On Humanity

RLHumanity

“Burger” on trumpet with his band, TBC, at a second line on St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans

The majority of the world is good – I’ve written those words on past posts here because I believe it. Even when the news constantly reminds us about all the evil, I continue to believe the majority of the world is good.

Humanity is a term that refers to all of us. All … not all with a but or except … simply all. Regardless of skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, location or any other qualifier or disqualifier, humanity includes the characteristics human beings have in common.

Acceptance
The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. (Brian Tracy, author)

RLAcceptance

Men in support of the Lady Buckjumpers second line in Central City, New Orleans

Compassion
Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love. (Stevie Wonder, musician)

RLCompassion

Sammy Eubanks comforts his wife Corrie after he was notified that his band did not win the blues competition in Memphis, TN

Cooperation
The requirements for our evolution have changed. Survival is no longer sufficient. Our evolution now requires us to develop spiritually – to become emotionally aware and make responsible choices. It requires us to align ourselves with the values of the soul – harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for life. (Gary Zukav, author)

RLCooperation

Members of The Stooges brass band rehearse prior to a second line in Central City, New Orleans

Goodness
Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people. (Dennis Prager, journalist)

RLGoodness

Three generations of Mardi Gras Indian queens on the most important of all nights — St. Joesph’s Night — in Central City, New Orleans

Humility
Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot. (Thomas Moore, poet)

A discussing of who to trust on the street, which is basically nobody. La salle Street, Central City, New Orleans

Mr. Otis gives me a little advice about life on the street in Central City, New Orleans

Integrity
Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. (Oprah Winfrey, entertainer)

RLIntegrity

Coming out in Treme – the neighborhood, not the HBO series

Kindness
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. (William Arthur Ward, writer)

One Giant Smile.

Sometimes we celebrate. The world’s biggest smile at Uncle Lionel’s Jazz Funeral in Treme, New Orleans

Love
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. (Ann Landers, journalist)

RLLove

Two second line walkers greet each other in Central, New Orleans

Patience
Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. (Joyce Meyer, author)

RLPatience

Taking pictures requires a little patience at Mardi Gras, Uptown, New Orleans

Respect
I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being. (Jackie Robinson, athlete)

Respect is what we owe; love, what we give. (Philip James Bailey, poet)

RLRespect

Mardi Gras Indians greet the elders during Downtown Super Sunday, 7th Ward, New Orleans

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Ray Laskowitz is a photographer in New Orleans. I can’t recall how we found each other, but I find his photos capture many aspects of humanity. Fittingly, he describes his blog as “about pictures and their backstories.” My experience told me he is the perfect artist for this collaborative endeavor. I gathered the text, then he supplied the images.

I encourage everyone to visit Ray’s blog for his stories and his website to see his photos, where images are available for purchase. I’ve invite Ray to respond to comments when he can, so feel free to ask him questions.

All photos are copyrighted by Ray Laskowitz @ Laskowitz Pictures

On Using a Gift

Sometimes we find those good stories that have much to say. No tears – but one filled with pride and joy. I saw this on the CBS Evening News last week. Enjoy.

Note: If the video below is unavailable, click here.

On Grocery Store Incidents

A grocery store is a wonderful place to witness a wide range of human behavior. Maybe that is a reason I used the marketplace in past posts. My recent trips brought these situations to my attention.

I cannot believe the idea came to me too late. A lady, who was buying a regular size bag of potato chips, was in front of me in the self-checkout aisle. I got the impression that she just put some money on a gift card, which had made its way through the cybermaze. The clerk got involved and directed the lady to the service counter. Then it hit me – I should have purchased the chips for her.

