Friday, February 22, 2019

A note to folks who interact with me on social media in a crude fashion

It's 2019 and I do not entertain fools. I've always been an opinionated type but I used to keep quiet. As I've aged I've gotten bolder but in a civil way. I know how to convey my truth without shedding too much blood. Think paper cut.

However with the nation's current climate making it akin to living in an open-air asylum sans toilet, with fools to left of me, jokers to the right...You get the drift (and the musical reference I hope!) I strive every day to keep sane and collected and limit my time on social media

Like I said, I speak truth. Sooooooooooo, if I comment on a Facebook thread and a person doesn't like it - TOO BAD! I will not go back and forth with your nutty ass! I comment once and keep it moving.

Same goes if you pop up in my Facebook thread with some idiocy about something I wrote that you vehemently don't like. Let me put it this way - EFF YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON! I will comment once and you will not like it. My Zen will have been restored though.

Can't handle it, snowflakes? Stay the eff off my threads or you wil! need fireproof undies.

A-A-Ah. I feel better. Have a nice day!


Governor Wreck-It Ralph Northam has lots of company.

Blackface seems to have an irresistible pull, a Svengali-like hold on a large number of White college students in sororities and fraternities during Halloween or when they are pledging.

Submitted for your approval, 'cuz it sure was the Twilight Zone for me.

Freshman year of college in February (oh, yes. I will name the illustrious institution), the then lauded Phila College of Pharmacy and Science (which has been renamed and which I attended for two years then transferred the hell out of), was having "Hell Week." "Hell Week" that curious cross between "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" where students endure all kinds of crap to be allowed into a life-long party? I don't know. Never appealed to me. Anyhoo, Lincoln's birthday fell during "Hell Week" that year. Well, honeeeeeeeeey, this is where it got weird.

In the student cafeteria, all the Black students sat together always. It was comforting because there were only 12 of us in the whole school. Well, for "Hell Week" whoever was head of the frat on campus must have given their desperate pledges a list of junk to do to pass, qualify, whatever they call it to get in.
Apparently, one task was to disrupt our table. Each of the 7 White guys pledging had to come to our table with a mouth full of LICORICE COUGH DROPS, hand A BOX of them to each one of us, and to wish us a "Happy, Happy Lincoln's Birthday! in an Amos-and-Andy style of speech while attempting to tap dance and call us "Sir" or Ma'am."

I kid you not.

We laughed at first because it was ridiculous. Then we were dumbfounded. Then we got pissed. By the time we'd gathered our wits and the 3rd guy thought he was going to "perform", the Black males at our table threatened a beat down if he did. He and the rest backed away.No. It wasn't Blackface but it wasn't necessary either.

I wonder to this day what those "boys" are doing. Probably section chiefs in some gov't agency or CEOs of pharmaceutical companies.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

James Edward Maceo West -Developer of the foil electret microphone. That thing you use eveyday of your life through your listening devices!

This man is still alive and today is his 88th birthday! So give thanks to this brilliant man. Otherwise you would not be able to communicate the way you do on your phones. Or listen to music or TV or your streaming devices or anything else that requies clean, clear reception. He with colleague, Gerhard Sessler, at Bell Laboratories, developed the improved pathway through which people hear and transmit sound!

Happy Birthday, Dr. West! (February 10, 1931)

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Gerhard Sessler
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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Buxton, Louisiana - A piece of paradise for Blacks at the turn of the last century

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Established by coal baron and railroad mogul, Ben Buxton, the town sprang up due to a strike waged by White coal miners. Buxton needed replacements for his striking work force and found theme down South.

The town created itself as workers, both Black and White, came to Buxton's southern work site. The settlement expanded and thrived, home to all. The races lived, worked and went to school side by side. It boasted a population of bewteen eight and ten thousand with Blacks the majority.

But in the first part of the twentieth-century, the town began a decline as other energy demands began overruling coal. Profitability waned as coal production reached a plateau. By the late 1920s, many had left the twon for other work. Today it is a designated historic U. S. site and is on the official National Register of historic Places

founder Ben Buxton, coal magnate
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Saturday, February 2, 2019

A childhood memory -My old stomping ground, the Royal Theatre of South Philadelphia

OK. I'm a day late but I am here to kick off Black History Month with a personal reminiscence. I'm gonna try to post about Black historical happenings at least twice a week fot this month. Bear with me.

Royal Theatre in its heyday - interior
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I spent many a Saturday afternoon in the Royal Theatre  (1524 South Street) when I was growing up. On those afternoons I was dropped off at the premiere movie house in South Philly around noon by mom, grandmom, grandpop or an uncle (we walked there as the Royal was @6 blocks from our house). I met all my friends there.

Admission was 35 cents if you were under 12 years of age and 50 cents if you were an older child, or perceived as older. That's were I got unfairly charged a few times as I was a tall kid. To solve that, my mom brought a copy of my birth certificate with her or she'd give it to whomever'd was gonna take me to the Royal that day so they could wave it in the face of the cashier. Good Old Mom. What a card!

The kiddie matinee lasted a little over 4 hours and screened a plethora of cartoons and two movies. My friends and I would sit in the main hall if the balcony was full. We'd gorge on popcorn, Jujyfruits, Dots, M&Ms and soda. And either barfed or poopped the rest of the evening from the sugar overload.

I loved it!

Oh the chaos! We'd scream over the film and we'd throw Dots and popcorn and Jujyfruits at each other and we'd run up and down the aisles. It was the only time we could be unbridled heathens. These matinees gave adults a break from us crazy kiddos and vice versa.

I loved it!.

Unfortunately, the grand lady fell into major disrepair. She'd been made an historic site as the Royal had been the spot for many African-American performers and had been a Black-owned and Black-operated venue from 1919 to 1970. With the city's promise of urban renewal came the plan for the Crosstown Expressway, a high speed thoroughfare which was to cut right through the middle my 'hood. The mere mention of this project, caused many businesses to leave the area or shut down altogether. The Royal did the latter.

Strangely, or should I say strategically, the mention of the Expressway did what developers wanted all along - offer Black-owned enterprises pennies and make a land grab for sellers' properties.. It worked. The Crosstown Expressway which was supposed to cut down on traffic, and be a part of Interstste 695 was NEVER built! But all those empty businesses now beloned to new owners. This was the mainly Black west side of South Street; the mainly Italian east side had begun its supposed renaissance a few years before. Both populations disliked the change in their neighborhoods.

So, the shuttered Royal Theatre became a ball to be tossed back and forth whenever some city faction wanted something. It was declared historic which did it scant good as it sat there empty, untouched and rotting for 50 years. It changed hands several times with no renovation. Music mogul Kenny Gamble owned it once and did little to help it. The last update reported that some developer was going to retain the architechturally important facade but with a combination of retail space and a six-story, 57 unit apt. building with seven townhouses behind it and parking below it

Oh joy! Overpriced real estate for hipsters.

That was 2017. If delays persist there will be no historic facade to preserve. The Royal will just disintegrate. Little old, cynical me thinks that is what the devekoper wants. If she crunbles, the developer won't have to follow the rules for renovating historic buildings. He'll keep the front and do whatever, however, he wants with the rest.

There is one success story concerning the rescue of a formerly Black-owned, Black-operated theater in Philly - The Met. That grand old lady of North Philly re-opened her doors this past December 2018. She is a multi-use facility. - concert hall, theater, church. She looks wonderful.

I'd hoped the Royal would have gotten the royal treatment. She deserves no less.

North Philly's The Met restored
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The Met's restored interior
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