The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Elusive Trope's picture

    How I Change the World

    “I walked into a nightmare. I have seen famine in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, but I have seen nothing like this – so much worse than I could possibly have imagined. I wasn’t prepared for this.” Audrey Hepburn, UNICEF photograph, Horn of Africa“I walked into a nightmare. I have seen famine in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, but I have seen nothing like this – so much worse than I could possibly have imagined. I wasn’t prepared for this.” Audrey Hepburn, UNICEF photograph, Horn of Africa

    Most anybody who has delved into social justice and environmental issues has come across the quote by Margaret Mead:

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

    There are days when I believe this to be true and other days when I believe it to be a head-in-the-clouds idealism meant to keep up the spirits of activists when the other side is winning the battles. One might notice that she says “a small group.”  I don’t want to put a meaning into the quote she never intended, yet one can read it as meaning you, as single individual, cannot change the world. Kind of depressing when one thinks about it from that perspective.

    Of course, a small group of people is composed of individuals. Yet maybe it would be good to ask oneself: "What am bringing to the table?" Working in the non-profit sector always gave me an out by saying this how I am helping the communities. There is a truth this, but I could have been doing more and be more effective beyond just fulfilling my responsibilities of my position. Now that I am unemployed I don't have that out and so I have been looking more seriously at how I, as an individual and working in small groups, change the world.

    Six Degrees of Separation

    Basically I feel that if I engage with someone and they walk away in some kind of good mood that vibe will ripple out to everyone on the planet eventually. From a political perspective, if I engage someone with whom I do not see eye to eye on the issue(s), and he or she walks away feeling respected and listened to, this can have impact in the political discourse everywhere eventually.

    An aside, the whole “six degrees from Kevin Bacon” was funny the first time, but over the long run it done nothing but trivialize the concept. It would be same if someone made some entertaining pop version of the concept of acting with the next seven generations in mind.

    If one conducts oneself with the six degrees of separation, it really changes, at least for me, in some of the ways one interacts with the world on a day to day basis.  An example for me is dealing with the tailgater on the two lane road (I drive the speed limit so it is common occurrence). My initial reaction is what one would have to call road rage. This puts me in a bad mood, which then makes it more likely in my next interaction(s), I pass on this negative emotion. Near where I live because of the traffic and turns and hills, it is almost impossible to pass a car, so as punishment to the tailgater, I slow down even more and get a dark amusement thinking of the raising rage in the driver behind me.

    I won’t speed because  there is a speed limit for a safety reason, plus I can’t afford a speeding ticket. What I need to learn is to (1) keep my own emotions in a good place and (2) pull over at the next possible point and let the person pass me. I don’t know if there some medical or other emergency, like getting to work on time so he or she isn’t fired, that is motivating the person to speed.

    As Mr. Day concluded in his blog “Minutiae”:

    We have friendly people up here.

    I know that this entire essay involves minutiae.

    But, and this is a big but, all of our lives are filled with minutiae.

    Little events might piss us off for a minute or two and then we think these events are forgotten.

    But that is not always the case.

    Little events can lead to a build up of anxiety and anger.

    But little events can also lead to a happier view of humanity.

    The Monk Praying

    I had the privilege to attend a reading by poet Jane Hirshfield. During the Q&A afterwards, she made the comment in one of her answers: “I have to believe that even a monk living in solitude praying on a rock makes a difference.” Hirschfield is a Buddhist so when she says prayer, the implication is the prayer for the lessening of suffering in the world. I would like to believe this, too.  Being honest, sometimes I don’t. If it does, there are radical implications for even those moments when we are alone. Maybe it is best we accept this as least a possibility and act accordingly.


    Keeping in mind the six degrees of separation, how one blogs and comments need to be done with care. I haven’t always done this, and like all ideals, difficult to achieve all the time.  Yet there are a lot of people who visit this site who do not make comments, which is totally cool. My two most recent blogs (keeping in mind that the number is the number of unique viewers) had 948 and 2383 reads.  How many people actually read the whole blog and really engaged it, or just casually glanced at it. Yet one has to believe at least a few of the non-commenters did really engage the blog.

    Just to show how much impact one can have, looking back on one of my blogs “Loser” about the two individuals suspected of the Boston Marathon had 8,027 reads. This number, which is by far lower than some other blogs that have passed 20,000 reads, does not say I am better writer than the others’ that get only couple hundred reads or less.  It merely indicates that what one writes has the possibility of having a profound impact on a large number of people.

