My Hero Is A Woman

LOS ANGELES – MARCH 29: Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura in the STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES episode, “Assignment: Earth.” Season 2, episode 26. Original air date was March 29, 1968. Image is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Yesterday somebody who was really important to me died, but I never had the chance to meet her. She was Nichelle Nichols, and she was an American treasure. You may know her as Uhura on the original Star Trek. What you might not know is that she wanted to quit the show, but was encouraged by none other than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He told her that she had to stay because she had a major role in a TV series. In 1966, a Black person, let alone a Black woman, was a major accomplishment. So she stayed, and touched the hearts of a lot of people.

She went on to take part in TV’s first interracial kiss, with William Shatner (Captain Kirk). The characters were being manipulated by an alien being. She said in a documentary that they filmed the scene two ways, one in which they kissed, and one in which they did not. Shatner made some kind of face in the non-kiss scene, but it wasn’t discovered until later (She explained how he managed this very well, but I’m working from memory and lack of TV production knowledge here.) Bottom line, they had to use the actual kiss.

One more thing you might not know is that Ms. Nichols worked for NASA and increased the number of women and minorities that were hired. She was also responsible for the first space shuttle being named Enterprise. Trek fans, both at NASA and beyond quickly jumped in to support her. By the way, for a lot of kids, Star Trek was a major factor in their choice of career. Many who have, and do, work at NASA were and are, fans.

To me personally, I love all these stories, but the thing I loved most about Nichelle Nichols is seeing a strong, beautiful, talented woman on the bridge of a starship every single week. She gave me hope and fired my own dreams. If I ever become a well-known author, I’ll have Ms. Nichols to thank.

She was, and always shall be, my hero.

The Heatwave in Europe

There’s a heatwave in Europe. 

I know, for most of us, that seems like something we don’t need to worry about. After all, we have plenty on our plates as it is. But we do need to think about this. The UK, for instance, is known for being cool and damp. It’s not today, my friends. It’s hot enough to kill people. 104 degrees F. That’s hot. And only 3% have air conditioning.

https://weather.com/news/news/2022-07-18-europe-heat-wave-britain-france-spain

Our world is changing. It’s like watching a disaster movie. And that’s exactly what it is, a disaster. Huge waves in Hawaii, Miami threatened by rising water due to melting of glacier ice in the arctic and antarctic. Wildfires all over the world, caused by increased global temperatures. 

So why do politicians deny this is happening? Or downplay global warming by saying it’s a natural phenomena. It’s simple. Money. The big oil companies put millions of dollars into convincing politicians to stop legislation that can help our world survive, and to help convince people that what we do doesn’t matter.

It matters. Do some research. NASA has a link.https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hspart=iba&hsimp=yhs-1&type=zopr_5056_CHW_US&p=nasa%20climate%20change&param1=RypDRDjp20T5Vc76fV

More sources:

https://onlinepublichealth.gwu.edu/resources/sources-for-climate-news/#:~:text=Known%20as%20a%20reputable%20source%20for%20climate%20news%2C,debate%20and%20the%20application%20of%20the%20scientific%20method.%E2%80%9D

Photo by Trebol Autrey via WANA Commons

What do you think about global warming?

Do you have any ideas for ways for the average person to help?

Do you vote based on politicians’ views on the climate? Should you?

Until next time,

Cheryel

The Spookiest Time of the Year–extended version

 

Well, Halloween is over. It’s November, and time to face the holidays, and for the scary to be replaced with the busy and headache-producing days of gif buying and decorating and parties and family. If you’d like to hang on to Halloween a little longer, there are still horror movies on cable and streaming channels. Also right on your computer. My favorite example is on YouTube. The channel is MrBallen, and in my opinion, he’s the best. Calm and intelligent, John is a former Navy Seal, and he’s even posted a video showing his history as a Seal: https://youtu.be/TpbqUUsgED0

Enjoy!

Cheryel

Does Creative Equal Lazy?

Glass Fantasy 3 by Nellie Buir from Freeimages.com

We’ve all heard them, the comments about creative folks: “I could throw paint on a canvas too.” “I could design clothes better than that.” “I would write a book too if I had the time.”

Funny how we never hear: “I could make computer games too.”  “I could be a rocket scientist if I only had the time.”

In today’s world, creative work like art, writing, design, or music tends to be looked down on as “easy” and the creatives who make it are looked at as “lazy.” For example, I recently read about a very successful author (sorry, don’t remember the name) who was asked by a relative, “When are you going to get a real job?”

