Guest Column: Backyard

Backyard: Reflections on Baseball and Boyhood
By Mike Collins

The house I grew up in, among other things, featured a huge back yard. Our neighbors on both sides were blessed with precisely equal lot sizes and, even better, none felt the need to enclose their property with fences.

That vast expanse of real estate served many functions.  Neighborhood gatherings of a magnitude that required all three parcels – barbeques, picnics, snowball fights and all manner of things relegated to fond memory took place there. Annual fireworks displays that pitted the skills of the biggest kids in the neighborhood (the collectivity known to us as our fathers) against each other were a revered annual event.

The one preeminent and defining use of that grand arena commenced in the spring of every year when a prehistoric Field of Dreams magically appeared immediately after the snow melted.

The first year we lived there was the beginning and the end of my father’s vain attempt to cure me of being left-handed.  He threw countless fly balls to me that I caught with my face because his right-handed glove was apparently faulty. He was mortified at my monumentally feeble attempts to throw or bat right-handed. References to spending my time playing with my sister and her dolls were frequently issued. Continue reading

Shawnee Mission, Hail to Thee

10: Visit to the ol’ hometown for my high school grad class 50-year reunion
By Brian R. Wright

[Link to Episode 9]

Note: These columns are a series I am making into a volume of my memoirs, working title: Volume 1: Overland Park Ways. You may follow the links at top and bottom of page to go to preceding or succeeding episodes. The series starts here. {If the [Link to Episode <next>] at the  bottom of the column does not show an active hyperlink, then the <next> column has yet to be written.}

Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
High School: Shawnee Mission West… Vikings
Event: Cocktails w/serious hors d’oeuvres
Location: Mission Hills Country Club, Mission, KS
Date and Time: Friday, October 13, 2017, 5-9+

Followed by a Saturday the 14th tour of the school—Hi, Eric with the brass, um, horns!—, brunch at a nearby sports bistro (Maloney’s), and, for a handful of the historically motivated, a reunion coda at the Johnson County Historical Museum. So that about wraps it up. I decided that the 50th reunion weekend belongs in the memoirs as a flash forward, since so much of what transpired was of high reminiscence value. In the form of a travelog…

[It occurs to me herein I’m mixing past and present tenses indiscriminately. Sorry for that.]

Remote Contact

Throughout the summer I had thought, hey, this is a big year, my 50th anniversary of crossing that all-American threshold of receiving a high school diploma. I felt it would be nice to make the effort this time—perhaps the realistic last best chance to dip into the teenage nostalgia pool without being laughed at as a beyond-the-pale geezer. It was getting to be late July and I thought by this late date, any reunions would have surely been imminent or behind me.  Continue reading

Book Review: JFK and the Unspeakable (2008)

Why he died and why it matters
by James Douglass
Review by Brian R. Wright

jfk_unspeakable“The extent to which our national security state was systematically marshaled for the assassination of President John Kennedy remains incomprehensible to us. When we live in a system, we absorb a system and think in a system. We lack the independence to judge the system around us. Yet the evidence we have seen points toward our national security state, the systemic bubble in which we all live, as the source of Kennedy’s murder and immediate coverup.” — page 370

The Turning …

In a crime, proof of guilt requires evidence of motive, means, and opportunity. But the greatest of these, especially for crimes of state, is motive. The distinguishing characteristic of JFK and the Unspeakable, aside from its rigorously passionate scholarship, is its complete unraveling of the “why” of the assassination of JFK.

“John F. Kennedy was turning. The key to understanding Kennedy’s presidency, his assassination, and our survival as a species through the Cuban Missile Crisis is that Kennedy was turning toward peace. The signs of his turning are the seeds of his assassination.” — page 321

James Douglass, a peace advocate with international stature,[1] homes in on the context of Kennedy’s presidency with respect to the war machine—the military-industrial complex, the Pentagon, and the CIA.[2] We learn that Kennedy, to some extent, ascended politically by out-“Cold-Warring” his opponents, often by advocating a more belligerent military posture vis a vis several foreign policy annoyances… and promoting higher military spending. For example, in a 1958 speech, as Senator, Kennedy accuses President Eisenhower of enabling a missile gap between the US and the Soviets.[3] Continue reading

Movie Review: Postcards from the Edge (1990)

Back when Carrie Fisher crashes and turns… her life around
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

Directed by Mike Nichols
Book and screenplay written
by Carrie Fisher

Meryl Streep …. Suzanne Vale
Shirley MacLaine …. Doris Mann
Dennis Quaid …. Jack Faulkner
Gene Hackman …. Lowell
Richard Dreyfuss …. Doctor Frankenthal
Rob Reiner …. Joe Pierce
Annette Bening …. Evelyn Ames

