The Emancipation Proclamation. The Risk & Reward of Extreme Tourism.

A Statement Regarding Slavery & Racism. Below The Surface and Above the Atmosphere.

  • Last Monday was the federal holiday, Juneteenth. Last Monday made me think. Last Monday provided a bit of reflection. Last Monday reminded me, no matter the ups and downs of life, how fortunate I am. I experienced and witnessed racism and bigotry – it does not matter where and when, it just matters, and I came out the better for it.

Last Monday, June 19th, commemorated the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Commemorating the end of slavery should be celebrated to ensure we never forget the millions of people forced into slavery in the United States…and to help ensure that it never happens again. In essence, Juneteenth is no different than the Passover holiday celebrated by millions around the world, which celebrates the Biblical story of the Israelites’ redemption and escape from four hundred years of Egyptian slavery.

The unfortunate news is that in no way has slavery ended. There are forty million people who are victims of modern slavery worldwide, with twenty-five million trapped in forced labor and 15 million pushed into forced marriages. Almost three-quarters of the forty million are female, from young girls to women, and one in four a child. Most prevalent in Asia and Africa, North Korea has the highest rate of slavery, with about one in 10 people enslaved. Yes, and this is the year 2023.

Slavery and racism, after all the hard work put in by many, are still rampant in the United States. There are many reasons for the socioeconomic-racial divide in the United States. None of those reasons hold water but there is no doubt that the race issue continues to rear its ugly head way too often. Morgan Freeman, in an interview with Mike Wallace, discusses Black History Month, and most importantly his disdain for this month-long celebration. I really like what Freeman has to say – at a baseline level, it does make sense:

Well said, Morgan Freeman.

Regarding socializing the racial divide, all of us should give a great deal of credit to Norman Lear. Lear was an American producer, writer, and director known for his work on influential television series as All in the Family (1971–79), Sanford and Son (1972–77), and The Jeffersons (1975–85). Lear had the guts to bring the White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian divide to the forefront, using television sitcoms as a platform to expose and make fun of people making fun of race. In this scene from an episode of All in the Family, the sometimes-vile Archie Bunker (played by the great Carroll O’Connor) makes a massive statement to the television audience by defending his housekeeper from a racist and bigoted associate. A scene that surely resonated with many watching this episode:

The one and only Archie Bunker goes off on a racist moron.

There were, and still are, many who fight to end systemic racism. Of course, there are many feel good stories, with people stepping up to help people without regard to race, religion, creed, or origin. A long story short, Quincy Jones, who worked with Michael Jackson to produce Thriller and many other soundtracks, asked Eddie Van Halen if he could help enhance the song, Beat It. The interview below tells the story, and to the surprise of many, Van Halen had no problem helping out both Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson. The guitar riff Van Halen layered into the Beat It track is world-renowned, winning the Song of the Year in 1984. Just as importantly, Van Halen did not charge Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, doing the work for free in support of two great artists. In this interview, Eddie Van Halen discusses his reasons for doing the work:

If Quincy Jones asks you to do something…you do it.

For those of you who are too young to remember, or similar to many of my friends, just do not remember, here is the track “Beat It” with Van Halen’s riff at the 2:52 mark. The question “Who did the guitar riff on the song Beat It?” is still one of my favorite trivia questions.

Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson….gone but not forgotten.

Quote of the week: A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey, nicknamed The Manassas Mauler, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1914 to 1927, and reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926.

  • The loss of the OceanGate deep-dive submarine and the five people aboard is very sad. The depth of 12,500 is extremely dangerous and obviously something went very wrong with last week’s journey to see The Titanic. Not to minimize the loss of those five people, but my thoughts move on to the company Space Perspective, who I have previously discussed as they are planning to take people to space using a fancy capsule tethered to a balloon. I am sure the owners, investors, and marketing staff at Space Perspective, after this incident with the OceanGate submarine, are scrambling to review and promote the safety contingency plans with taking people to an altitude above 100,000 feet…at $125,000 per person.
The first year is already sold out.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

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