Millions of students across the country have read the important and influential novel To Kill A Mockingbird, written in 1960 by the inimitable Harper Lee. Ms. Lee did not publish another book for the next 55 years until her previously written sequel, Go Set A Watchman, was published this past summer. To Kill A Mockingbird, which won the Pulitzer Prize, was one of my favorite books and taught me and generations of students about racism in the deep south and the importance of standing up for what is right even when it is not always easy to do. I have not read Go Set A Watchman, although it topped the best seller charts this summer. I am hesitant to read it because I loved To Kill A Mockingbird so much and I am afraid that it might be a let down to read it.
Ms. Lee lived the remainder of her life reclusively, dividing her time between New York City and her home in Monroeville, Alabama. The world lost a literary giant with the passing of Ms. Lee.
California Journey, a German Shorthaired Pointer, otherwise known as CJ, won the prestigious Best in Show title at the Westminster Dog Show held here in New York City. Nearly 3000 contestants participated in the 140th annual show, representing approximately 200 breeds of dogs. This event is considered the second longest running sporting event behind the Kentucky Derby, but it seems more like a pageant to me. Dogs are primped and pampered in preparation for the show and dog handlers take their work very seriously as they parade their dogs around the rings. CJ was given the royal treatment on the heels of his big win. He appeared on Good Morning America, had a photo shoot atop the Empire State Building, and dined on steak at Sardi’s Restaurant.
In honor of CJ’s win, I am posting photos of my little guy. He wins Best in Show in my book.
I rarely, if ever, watch professional football. Super Bowl Sunday is the exception because I enjoy the pageantry and excitement of this particular day. People gather in groups to watch the game, so the sociability element is the main draw for me. Equally fun, though, is seeing the commercials and the half-time show. While I am sure that many people will tune in to watch the game tonight, the pre-game buzz has been rather tame. With all of the controversy surrounding the game, specifically the dangers of brain injury, it remains to be seen if the Super Bowl will make it to 100. I guess we will have to stay tuned to see. Until then, may the best team win. Go Panthers and Broncos!
Update: First commercial was a winner! Hyundai Car Finder commercial was cute, funny, and very appealing!
The 2016 Presidential election will be the first one that I vote in, so I am paying closer attention to the primary process this year than I did four years ago. Primary season kicked off today in Iowa, but they don’t hold primaries there; they have caucuses. I must admit that I am very confused by how a caucus works. Iowans don’t actually go into voting booths and pull levers. They go to gyms, churches, community centers, or other public meeting places where candidates or their representatives make pitches to try to convince voters to vote for them. The process is more complex than this and it is somewhat different for Democrats and Republicans, but this is an overview.
The results are in: Ted Cruz has won the Republican caucuses and Hilary Clinton eked out a victory by a razor sharp margin.
Now it is onto New Hampshire next week, followed by South Carolina later this month.
What a difference a week makes! Last Saturday, New York City received 26.8 inches of snow, which is one tenth of an inch off of the record set back in February 2006. The city was basically shut down for 24 hours, until the snow subsided. One week later, however, temperatures reached a balmy 59 degrees, helping thaw the remaining snow that had not yet melted. It gave us a glimpse of spring, but I am sure that we shouldn’t get too used to this warm weather. We have the entire month of February ahead of us and I have always found that February is the gloomiest month of all.
Pictures taken in Central Park today by my uncle
New York City is snowed in and locked down. Meteorologists predicted that there would be 8-12 inches of snow, but this blizzard, known as Jonas, has far surpassed the experts’ estimates. It has been snowing steadily for 20 hours and there are already 20 inches on the ground, with more to come. Mayor DeBlasio has declared a state of emergency here in New York. He suspended bus service and imposed a ban on personal vehicular travel. This city that never sleeps is officially taking a nap. Thank goodness for Netflix!
Today we celebrate the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. who used nonviolent protest to demonstrate against the injustices that African Americans endured in the United States. A brilliant orator, King gave his inspirational speech known as the “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington which drew a crowd of more than two hundred thousand people. King delivered his speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, one hundred years after President Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War, declaring that slaves were to be freed in rebellious states. Soon after, slavery would be abolished throughout the United States and African Americans would attain citizenship and the right to vote. However, life was not easy for African Americans. They earned lower pay than white people did. They lived in segregated communities, and they literally had to take a back seat to whites. They would continue to experience inferior treatment and services by the government and their fellow white citizens for many years, until Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders grew impatient and started to agitate for change. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the same year that the Civil Rights Act was passed. Martin Luther King Jr. was and continues to be a true inspiration to many, all of these years later.
I realize that the Second Amendment will most likely never be repealed because there are too many gun enthusiasts in this country and the gun lobby is very strong. However, laws in the United States always change and adapt. Slavery used to be legal; thankfully, it no longer is. The drinking age used to be 21; now it is 18. Women, African Americans, and poor people did not have the right to vote; they do now. People used to have the right to smoke cigarettes on airplanes; now they don’t. The list goes on and on. It is time to change gun laws. There is no reason for an individual to have an arsenal of automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition. If the right to bear arms is not going to be taken away, at least the type and number of weapons should be restricted. There should be a national database of people who buy weapons and ammunition and if a buyer already owns one gun, they should not be entitled to buy another. Even if there isn’t a limitation placed on gun purchases, at least the database would keep law enforcement apprised of who is stockpiling weapons and those people could be monitored. Gun proponents claim that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. However, the people killing people on a mass scale are doing it with guns.
Mayor DeBlasio has backed off of his campaign promise to ban horse-drawn carriages in Central Park. I guess that he came to the realization that there are more pressing issues in New York City than horse-drawn carriages. In fact, these carriages have been an institution in this city, probably since the founding of this great city, and tourists come here expecting to take a spin around Central Park in one of them. Hopefully, there are proper safeguards in effect that will ensure the safety and well-being of these horses. So go ahead and enjoy a ride around the park this holiday weekend.
In an epic decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America finally legalized same-sex marriage across this great nation. The United States was not the first country to legalize same-sex marriage and hopefully it will not be the last. Gay couples should be entitled to the same rights and privileges that heterosexual couples have and now they will in this country and in twenty others across the globe. This decision was a ‘no-brainer’ and was favored by a majority of Americans.