Mary Wickes …. Grandma

Readers of my site know I often like to delve into the past for movies and books that are classics, at least to me.  Postcards from the Edge is such a piece for a number of reasons:

  • Mike Nichols directs—One of the true masters of Hollywood with such giants as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Graduate (1967), Catch-22 (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Silkwood (1983), Working Girl (1988), and Primary Colors (1998).
  • Carrie Fisher writes—She was on her way to becoming an American sweetheart, a 70s sexed-up version of her mother, Debbie Reynolds, as Princess Leia in Star Wars (1977).  She had less central roles in subsequent movies including The Blues Brothers (1980) and Hanna and Her Sisters (1986), and she also displayed substantial writing and singing skills.
  • Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine act—Playing Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds-like characters, respectively, these two provide a cinematic tour de force of the timelessly troubled Hollywood daughter-mother relationship.
  • The times reveal—Culture is partly defined by artworks undertaken by celebs, particularly movies. This movie sends up some largely hopeful signs of the times.

Continue reading

Guest Column: USS Liberty, Why Justice Now?

USS Liberty: Why Another Inquiry
Joe Meadors / October 10, 2017

[This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in the USS Liberty Inquiry website]

The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were Treated and Appreciated by their Nation. – George Washington

Why put together a Court of Inquiry into something that happened more than fifty years ago? Why try to reopen something that was settled by the government more than five decades ago? Isn’t this just ancient history?

In fact, there have been no inquiries into the culpability for the Israeli attack. This isn’t a matter of conducting another inquiry, but rather conducting what would be the first inquiry ever made into the question of who was responsible for the attack on USS Liberty, and why?

There are many practical reasons for undertaking a complete examination of the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, but there is one reason that stands out above all: Justice. Continue reading

Brian’s Column: First Principles and Independents’ Movements

A short summary of where I’m going at this point
By Brian R. Wright

Kind of high level for the time being, of interest solely to those working at ending the Men of the Power Sickness and their various Death Stars. But if you fall into that category, please read and send me any of your comments. I’m probably two months away from launch of the First Principles’ project, four months from definition and launch of the Independents’ Movement (IM). What follows is an advanced view, a sheet that I kicked off with Pete and Doreen Hendrickson yesterday (10/22/17).

by Brian R. Wright [posted w/links at]

These stem from thoughts I had in transit back and forth to my high school 50-year-graduation reunion in Overland Park, Kansas, October 11-16, 2017.

We the people are in a real bind now because of constant wealth extraction by the Men of the Power Sickness (MOPs) and general popular acceptance of these men’s agencies’ behavior, government statements, and media complicity. The general public now has submerged its consciousnesses in a programmed reality not unlike the Matrix [reference to the science fiction movie (1999)].

In my novel, The Truman Prophecy, I articulate a vision for ending the mind control, in effect creating a movement to free submerged consciousnesses (at least those not completely podified) and facilitate a Global-Spring of Independent consciousnesses. Most of the methods I envisioned there require too much time to meet the threat and effect real, positive change.

But some of the ideas in the TP, particularly First Principles and their corollary grand juries, have real, immediate potential, especially in line with immediate legal methods to go on the offensive on the multiple threats. The problem here is that logic and reason have become irrelevant and are suppressed, the MOPs have generated increasing amounts of Barrier Cloud, which impedes people from even being aware. Continue reading

Book Review: Forks over Knives (2011)

The plant-based way to health
Edited by Gene Stone

Reposted on the occasion of the editor’s 50-year high school reunion near Kansas City, one-time center of the euphemistically termed ‘meat processing’ industry, especially cattle, and hence a barbecue bonanza. Thus for the few days of my visit I’ve taken a break from my mostly vegetarian diet to eat fine BBQ like the natives—and have suffered the digestive tract consequences. This book/DVD is what led me to embrace the vegetarian way, for health reasons, but also for humanitarian ones. — bw

A seismic revolution in health will not come from a pill, procedure, or operation. It will occur only when the public is endowed with nutritional literacy, the kind of knowledge portrayed in Forks over Knives and highlighted by this book. — From the foreword.

You are what you eat. That’s the important lesson of this game-changing book, which is the recipe-containing companion to a documentary film that doubles as a quiet heroic story of struggle and victory. Victory of the truth over decades, even centuries, of lies and misconceptions about the food we consume. In a nutshell the argument of Forks over Knives—the title is intended to suggest the conquest of the ‘knives’ of surgery by the ‘forks’ of eating the right foods—is that changing from an animal-based diet to a whole-foods, plant-based diet will not only make you dramatically healthier, it will prevent and even cure disease… the big ones: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer—most of the time, and within a matter of weeks. Continue reading