BBC Proms Worth Clicking

BBC Proms Worth Clicking

By Bob Small

Normally, my articles tend toward the Political, in one or another ways. However we will be discussing a yearly musical phenomenon (first heard in 1895) and how you can now hear it for free.

BBC Proms Worth Clicking

The BBC Proms aka Henry Wood Promenade Concert presented by the BBC began in 1895 as both Classical and Popular Music Concerts designed, via low ticket prices and an informal atmosphere, to bring music to the masses.

Over the years, the eight-week festival morphed into jazz, world music and many etceteras. Because Britain is no longer an empire but now a Commonwealth, they use this, as BBC itself, as what they themselves call “soft power,” as opposed to the massive military force they once had.

To find the BBC Proms on your search engine of choice (I use Duck Duck Go, so as not to be searched myself.) to get to BBC Radio 3. Click on BBC Sounds or any other link but I Player. (I Player requires you to live in England,) Then you can choose your Concerts. As of this writing , most are still available for a month, the earliest ones expiring first. I listen sequentially, but that’s also how I read a book or watch a movie, whereas others choose by Composer or Conductor, whether Classical or Jazz. I now use my Smartphone, which seems to work easier for me on BBC Radio 3 BBC Proms.

The Last Night of the Proms has traditionally featured the Anthem “Rule Brittania”and other highly Patriotic songs. Lately, though, what might be termed the ‘Woke’ crowd has been protesting that, seeing this as inconsistent with the aims of the British Commonwealth, especially as Britannia no longer ‘rules the waves’ or anything else. (Possibly not even Scotland if they get another referendum.) Rather, the Proms, like BBC itself, is a form of soft power, witness the many people, self included, who listen to at least one BBC program daily.

Pennsylvania 5G Law Passes With Little Fanfare

Pennsylvania 5G Law Passes With Little Fanfare

By Bob Small

HB 162 was passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature, and signed into law as Act 50 on June 30 by the Gov. Tom Wolf. The Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act was passed with only three dissenting votes and little notice. The idea is to accelerate 5G infrastructure in Pennsylvania

We all, of course, want the modern world of 5G and any route to this sounds like it must be harmless. Well, yes and no. First, we learned of this item at the July Swarthmore Borough Council Meeting. We learned that the mini-towers required for 5G could be planted on the grass strips that many of us have between sidewalk and street.

This is property we had thought was owned by the homeowners and, we assumed, was part of what we pay taxes for We assumed we had control of what goes on on these strips. Guess not.

Now, according to State Senator Tim Kearney (D-26 and a former fine Mayor of Swarthmore) there are but sevem exceptions whereas a municipality can “refuse the installation of small cells.” None of these 7 exemptions apply to these street strips already having a planting of any kind of tree, neither fruit trees or saplings, or… These would probably have to go, though that’s a small price for progress, one supposes.

The apple harvest we had this year may be our last.

There’s an exception for Historical Markers, but this would not necessarily apply to, say, Swarthmore’s Historically Black Neighborhood. Each case like this might have to be brought up individually. How this might effect Swarthmore College is still unclear.

We have also been told that all these initial requests will be coming to your town by the end of the†month.

According to Legiscan.com, the only three nays, in the State House, were Democrat Kevin J. Boyle, and Republicans Carl Walker Metzgar, and Brett R. Miller, none of whom mentioned it on their websites.
Boyle, who participated in some forums I organized, did not respond as to his reasons to vote against this bill. No one in the Pennsylvania Senate opposed it.

Bob Small is a resident of Swarthmore.

Pennsylvania 5G Law Passes With Little Fanfare
HB 162 was passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature, and signed into law as Act 50 o

Gigi Williams Inspiring Autobiography

Gigi Williams Inspiring Autobiography

By Bob Small

This is the backstory of how I came to read Gigi Williams’ autobiographical book

God’s Hand in my “One” (looking back at the Master’s Plan). We had traveled to the village of North East , MD, to visit a friend — let’s call her M — as this location was equidistant from our homes.

While at a picnic table by the Bay, a few people came up to us. One of them was Gigi, a middle-aged woman with one hand, who offered her book, for free, which I accepted, on the condition that she sign it, which she did. My acceptance was based on the fact that I always accept free books, whether on peace, politics, poetry, or religion.

Gigi Williams Inspiring Autobiography

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

These words from Proverbs 3:5-6, are part of the introduction to Chapter 8 and this summarizes a main message of Gigi’s book, that she has had to lean on faith, as opposed to medical technology, which she has also tried.

Along with her faith she also stresses her acceptance which, in her case, means she sees herself as different rather than “disabled”. Her book talks about the faith and acceptance that led her to have a career, a college degree, a driving license,a marriage and a family, all while being different rather than being “disabled.”

She writes in a very direct, unemcumbered way.

