Story and Why
"Your Life is Your
© Tom Gilbert
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Aretha Franklin Tribute - One of a Kind
March 11, 2019
Last night the CBS television network aired an incredible tribute
to the late Queen of Soul, the one and only Aretha Franklin. It was a
star-studded event with many amazing singers from a wide range of
genres. That was fitting as Aretha Franklin was great singing any type
of music. It was fun and emotional to hear renditions sung with all the
gusto and love that these various performers could give. From Alicia
Keys, Patti LaBelle and Celine Dion to John Legend, Yolanda Adams and
Jennifer Hudson (and many more) it was a memorable night. I find it
especially appropriate that this Grammy Awards Tribute was aired during
Women's History Month.
Aretha Franklin's influence on people through her music and activism
has been widely noted, especially since her passing on August 16, 2018.
I, for one, am looking forward to the Aretha biopic that is being made
with Jennifer Hudson in the starring role. She was handpicked for the
project by Aretha herself.
They Called Him "The Kid"
March 7, 2019
What's in a nickname?
How's that for a question? Nicknames are pretty common. I bet you've
had one or more. My dad called me "Butch" when I was about seven or
eight. I remember not liking it.
Some nicknames come out of common usage. For instance, a parent may
just call one of their kids "boy" or "girl". In a loving way, you know,
like girl! Get over here!
I know of someone who calls one of her sons "Baby Brother"
and one of her daughters "Yady". But she actually didn't come up with
the names, it was other family members who called them that and it
stuck. That's kind of how nicknames work. Someone starts it and it
Billy the Kid, a famous western outlaw, did much of his carousing in
New Mexico. I live here in "The Land of Enchantment" and New Mexico was
truly the wild, wild west back in "The Kid's" day. There is a new movie
just coming out about Billy and his nemesis, the sheriff, Pat Garrett.
It's coincidentally titled, The Kid.
Nicknames can be fun or frivolous, but for those of us who have one it is part of our story. Here's looking at you, kid.
Still Celebrating African-American History Month
February 25, 2019
We are in the last week of February, the shortest month of the year,
but one of the deepest months in terms of celebrating people who have
impacted our world in many incredible ways. African-American History Month
happens each February and perhaps it is an opportunity for you to learn
more about some of the people who have changed our world with their
As a teacher I like to think that we can learn from peoples' lives,
regardless of the color of their skin, and in any month of the year.
Still, I applaud that we have a month dedicated to the extraordinary
contributions of African-Americans. One of my favorites is Maya Angelou. She was a marvelous writer, dancer, actor, poet and humanitarian.
One of her best loved memoirs is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
She faced a lot of challenges in her life and through her journey she
learned to make the best of life and to remind us of some powerful
lessons, like "I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you
made them feel." You can find out more about her life with this article online at the Encyclopedia of World Biography.
This month I continue to work on a life story about another
African-American who has lived quite an interesting Life. Lenora just
turned 90 on Valentine's Day. I interviewed her in December and it has
been very interesting for me to learn about her inspirational life. She
raised her five children and also another five children after her
sister's untimely death. She is a great lover of jazz and met some real
giants "back in the day" such as Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. It
just reaffirms once again to me that "everyone has a story to tell."
Opportunity Declared Officially Dead
....the Mars rover, that is.
February 20, 2019
Opportunity is dead (story here)...but not before going way beyond the expectations of NASA and scientists who study Mars.
The rover was sent to Mars in 2003 and landed on January 24, 2004. Immediately it went to work studying the Red Planet
and sending back bountiful amounts of interesting data. One of its most
important discoveries was evidence that water once did indeed flow on
Mars, many millenia ago.
The rover was expected to work for 90 days, but it ended up being 15
years. What does that tell us? That with machines as well as human
lives, we don't often know how much time we've got.
I am a fan of space exploration. Teaching 5th grade each year allows me
to tap into the Science curriculum to study and teach about our solar
system and our universe. Even better, here in Albuquerque, New Mexico
we team with the Air Force Research Lab La Luz Academy to be part of Mission to Mars.
It is something all the 5th grade classes in any schools, public or
private, can participate in. It's really great as we study Mars and do
a field trip at the end of the year to "Mars" - actually the Convention
Center where we build plastic habitats and pretend we are colonists.
Someday, maybe not so far off, humans really will travel to Mars. It's
the next frontier. Living lives of exploration, both inner and outer,
is essential to a full and meaningful life.
for doing what you did. You may have died, but you fed our minds and
our imaginations. And there are still plenty of other ways to explore
Mars. Curiosity is still functioning and sending back information. There is still much to learn - about Mars and about living.
MVP in Character, Frank Robinson Was One of the All Time Baseball Greats
February 7, 2019
heard the news earlier today that baseball great Frank Robinson passed
away. He was 83 and had a career in Major League Baseball that included
21 seasons as an amazing player and another 16 years as a manager.
He was the first African-American to manage a Major League Baseball
club and I find it significant that he gets the spotlight on him during
this African-American History Month.
But Frank Robinson was a great person who could and would be judged by
his character and not the color of his skin (as Martin Luther King Jr.
Already a big star for the Cincinnati Reds, Robinson was traded at the
age of 29 to the Baltimore Orioles and his first season with the birds
in 1966 was one of the greatest in baseball history. He won the triple
crown (leading the American League in home runs, average and runs
batted in). He also led the Orioles to their first World Series
Championship and he won the Most Valuable Award. Now he had also won
the MVP with the Reds in 1961 and to this day he is the only
player to win the MVP in both leagues!
Thanks for all the greatness, Frank. And for showing that you were a
real MVP in character. Read more about Frank Robinson with this article on mlb.com.
Get Back 50 Years
January 30, 2019
50 years ago today the Beatles played their final public show, that is
if you could call 42 minutes of live Beatles songs atop their Apple
Records Building a concert. At this stage of their career the lads were
on the verge of breakup. Lots of tension, even minutes before going to
the roof to plug in and play a variety of songs they were working on,
including "Get Back" with Bill Preston on keyboards.
For Baby Boomers and Beatles fans this is an important event in our
lives. The Beatles were the band that changed everything for us. From
the days of the Fab Four from Liverpool to a worldwide phenomenon, the
Beatles were an incredible sensation. All these years later their music
still resonates and people still discover them and enjoy their music
more than fifty years later.
It's interesting to watch the live performance from January 30, 1969.
It was cold on the roof and the band played five songs, some of them
with multiple takes. But how cool. It was a real surprise for people on
the streets below. According to this CBS News story,
the famed film director Peter Jackson is working on a film that will
include footage from this rooftop performance along with never-released
footage of the "Let It Be" sessions. Something to look forward to as we
look back (and maybe mentally and emotionally "get back") 50 years.
Life Lesson Quotes from
Martin Luther King Jr.
January 22, 2019
A day after we observed the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday I am once
again incredibly impressed by the legacy of the man. He did a lot in
his life to promote justice and civil rights. Like so many that call
forth the importance of making changes in our world to improve
relationships with others his life came to an end too soon because of
an assasin's bullet.
50 years later it is good to be reminded of some of the most powerful
life lesson quotes from Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Here are three:
The function of education
is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.
Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.
People fail to get along because they fear each
other; they fear each other because they don’t know each
other; they don’t know each other because they have not
communicated with each other.
We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.
Let's face it, those are some really fine words to live by. We all need
to overcome our difficulties with "others" and realize we each have a
right to dignity, to pursuing our dreams, living our lives, enjoying
peace and happiness and also honoring each person's unique life story.
Yes, King is gone, but not forgotten. One of the best ways to honor him
is to take his words to heart and try practicing what he preached.
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