologue on the topic, "What Shall We Do About Mother?"

Stuart, Shirley, and John study a script

On the second day, the playwrights read their monologues, which were inventive (and for senior theatre folks, the topic was close to home). And we worked on additional exercises, and read a few more short pieces or scenes from longer works brought in by the playwrights. The homework assignment for the next day: write Mother's response to the first monologue.

One group of playwrights and actors listen to readings

Again, readings, and again, wonderfully inventive work. More discussion, more readings, with volunteer actors. Then the assignment for the next day: write a five minute play which incorporates the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a bouquet of flowers, and the line, "Myrtle really did it this time!"

The playwrights really outdid themselves; terrific work (perhaps inspired by seeing Stuart's play the previous night!). Volunteer actors again, who then rehearsed later in the morning, then performed the plays in one of the festival's performance spaces in the afternoon.

That afternoon also saw a reading of my short piece, "Limbo, Ohio" on a bill with Doug Stewart's short play, "Final Exam." The cast for my play included Doug Stewart as Willy Loman, joan kohl as Jocasta, and Daneen Axelrod as Cleopatra. I read in Doug's play as St. Peter, with joan as Mother Earth.

Drove to Baltimore with my colleague Joy Reilly, who presented several workshops and one of the creators of senior theatre, having founded a major company, Grandparents Living Theatre, some twenty years ago, and Columbus senior actor Sarah Worthington, founder and artistic director of the Senior Theatre troupe, Footsteps of the Elders. The Festival included lots and lots of performances, workshops, panels, and great energy. Only drawback: the campus of the University of Maryland--Baltimore County, where the Festival was held, isn't fully ADA compliant, and there were very long walks between the housing in dorms and the performance/festival sites. And it was hot and humid! But the discomfort was, in the end, minor; the energy and excitement about the senior theatre movement more than made up for the weather and distances.

(The text of "Limbo, Ohio" is available at seniorplays.blogspot.com, and more about the senior theatre program at Ohio State can be found at osuseniortheatre.blogspot.com)

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Monday, May 26, 2008

On Memorial Day

President George W. Bush with Memorial Day wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, 2008. Reuters photo by Jonathan Ernst.

Anita Lewis at the grave of her son, Cody Clark Grater, Florida National Cemetery, Memorial Day, 2008. AP photo by John Raoux.

Two images from Memorial Day. One of a president who avoided service and has caused the deaths of over four thousand Americans (to date) in a war based on over 900 lies; and a grieving mother in Florida by the grave of her son, one of those Americans sent to their deaths. As we remember those who served our country, we cannot forget those who did not, and who are now, still, in positions of power with dreadful consequences for Americans and Iraqis alike.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

This is Why I'm Mad

a needless death in Iraq

Fairfield County Marine dies in Iraq
Tuesday, May 6, 2008 11:12 AM


A grieving Fairfield County family and his hometown community are preparing to bury U.S. Marine LCPL James F. Kimple, killed in action in Iraq last week.

Kimple, 21, was among four Marines killed in an explosion set off by a roadside bomb Friday, said Lewis Taylor of Taylor Funeral Home in Amanda.

The married father of three young children was based out of Camp Pendelton in California and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq. He leaves behind his wife, Amber, and their two children, Drake J. and Maleah R. Kimple, all of Amanda, and his child Dominic J. Kimple of Carroll.

Family members did not wish to be interviewed immediately. "Right now they just want to grieve," Taylor said.

Kimple was remembered warmly by those who knew him at Bloom-Carroll High School, which he attended through December of his senior year. He earned his GED afterward.

"He was a very bright young man, very intellectual; he loved to read," said teacher Jan Hodge, who had him for two years in her Occupational Work Experience course, which provides career-minded students with a taste of working life.

Kimple knew exactly what he wanted, she said: a military career.

"He wanted to get out of school to be in the military, and he chose the Marine Corps. I knew he would be successful."

Kimple came to see his former teacher in November, when he was home on leave. He was dressed handsomely in his uniform, and he showed her pictures of his young children. He was so proud of his children.

"He knew he was going back," Hodge said. "He wasn't afraid. The Marine Corps was like a family to him."

Of course, added Hodge, whose nephew is in the Army and did two tours over there, "When you say goodbye, you always wonder."

The news came. "It just takes your breath away. There are no words," the teacher said, choking up.

It is a small community, a small school district.

Bloom-Carroll Superintendent Roger Mace recalled Kimple as one of the brightest students he had met.

"When you saw James in the hall, you always saw him with a novel. He loved to read," the superintendent said. "He always had a smile on his face."

The family provided the funeral directors with more information about Kimple, saying:

"James died doing what he wanted to do since age 16. He did it for his family and his country and will always be our hero. The few, the proud, one of our finest."

Besides his wife and children, Kimple leaves his parents, Cate and John Kimple, and brothers, Jovid and Parker Kimple, all of Carroll.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a trust fund established at Fifth Third Bank for the education of his three children.

Calling hours are scheduled for Friday, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Taylor Funeral Home at 111 W. Main St. in Amanda.

Additional calling hours Saturday starting at 11 a.m. at Bloom-Carroll Middle School's auditorium will precede a 1 p.m. funeral service there. Burial will follow in Greenfield Township Cemetery in Carroll.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Of Popes, Presidents, and war casualties

Contrasting images from mid April: the Roman Catholic Pope visits the American President in Washington -- pomp, circumstance, celebrations of the Pope's birthday, all in full measure

White House photo by Eric Draper.

The Adminstration's version of all this available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/papal/ --which, understandably, downplays the small fact that the Pope is not going to the festive state dinner in honor of his visit and his birthday, preferring to meet with American bishops instead (and that's a late addition to his schedule--as of last week, he was not attending but had nothing else scheduled).
Meanwhile, the casualty rate for Americans has passed 4000 in Iraq, while the number of verified civilian deaths in Iraq has passed 90,000. Details at http://www.iraqbodycount.org/database/
That makes photos like this one, from a car bombing yesterday in Kerkouk, all too common.

Associated Press photo by Adem Hadei

And the sectarian violence continues--an Associated Press photo by Karim Kadim shows the result of street clashes this morning in Sadr City, Baghdad.

Daily reports of the violence in Iraq are posted by the McClatchy Newspapers at http://www.mcclatchydc.com/212/story/33879.html

The Pope's opposition to the Iraq war is well known. But he and the President apparently didn't get to that topic in their chat today; according to the White House press release, "During their meeting, the Holy Father and the President discussed a number of topics of common interest to the Holy See and the United States of America, including moral and religious considerations to which both parties are committed: the respect of the dignity of the human person; the defense and promotion of life, matrimony and the family; the education of future generations; human rights and religious freedom; sustainable development and the struggle against poverty and pandemics, especially in Africa."
That is, if one reads past the language: no abortion, no gay rights, no sex education, and safe topics like 'religious freedom' -- which for these leaders doesn't mean freedom from religion -- and continued battling poverty in Africa, but apparently not elsewhere. Like, for example, Washington, D.C., where last fall a report noted that employment rates for African American adults fell from 62 percent in the late '80s to 51 percent in 2006. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/23/AR2007102302230.html
And that was during the boom time that's now ended.

Meanwhile, the Iraq war is costing roughly 341 million dollars each day. (And full details of the war's costs at http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home)

What's wrong with our nation's priorities, as set by the Administration and funded by the Congress, as is clear now without regard to which political party is in the majority?

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