    [An aside in less than 4 months I will get to celebrate my 5th anniversary as a Dagblog member. I would like to thank all those who have made this site possible and have worked to ensure it operates smoothly as possible.]  


    Beginning on May 2, 2015, I started reblogging on my Tumblr site. I had started this particular this blog site (I have had others) back in 2013 and for a while I reblogged from other Tumblr sites, yet I used it primarily as a thing for distraction and amusement. My site now is devoted to a more serious intent of reblogging images of photographs to painting to gallery exhibits to illustrations that are what I would call “art” that has the impact of art we believe art should have. I have even started doing my own photography and occasionally include those I believe to be worthy.

    Whether those who take their art seriously or those who were like me in the past, I believe the site is like any good art and has the impact of facilitating a deeper understanding of our condition and world around us. I currently have 81 followers, 27 of which are new followers since I started blogging back at the beginning of May. These people get a feed on their home site showing the blogged entries of all their followers. There are others who just visit the site, just like at Dagblog, without leaving much of a trace. Yet the same impact can happen to them as with the others.

    This past Monday (June 1), there was a protest by some of those on the site to “protect the creators.”  There are a number of people who post their original work, many of them professional photographers. There has been a widespread problem of people of erasing the information about the creator and inserting a link to their site as a way to promote more followers. For the entire day no one posted anything except an image of “protect the creators.” A lot of languages were used, but there was no Welsh, so my contribution was a translation into Welsh.

    I have gained a much greater respect for protecting the creators of images in this past month. People tend to always attribute a quote or passage with the author, but don’t show the name of the creator. I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone in the past; I think the web makes it so easy to just copy & paste or do a “saved as” and then insert from one’s computer.

    Facebook, LinkedIn, et. al

    Like a lot of things, Facebook can be used for the good or the bad or the mindless. I have no issue with people sharing funny or “cute” images and videos. I do that myself. We all need a good laugh and Facebook and its ilk are a means to make those who you can’t otherwise see face-to-face have that good laugh. It also can be a way to share political and news items that can help people be more informed and engaged with the world around them. Moreover, it does allow people to “track down” people from the past. Recently some friends from 20 years ago found me through Facebook and I just spent the weekend with them and their kids (they live in another state the is next to mine).

    I try to help keep my friends stay more informed, inspired, and, yes, have a good laugh by items from my “news” feed, which can reach their friends should they share it, and so on. Six degrees of separation can be quickly 3 or 2 degrees of separation.

    Going Forward

    First, I am working on my own blog, mainly writings and pictures with which I wouldn’t inundate Dagblog. I am just getting some content built up before releasing it to public viewing. Likewise, I am beginning my own YouTube channel keeping in mind what I’ve discussed here. Like my accounts here at Dagblog and my Tumblr account, I will still be using my stage name Elusive Trope, but I don’t care if people find out my actual name, located at such places as Facebook.

    Second, I have begun to write poetry again. One of the reasons I walked away from a Master’s Degree in Education to Bachelor of Arts in creative writing was I sincerely believed through art, such as poetry, I could be more effective in changing the dominant cultural paradigms than the protests and other activist work in which I directed most of my energy towards. Unfortunately, due a number of “excuses,” I never really wrote any poetry since graduating twenty years ago. Now I am back and able to devote some of my concentration on my poetry.

    And third, since I am fortunate in the foreseeable future to have the luxury of lots of “free time,” I can begin volunteering and assisting with community development. I just have to be careful since my tendency is to thrown myself into what cause I am promoting (and it usually becomes a lot more than just one), and leads to burn out and meltdowns. On the political side of things, I will be working on Bernie Sanders' campaign as long as he stays in the race. I even scrounged up $5 from my limited financial resources to donate to his campaign.


    Just have to put out there another moment serendipity: I started up my Pandora with the shuffle through my stations and the first song was David Byrne's "Neighborhood," which has the chorus line:

    The people feel so good
    Say boy, say girl
    All in my neighborhood
    Say boy, say girl
    We got peace, love & monkey business
    Gonna reach the very top
    There'll be pride, hope & Sunday mornings
    All the things I'm thinking of
    We could change the world
    In the night while we are sleeping
    The Power's in my neighborhood


    This really is an interesting read and not just because I am quoted here (which almost never happens, hahhaha)!

    I can read a blog here and there and it might have an effect on my entire day; five or six good essays really make my day.

