Guest Blog Post: Wildlife then. by equinoxio21

Magic, fiction, and art: journalist/novelist/blogger equinoxio21 weaves them together with compassion and wisdom to create his fascinating equinoxio21 site.

equinoxio21 as a toddler
“Shah taught me Urdu, and proper table manners, the latter with great difficulty I might add.” equinoxio21

From the start, he‘s led exciting life! In a short reply to a reader, he described himself: “I am a cultural “mongrel”. Born in Pakistan, raised in Africa. It helps to add tiny details, the “couleur locale”. Reality, to me, is what adds weight to fiction.

Here he combines his historical photos (and here’s some of beautiful original art he posts as well) with those from antique books…

Equinoxio

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Wildlife is under a death sentence everywhere. Those giraffes (and ostrich, look closely) I saw in Kenya in 1969, fifty years ago (!) are being snared by poachers. What for? For giraffe hair bracelets? To turn their skin into a carpet? Pointless. As a teen, I was fortunate enough to see the last of the wild. Isolated pockets still remain with Game wardens practically turned into a military force. But who knows how long they will last?

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This is how giraffes were seen in 1879. (In Mammifères, Louis Viguier). 140 years ago. This is yet another of my books falling apart. Major restoration in the works. The engravings are priceless. Many would tear the book apart and sell each engraving for 20 Euros on the banks of the Seine.

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Warthog, 1879.

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1969, Nairobi National park.

IMG_7011“In the jungle, the mighty jungle…”

kdd10-14“The lion sleeps…

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Video: Strength and Compassion in the Worst of Times by da-AL

In the worst situations, strength and compassion shine brightest. Terrible times strip away everything but what’s essential, leaving bare the best in us and those we encounter during our trials. 

The first time I learned the depth of this truth was when I co-produced a video for the Leukemia Society of America (nowadays Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). They’d hired my business partner, David Hunt (who has written for HBT here and here), and me (our non-profit company was called, Vista Educational Media) to encourage therapists, as well as people struggling with leukemia to get involved in the agency’s support groups. Executive Producer was Maureen Nunn. We videotaped at Wellness Community South Bay Cities, which is now Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach. The Los Angeles Times wrote of participant Roger Kahl’s valiant life here.

The way David and I worked was always to let subjects speak their truths, then we’d do our best to edit and narrate accurately. For each project, David and I would alternate who would be in charge and who would assist.

Thank goodness for this one David conducted the interviews, wrote, edited, and narrated. It took all I had not to sob while I stood to videotape behind the tripod. Reviewing it all these many years later, I still cry at the incredible bravery of the interviewees and David’s outstanding storytelling.

On David’s site, he details his experience with this project. Here’s his preliminary description for my site here…

“By the 1990s health educators understood that video-assisted storytelling was an effective way to engage patients and get them involved in their own health care. But many of the nation’s top health organizations, including the Leukemia Society, used actors as stand-ins for actual patients in their health education videos. In 1992 I was part of a documentary team that convinced the organization to trust people with leukemia to share their own stories.”

Guest Blog Post: Tips for Sleuthing the Past by Margaret Lossi

Who'll your search turn up? Photo thanks to Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com
Who will your search turn up? Photo thanks to Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Writers and readers alike, for times we’d like to look into our histories, author Margaret Lossi offers tips for how to get started. My two novels are works-in-progresses! Lossi says that when it comes to looking up one’s family background, be prepared for surprises…

M.A. Lossl

The Family Tree

Warning: family history can lead to emotional discoveries.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but you begin at the end! That is, you begin with you.

Check your birth certificate, verify your parents. It may seem like a given, but just sometimes people find they are adopted, or their mum is really their grandma. It pays to check.

Check your parents birth certificates, to verify your grandparents. Then work your way back through the generations, verifying birth certificates.

These first steps build the strong foundation of your family tree, so worth doing well.

It is not a case of how far back you can go, but the quality of your data

You may wish to answer a family question. I knew my parents were second cousins, so wanted to find out about this link. Set yourself a goal to work towards. Whatever your motivation, make sure you verify each…

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L.A. Iconic Artist Frank Romero and Frida Kahlo at Museum of Latin American Art by da-AL

Iconic Los Angeles artist Frank Romero has helped define Los Angeles.

Los Angeles beauty and grit are common themes in Romero's paintings.
Los Angeles beauty and injustice are common themes in Romero’s paintings.

It’s about time that he has a solo show at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA, located in Long Beach).

Now well into his 70s, Romero continues to paints every day.
Now well into his 70s, Romero still paints daily.

A long time activist, he’s a self-described visual historian and storyteller.

“Death of Rubén Salazar,” 1986, depicts the night the Los Angeles Times' first Chicano journalist was killed.
“Death of Rubén Salazar,” 1986, depicts the night the Los Angeles Times’ first Chicano journalist was killed.

I say he’s also a journalist and a feminist.

A woman shaman by Frank Romero.
A woman shaman by Frank Romero.

The fabulous museum opened in the mid-90s. Up until a few years ago, it only displayed art by Central American and South American artists. No North American art.

Los Angeles' car culture is another of Romero's frequent subjects.
Los Angeles’ car culture is another of Romero’s frequent subjects.

After decades of community pressure, a few years ago it let Latin North American art in.

Romero's reworking of artist Edward Kienholz's installation, "Back Seat Dodge '38."
Romero’s reworking of artist Edward Kienholz’s installation, “Back Seat Dodge ’38.”
Romero's depictions of old and present Los Angeles have helped define it.
Romero’s depictions of old and present Los Angeles have helped define it.

Only now has it gotten around to featuring a Chicano in a solo show. Romero is a great choice.

A more recent depiction of Los Angeles shows how Romero's style is changing. These days, he even paints in France.
A more recent depiction of Los Angeles shows how Romero’s style is changing. These days, he even paints in France.

Great things are alway going on at MOLAA. Sundays are free admission.

Just one of the many Frida Kahlo photos in MOLAA's latest ode to her.
Just one of the many Frida Kahlo photos in MOLAA’s latest ode to her.

Right now, in addition to Romero’s art, hurry over to enjoy a wonderful Frida Kahlo collection of photos and correspondence.

Museum of Latin American Art

Frank Romero in Wiki

Frank Romero in Los Angeles Times

Frida Kahlo in Wiki

A second Frida link and third Frida link.

I want to be John Oliver by da-AL

Yes, I do! I want to be John Oliver!

Sure, my husband would be horrified to wake up to John Oliver’s cheek resting on the pillow next to his. But he’d be laughing the whole time — plus he’d be continually totally amaaaaaazed by my spot on intelligence!

This first clip is catnip to get you to the one that follows. That one covers a subject dear to my former-journalist heart.

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

Hooked?