Of Flash and Bang! The Hi-Tech reveal and capture of Suspect #2.
Fascinating vid of the use of thermal cameras seeing Suspect #2 under a dry docked boat tarp. They use "flash bang" grenades which seem to incapacitate the suspect...this then begs the question...What was all the shooting about?
thedarkroome stands up as Bald Is Beautiful.org correspondent, Sharon Blynn, reports from STAND UP 2 CANCER simulcast! With a full Slideshow of the day at the end of this piece!
It’s remarkable that “cancer” — a word associated with destruction and loss, devastation, death — is such a powerful, galvanizing force of abundance and generosity, positivity, Life! And there’s something invigorating about being amidst a crowd of purpose-filled people that have stepped off the treadmill of their regular day-to-day lives, to, well … Stand Up 2 Cancer!
So when, at the end of July, I got the save-the-date email about the upcoming SU2C telecast, I just had to find a way to attend! Well, within two weeks, through a series of emails and a friend’s referral to someone in New York who worked with the people there that worked for the organization in Los Angeles that owned the dog that bit the cat that ate the mouse that ate the cheese … I got an invite in the mail. “I’m in!” I shouted in my apartment … all by myself.
To my joyful surprise, I could also bring a guest. I asked a friend and fellow cancer survivor whom I hadn’t seen a long while if she was interested. As it turned out, Christine (5 years breast cancer-free this year!) had watched the first two telecasts at home and always wanted to attend! Perfecto! And so the magical unfoldment of the event begins!
This year’s telecast was held at the historic Shrine Auditorium, in the heart of the USC campus. It’s the beginning of the semester, so the air is filled with a palpable stew of youthful excitement, adventure, aspiration, freedom, anticipation of hard work and serious play, diving head-first into the Unknown. Fitting energies to envelope this venue and event.
WORLD FAMOUS SHRINE AUDITORIUM (baldisbeautiful.org)
The SU2C presence was everywhere, not in an overly solicitous way. Volunteer angels buzzed around in their white SU2C tees, eager to answer questions or simply offer a smile and a hug. There were tables set up for taking donations, and merchandise racks with groovy t-shirts and tank tops, cute iPhone cases, and other goodies, all emblazoned with the various SU2C logos.
Since it’s a live telecast, we had to be in our seats at precisely 4:30, so we headed into the auditorium with about 12 minutes to spare. We were so excited to be ushered all the way down to the 10th row! I wanted to snap some pics at the stage — it was way too close to resist — so I wandered over and snapped a few as quickly and inconspicuously as possible. On my way back to our seats, I helped a guy take a photo of him with his buddies in the front row. There were two empty seats next to him (hmmmm…). I inquired, we chatted, and they offered their empty seats to us. I waved Christine over and there we were, right up front! The magic of the evening continues!
The lights blink and a booming voice fills the room: “Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. We will begin the show in 10 minutes. Remember: there is no flash photography allowed and please turn off your cell phones.” Oh goodie! I can take more pictures during the show! The house lights fade down and the spotlights illuminate a line of people on stage. We are introduced to the event co-producers and then the founders of the Stand Up 2 Cancer movement — minus, only in body, one of their fearless leaders/co-founders, renowned movie producer Laura Ziskin, who succumbed to breast cancer last year. It was so inspiring, as a survivor and cancer awareness advocate, to see this band of bad-ass women manifesting this enormous vision. The image of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in Stir Crazy popped into my head, “Yeah, that’s right! We bad! We bad!”
Lights down. “20 seconds!” the disembodied voice bellowed. I felt like we were waiting to be launched into the stars in a rocket! 5-4-3-2-1 … The floating screen in the middle of the stage fades up to a tape of Matt Damon. He talks about his dad, a cancer survivor. Then he turns to his right (“Cancer even picked up fight with this guy!”), and the camera pans to Michael Douglas, throat cancer survivor. “Cancer didn’t bring me to my knees. It brought me to my feet!” In those words is the spirit of all cancer warriors!
