Frees Slaves, Leads War Time Raids, Nurse, Spy and Suffragette

I didn’t know Harriett Tubman’s 100th birthday had passed until my bike activist and astronomical friend had posted up this link on Facebook.  If you can see it the read is worth the time for sure, but in case you can’t, the post on FB commemorates Harriett Tubman’s 100th birthday.  That got me thinking and doing some reading about Ms. Tubman.

There are too many sources to come close to doing any justice to her here, so I’ll point my readers to some of them with hot links in the bullets below.  Here are are some facts about this amazing woman:

  • She had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from being hit in the head with a 2 lb weight when she was 12.  That happened as a result of her disobeying an order to tie up another slave who was going to be whipped for trying to escape.  Her TBI resulted in long term headaches and narcolepsy.
  • Many of use are aware of her work on the Underground Railroad leading slaves to freedom the first time; what is more amazing is she went back multiple times, at personal risk, to free as many as she could.
  • She was asked to be a spy by the North during the U.S. Civil War.   Think of it.  She escapes slavery and is known in her circle but somehow the U.S. Gov’t learns of her and asks her to be a spy.  Pretty big honor!
  • She was a warrior.  Yep you read that right dear reader.  In fact she led a military raid, the Combahee River Raid, during the Civil War.
  • After the war, she lived in Auburn, New York, eventually married and adopted a child.
  • While in New York, she became a community activist, humanitarian, and suffragist. In addition to providing a home for numerous friends and relatives, she also worked to raise money for the Freedmen’s Bureau, which had been established to provide education and relief to millions of newly liberated slaves.

I thought about her life and wonder what lessons I could take away, here are my thoughts:

  • Sometimes, when lives are at stake, making sure as few people get left behind as possible is worth the risk
  • Sometimes you have to press on through life’s pains to do something bigger in life.
  • Challenges are everywhere just look around and you’ll see small and large places you can contribute to in order to improve other people’s lives.

Why Teach Women in Nigeria When You Can Kidnap Them?

This is horrendous ….

“Two weeks ago, 234 Nigerian school girls between the ages of 16 and 18 were snatched from their dorm beds in the town of Chibok and forced into trucks at gunpoint by what is believed to a group of radical militants who oppose the education of women.

Fifty of the young women are said to have escaped capture, but more than 220 are unaccounted for — and many believe that they are in great danger.” (see full report @CBC here: )

The BBC has an excellent report as well, though from 5-2-14, still, it provides more clarity around the issue and the difficulty local law enforcement is having

From Reports: Kidnapped teens forced to marry: (3:45 video)

Follow the storey on Twitter:  #bringbackourgirls

Update 5/3/14 5:45PM

The Vanguard, a Nigerian news organization has posted the following report at this link:

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday set up a  fact- finding committee comprising of security agencies and international organizations to assist in the possible rescue of 276 abducted female students in Chibok area of Borno State.

The comments for the Vanguard story are well worth reading. They tell a particularly interesting part of the story, filling in with the visceral outrage parents and citizens in Nigeria feel about this incident and the Nigerian government in general.

Temptress Lead Singer, Jessica Garabedian Passes Away

I was stunned when I got the call.  I was snuggled blissfully on RH.  We were “mustering” the motivation to do stuff we had to do to keep life moving forward and slowing losing our musterability to a nap….. then my phone rang and I got the news.  Jessica had passed away.

Checking her FB page confirmed news I didn’t really need confirming but still was not really grasping.  She was dead.  Checking more FB posts of my friends and others I knew only spread the reality like the spreading of moss up an old oak tree.  She collapsed at her home in NH on the 19th and was rushed to the hospital. She didn’t make it.  See more from RadioBDC DJ Henry Santoro’s FB page here.

I met Jessica in 2011 when I learned about her band Temptress, then had a chance to get to know her and be friends.  She always impressed me as being cool, matter of fact, fun and she had a great bullshit meter.  I really appreciated that about her.  I saw her band play in 2012.  If you liked rock music you’d love her band.  High energy, clear and ironic lyrics, and powerfully guitar driven, it was a very fun concert.    Just recently, she had played at the Boston Aids Walk on February 26th.

She was talented, fun and beautiful. I’m so sorry she is gone. My prayers to her family. Rock On Girl.

I don’t know how long the following web site will be up, but here is her band Temptress and here is her YouTube Channel.

See you on the other side Jessica.

Superb Commentary Around Michael Sam’s Upcoming Pro Football Career

Okay I’m sure most if not all of the well read, caffeine and non-caffeine lovin’ visitors to Beck’s Cafe have seen this video but it is so good, I had to share. The video is a great commentary on the whole issue of Michael Sam’s upcoming draft to the NFL. Well worth the 3 minutes to listen.

