Chicago – April 1, 2018

– from Joan Ruppert
Shortly before the March 24 “March for Our Lives” demonstrations I contacted David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez via Twitter to ask what art (musical, visual, written word) helped keep them inspired and energized. About a week later David Hogg posted this. I’m sure the timing was only coincidental to my query because he likely wades through hundreds of messages every single day. But still, I had to smile.
David Hogg Playlist

CENTRAL STANDARD TIME – A SPECIAL EDITION

Are we at a threshold? What is the point of activism if neither rage nor outrage appear to be working. The innateness of good and evil hasn’t changed, so, what are we missing? The battle for social justice needs a new strategy.

These stories of activism and acts of personal strength portend a season of change.


Brule Eagan doesn’t mind a bit of detention. We’ll see you in the back row. – The Breakfast Club.”

Pennridge 225
Pennridge 225

Whatcha Gonna Do? While public demonstrations in favor of stronger laws are laudable, the fight requires more. As always, John Zielinski is our guide.

Outrage


Rainee Denham brings a story of strength. A Well Directed Production is a conversation with Chicago-based theatre director/adaptor, Lavina Jadhwani.

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Lavina Jadhwani

On December 2, 1970, Richard Nixon’s administration created the Environmental Protection Agency. We can all join together and sing Sometimes All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe with Steve Buschbacher.

environmental_protection_agency-logo


Erin Denk pens an excellent essay on the movement in “Me Too”:  A Space to Listen. Women stand. Will women vote?

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Here we are again…

Stephon Clark
Stephon Clark

How is a cell phone mistaken for a weapon? Twenty rounds later, another brown person is dead at the hands of frightened policemen. It’s always the brown people. Really… here we are again. It is impossible to narrate the dozens of similar incidents across the country, so let’s review the video of this one, again and again. Stephon Clark committed no crime, possessed no weapon, and, likely, never knew what hit him. End of story.

Can we clarify the effectiveness of activism, because neither rage nor outrage appear to be working.

A significant time approaches and I wonder if our culture is willing to seize the initiative. A succession of events is merging to form a nexus, begging important questions. It’s time to deal in new concepts; a time to make daring plans and not settle for less than what serves us and our posterity. Everyone is involved, everyone.

Bold decisions require action. An effective start is changing the population of our government with the vote. How will we gauge their competence and awareness in the course of events? What will be the litmus test? Specifically, let’s see major progressive legislation, of the daring and audacious type. Why not raise the level of conversation and impose greater expectations, not “what we can get” laws that serve no one.

So many events, so many questions:

What will it take to stop the murder of young men of color? Why are they expendable? If life weren’t already tough, they settle gang affairs with guns, at the same time fighting a war with police. It’s everywhere and never stops. What quality of life includes a percentage likelihood of gun related death? Ask them to vote, I’ll wait.

The web of immigration intrigue entangles huge swaths of society. Add a systemic promotion of fear and “It’s the brown people” mindset. Resolutions to immigration and the flow of labor across the continent are inevitable, and in everyone’s favor. Global economies flourish, limited economies fail.

Women have every reason to take a stand. Statistics point to a wave of female candidacy across the country. Will women vote?

Advocate for the Assault Weapons Ban, demand it.

A group of smart young people in Florida embraced the big-picture from the beginning. They reached out across the country; Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, north to south, and they see a greater malaise. They are not asking permission to make change. Will they vote?

Where is a strategy for future industries to fuel the economy and support our social structure? If we insist on nostalgia to feel secure, let’s borrow from the Republican genius of Eisenhower; the National Defense Education Act of 1958; The International Geophysical Year; the infrastructure titan interstate highway system; it was civics on a grand scale.

The welfare of each citizen is connected to all. Will we vote for social safety nets, will we vote for science?

Then there are the increased white supremacist advocacies… they vote too.

Trump is the old log we kicked over and all of the creatures come pouring out, crawling, scattering, and burrowing out of sight. The cold underbelly of interest and identity politics is laid bare. Fat maggots, tentacled, multi-legged, fast movers, the backdrop of a million tiny beings, all chaos, moving as one.

The lighter view is we are living a cartoon saga. Matt Schlapp versus Tom Perez in “Celebrity Death Match.” Stephen Miller as Grima Wormtongue, whispering in the despot’s ear. Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, my god. The con and the marks. The president can’t find a good attorney. Russia!