Lights up to the effervescent Julia Roberts, who succinctly lays out the reason we are here: From all walks of life, all ages, all races, men, women, children … cancer is “merciless and indiscriminant,” and we are here to raise money to put together “dream teams” to fight different cancers, to bring an end to this monstrous disease. We are united … to Stand Up 2 Cancer.
The production seamlessly wove celebrity presenters with lovingly-produced video vignettes of passionate doctors talking about their work and new discoveries, and cancer warriors sharing their touching and inspiring stories — some of whom were in the audience and we all got to literally stand up and cheer for them!
Justin Miller and I (baldisbeautiful.org)
My favorite segment of the entire night came from Justin Miller, a 9-year-old boy diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, now a 5-time survivor (let’s keep it that way!). He loves legos and finds that when he focuses on them, he can relax and not think about anything else. “I don’t like to think about me passing away…but if I do, I’m taking my legos with me!” He’s fearless, something he attributes to, “one: I’m a ninja; two: ninjas aren’t afraid of anything, and three: that’s pretty much it.” Bold innocence and stark Truth … from the mouths of babes!
The hour was also punctuated by moving musical performances of new, SU2C-inspired songs by Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift, and Tim McGraw, as well as a very special taped performance from across the globe by Coldplay, who, with the SU2C logo shining on each side of their concert stage in Paris, France, dedicated their song “Paradise” to the cancer warriors and everyone involved in the movement to find a cure.
Surprise! Blynn is projected on stage during Tim McGraw performance.
It ended oddly unceremoniously (that’s live television, I guess!). Just lights up as they played a montage of video bytes from each presenters’ earlier appearance (to run during the credits for the folks watching on TV or online).
Christine and I made our way to the after-party set up across the driveway from the auditorium. We didn’t have passes, but my friend Kim did and our new front-row buddies did, so we were optimistic that we would somehow find our way in. As it turned out, the beautiful karma that began our night was still flowing and we got two coveted wristbands!
With the façade of the Shrine drenched in dusk’s amber light as the backdrop, it was a lovely garden party atmosphere, with groovy gourmet finger food, drinks, and a DJ pumping out pleasant pop grooves. We sipped and supped and socialized, saw people we knew, and made new acquaintances along the way. The highlight of my evening (aside from meeting Gabrielle Douglas!! And her mom!!) was getting to meet Justin, the Ninja-Boxing-Legos-boy from the video! We hugged, chatted, high-fived three times, and he went immediately back to punching couch cushions and wrestling with his buddy. Yep.
Overall, the program was an efficient, effective, and moving fundraising and awareness event. With a good balance of the live and taped components, celebrity appeal, and the real-life heroes in the doctors, scientists, patients, survivors, and warriors who have passed away, for whom this night was happening all for them.
In our lives – personal and professional, at work or at play — we are going to be called to our edge, maybe even pushed beyond it. And we will make a choice. To lay down or stand up, for ourselves or for someone else. To make the world better. To reach toward our infinite and highest potential. I know what I’m gonna do. How about you? Will you stand up?
For more information about Stand Up 2 Cancer, go to http://su2c.standup2cancer.org/ .
Sharon Blynn, on loan from Bald Is Beautiful.org, sends us a report and slideshows from the annual 46 Mommas Shave For The Brave event. “… the adult is not the highest stage of development. The end of the cycle is that of the independent, clear-minded, all-seeing Child. That is the level known as wisdom. When the Tao Te Ching and other wise books say things like, ‘Return to the beginning; become a child again,’ that’s what they’re referring to. …The wise are Children Who Know. Their minds have been emptied of the countless minute somethings of small learning, and filled with the wisdom of the Great Nothing, the Way of the Universe." (Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh)
On a sweltry summer afternoon in Los Angeles, the outdoor plaza of Hollywood & Highland Center was converted into a sacred space of solidarity and love for the 3rd Annual 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Families pulled precious resources and traveled 1,000s of miles from all across the U.S. and Canada to be here, in the heart of Hollywood, and shave their heads en masse to raise awareness and funds for life-saving pediatric cancer research.
