Some Old World Wisdom, by Rich Paschall

When thinking of blog topics, there is no shortage of subject matter. Some general areas offer a lot of topics.  With a bit of extra thought, there’s an endless supply. Consider well how many areas you can pursue if you are willing to delve into sports, politics, or religion. Each is bound to set some readers ablaze. Would surely bring lots of comments. You do want lively discussion, don’t you?

How lively do you want it?


Venture into a sports bar well into the evening and you are likely to find plenty of spirited discussions regarding sports.  These ideas should help you out.  Will the Cubs ever win a pennant?  Will the White Sox ever get the love the Cubs get?  Will the Blackhawks win another Stanley Cup?  Will the Bears defeat the hated Green Bay Packers?  Will the Bulls beat the hated ____________ (fill in New York team here)?  There is little reason get into crosstown rivalries. Dissing out-of-town teams only works locally.


We could always take off after the Yankees and A-Rod, the Patriots and _______ (name your alleged scandal here), or Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. But why alienate readers in New York, Boston or Dallas? Perhaps we should just write about the ridiculous BCS Bowl series or the commissioner of _________ (name your least favorite here).

A good informational, yet rather neutral article might find favor.  Others might concede that you are trying to make some point of view, like promoting someone’s stats for the hall of fame. A discussion of gays in sports or an Olympic diver coming out of the closet, might get up into your politics, so we may have to think carefully about those.  Yes, we will leave the political area of sports alone.


Speaking of your politics (or mine), perhaps we can find common ground there. I could write short stories with a political theme, or write about a run for office that brings victory, but no win for the candidate. Too improbable?

How about the death of democracy through campaign spending?  Imagine buying an election. Maybe this hits too close to home … or do you think it merely fiction or satire?  Political satire is sure to get people thinking and arguing, especially if you throw in climate change as the kicker. Then again, maybe no one will bother to read this stuff. Maybe a bad idea after all?

How about hitting the topics head-on in a nice well-researched article? We can talk about Democrats, Republicans, capitalists or socialists. On second thought, that could split the audience from the get-go. Better to look at the subjects of the debates and write a well-reasoned essay.

women's suffrage-2

Where to begin? Abortion? Immigration? Gay Rights? Civil Rights? Gun Control? Campaign reform? Welfare Reform?  Any reform?? National defense?  Can’t we all consider that without alienating people? There’s always alienating the aliens. Can’t go wrong with that, right? Well, maybe not.

If politics is too risky, how about the world’s great religions? They’re all rooted in love, are they not? We could discuss the philosophies that ignite the passions behind our beliefs and thus find common ground. Peace and harmony at last.

Except that so many people believe their god is the only way. Some believe their god is calling them to harm others which sets religion against religious … and alas, there’s nothing new about that. Belief is supposed to bring hope and joy … not more war.

God in on every side of every war, or so they say. Who goes into battle without the blessing of their particular deity? How can I expect to have a civil discussion in such an emotionally charge arena?  I have innocently had to extract my foot from my mouth before … maybe I should let the Dalai Lama write on this topic.

The "Dodge City Peace Commission", June 1888. (L to R) standing: W.H. Harris, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, W.F. Petillon. Seated: Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, Frank McLain and Neal Brown.

The “Dodge City Peace Commission”, June 1888. (L to R) standing: W.H. Harris, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, W.F. Petillon. Seated: Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, Frank McLain and Neal Brown.

Years ago, when one of our favorite innkeepers was still alive, we used to drop by his establishment.  It was a great place for lively discussion. If anyone got a little over-heated, the owner walked over with a wink to say, “No Sports, no politics, no religion!”

Seemingly a strange thing to say when a sports channel was almost always playing nearby, but he meant arguments, not discussions. If arguments got out of hand, he’d say “No Sports, no politics, no religion — or you’re out of here!”

That seemed a good approach to barroom politics. These were the areas of discussion that often ended with unpleasantness. Especially when dialogue was fueled by alcohol. Maybe it short-circuited a few lively discussions, but no doubt he cut off some brawls, too.

Let’s avoid them in the blog-o-sphere and cyberspace too. If Facebook is any indicator, that sounds like a plan!



Welcome everyone to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge. This challenge’s subject is the roads, walks, trails, rails, by which we move from place to place. You can walk them, climb them, drive them, ride them — as long as the way is visible. Any angle of a bridge is acceptable, as are any signs.

I’m always looking for exciting and interesting roads, but most roads are just roads. No big deal, nothing special. They do their job. Signs point the way. Bridges cross over roads or rivers.

Some of these pictures are Garry’s — check the signature if you aren’t sure!


Black & White Sunday: Stronghold

According to the Learner’s Dictionary STRONGHOLD is:
: an area where most people have the same beliefs, values, etc.: an area dominated by a particular group
The area/district/state is a Republican stronghold.
: a protected place where the members of a military group stay and can defend themselves against attacks
The rebels retreated to their mountain stronghold.
: an area where a particular type of uncommon animal can still be found
The last stronghold of the endangered deer.

This is Massachusetts’ Statehouse, from the back. It shows the tunnel that runs beneath it, originally designed to allow traffic to pass unimpeded. It has been closed for years, not unlike most of the minds within. This is a stronghold … of exactly what, you are free to decide for yourself.




