Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

American Hate Crimes

This week Obama signed a federal law that makes it a crime to discriminate against gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people. It is unbelievable to me that this is happening in 2009 - that before this week it was somehow okay to discriminate and commit crimes against some American citizens. This beats the fact that it took until 1990 to stop discriminating against disabled Americans as I wrote about in my last post. The federal hate-crimes law already covers race, religion and national origins. Yet, in the same morning paper that I read about the new federal hate-crimes law I read that Hispanics in our area are accusing the local police of harassment. So I have an idea - let's pass a law that makes it a crime to discriminate against ALL - what do you call them? Oh yes, HUMAN BEINGS, that's it - when will there be a law that bans the discrimination of human beings?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Americans with Disabilities Act - Richard Pimentel

Have you ever heard the name Richard Pimentel? I hadn't until I watched a movie called "Music Within" last week. It's an amazing and true story of a man who almost single-handedly pushed for the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a young man, Pimentel wanted to make something of himself despite a horrific childhood. He had a gift for public speaking and debate, but ended up in VietNam and came back with tinnitus so bad (from an explosion) that he couldn't hear.He found it almost impossible to go to school or find a job. He met a man, Art Honeyman, with severe cerebral palsy who was smart and making his way through a world that treated him cruely because of his disability. There's a scene in the movie where they ask them to leave a restaurant because Art was disgusting to the other customers. They refused to leave and were arrested under the "Ugly Law, a statute that prohibited public appearances of people who were unsightly. I looked at my husband and said - that was only 30 years ago, but then the movie reminded me that the ADA was not signed into law until 1990! Before that time people with disabilities could be asked to leave public places or not even have a way into them, they could be denied jobs, be discriminated against in any way! Unbelievable isn't it?
Richard Pimentel wrote "Tilting at Windmills" a disability training program designed for managers and supervisors to work with people with disabilities in 1981.
"Music Within" is a good movie and a great story of one man's success and ability to make a positive change in the world.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Random Photo Saturday

Stella rolling in the grass - must be nice to be a dog...

Tinker's Creek Gorge in Bedford - a view like this is pretty rare in flat northeast Ohio. It was a misty night, but still a lovely sight.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coexist XXVII - America Divided

In my lowly opinion there is something wrong when someone becomes enraged because you do not agree with them - especially in regards to politics. Like bombing an abortion clinic and killing the doctors because you believe life is so sacred. Doesn't make sense. The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently ran an excellent coexist article by John Campanelli entitled "America's house is divided and we can't stand one another." It addressed the outbursts of rage that seem rampant across the country and on television. It mourns the loss of civility and tolerance for differing opinions. This bugs me too. Here are some excerpts:

Respect for an opponent's positions? Gentlemanly debate? Reflection? Compromise? Those values have been bulldozed by belligerance, name-calling, and most of all, rage.
Joe wilson shouting, "You lie!" at the president and Rep. Alan Grayson calling Republicans "knuckle-dragging Neanderthals."

A man at a Maryland hall meeting in August had a sign that said "Death to Michele and her two stupid kids." I wince just typing that.

Campanelli reports that there has been a return of over 50 militia groups in the past 18 months.

Fox's Glenn Beck has said he hates the families of 9/11 victims and that Obama is a racist with a "deep -seated hatred for white people" or MSNBC's Keith Olbermann who called President Bush a "fascist" "war criminal" and "idiot in chief."
"Beck makes $25 million a year- it really pays to use a lot of venom," says Richard
Perloff, professor and director of CSU's school of communication.

I don't know about you, but I taught my children, and I try to teach my students, RESPECT. Remember the old Aretha Franklin song?

"When moderate mainstream voters are subjected to the name-calling and never-back-down fury, something happens," says Julie Exline, a psychology professor at CWRU. "It reinforces that these sides are completely incompatible and that all people basically have to chose a side. . . People feel they have to chose because there seems to be no middle ground. All of this tends to foster a belief in us vs. them. It gets you to think about the members of the other group as being your enemy - a personal enemy of yours.

The article ends - Enrich yourself to other viewpoints, find common ground and catch yourself when you make generalizations about groups of people

That's all for now. I have more to come. What do you think?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wedding Dress Shopping

What could be more fun than shopping for a wedding dress? My future daughter-in-law was sweet enough to include me on her special day with her mother and sister and my daughter. She chose a dress - which is top secret of course, but just seeing all the dresses was quite a sight.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Michael J. Fox

I don't intend to make this blog a series of You Tube videos - but this one needs to be seen. Watch the whole thing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Grateful Apologist

Everything I need surrounds me
like a protective shell.
The sun drops on my day as I awaken,
and stays with relentless patience.

God is in your eyes and I can see
Him everytime I look at you.
My head has external music without my ears,
and love is inextricably knit around my heart.

A visceral peace arrives at unexpected moments,
one that can be found only in the human soul.
The world, fraught with danger
has passed over this house

leaving beauty outside every window,
as if God has lost control of His grace,
and let it move in its own tangents
with glorious abandon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

School Breakfast

Many, many children in my district qualify for free or reduced lunches and free breakfast. This year, since it takes a village, I am helping out with breakfast supervision some mornings, and I am appalled. All of the "food" is prepackaged and most of it gets thrown in the garbage. Maybe the kids have more sense than those who are supposedly trying to nourish them. Here are two of my observations. See if you can detect why obesity and malnourishment might be a problem in our country.

One day the children were given a package of two Pop-Tarts. Here is what it said on the label:
420 calories
22%of daily fat
14 gr fat
32 gr sugar
4.5 gr saturated fat

Today they had a packaged muffin:
310 calories
11 gr fat
2 gr saturated fat
65 mg cholesterol
310 mg sodium
48 gr carbohydrates
25 gr sugar

This is the garbage we are feeding them to help them learn? They shouldn't be fed any saturated fat. A breakfast of sugar and fat and more calories than I eat for breakfast going into little children? It's sickening to me. I'm hoping to find out where this food comes from. If these children are getting free "food" because they are below the poverty level - doesn't it defeat the point of charity when it's doing more harm than good? There is no kitchen in our buildings like the old days when lunch ladies actually spent mornings cooking lunch. But what's wrong with some toast, or an apple or cereal with milk? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Amazing Photograph

This is a photo by Pat Gaines that was in the Denver Post recently. It is a red tail hawk being harassed by a kingbird. To read more go to http://denverpost.com/news/ci_13452818.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I carry your heart with me

by e.e.cummings
(to my kids)

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope of mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)