I’ve been a part of this awe-inspiring event since its premiere in 2010, so I was honored to be there for a third time as a celebrity shaver! Bald Is Beautiful was in the house not only to shave some heads, but also to encourage and celebrate the Mommas and their amazing kids throughout the day. From the moment I enter the plaza, the hugging begins! That’s my favorite part. Seeing familiar faces and greeting new Mommas — most of whom are meeting each other in person for the first time today! — and being part of making the whole experience fun and exciting, even as they face the hardest moments of their journeys.
It’s 4:00pm and the stage is set. The barber chairs. The shaving gear. Commemorative ribbon-shaped cardboard easels filled with photos of the children we are honoring bookend the platform. The mall bustles with an array of activities — make-up, hats, face-painting and jewelry-making stations, t-shirts — for kids and adults. Pop music fills the air as the 46 Mommas get their locks tied off into ponytails, making even the eldest of women resemble a 10-year-old girl!
Onlookers are inexorably drawn to the palpable buzz (in the air and later across many heads!), and a casual Sunday afternoon is transformed into a day of awareness and inspiration. As the crowd thickens in the plaza and around the upper level walkways, we are introduced to the 46 Mommas, St. Baldrick’s, and the reason we were all there. As stated in the 46 Mommas mission statement, on an average weekday 46 children are diagnosed with cancer. So by this day’s end, 46 more families will have been handed this life-altering news. And “we are here to fight for our children!”
An eruption of cheers follows and before we know it . . . it’s clipper time!
Let the sheering begin! One by one, an emcee introduces each of these brave women as they bare their hearts and souls. Their shared stories are a rainbow of heartbreak, healing, passion, joy, unimaginable loss, relief, community, support, and most of all, Love. And hope. They offer prayers and calls to action to join as a community to eradicate childhood cancers, so that no one has to endure what is a parent’s greatest pain and fear — the possibility of losing their child — and feeling powerless in the face of it.
Some kids also volunteered to be shaved in support of their siblings, and this year, we shaved a few men’s heads, a first for the 46 Mommas! So I send a big, Bald Is Beautiful salute to the amazing Dads, who are also present, loving, and passionate advocates for these kids.
All of this is for the lil’ warriors — the survivors, the ones still in treatment, and in celebration and memory of the young souls whose bodies succumbed to this relentless force known as “cancer”. Forget the Hollywood Walk of Fame — these kids are the real deal superstars!
The circle of 46 Mommas is wide and welcoming. And they, we, are an unstoppable force in the fight to find a cure! I love my 46 Mommas!
This is a return to a piece I first wrote in my Blog, republished at the Los Angeles Sentinel and now it has found a home here. It was answer to ANOTHER piece I did about a condensed version of football ....Ladies and Gentlemen:Playground Witchcraft Ok…I got some flak from y'all females regarding my lil' streetball joints. Apparently you have memories as well. I know this…but I don't know what they are. So here's my observation on;
Yes, I said it.
You damned right! Girls on the playground are scary as hell! You know I'm right! You play these weird games with numbers and counting! At recess! Recess! A time when we're supposed to be getting AWAY from numbers and all that!
And everything you do is accompanied by chanting! Double dutch, regular jump rope, teatherball…there is always some chant involved. Some ritual music with counting in unison conjuring some shit. Like the three witches in Shakespeare's MacBeth. It's not singing! Not harmonizing! No, it's a steady scary-ass monotone drone. That, only from little girl's throats, can raise the dead!
True when we're lil' big heads we all sing sing-alongs. Christmas songs and tunes.
"Itsy bitsy spider when up the water spout…."
"Dashing through the snow…"
"A B C D E F G…"
"I love you, you love me…"
But then something happens. When the full scale androgyny of toddlerhood wears off and chromosomes break to their perspective corners, girls start huddlin' up and recitin' curses! Yeah, they LOOK like harmless games from afar,,,but if you get in close and really listen the shit is terrifying.
Am I lying?