I’m not well known and make very little money, but something similar happened to me. I had introduced myself as a novelist, but a few minutes later, the person asked me where I worked. 

It seems that if a job involves creating something from a person’s imagination, it isn’t really a job. Apparently, a lot of people think doing creative work is just playing, daydreaming, takes very little time. The idea is that some of us have conned our way into big paychecks (not me), but by and large, creatives are supposed to be “starving artists.”

So, does an artistic type who gets a paycheck (that doesn’t come from a “real job” in addition to their creative work) have to be poor? Struggling? At the mercy of other people who like our work well enough to buy it?

Well, yes we are at the mercy of buyers of our work, but we do a legitimate service to our fellow humans. What would the world be like without art, and beautiful buildings, and books that take you away to another time, place, future? 

So, do you think creative folks should struggle? Have you ever thought about how much art, music, books, etc. enriches your life? Do you appreciate that enrichment?

May your life be filled with color and music!

Cheryel

Kong and Godzilla Reunited!

A little more than a week ago, I was invited to see Kong vs. Godzilla. In a theater! A bunch of friends had gotten together and rented the theater for one showing. I was invited to join them, and I couldn’t turn that down. http://www.cheryelhutton.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/godzilla-vs-kong.png

In case you don’t know, I love monster movies. Especially when the monster is huge. My favorite movies are: King Kong (1933), Jurassic Park, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. As a kid, I spent many hours watching “B” movies, and the Godzilla movies were my favorites of those. I’ve seen Pacific Rim twice, and would watch it again in a heartbeat. 

So, to see Kong vs. Godzilla was a real treat. It was fun, and relaxing, and a break I seriously needed. I’m not going to review the movie. If you’re a fan, you’ll love it. If you aren’t, you won’t understand the excitement. The group I went with loved it. 

Best of all, going to a theatre was an indulgence I hadn’t had in a long time. Few people have had over the last year. One of those things we took for granted right up until last year. Now it’s a special treat. I had my second vaccine last week, so hopefully things are on their way back to normalcy.

And the days when going to the movies wasn’t a huge treat, but just a normal weekend evening.

What do you want to do as soon as things get back to normal?

Productivity and Limits

There have been a lot of dark, cold days lately. Days like this my back, neck, and other joints ache. I can’t stand up for more than a few minutes at a time, and doing pretty much anything sucks the energy right out of me. Days like this, I can spend more time resting than doing whatever it is I need to be doing. I want to just sit in my recliner and watch TV. The other day, I was determined to get some cleaning and unpacking done (no, I’m not unpacked yet, it’s a slow process). So, in small little sections of time/energy I managed to get a decent amount of work done. Then, this morning, I was listening to a podcast about productivity for writers. And the words hit home. Yes, I’d managed to unpack and sort through a good amount in the living room, cleaned the bathtub, and done a few other things. But was it enough? I hadn’t even opened my laptop, so no writing. I didn’t get the dishes washed, and I still had laundry to fold and put away, and there was a lot more I needed to do in the living room. So, was I productive enough?

My first instinct is to say no. If I had done more, then I’d have been able to get some words on screen. And if I’d been more productive on a daily basis, I’d be unpacked by now and my manuscript would be submitted. *insert beating myself up mentally* Even though by the end of the day I was exhausted.

But why do I feel this way? I know creative people tend to be hard on themselves, especially creative women. And I have health issues that sap my energy and forces me to take frequent rest breaks. 

Then there’s that other issue: depression. I’ve lived with major depression for most of my life, and I’ve worked hard on dealing with it. I was doing pretty well—until my husband died. Honestly, I thought I was through the worst of it. After the anniversary of his death, I believed I would be okay. And then grief hit me so hard I felt I couldn’t breathe. 

I’m pulling out of it now, but here I am, boxes to unpack, dishes to wash, words to put on the screen. And I’m feeling guilty about not doing enough. But I’m determined. I’ll get through this. 

And you’ll get through whatever blocks stand in your way of getting where you want to be. Come with me, we’ll do it together. 

Cheryel

Will This Ever End

Record cold temperatures, including the coldest Mardi Gras on record.  Snow that won’t go away;  thousands without heat or water. An almost year-long pandemic that has killed so many people it’s actually lowered the average life expectancy. Lost jobs, small businesses closing, politicians who only care about people who are able to give them lots of money. Yes, my friends, we are living in a real version of a disaster movie. 

What to do? Take a moment to let the world take care of itself and check out something cute and funny. 

Enjoy!

