Tag: Group Writing

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Holidays were always a fun time as a kid. The ones that we marked, at least. On Thanksgiving, we went around and said what we were grateful for. On Succos (Feast of Tabernacles), my father and brother built our own little temporary hut and I helped string the cranberries to hang from the branches above […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

There has been a great deal of good writing over the years, inspired by monthly theme cues. Maybe you missed some, or joined more recently. Instead of searching on tags, just bookmark this post. This index will capture all of them in one post, updated monthly. A big thank-you to past keepers of the themes; […]

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There are two major monthly Group Writing projects. One is the Quote of the Day project, managed by @vectorman. This is the other project, in which Ricochet members claim one day of the coming month to write on a proposed theme. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Service: A Character of the Finest Crystal

 

During a month devoted to Group Writing on service, it is fitting to speak of Witold Pilecki, of whom I briefly wrote once before on Ricochet, whose example of service to his country and to all humanity serves as an inspiration to all of us.

A life story so dramatic and improbable as to sound like fiction (perhaps lifted from an Alan Furst novel). A Pole who fought against Russians, Germans, Nazis and Communists, a man who volunteered for imprisonment in Auschwitz, organized resistance cells, who escaped from the camp to alert his fellow Poles and the Western Allies about the mass murder of the Jews and urge them (unsuccessfully) to destroy Auschwitz and liberate its captives. Murdered by communists, for 40 years his surviving family suffered, his deeds, and even existence, extinguished in his homeland and little known elsewhere.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dishonorable Service: Sympathy for Reno

 

We all love to read stories of heroic, honorable service. But not every soldier’s service is something they can be proud of, and their stories can be fascinating too.

Marcus Reno was almost certainly drunk at the Little Bighorn. And without a doubt, the inebriation of Custer’s second-in-command was a dereliction of duty and a foolish thing to do when he needed to be thinking clearly.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Recognition of Confederate Military Service

 

Earlier this year, the Arlington County School Board voted unanimously to rename Washington-Lee High School (mascot: The Generals). Now, I can drive on Lee Highway, through Arlington County (named for the home of Robert E. Lee), to the more virtuously styled Washington-Liberty High School. Surely Lee has enough monuments and memorials to him that we don’t need to worry that history will forget him entirely, but is this trend of erasing disfavored historical figures necessary or helpful?

Specific memorials can be attacked and defended on their individuals merits, but in general, they are an invitation to learn about history. I recently happened to visit the Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington, VA. It’s a modest building of brick and stone, with a small garden out back. While I knew who Stonewall Jackson was before I took the tour and browsed the museum’s small bookstore, I actually didn’t know much about the man, and I didn’t know what to make of the tour guide’s assertion that Jackson would have preferred a quiet life of obscurity in Lexington. I’ve since picked up a copy of the late James I. Robertson’s biography, Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend. Reading the first-hand accounts of the man and the times leading up to the Civil War, it’s hard not to acknowledge the complexity of the choices that he made. 

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing 2019: VBS

 

Too often my posts have seemed to meander to my boyhood days here in the Appalachians. Before long, I’ll start to hear Earl Hamner’s voice in my head as I write up these recollections (“Good night, John Boy…”). Still, it’s difficult not to recall formative events or people primarily during the 1970s. Swinging away from the Viet Nam trauma and psychedelic counter-culture; a boy had to navigate the world with little information. Our only source of news was Walter Cronkite every night and a smattering of articles from the Bristol Herald Courier.

Summers were filled with mowing lawns and baling hay. At least the hay came later when I was old enough and big enough to wrangle a bale. I imagine that old farmers whined about boys having it easy with square bales vs. loose hay as they do now about round bales vs. square. Technology has made life easier for boys at a time when they really don’t need it easier.

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It isn’t what it is. It’s never what it is. It’s what it can be made to look like. — movie Edge of Darkness starring Mel Gibson, 2010 ********************I was watching the above-named movie (which wasn’t about politics) when this line struck me as relevant to all that has been and is being revealed recently. […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Forgotten Service

 

This month, we are reflecting on service of all sorts. This weekend marks the auspicious dates of Veterans/Remembrance Day, Global Victims of Communism Day, the fall of the Berlin Wall (effectively ending the Cold War), and the Marine Corps birthday. Let us turn, then to reflect on largely forgotten service, by Buffalo Soldiers, the frozen chosen, Polar Bears, and “the man who would be khan.” Each of us can look around our own communities and circles to refresh memories of those who served with honor.

Buffalo Soldiers:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Service: Henry Lafayette Dodge

 

How to provide service to parties in conflict . . . 

In Blood And Thunder, his splendid account of the life of Kit Carson and the mid-19th-century conflicts in the American southwest, Hampton Sides chronicles the story of the Navajo as they fought the Spanish, other tribes, and finally the Americans, after the occupation of New Mexico by General Stephen Kearny in 1846. For most of the next twenty years, the relationship between the United States and the Navajos was troubled, but Hampton noted one exception:

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The November group writing series is on the theme: “Service.” I’ve already deployed the bears, sign up quickly before I turn to outhouses and questionable musical selections! Y’all know I will! Group Writing themes help generate conversations that are not necessarily about politics or current events. For November, our theme is “Service” All you need do is write a short post to start the conversation. […]

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There are two major monthly Group Writing projects. One is the Quote of the Day project, managed by @vectorman. This is the other project, in which Ricochet members claim one day of the coming month to write on a proposed theme. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with […]

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We have a lucky seven days open for this month. I have not yet rolled out bears or outhouses as part of October’s theme: “Trick or Treat!” Do your part to keep it that way! Treat yourself and your friends to a post, nothing tricky about it. Our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits. The clock […]

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Earlier posts this month broached the subject of Halloween loot. The question before us now is: what is the best and worst of Halloween loot, present or past. Herein, a few candidates for your consideration. Back in the early 70s there was a brief movement towards healthy alternatives to candy. Hence apples. But then the […]

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The medieval poet John Donne wooed his lady by noting the romance of a flea mingling his blood with hers. Consequently, fleas became fashionable across Europe. Plague was not hitherto part of the courtship routine, but every romance has its ups and downs. Since then, many clueless artists have attempted to up-show The Donne with […]

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Did you know you can buy a demon on Etsy? I wasn’t aware there was much of a market for that kind of thing, but I learned that for less than a hundred bucks you can invite the devil to come and play in your house. There are plenty available on eBay as well. More

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Folks, you know me by now. I am perfectly ready, willing, and able to descend to outhouse humor, of a sort. My notion of an amusing story can be downright un-bearable! If Friday’s musical entry was more trick than treat to you, consider that I am perfectly capable of putting on my platform shoes and […]

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After looking up a piece by the Guckenheimer Sour Sauer Kraut Band,* remedying an oversight in my “Colorful Korean Meal” musings, I happened upon this first item, since I had in mind the link between kimchi and sauerkraut: More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Autumn Colors: The Color of Law, an in-depth review

 

When people are free to associate as they please, we can’t be surprised if they sometimes self-segregate. People self-sort along many affinities, including ethnic affinities. This is what lawyers call de facto segregation, and it’s none of the law’s business. De jure segregation — segregation imposed by law, including segregation promoted by public policy — is, on the other hand, very much the law’s business.

In 1866, Congress passed a Civil Rights Act (the 1866 CRA) asserting the equal rights of blacks before the law, including property rights, and real-estate rights in particular. The 1866 CRA warned

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