Ok then dig this…You ever notice the scary movie device of using girls chanting a lil song or game? Think about it. The craziest films that have ghosts or demonic little kids or some kinda horrible EVIL always has chanting girls with a tiny piano!
As a kid I once saw this movie with Elizabeth Montgomery in it. She played a woman who killed her parents. In it, girls chanted a song. I sang it in the house;
"Lizzie Borden Took that ax
Gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
Gave her Father forty-one"
My mother said, "Where did you get that from?"
"The TV" I said.
"We used to sing that in jump rope," she said.
JUMP ROPE! JUMP ROPE??!?!?
A scene of horrific murder. A blood splattering homicide makes it to the top ten in skip rope hit parade? What kinda grizzly play is that? Which kid said, "Oooo let's do one on that woman that killed her parents…yeah, we all wanna do THAT!"
How about this one:
Ring around the rosie
A pocket full of posies
We all fall down.
That, my friends, is a cute tune about the black death in Europe! A ring around a rosie was what the sore you'd get would look like. It was a deep pustule with a red ring around it. A pocket full of posies was based on the ineffectual cures they had then. It was believed that if you carried certain dried flowers and herbs you'd be immune to the plague. Ashes, Ashes is about the burning of the bodies. Usually dragged out into a large field where the bodily fluids and more fleas would make it back to the village and they'd "all fall down", die.
Get my point?
Ok so now let's talk about Patty Cake. Believe it or not, I did a report on this some time ago. I asked at least 30 women about it. Not being a "male" game and being very much a part of the incantations, I knew very little about it. First of all I don't recall it ever being called Patty Cake. For the life of me I believe it was called something else. I asked all of the women and they had varying opinions. Most of them were Black. What I got was that the general exercise of the game is Patty Cake but each chant was given its own title and rhythms. Mary Mack was one of my niece's favorites.
Every region (big city) had its own way of doing it. In LA they did it mostly straight ahead. Adding girls straight across. Two, Four, Six…this would lead to an over/under style which, when you add enough girls, is dope as hell. Chicago apparently did it in a circle as does New York. New Orleans had a line like soul train and the girls could walk down it and hit on either side. The more crowded the city the greater the probability that there was a circle or octagon or something.
Hand patterns were another issue. It seems that clapping once was the basic but as I watched, some could get tremendous in the complexity. Two claps then a hit. One clap hit twice then two more claps then a hit. If you watch the repeating patterns you can get a slight grip on the hits. Then it all makes sense. The songs themselves mean nothing to say…the meter of each line is the key. Where the accent or syllable hits is where a clap or hit is. To understand the repetition you have to know how long the song is. It's not just about knowing the song because most are short. It's about knowing where the METER is and when you'll repeat. I know this shit is too deep right? Not really.
This game is an heirloom and, like streetball, has anamorphic rules that don't seem to have an origin. Big sisters or cousins, other girls and friends. All contribute to this game. It's like the one thing that all women do that they control and continuously contribute to. Each generation, somehow, learns a form and plays it. The songs change and even the patterns but the play…the play exists.
No, I doubt sistas play Lizzie Borden anymore, but the rhythm is still there!
Go ahead and ask any group of older sistas. Let 'em talk long enough and they'll get to playing it! I've seen it over and over…They start reminiscing and get to playing.
And one about a Sailor who went to Sea Sea Sea where, towards the end, there is some lewd-ass hip thrust that, quite frankly, should get EVERYBODY locked up, seven years old or not!
Really though, it was a great window into the mind of women. Most that I talked to didn't even know of the significance such play has in their culture. I know y'all got sports and games that are better compared to streetball, but I thought that this was "female unique" as it requires a connection to that thing, that woman-child thing we know nothing about. The best we can do is try and impress you away from practicing your spells. It's almost like we know that sooner or later you'll turn that magic on us and get us to do whatever you want to. That you'll develop into this creature that we need so much that we'd cry and steal and kill and build and live to be with. Regardless of our "strength" and THAT is truly scary.
P.S. please write me if you have stories or clarifications about this game or any others...I will post them!!!