I have answered my own question. Here is the intent of activism. We must remain vigilant and aware of serious issues in a world mugging us with information. The sideshows will end. The ship-of-state will right itself when we participate.

“Fortune favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

Education remains the strategic high-ground. A groundswell movement is at the grassroots as teachers across the country are rightfully upset and they are beginning to demonstrate. They march. They speak out. They vote.

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Chicago – March 17, 2018

Raft Man-web
Raft Man

The last vestiges of a winter chill will not deter our spring. Balmy temps and the “great outdoor escape” are around the corner. Hang in there.

One of the serendipitous coincidences when publishing a blog is discovery. I have known this talented woman for almost two decades and, once again, I’m awakened to the intellectual depth of my friend. Allow me to introduce Rainee Denham.

Rainee is the classic trifecta of a life in theater, a captivating voice, dancing graces, and the transcendent study of acting. Here she reveals a sophisticated level of communication through the written word. Visit her website (raineedenham.com) and be amazed.

Turn And Face The Strange is the first visit from Rainee. She will join us for the April edition of Central Standard Time with another compelling article.

Brule Eagan writes his annual homage to blarney in Up the Oirish!” 

Chef Geofredo DiMucci (that may be an alias!) treats us to Chicken Cacciatore in Food #6.

Part 2 of Constitutionally Speaking continues a series from The Publisher’s Desk. We examine the concept of Federalism.”

A new index of recipes from our crack team of culinary giants (!) now resides on the CONTACT page.


As always, I am so pleased you are here. Every month the contributors to this blog ask you to read. Reading is the muscle of knowledge and intellect, and fundamental to our future. Visit the enlightened creativity that graces these pages and note your opinion with the “Like” button. Better yet, send your opinions with a comment. We love to hear from you.

Making Meaning In Art: In the Studio of Gabriel Karagianis by Erin reeves Denk

All The News That’s Fit To Print? by Steve Buschbacher

The Most Trusted Man in America by John Zielinski

Quo Vadis, Mr. Murrow by Brule Eagan

Ahh, Spring by Tom DeMichael

Philosophy Meets Real Life by Marc Piane

Constitutionally Speaking by Joe Tortorici

 

Chicago – March 17, 2018

Raft Man-web
Raft Man

The last vestiges of a winter chill will not deter our spring. Balmy temp’s and the “great outdoor escape” are around the corner. Hang in there.

One of the serendipitous coincidences when publishing a blog is discovery. I have known this talented woman for almost two decades and, once again, I’m awakened to the intellectual depth of my friend. Allow me to introduce Rainee Denham.

Rainee is the classic trifecta of a life in theater, a captivating voice, dancing graces, and the transcendent study of acting. Here she reveals a sophisticated level of communication through the written word. Visit her website (raineedenham.com) and be amazed.

Turn And Face The Strange is the first visit from Rainee. She will join us for the April edition of Central Standard Time with another compelling article.

Brule Eagan writes his annual homage to blarney in Up the Oirish!” 

Chef Geofredo DiMucci (that may be an alias!) treats us to Chicken Cacciatore in Food #6.

Part 2 of Constitutionally Speaking continues a series from The Publisher’s Desk. We examine the concept of Federalism.”

A new index of recipes from our crack team of culinary giants (!) now resides on the CONTACT page.


As always, I am so pleased you are here. Every month the contributors to this blog ask you to read. Reading is the muscle of knowledge and intellect, and fundamental to our future. Visit the enlightened creativity that graces these pages and note your opinion with the “Like” button. Better yet, send your opinions with a comment. We love to hear from you.

Making Meaning In Art: In the Studio of Gabriel Karagianis by Erin reeves Denk

All The News That’s Fit To Print? by Steve Buschbacher

The Most Trusted Man in America by John Zielinski

Quo Vadis, Mr. Murrow by Brule Eagan

Ahh, Spring by Tom DeMichael

Philosophy Meets Real Life by Marc Piane

Constitutionally Speaking by Joe Tortorici

 

Chicago – March 1, 2018

Raft Challenger-web
Raft Challenger – by Gabriel Karagianis

In the news…

The onslaught of information is overwhelming. At various times throughout the day my brain arcs and short-circuits my cognitive processes. Not only the deluge of mind-numbing facts in a world gone mad, but the preposterous takes up equal time. You just have to shake your head and ask “What?”