Camp no limits, which she mentions towards the end, is still active in Maryland.

See https://nolimitsfoundation.org/ and Facebook. This is a camp focused on children with “limb loss”, not to be confused with the no limits foundation which focuses on autism related issues. Camp no Limits has a religious connection, which permeates the whole book. My sense is that her religious faith has sustained her, which I accept as one way to get through this labyrinth we call life.

This book can be ordered through www.gigiwilliams.info and also is carried by Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Gigi Williams Inspiring Autobiography

Home In India, A Review

Home In India, A Review

By Bob Small

Almost every Saturday Night around 11:30 p.m. (9 a.m. Indian time the following day), we find ourselves going to Epiphany’s Church Service, in English (Cuttack,India), via Zoom. One of the most inspiring pastors is Rev. Moumita Biswas of the Church of Scotland.

Rev. Biswas is featured Andrew Mills’ book Home in India, which can be ordered at https://www.andrewmillsbooks.com/

This weekly schedule is not due to any great religious fervor, but rather relationships formed by my wife while she was in India previously, that were recently re-established.

This was many years and one husband ago.

Part of the story of Andy Mills in India is his role as in India as a Lay Missionary.

The Andy Mills we know is from his work in Witness for Peace. Witness for Peace was founded in 1983 and campaigns for “peace, justice, and sustainable economies in Latin America”.

Andrew Mills connects both these topics and more; He has been a Chairperson of Witness for Peace (1994-2012). Previously, he went to India , in a dual role as a consulting groundwater hydrologist/programmer and a lay Missionary under the UCBWM (United Church Board for World Ministries). This was from 1956-61, and 1967-71.

This book introduced me to a part of Andy that I never knew, the Missionary. He felt he was in India to help with both bodies and souls.

He talks honestly of the dichotomies between his views as a Christian Westerner, and both the Christian Indians and Hindu Indians. Along the way, there are also the differing views within the Christian Missionary Community.

One vital point he makes is the notion that he should live simply, in the same way that the Indians live. This adjustment was not easy for him as an American.

He also explained that the different groupings had much to learn from each other when they chose to listen.

Recently, when I looked up the current status of CNI, the Church of Northern India, I discovered that some of the same concerns that he wrote about were still in the process of being resolved.

The book is divided into sections covering his dual activities in India, and three epilogues, honoring both British and Indian Christians he worked with.

Home In India, A Review

Biden Bucks In Swarthmore Pa

Biden Bucks In Swarthmore Pa

By Bob Small

There’s always something to learn at your local Borough Council Meeting.  We learned at the July 26 Swarthmore Borough Council Meeting that the Feds have allocated us $664, 230.82.

Now, according to the US Department of the Treasury, these funds can be used to “address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency”  and “replace lost public sector revenues”, among other generalities.

Like many communities, we have a volunteer fire department.  They could use some monies.  Our police department is funded, though they could always use more.  (They don’t need their own tank, though.)  The Library and some of our Senior Groups always need additional funding. And, of course, our business community will all be vying for their share of the Biden Bucks.  The new vaping shop will apply but that money could go up in smoke.

Luckily, we do not have an Antifa or Proud Boys Chapter in Swarthmore, as they might also  try to apply. (I’m not suggesting formation of either for these purposes.)

I’m somewhat regretful that I’ve retired from coordinating any Political Forums or Poetics, which means I’ll miss out on this magic money tree.

A direct quote, says that within these overall categories, five overly broad categories, “recipients have broad flexibility to decide how best to use this funding to meet the needs of their communities”  (home.treasury.gov)

Outside of a child’s allowance, when are monies issued without some guidelines?

I still remember hearing my parents say “Now, Bobby, don’t spend it all on cookies and beer.”  (We lived in Northeast Philly.)

You don’t just give monies to local government.  That involves a level of trust that most local government has yet to earn.

These are monies meant to earn approval ratings and votes, nothing else.

Bob Small is a resident of Swarthmore, Pa.

Biden Bucks In Swarthmore Pa
Biden Bucks In Swarthmore Pa

To Mask or not to Mask

To Mask or not to Mask

By Bob Small

Being someone with underlying conditions who is not yet ready to be living under, I still continue to mask. This is my individual decision, and I would no sooner tell anyone else to mask as I would tell anyone else what else to do.

To Mask or not to Mask

Now, in the community which we dwell in, as in many others, the common understanding is that they have declared Covid 19 to now be over and done. Hopefully the virus has heard this and agrees. However, in this community, called Dartmour in my on-going fictional rendering of it (to protect the guilty), there is an unspoken insistance in both requiring that all be vaccinated and, having done that, that they now unmask on an immediate and unilateral basis! Furthermore, there is an unspoken intimation that any refusal to whole-heartedly return to indoor dining, indoor concerts, indoor everything, requires an immediate explanation. We are not exactly being shunned yet but, when my meetings went from zoom to face to coughing face, my absence may have been noted. Or worse, not noticed at all.