    There are thousands of sites out there containing hundreds of essays and thousands of comments that I would never see and so contributors here will cite some link that I would never have read.

    For the last five months or so I can only cut and paste the link but I cannot get this damn machine to cut and paste portions of the body of that link. Thank the Good Lord I can write some things down manually, get the thoughts on Word and then copy and paste my Word essay.

    So most of the time I just write my thoughts and conclusions attained from the main link I am citing.

    Oh, and comments help make me feel alive.

    I really think the two Mikes and Ramona run this thing with Doc being the Professor Emeritus.

    Anyway, Thank you for this and I will probably re-read it a few more times.


    You know, that part about comments making you feel alive, I feel the same way. It's like when I reblog on Tumblr someone's original work so others can see it who might not otherwise see it. That's pretty cool. And as a say on Tumblr blog site, regardless of the impact on others, I do it for personal therapeutic reasons. The same goes for my poetry, photography, etc. All of it is a kind of a basket weaving activity. laugh

    I have to add that one time I was searching for something on Google and the second thing that it listed was one of my blogs from Dagblog. That was pretty cool, too.

    Nice blog.  You made me go and look to see how many views I get on my food blog. I don't pay very close attention to it because I do this for fun and sharing.  I have had in the last 18 month close to 30,000 views. I wasn't expecting that.  I have over 400 followers that get emails when I post on new recipe. I haven't worked very hard at it lately because life gets in the way like health. I do have 3 posts I am working on now. My niche is very narrow so I have no complaints. I keep politics over here and face book. I also have a face book page devoted to food and crafts that I manage. 

    Today I am making ice cream and will take pictures for future use someday. I make sure my recipes are going to work out for everyone who tries them.  My followers don't usually afford to make something that will fail.  This is common with internet recipes unless you are good at seeing a bad measurement. I get many recipes on my face book home line but I only share the ones that I am sure that will give good results. 

    Hillary is giving a speech today in Texas. I hope I can find a feed for it in the next half hour.  I also support Sanders. I am happy with our bench in this election. I want to keep Sanders in the primary as long as possible.  I will vote for him in the primary and if he don't make the nomination I will vote for Hillary.  I don't get to vote until Super Tuesday.  I normally just work at turning out my neighborhood to the polls. We have serious voter suppression here.  That is why I want to see her speech. 

    Close to 30,000 views...that's awesome! And something like sharing recipes is real positive. People consume food already prepared for them ready to eat or a few minutes in the microwave. Taking the time to prepare a meal not only connects one to the food one eats, but can also be a very meditative or centering activity.

    I'm the same way as you, I'll vote for Clinton, but I hope Sanders can hang in there for awhile. He definitely can have an impact on what issues are getting the focus. He has a petition out now for more debates in the primary season to help balance those with wealthy donors and those who don't. I'll try and get the link. Here's the link.

    I am hoping that he does find some GOP that will take him up on the offer.  It is time to cut them off at the knees and point out their loyalties to the 0.1%. He is playing a very big roll in this election and finally bringing up issues that have been neglected. This is going to be an exciting election. 

    My food blog focus is on making do.  It is hard to make SNAP and the food pantry donations reach.  It is hard to put together meals with such a limited budget. I don't give advice but just tips to go along with the recipe.  I don't assume that the cook is stupid but just facing challenges. I just pass on recipes that fit into the challenges they face. Treats for the kids is a real challenge because it is a lost art to make them.  You can run to Red Box and get a movie for $2 but what can you do to make a nice movie night?  This is one of the themes I am working on right now.  It will take me a few more days to get that posted. 

    The peach pie that I just posted was because I get cans of peaches all the time from the food pantry.  They can stack up in the cupboard so how do you use them?  I have 2 gal. of grape juice right now I need to use up. This came from the pantry late in the fall. Good grape juice will make a child spend time on the toilette.  That was the case with this grape juice and the pantry had a truck load of it. It is a feast or famine. 

    I am making grape jelly with them because sugar was on sale for less then $2.  I found a recipe in an old Family Circle cook book that makes grape jelly cookie bars. I bought some paraffin wax that is cheap and will show how to use that to seal the jars that can be recycled from other foods.  I have regular jar and lids but most don't have canning equipment that are on limited income. I have jars now saved for this project. It can take time to do a post. 

    I guess my readers come back for a recipe they have seen.  


    The focus on 'making do' is so awesome. A lot of cooking with limited resources has,unfortunately, become a lost art. I'll have to check out your site and maybe steer more people there. This is the upside of technology and the internet (something I'm thinking about blogging next).