Objective reality is in competition with the absurd, all of it under the moniker “news.” How do we make informed decisions? Not only has it become necessary to have multiple sources, it serves us well to remember a time when misinformation was not legitimized. Reporting news, regardless of the medium, was a privileged enterprise. My friend, Brule, reminds us that informing the public was a trust left to professionals that did not speak to the lowest common denominator, but communicated to a literate public. We became educated through the news; we read newspapers; we heard a term and made the effort to find its origin or location on a map.

An acquaintance recently posted her decision making process – “Fox News, the Bible, my own thinking, and what my guinea pig says.” I’m not certain what part of that is a joke.

The talented crew at Central Standard Time gives enlightened perspectives on the information battlefield. Who? What? When? Where? How?

Our cover art is courtesy of Gabriel Karagianis. Erin Reeves Denk talked to Gabriel as only another artist can, and shares her conversation in Making Meaning In Art: In the Studio of Gabriel Karagianis.

Steve Buschbacher gives us a quick review of the available sources for information in his essay, All The News That’s Fit To Print? 

When confusion reigned, we turned to The Most Trusted Man in America. Regular contributor John Zielinski offers a profile of the reporter that defines his profession to this day.

Broadcaster Brule Eagan, has been on the front-lines of the information flow for decades. Who better to give a long look at how we arrived in this place. His essay Quo Vadis, Mr. Murrow is a detailed history of the reporter’s profession.

The pre-season in underway! Both the Cubs and White Sox are brimming with new prospects and enduring hope for the season to come. The “Sports Oracle” Tom DeMichael, gives us the skinny in Ahh, Spring.

Our blog shares many stories of diverse interest. No greater subject of discussion is that of our humanity and our common circumstance. Marc Piane writes a moving note to all of us about the value of goodness in Philosophy Meets Real Life.

Chef Janet (my sister!) keeps a legacy intact with the essence of Sicilian soul-food. Check out Food #5 for a family specialty.

And from the Publisher’s Desk, we begin a series of plain-language examinations regarding the truth and untruth spoken about our Constitution. This is more than simple civics, Constitutionally Speaking.

Please support Marc Piane’s fundraiser

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As always, grab a cup of coffee and have a seat. Don’t hesitate to join in and comment or ask questions. We are here for you.

Welcome the New Year!

Good-night,-Loen!
Godnight, Loen!

The image you see above is from Martynas Milkevicius. His presence speaks to the times as we share a vision from half the world away. How fortunate we are to feature his gallery on the KIOSK page. The global community is real, and now.

I found a common thread of optimism weaving its way through the essays this month. We will survive the recent onslaught of electric-shock treatments to our cultural frontal lobe. These political troubles will pass. A populist voice is awakened and we are talking about the world. There is an air of activism at large.

This blog is made to go with coffee, of course.

John Zielinski knows ornithology. True… and not just the Charlie Parker standard. His essay “For The Birds” extols the virtue of community and survival.

Steve Buschbacher asks “Are We Selfish?” and talks values. How were you raised?

Brule Eagan takes on “The Annual Challenge” of New Years in free-form.

What better time of year to talk baseball? Tom DeMichael has the latest from winter camp and thoughts for both Cubs and Sox fans, “Buh-Buh-Baseball – What’s New, Year?

Is reality subjective? Marc Piane tugs at our brain muscle in his essay “A Thought for the New Year.”

At “The Publisher’s Desk” I reviewed a recent field trip. “This Place” was a day well-spent in reflection.

We stride into the New Year with energy and a sense of determination. The world moves forward through the hands of the obsessed. These are people who can’t put down the pen, who can’t stop painting, alone practicing their musical instrument hour after hour, driven people, compelled to read and learn, speak and listen.

Such are the contributors in this month’s issue of Central Standard Time. Contemporary views from the urban, the urbane, the wry and seasoned, creative practitioners in every discipline grace these pages for you… the reader.

Write to the publisher – jstortorici@gmail.com. I invite your input. Don’t forget the coffee.

Majors and Minors

– J. Tortorici

Enigmatic counselors and “dark ministers” of the political system have an enduring history in America. My liberal’s dismissal of Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and their ilk, is rooted in remembering genuine, diabolical giants of the Washington power drama. Over the decades, perspective is revealing.