Jazz, The Mack, Missed Updates...and a vibe with spaghetti...
HOW DEMS SQUANDERED A PUSHBACK
Melanie C. Johnson
Summertime and the living proved anything but easy, especially for the growing numbers of unemployed and the shrinking middle class. I should know. I am among them.
Well, I am in the unemployed category. A lowly newspaper reporter working for a medium-sized paper outside of the “big city” can hardly be classified as middle class, not with what I got paid. But I grew up middle class, and I remember it fondly.
I lost my job in October 2009 and after countless resumes and applications sent out into the Internet ether and one job interview so far, not much about my situation has changed other than my expectations. Even with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, “would you like fries with that,” could be in my near future.
At the start of the summer, the big tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats involved whether to extend unemployment to millions whose benefits had expired in May. Neither party seemed to be in much of a hurry, as the debate raged through June and July before finally receiving approval July 22. One of my former colleagues in her frustration made mention of the stalled debate on her Facebook page. She blasted President Obama for the delay.
Like the refrain of an old hip hop party anthem my brain said “hold up, wait a minute.” I had to remind her that Obama favored extending unemployment benefits and so did his Democratic colleagues in Congress.
The Republicans were the ones who took the stance that if millions of people have to go without jobs, unemployment benefits or affordable health care to ensure that Obama looks to be getting as little done as possible, then so be it. I like to call it the summer of no to everything for the GOP.
They didn’t stop with unemployment insurance. Republican lawmakers also voted practically in lock step against financial reform efforts and a $30 billion jobs bill designed to aid small businesses. Still, my former co-worker was pointing fingers at the Democratic president.
While Republicans purposely failed to act, the Democrats failed to launch the necessary pushback against the GOP’s obstructionism.
The Republicans efforts to block unemployment benefits should have been one sledge hammer of many Democrats could have used to drive home the point that the Right could care less about everyday people.
Hey America, did you hear that Republicans voted against consumer protections for credit card users? BAM! Did anyone hear how the GOP favors keeping unpaid for tax cuts for the rich even though that is a big part of why we’re in the deficit hole we’re in? BOOM!
Somehow the Democratic Party doesn’t seem to be able to use the Republicans’ indifference to those without jobs, healthcare or a healthy stock portfolio as the weapon of mass destruction it truly is. They need a lesson in messaging 101. A positive about the Left is that it is a diverse group with varying opinions on issues, a broad tent. A drawback to that is when it comes time to form a united front to get some things done, that much valued diversity makes coming together as one tough at times. The Republican Party doesn’t have a problem unifying if it keeps Democrats from winning elections and prevents Obama from furthering his agenda. I am not saying the Democrats should aspire to be like Republicans, but one thing is for sure - the GOP isn’t afraid to put the hammer down.
During the healthcare reform debate, Republican lawmakers threatened that if Democrats used the reconciliation process to push a bill through, they would refrain from cooperating on other legislation from cap and trade to immigration reform. Republicans never planned to cooperate on those issues anyway, but the threat was enough to get Democrats to back down on more stringent health reform.The GOP has wielded the filibuster like it was a weapon to block votes on legislation and keep Obama administration and judicial nominees from being confirmed, breaking records for its use.
Democrats need to roll up their sleeves, grab a hammer of their own and come down hard on the GOP for its failure to act.
A few on the Left come out fighting with gloves off, but they are the exception and not the rule. Mostly, it’s muted whining about Republican obstructionism when it should be a tongue lashing and it’s a nudge to do the right thing when it should be a swift kick.
Summer 2010 Legislative Votes:
· July 15 – The U.S. Senate passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Fifty-six Democratic senators voted yes, along with three out of 40 Republicans.
· July 22 – The U.S. Senate approved a $34 billion measure to restore unemployment payments for millions who had exhausted their standard benefits. The vote was 59-39, with two Republicans voting yes and one Democrat no.
· Aug. 5 – Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was confirmed. Thirty-six GOP senators and one Democrat voted no.
Melanie C. Johnson is a Journalist and darkroome Contributor.