Blinded by Science

It’s no secret that I’m a big science nerd. There is no doubt that science changed our world. But I can understand how scary that can be, especially for folks who may not really understand a lot about science or how things work. That lack of understanding may lead to fear and distrust. To a feeling that scientists might not be trustworthy.

Next step: fear. Fear that scientists are not telling the truth, or that people with money and/or power might take advantage of the average person using science. For example, believing that vaccines might be used to “tag” people. I suppose this could be used to keep track of a person, to know where they go, what they do, etc. 

I’ve got news for you, folks. You know that smartphone that you carry everywhere? That thing can keep track of us better than any tiny chip might. And if that doesn’t do it, there’s always FaceBook. Most of us don’t think about it, but that app has our names, workplaces, birthdates, likes, friends, opinions, and much more. Take quizzes? More info. 

What is all that information used for? To aim ads at us, ads of things we are likely to want. And buy. To aim political ads at us, and to use these ads to stir our emotions, to push us toward action.

And it isn’t just corporations and our politicians. It’s been proven that Russian operatives have, and possibly still are, using this information to mess with our lives and our democracy.

So, which is more dangerous? The use of science to learn how things work and to use that information to make our world better, or to use our Internet habits to endanger our democracy, or country, our way of life?

I know which I chose. How about you?

2020 Bites the Dust

He was my support, the love of my life.

This last year has been a hard one for a lot of people. Politics in the United States broke records with kinds of never-before-seen behavior, both good and bad. And the regular folks had no idea how to respond or what to believe.

Speaking of record breaking, the weather did some of it’s own. Hottest year, more ice melt, bigger storms, stronger earthquakes, huge swathes of land on fire. Science says climate change is destroying the delicate balance of the planet. Yet, many don’t want to believe this. It’s too scary, too hard to understand. 

Then there’s the pandemic. An invisible thing, so tiny it can slip between the threads of a piece of fabric, seemed to come from nowhere to sicken people, fill hospitals, kill more people than wars. And once again, those of us on the ground didn’t know who or what to believe. How could the average person reconcile this threat when they couldn’t even understand what a virus is?

And the smaller, private pain. Mine was losing my soulmate, best friend, and staunch supporter a year ago in October. I had no idea just how bad losing a spouse could hurt. When I lost my beloved mom a few years ago, I thought it would kill me, but somehow I managed to drag myself through. Losing Ricky was worse. Even now, more than a year later, it feels like I’m only half me. I hurt so badly sometimes I can’t believe I can feel that and survive. But I do, and a big reason is because I know he wants me to survive. He always supported and encouraged me, and I still feel his love and support even now.

No matter how bad things get, we have to keep going. If we stop trying, we are letting down not only those around us, but those who are no longer with us. We have to not only hang on, but  each of us must try in our own special way to make things better. We all have something to offer. Let’s honor those who have gone before us by doing good in the world. 

Love to all of you,

Cheryel

Sufferage and Snoopy

One hundred years ago yesterday, women won the right to vote in the United States of America. This country we see as the most open, progressive, welcoming place in the world; finally allowed half its citizens the right to participate in governing. My grandmother saw this happen. It blows me away every time I consider that. In November of 1920, 8 million American women voted for the first time.

As you read this, we are entering the buildup to the current presidential election. While all elections are important (a topic, perhaps, for another blog), the presidential election is the biggest, and arguably the most important one. It’s also the one in which the most citizens cast a vote. Even then, somewhere in the neighborhood of half of those eligible to vote actually do.

I haven’t done any sort of research as to why people don’t vote, so I can’t comment with any authority. On the other hand, the most common reason I’ve heard from people is, “It doesn’t matter whether I vote or not.” Let me tell you something important. It does matter, it matters a lot.

Let’s do a fun little thought experiment. Let’s say that we (the half that doesn’t usually vote) want Snoopy to be our next president. So we form a third party, the Doggone Party, and we go through all the paperwork and legal drama to get him on the ballot. Then election day dawns. The “regular” half of voters are out there voting for Ann Elephant and Theo Donkey. We, the normally silent nonvoters get out there and vote. Some won’t vote for whatever reason, but an overwhelming majority (of the half) go vote, and they vote mostly for Snoopy.

The results
Elephant: 20%
Donkey: 30%
Snoopy: 45%
5% another person

And our next president is Snoopy.

Cutest Pres Ever!

I’m not getting into the Electoral College. Let’s just say the Electoral College votes were mostly in line with the popular votes. (With that much of a win they likely would be.)

You just helped change history, and we have the cutest president ever!

Get out there and exercise your constitutional right, especially if you are a woman. We only recently won the right, let’s use it!

Thanks for reading!

Cheryel