    My blog is listed on the right under worthy blogs on the front page.  Just click on trkingmomoe's blog. It will take you right there. 


    Hi ET, nice to see you writing here again.  Here comes that old cliche--Sometimes one door has to close in order for another to open. 

    Sounds like you've got your bases covered. . .

    Never let any grass grow under your feet. . .

    Oh, hell.

    I have a feeling you'll always be thinking creatively, no matter where life leads you. This is a great start.  Please let us know when your blog is ready--and when you're ready for us! 

    Thanks. To be transparent, I am in the process of getting SSDI because of my mood and anxiety disorders. Once I stopped the grind of looking for job that just placed the grind of a job that was 60+ hours a week, my creativity side (as well as my passionate side) was able to emerge more fully. To be honest I have so many little creative projects going there never seems to be enough time in the day. One of friends said, "This is what retirement is like."

    Take it slow and do what's best for you right now.  Treat yourself kindly.  You're worth it.

    By the way, for most of us there's no such thing as "retirement".  It's just movement from one goal, one job to another, with just one boss who, hopefully, is more controllable than those others. smiley

    Thanks. That's a great way to "look" at retirement. smiley

    Trope, ya bastid! 

    Good to hear ya. 

    Poetry is a great idea. Just don't over-think the goddamn stuff. Thinkin's for college boys.

    But Welsh? What the hell did you go and ruin a perfectly good concept for, by translating it for those grey little grumps? My God. 

    You ever met a Welshman? They're all short, for starters. Covered in hair. Can't spell for shit, and they've got this pathetic thing they call a language. I mean, they're side by side with God's own Mother tongue, and they come up with this mumble-tongue that makes Orc'ish sound pleasant.

    And DEPRESSED?? Those people might as well swap Santa Claus out for Eeyore. What a race of downers. 

    Ok. A story.

    First time I went to speak at a conference in Wales, it was up in those goddamn hills they have. Beautiful place, when the sun shines. Except... it never... f*cking... shines.

    So I'm up front of this group, all gathered to talk sustainability or somesuch, and it's in this high-ceiling'ed room, with one huge wall entirely covered in glass and a view across this Valley, magical really, and the clouds are roaring by so solid you're thinking that if they hit the building they'll knock it flat, right? 

    I'm speaking, and the problem is that these Welshmen have had me up half the night - okay, all the night really - drinking, and talking, but always talking so f*cking slow you wouldn't believe it, and always depressed and depressing topics and depressed futures and Jesus Christ on the Cross hanging out in the Rain for 17 straight Days without achieving death, would it never end?

    Anyway, the next day, they're all sitting there in there in their wet grey pants, all shrunk up around the ankle, just so you had to look at the hair on these thick, stumpy little legs they got, like God didn't quite manage to turn all their clay into flesh, you know, and... I donno. I just lost it. Too tired to care anymore. 

    Too tired to bother trying to lift these little trolls up. I mean, when was the last time the Welsh got inspired about anything?


    And so... I start to razz them instead.

    I just... started... givin' it to them. Making jokes... about being Welsh. 

    I was grabbing every negative ethnic joke or comment I could remember, inserting something Welsh, and throwing it back at them.

    Like, jokes about the Swedes - who are depressed all the time too - I'd just re-brand it as a "Welsh" joke and let 'em have it. You know, like this one:

    What did the Welshman say when they told him a giant asteroid was hurtling toward the Earth, and all life was about to be destroyed, and that he only had 15 minutes to live.


    Quality jokes, like that.

    Anyway, I'm laying it on 'em, but mixing it up every now and then by throwing in some reference to Sustainability or carbon levels in the soil or the onrushing devastation of global warming, but then I'd fall right back to calling the lot of them Hobbits and asking if it EVER f*cking stops raining here, and then suggesting they modernize the goddamn written version of Welsh by either:

    A) Cutting out all the useless consonants; or, 

    B) Cutting out all the useless vowels; or,

    C) Maybe just cutting out both and calling it a day.

    Well, look, I'm about ten minutes into this tirade, and finally I say to them, "Surely to God you people aren't just gonna sit there and let me kick you in the balls like this, are you? I mean, surely you understand I'm having you on? And that this is actually a test to see if you people have sufficient life force left to fight the fight for Sustainability?"