Though I have the requisite Pfizer jabs, there is still my feeling that they did not take, or were the wrong ones, as I do not have confidence. Of course, any feeling of being in rebellion against the general public conclusions, of not tossing off of masks, having this new knowledge that we cannot now get Covid 19, or Covid 117, this confidence has yet to infect me.

We continue to hear “Trust the Science” while forgetting science is not always absolute and unchanging. Thalidomide turned out to be a disaster, though it was scientifically approved in 46 countries, though not the US, thankfully. Though we can say gravity will never change, despite the many Spiderman movies, other “absolute” science has changed over the years.

Probably the vaccine will protect me from any Covid. However, that is still my wish and not yet my certainty.

Bob Small is a poet and resident of Delaware County, Pa.

Man Is A Man Is A Woman

Man Is A Man Is A Woman

By Bob Small

This begins in the summer of 1979, my living arrangements had transitioned to an unaffordable apartment in South Philly based on my current salary and debts, which were not expected to change any time soon. At the same time, there was someone I had gotten to know, whose time at the same way station I had stayed at, was rapidly ending.

Man Is A Man Is A Woman

BMA (initials) was mid-20’s and had recently escaped from an abusive religious family who had tried to both beat and pray “the gayness devil” out of him. He had some help in this “escape”, which can be detailed later.

BMA had decided that, as a Gay Catholic man, the only way he could “get right with God”, would be to transition to becoming a Gay Catholic Woman. As such, he would no longer be transgressing. In no way, do I mean to denigrate Catholicism, which provides solace to many.

Fortunately, at that time in Pennsylvania, Transition Surgery required a certain length of time for the applicant to enter Therapy prior to being accepted for “the final cut”. He ended up going to group therapy at Hall Mercer which was part of Pennsylvania Hospital).

Long story short, he ended up removing his Catholicism rather than anything else. He then joined the local branch of MCC (Metropolitan Community Church), a Gay and Lesbian Welcoming Church that also had excellent potlucks and was open to everyone. Eventually, after another wrong turn, he ended up with a healthy Gay Relationship. We would sometimes meet at 30th Street Station during switching of trains and he would inevitable buy me coffee and pastry, as he was now earning much more than I was.

Now all of this is to preface that transexuality, like marriage, should not be entered into lightly.

Not all men, or boys, who express a desire to become a woman, should be guided to do that. I’ve known a number of “draq queens”, for instance who only want to do “dress up”, but would not want to have to suffer an entire life in high heels, etc.

Now, “I’ve said all that to say all this”, to paraphrase a long ago female drinking partner and lover. We now come up to present day, at least in a paragraph or two.

By the early 1980’s, my interests had transitioned to the Philly Poetry Scene, where I ended up leading a number of organizations, prime among them Poets and Prophets, until around a decade ago. I’m still involved with local poetry scenes but am not in charge of anything except being “Lord of the Compost” for our household’s Vegetable Garden, a sometimes Blog, and walking the Terrible Terrier three times a day, and, oh yes, driving wherever my wife tells me to.

One of the people I got to know during our weekly Readings At Bacchanal, The Middle East Restaurant, and other now defunct bars and restaurants, was a poet I’ll call Scott N, (names are changed to protect the guilty). Scott N, who most people had a love/hate relationship with, many at the same time, was an excellent poet but had a habit of not otherwise knowing when to keep silence, sometimes with almost dire consequences. He frequently needed rescuing.

He had been an early supporter of transgender rights and would occasionally send me articles on this topic, from his cave in woodsy Vermont.

Here is a recent article on the Wi Spa controversy:

Violent Antifa, Trans Extremists Attack Women Protesting Naked Man in Women’s Spa Area

Basically, in the Wi Spa, in LA, a pre-op transexual, with the original equipment, saw fit to be naked and shameless, in what is supposed to be a woman’s only spa. The management explained that transexuals were welcome, though one thinks they meant Post-op.

Evidently this person believed his intentions allowed him to be there, and evidently, so did his/her Lawyer. Now, my opinion is that gender non-conforming people should not be showing their penis in public. That kind of behavior is actually male gender conforming, at least in some sad circles.

Further, if he’s so proud of Mr. Peter, why would he be so willing to become peterless? My unsolicited advice is for him to return to therapy before anything else.

In the 1970’s/80’s, the incidence of transitioning, before such phenomena as ìThe Danish Girlî mainstreamed this procedure, usually required many months of Therapy. Also, in my distant memory, I know there were age limits, at the very least, requiring one be post-adolescent.

More to follow on the Wi Spa battles.

Man Is A Man Is A Woman