One of my first memories of world events involved the Dulles siblings, John-Foster and Alan. Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John-Foster, built Cold War alliances, most prominently NATO. With his brother, Alan, head of the CIA, he helped instigate Operation Ajax, the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, and the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état. Alan oversaw the U-2 spy aircraft program, and the Bay of Pigs Invasion. After President Kennedy abandoned the Bay of Pigs, he forced Alan Dulles out of government service. Thus began one of the premier conspiracy sagas surrounding the Kennedy assassination.

Robert McNamara was the classic hero/villain conundrum. He was an author of an imaginative global nuclear strategy known as “MAD” (Mutually Assured Destruction). As Secretary of Defense under Kennedy and Johnson he escalated the United States involvement in the Vietnam War, yet advocated the use of a blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis, averting a nuclear confrontation. I highly recommend “The Fog of War” for his unique view of global power politics.

Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, USMC, oversaw an illegal arms program (from the basement of Reagan’s Whitehouse) with Iran (designated State Sponsor of Terrorism) and Nicaraguan rebels, the Iran-Contra scandal.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is a contemporary legend. Rumsfeld played a central role in planning a response to the September 11 attacks, which included two wars: Afghanistan, the seat of terrorism; and Iraq, an inspired, erroneous WMD conflict. His tenure then became controversial for prisoner abuse.

Imagine the cost in human life and physical resources this gallery represents. It is not arbitrary to say “immeasurable.” These were cabinet secretaries, administrators, and principals of the National Security apparatus… the major league of decision makers with high executive function. Their influence and the consequences of their decisions were so profound as to effect the course of history in ways we continue to experience.

No, the Bannon coterie, including Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway, appear like so many Dick Tracy villains by comparison. Strip away the bravado and hyperbole, little of purpose remains… and I always worry less about the guy needing to tell me what a bad-ass he is. For the time being, they have access to the halls of power, and history proves these characters will fade along with the aberrance of their views. Consider the fate of so many that had the same access, the same bombast, the same imagined elevation, whose existence is now more ignominious than influential. Their ideas were not durable.

Perspective, indeed. Time is an ally. Every organization, General Electric down to your local Cub Scout Pack, reflects the tenor of its leadership. In spite of all the media exposure, we are dealing with a farm-team of limited political acumen and untenable schemes. Deep governmental skills elude them, they refuse to be “coached,” in many ways to our good fortune. Their limits become our safety net.

April 16, 2017

Ukrainian Village Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to a new edition of Central Standard Time. I am pleased to welcome back old friends, regular contributors, and some fresh talent. Grab your coffee and join us for comments, opinions, and interesting thoughts.

My friend Greg King is back with an observation on religion in today’s world with his essay, “Can We Talk?”

The bon vivant of South Texas, Brule Eagan, looks to his local politics for some contemporary perspectives in “The Trouble With Eddie.”

How fortunate we are to live in an urban environment brimming with the creative ethos. It is my pleasure to introduce Rebecca Francescatti. Rebecca’s art graces this issue’s cover.

I met this talented lady at a professional function in which she served as secretary and reporter. Her articles were very good. As I am always on the spy for exceptional writers, this was someone I needed to court for CST. The more you know of Rebecca, the more you see the essence of a complete artist. For some people in the world, the muse descends from Olympus and touches them on the forehead…”This is for you.” Writer of songs and insightful prose, and stunning artist, Rebecca is one of those people.

The SCIENCE page returns. Here is an essay on the fate of our species, “The Solar Federation.” I can promise my favorite page will get more attention in the coming months.

From the Publisher’s Desk, a long hard look at the myth and fate of one particular Arab Spring. “Out of Egypt…” examines the zero-sum game of power in the Middle East.

Here we go! Summer is pulling at our sleeve and the time is right for a moment of leisure and good reading.

 Rebecca “F” Francescatti is a performing songwriter, musician, artist and writer residing in Chicago.  Currently a student in the M.A. Counseling program at Northwestern University, she holds an M.A. in English Literature from DePaul University.  When not moonlighting with her bands Rebecca F. & The Memes or Night Jogger, you’ll find her serving the humanities in the fields of counseling and publishing.