From Ethanol and High Fructose to Vegetables and High Profit: Midwest Farmers Consider Their Crops

This is pretty exciting news, some farmers who normally raise corn, and not for food, but for high fructose corn syrup and ethanol, are taking some of their land and using it to grow fruits and vegetables.   This is a win-win.  The farmers make 100x more in profit and it helps feed people in healthy ways.  This is all good and step in the right direction! Beck’s Cafe readers can check out the details here at the NY Times.   Here are some of the juicy snippets:

  • While an acre of corn is projected to net average farmers $284 this year after expenses, and just $34 if they rent the land, as is common, an apple orchard on that same acre will make $2,000 or more, according to crop analysts.
  • A sophisticated vegetable operation using the popular plastic covers called high tunnels, which increase yields and extend the growing season, can push that figure as high as $100,000.
  • “The children of corn farmers are coming back to the farm, and carving out 5 or 10 acres to grow fruits and vegetables,” said Craig A. Chase, the local food and farm coordinator at Iowa State University. “They can easily make $30,000 to $40,000 a year.” While their numbers are too small to be reflected yet in farm data, this new passion for produce is evidence that
    government and private efforts to nurture new markets in the nation’s heartland are starting to pay off, federal officials said.
  • Corn farmers who have made the switch say that for all the added work, growing fruits and vegetables is incredibly rewarding in ways other than profits. Tim B. Slepicka, who attended the classes, slid into the booth of a diner last summer in St. Charles, Ill., about an hour’s drive west of Chicago, to talk about his budding conversion from corn. But first he plunked his day’s pickings on the table with a huge grin. “Just taste this cucumber,” he said, gnawing one in his other hand.

So I am in bed sick ….

I’m in bed sick and kinda weepy.   I am surfing the web for anyone streaming the Sochi Olympics.  The amazing Mr. H. is out shopping for food, for me.   He’s going to make me breakfast.   It is among the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me (and he has done an incredible number of sweet things for me).  Mr. H. is a wonderful man, I am a very lucky and blessed woman.  So while I am here in bed surfing I come up on a Reddit post for Humans of New York p. III.

This is great stuff.  It is well worth my reader’s time to check it out.  In a nutshell photoblogger Brandon Stanton has captured photos of people and their stories in NYC.   On the surface, it sounds ho hum, but, when you see the photos and read the stories, (all are one line, to four lines in length) you get something.  What you get is a little more sense of people’s humanity around you. Some of it is heartbreaking, some of it is just funny.  Some of these will make you cry and some will make you think.  It might take  15 minutes to check it out but I’d recommend it.  You can see his posts in the “raw” on Imgur (quickest way) or on his blog at Humans of New York (his latest work is there).  You can like him on FB or follow him on Twitter.  Or buy his book.

Here’s a few quotes from some of the photos…you’ll have to go Mr. Stanton’s blog or Imgur to match ‘em to their photos ~ have fun :-)

From Humans of New York III:

“It is important to maintain your equanimity. You cannot let yourself get too ‘up’ or too ‘down’ based on your circumstances.” “Too ‘down’ I understand. But why not too ‘up?’” “Because the higher your mountains are, the deeper your valleys will seem. You should not react to the world. You should respond, but not react. A response is an action based on logic. A reaction is an emotional state. Your reaction will not change the world. Your reaction only changes you. Your response will change the world.”

“Don’t try to be someone else’s beautiful.”

“Can you take my photo? I have Asian parents that need confirmation I’m working.”

From Humans of New York I

“I worked in mutual funds for most of my life, but I’m in the ministry now.” “Why the switch?” “Well, I grew up in The Faith. Then I ended up working on Wall Street. And I actually enjoyed the work a lot. For me it was less about the money and more about the excitement and buzz of going to work everyday. I enjoyed making deals and getting things done. But in the end, I just missed God.”

“I just try to have fun.” “What’s the most fun you’ve ever had?” “Can’t talk about it. I’m still waiting on my court date.

From the Site

Gotta work all your angles

“I’m around eighty years old. I’m not going to say exactly how old because my friends might see this. But the important thing is to keep moving! I just got back from Carnegie Hall, and yesterday I swam a quarter mile. But that’s nothing. Two years ago I was in Syria when Egypt blew up.”

Gas Buddy Saves You Money and Time

find best prices on gasoline Tip O the Week. The Gas Buddy Mobile App rocks to help find the least expensive gasoline in a given area. I’ve saved alot of money already using it. Here’s the link to their site

Here is how it works:

Those purchasing gasoline enter into the application, downloaded onto their smart phone, the price they paid for the gas and the location.   Then, when someone else is searching for gas, they open up the application, allow it to use your phones GPS, and presto, within seconds you see the best prices for gas in your area.   The nifty web interface on the site works great too.


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