Some things make me feel guilty. For instance, one time I went back to the bank after discovering the clerk gave me 12 cents too much. Recently, I couldn’t pass on the calling from the Cadbury Egg display. Once I got to the car, I noticed I did not run egg through the scanner because it was still in the cart – not a bag. Heck yes I ate it, but several days later when I returned to the store, I paid for the egg with one from the display, and then returned the egg to the display

On the way out of the store, someone left a cart in the middle of a parking space, which was a space-and-a-half from the cart corral. To top it off, it was in the middle of a handicap parking spot. I pushed the cart into the stall, but I admit mumbling unkind thoughts. Later I wondered if the guilty party was physically capable of pushing the cart to its rightful spot. I will never know, and will not venture to guess – but I do wonder.

Past Grocery Store Posts

On Blocks of Granite

Not all that long ago while poll results were hailing Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) as the front-runner, I calmly suggested, “Keep her talking.” She did, fact-check observers did their job, thus down in the polls so goes. With that in mind, is there any surprise to the latest news that her New Hampshire team has imitated Elvis and left the building? I appreciate the paragraph below from the New Hampshire office’s statement.

The manner in which some in the national team conducted themselves towards Team-¬NH was rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel. But more concerning was how abrasive, discourteous, and dismissive some within the national team were towards many New Hampshire citizens. These are our neighbors and our friends, and some within the national team treated them more as a nuisance than as potential supporters.

Meanwhile, today is a day with another new theme/layout. What do you think? The images below are of Possible Sample 1 and the Original. Meanwhile, tomorrow will show the third (and hopefully the last) sample.

Sample 1

Original

On Romney: Context and Integrity

I try to watch ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was a guest on June 14th and he caught my attention with this subtle exchange with the host concerning a nuclear Iran. As a follow-up to a recent post about context, I decided to check the necessary transcripts.

The Interview
ROMNEY: And one aspect of what the president said may have been well received in Iran, but I think it was poorly received in Israel and around the world. And that’s when — well, actually, he made a 180-degree flip from what he had said during the campaign. During the campaign, when he spoke to AIPAC, he said he would do everything in his power to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. And then he went to Cairo and said that no single nation should have the ability to deny another nation the right to have a nuclear weapon. That is an 180-degree flip of a dangerous nature. I’m sure it was welcome in many streets in the Arab world and in the world that’s most — include the Persian world, Iran as well. But that’s not right for America. That’s not right for world security.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I believe the administration has said that they believe that Iran could have the right to nuclear power with appropriate safeguards, but not a nuclear weapon.

ROMNEY: We don’t have any question about nuclear power, and that was not the statement that the president made that was most offensive. It was his statement that no single nation should have the ability to deny another nation the right to nuclear weaponry.

President Obama in Cairo
OBAMA: It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America’s interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

A Frank Angle
This is a good example of how people take words out of context in order to apply meaning for their own benefit. Governor, as you continue to keep your name in the forefront for 2012, you must do much better than that to get not only my vote, but the vote of those who decide elections – independent moderates. Then again, maybe you don’t want our vote.

On Pausing for Context

The Internet is a wonderful source of information. Whether useful or not, factual or misinformation, opinion or fact, biased or unbiased, or humorous or serious, it is up to users to sort through this informational quagmire.

At one time or another and whether intentional or not, everyone is probably guilty of taking bits of information out of context. In this information world of snippets, context is more important to we realize.

YouTube is an endless vault of video snippets over a vast array of topics. I came across an amusing video, and since the event happened in my friend’s hometown during our college years, I asked him if he remembered it. Since he hadn’t, it sent him the link. I also bookmarked the link as a possible video for a future post, but then I discovered the words of Paul Harvey – the rest of the story.

The video rekindled my friend’s memory and he told me about the event figuring I didn’t know – how although full of laughs on the surface, yet one of torture and sadness when examining the full context of the event. With that knowledge in hand, I found a news article that looked back at both the event and the life thereafter of the one involved.

With the information I now know, there’s no way I could embed the video in one of my posts. But in respect to the person involved in the video, I can encourage others to beware of context as things may not be as they appear – especially in the light of full context. Besides, we know how politicians and the media are great examples of taking things out of context. Yes, some of us still yearn for integrity.