    And this one f*cking little grey Welshman, wearing a grey wool coat over a grey wool vest over a never-been-washed grey cotton t-shirt and then - my best guess - what looked like no goddamn pants, because his entire body was covered with f*cking grey wool anyway, this little piece of 4 foot 11 inches of soaking-wet-sod-sprung-to-life but-only-just-barely-sentient sticks up his hand, like he's got a question. And this makes me even more grumpy, so I say to him, "Yes, yes, just say what you're gonna say, you don't have to stick up your hand, you know."

    And he says, real slow..... "Have you heard about this giant asteroid....."

    Say G'night Trope.

    G'night Trope. ;-)

    I think I like Welsh is because nobody can f*cking pronounce it. You get some nine letter word and ony one vowel. In a way, it's their way saying to the Brits and everyone else: f*uck you.

    I have to say that asteroid joke made me really laugh out loud. I guess the Canadian version would be "Oh, eh?"

    I'm partially Welsh (and the most of the rest of my ancestors are from the North Sea region), so that is why I tell people I'm a perfect fit genetically for the Pacific Northwest. When it just grey overcast with a slight breeze, the temperature about 55 degrees, now that 's good day.

    And thanks for the story. It does help me understand my penchant for gray clothes as well my general grumpy temperament and nonplus reaction to such things like a lecture.

    Cheers, Trope.

    Glad to hear you.

    A) Cutting out all the useless consonants; or, 

    B) Cutting out all the useless vowels; or,

    C) Maybe just cutting out both and calling it a day.

    Damn Q, that's a great idea. A real time saver. I like that system so much I'm gonna use it for the rest of my comment.

    "                                                    ,                              .                             .          

                             ,                     ,                                               .

                                                                  ? "


    I guess Arthur Dent wasn't Welsh. Ever heard Volgons speak Orc'ish? Really makes their poetry come alive. You could use a tip or two from those buggers - you tend towards the oversensitive side, and that's a side they had run through a sawmill, tailings and all. Did you tell fthe Welsh all your Nova Scotia/Newfoundlander jokes too? Compare them to Islanders fans? How low did ya Go?!!!


    There are no Nova Scotia/Newfoundland jokes.

    There are Nova Scotia jokes, in a set, over here.

    And then there are Newfoundland jokes, in a cage, over there.

    Also: the Islanders have no fans.

    Waiting for the Venn Diagram - you really suck at these presentations - "liars with statistics" was supposed to be fun. Once this asteroid hit Winnipeg, and it was all I could do to stay awake. "Wot? another blithering asteroid? that's the 2nd one this century!!!" he exclaimed.

    That's because Bruce Willis doesn't care about Winnipeg.

    If you were a bit taller, I'd combat you, verbally. 

    Why, even just a few inches taller, and, why... I'd lay WASTE to your arguments.

    Then again... if you were taller, you wouldn't make so many stupid, "little man" arguments, would you? 

    Don't bother trying to answer that. I can't hear you from up here anyway.

    So just save your breath, and focus. On growing.

    Another few inches, and there're some nice rides down at the Fair you can go on.


    I'll bite your kneecaps off, you rotten bastid. Anyway, I may be short, but you can't spell "Venn"  - how pathetic is that? And besides, short people have greater brain density - bet sparks have trouble making the leap between your neurons - if you have any left after huffing engine solvents for fun. What will you do when cars go all electric - shove battery wiring up your nose? an image that will keep me up tonight - yes, in utter amusement.

    I think of it as an asymmetric array of countervailing forces.
    People live a certain way and they influence others by the force of their conviction and the influence created.
    For better and worse.
    The Medieval model of angels battling devils may have been an attempt to draw vector diagrams upon the record of observed events.

    The Welsh stuff is older than that, obviously.

    "...asymmetric array of countervailing forces...for better and worse" is a great way of looking at it. I suppose one just needs mindful of whether their force is for the better or the worse.

    Audrey was and is always dear to my heart.

    WWII was no Disney Land to her.

    I just thought your quote said something to many.


    Oh this is for you Trope.

    I cannot get this out of my head and yet....

    Well that is a good way to end my day. The line that stuck out for me was "no one can take your place". We just have to each find our place. Some have already, others are still looking. The point is not to give up looking even without any assurance one will be successful.

    You wrote about Googling?

    I have not found me over the last year, even when I wrote about


    But I did find me when I wrote a fictitious bit about Rachel Maddow:



    I do not know why I made the search, but it sure the hell made me laugh with glee.

    the end

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