Thursday, July 31, 2008

First day back at work felt good, though I was wiped out at the end of the day and totally happy to flop on the couch while Bob fixed a delicious pasta meal with whole grain noodles and waited on me.

Bob was happy today because his birthday present from me arrived (wish we had gotten it before out trip, but what is, is). His last digital camera disappeared, probably stolen at school, and I got him a new one on which he got a great deal (prices really are going down on electronics, still!) This one has a good built-in zoom so he can use it to take pictures of birds and has started his collection of bird pictures with three easy to find locals - prancing male grackle, pretty white winged dove in tree, and downy young open mouthed English sparrow. No really special species yet - but a start, and it's exciting to see the quality. Eventually I want him to teach me to include his pictures on the blog. The only reason I don't put pictures on the blog is the absence (past) of camera and the lack (current) of skills. The latter can be remedied as has been the front.

Tonight, after indulging our addiction to "So You Think You Can Dance" Bob and I watched a documentary about the great and much maligned African American singer, actor and African, Paul Robeson. We both have admired him for many years, and my interest was piqued when he was showed up n the play we loved "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting". But there is so much about him I didn't know, including that it was he who sang the versions of "Old Man River" and "I Dreamed I saw Joe Hill Last Night" that have been highly meaningful to me since childhood. I didn't know he played football for Rutgers (only African on team and initially much beaten up and resented) and made all American - only you have that honor revoked when he was associated with Communism during the McCarthy era. I didn't know he was the first African American to play Othello with a white cast or that he was the son of a runaway slave who educated him self and became a minister, only to be driven out of his Presbyterian church bis combination of race and popularity stirred up controversy. I also didn't know he was a lawyer before he took up his highly successful career in entertainment and that he quiet that career because (in New York!) racism limited his career to the point that white secretaries wouldn't take dictation from an African American. I knew Paul Robeson was active in the labor movement and sang on the picket lines, but not the extent to which he did that internationally, especially in Russia and Wales. He seems like a "Profiles in Courage" type character who was highly gifted and stripped of his earned honors because of his race and his politics. Thank you Paul Robeson for the example of your integrity and the amazing passion and beauty of your voice, especially singing spirituals. For moe about this American hero check out http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/robeson_p.html

3 comments:

Mary said...

Looking forward to seeing photos in your blog...taken with Bob's birthday present.

It was interesting to read about Paul Robeson. I had heard of him but never knew much about him!

Sue said...

I am also anxious to start seeing photos Victoria. Especially with the new arrivals coming.

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