This week, it’s Boston. You’d think being on the road would be the best time for posting these pictures, but it usually means I don’t have time to process most of them.

I did get a few put together for you. Hope you enjoy them. Beacon Hill and Back Bay, mostly, and a hint of Fenway.


If you are a real baseball fan, you live and die with your team’s success and failure. It’s all about winning, not how you play the game.


I’ve been passionate about baseball for more than 65 years of my life. The pre baseball years were devoted to kid stuff like cowboys and Indians. I’ve rooted for three teams in my life. The Brooklyn Dodgers, Casey’s original Amazin’ New York Mets, and the Boston Red Sox.

Agony and ecstasy have marked my love for these teams. All were perennial long-time losers, demonizing generations of their followers. Victory as in winning the World Series was the sweetest wine ever tasted.


When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, their first title since the end of World War One, peace was bestowed on generations in the Red Sox Nation. The Bosox have since won two more World Series, totaling three in nine years. Success is now expected by the pilgrims who discovered baseball after 2000 and (current) new Sox ownership.


Great expectations easily breed discontent. In the Red Sox Nation, the grapes of wrath are growing because of the team’s mediocre pitching, despite off-season trades and free-agent signings to bolster the offense.


The suits who run Fenway’s boys of summer club refuse to deal for quality pitching. They claim to be satisfied with the mediocrity of the current staff, saying the arms will improve with time. One of the pitchers is already on the disabled list with a “tired arm”, six weeks into the season and with an ERA over five.

The suits say it’s still early. They don’t want to deal or spend foolishly.

Marilyn and I recently made our pilgrimage to Boston’s cathedral of baseball. The Sox were playing out-of-town, so we could move around easily, observing the salutes to past teams.


You could hear murmurs about the current Sox and their woeful pitching. What to do?

Marilyn decided to help boost the team’s financial coffers and bought a nifty hat. It was a bargain! Only 3 times what you would pay at your favorite department store not named the “Red Sox Team Store.” Marilyn should get a lot of use out of her hat. Its brim has more snap to it than most of the curve balls thrown by the Red Sox starters.

It’s a long season. Maybe Marilyn’s purchase will be the alms that bring quality arms to our beloved team.

Maybe. Not.


We went photographing in Boston yesterday. It turned out to be as close to perfect a day as you could ask for. Quite warm, but not humid. Brilliantly sunny, a classic late spring day with everything in full bloom.


Our first stop was Beacon Hill. Garry and I lived on Beacon Hill for a year right after we were married. It was our first place together. A cute, tiny apartment. Emphasis on tiny.


It had a working fireplace which, if lit, would make the flat hot enough to smelt ore. It had a back garden patio. It seemed like a wonderful idea, but turned out to have a resident raccoon who did not wish to share his space. I didn’t feel inclined to argue the point.


Beacon Hill was a fascinating place to be, but living in that apartment was not fun. In addition to all its other problems, it was heavily infested by cockroaches with attitude. It was much too small for us. It might have been too small for anyone. Moving out of there was an incredible relief.


I’ve continued to hold Beacon Hill in great affection. It’s the original Boston, the oldest part of the city, the place from which (in legend) Paul Revere began his ride. Although the first battles of the American Revolution were fought in Lexington and Concord, the war’s true birthplace was Beacon Hill.


We still know our way around which was interesting. We haven’t been back in at least 10 years, maybe longer.

Today it was crawling with tourists. I heard German, Russian, Hebrew, and Italian being spoken by various groups with guides. Virtually no English. The only natives were walking dogs.


We took a great many pictures today. I haven’t processed even half of them. To give you an idea of what I mean, we burned through three batteries. It’s going to take a while.


I hope you enjoy this bright day in the middle of May on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill.


Guest Challenge: Symbolism


It is a peculiar, beloved symbol. Familiar to anyone who follows baseball or who lives in or near Boston.


The CITGO Sign in Boston’s Kenmore Square

The iconic CITGO sign has been a part of the Boston skyline since 1940. Located at 660 Beacon Street, on what was once a Cities Service divisional office, the sign originally featured the Cities Service logo, but was replaced with the famous CITGO “trimark” of today when the CITGO brand was created for the marketing division of Cities Service in 1965.

Efforts to remove the sign in the early 1980s faced fierce opposition and led CITGO to restore the sign, with groups even fighting to declare the sign a landmark. The CITGO Sign is held in particular high regard by Boston sports fans. Red Sox sluggers are enticed by the so-called “C-IT-GO” sign as they blast home runs over the left-field wall, and runners in the grueling Boston Marathon welcome its sight as the 20th mile mark. Its pulsing flash in the night sky has even been used by mothers-to-be at nearby Beth Israel to time their contractions.

It’s no secret that the CITGO Sign in Boston’s Kenmore Square is beloved by people across the country and around the world. Not only has it become a major image of the city of Boston, featured in postcards and tourist brochures, but the sign was deemed an “Objet d’Heart” by Time Magazine, was photographed by Life Magazine and featured in the New York Times. It has even become a source of inspiration for artists, musicians and filmmakers from around the world.

It is an important piece in trying to navigate Boston. If you can see the Citgo sign, you know you’ve found Kenmore Square. And Fenway Park. As soon as it it comes into view, you are not lost.


If, perchance, you’re on your way to see the Red Sox, you’re home.