Richard e Hill - a Writer's Journal


Richard-isms Dubbed "OB", the "Original Blogger", because of a web presence since the 1990s before BLOGGING was called Blogging.  Friends and associates were apprised of my travels, commentaries and adventures.
Perusal of the REFLECTIONS and FANTASTIC JOURNEYS depicts 'where I have been'. Analysis of the POETRY, COMMENTARY and COMPLETED WORKS would reveal 'who I am', and 'where I am going' is a step away. I have been married, presently terminally single, and successfully managing Depression while resisting the inevitable sentence of senescence

Location, Location, Location ---- It’s the Environment Stupid

Former slave Benjamin Banneker, now a freed man, an astronomer and a member of Andrew Ellicott’s survey team was lying on the ground, staring at the skies in 1790; plotting the constellation aligned borders of the federal district, Washington DC the new capitol of the fledgling independent nation. Ellicott had been appointed to command this project by First President George Washington relieving Pierre “Peter” Charles L'Enfant a French-born American architect and civil engineer, who had fallen into discord. The concept of a capitol that was independent of any State for security was conceived after soldiers from the War for Independence had rioted in the 1783 Pennsylvania Mutiny because of difficulties in receiving payment.

 CLICK for WORD of the DAY

 Election or Direction

Deteriorating disenfranchised urban farm enclave

Surrounded by white picket faces

Black youth harvested for local prison fodder

Or soldiers in faraway places

Gifted few are tokenly selected vetted

Tethered to haves elites

White politicians visit Houses of Worship hustling voting treasure

Clapping off-beat, singing off-key once more

Leaving empty promises for those with full needs

Who have seen this routine before

Vote no for Election ---- Vote yes for Direction

Richard e Hill ©



Ménage à trois:  Evil, Guns anLove 

(Remembering Orlando Florida) 


Staunch stained violets bloom no more 

tattered petals clinging to vase at destiny door, 


One last mirrored kiss before appetizer served with hatred 

billowed into tenebrous abyss, 


Evil force  preceded festive course 


Childless fathers, stripped away legacy 


Lavender scented gunsmoke waft from weapons of mass indifference 


Why must we endure these repetitive acts so inane? 



We just have ourselves to blame . . . . 


 When Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted Florida during the Easter season, of 1513 he referred to the land as Las Pascuas de las Floridas or Flower Festival.  He then began his quests for the mystical Fountain of Youth and treasures of gold ---- finding neither. 


Blacks are inexorably linked to Florida.  In the 18th and 19th  centuries runaway slaves found their way to the now Sunshine State.  Bonding with the Seminole to form the Black Seminole Nation, enduring  wars with the US and forced emigration to Mexico, the Bahamas and Indian Territories. Known for their tracking abilities and ferocious combat skills; they were the core of the original Buffalo Soldiers garnering four Medals of Honor. With this abridged backdrop, one may deduce the ire of the Orlando misclassified assassin was xenophobia against Blacks and Latinos. Most of the photos of the victims appear to collaborate this assessment. 


Although Ponce de Leon did not find the Fountain of Youth, have we found a spigot of respect or lack thereof, in this and other indignities 


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Who is Black - What is History?


As an American,cra Black with “cra” being my acronym for “commonly referred to as” ----  I find Black History Month somewhat confounding.  There are notable differences in opinions as to who is really Black and what is History.  Black History is replete with significant omissions and revisions in its politicized zeitgeist renditions.  For example, In 1831 Thomas Jennings dry cleaning process was the first patent awarded to a Black.


Aside from his business acuity and being socially respected among Whites and Blacks ---- he was the assistant Secretary for the 1831 First Annual Convention of the People of Color, decades before the NAACP was founded.. Thomas Jennings was at the forefront of the abolitionist movement and used his income to assist the downtrodden oppressed to improve their plight.  Among the legal fees he furnished was the defense fund for his school teacher daughter Elizabeth Jennings.


Feisty, articulate Elizabeth Jennings was Rosa Parks “going postal”.  Her diatribe laced physical confrontation with the Irish conductor on the “Whites Only” streetcar led to criminal charges, arrest and trial.  Her attorney was young Chester A Arthur whose well crafted 1855 successful defense enabled other lawsuits, the integration of the New York City Transit System and launched his political career.  He became President of the USA succeeding Garfield after the 1881 assassination.  The Port Arthur Transit Authority bears his name.  Elizabeth Jennings faded into obscurity and lost her infant son during the 1863 Civil War Draft Riots.  The Irish, major players in the insurrection, had a contentious position with Blacks as both competed for the lower rung jobs on the social ladder.


 Black History Month  ---- someone forgotten, someone omitted, both essential.



Memorial Day: Counting Casualties of War 

Civilians, the general populace are the punctuation marks on the pages describing historical conflicts.  These same pages chronologically annotate the activities of heroes, villains, rulers, warriors, and technocrats.  Military casualties are words read aloud ---- revered, memorialized. Whereas civilian casualties like commas and periods are silent though essential parts of contextual commentary.


Recently the number of USA Civil War military deaths was raised by demographers from 620,000 to 750,000 ---- some historians believe that total should be 200,000 more.  The civilian toll was not mentioned although further research disclosed it could be several hundred thousand.





Just a Minute Ago

“It was right here, a minute ago”, Grandma would say with a smile and quizzical look.  Then the smaller children and the toddlers would begin to hunt for the lost object; usually a pair of spectacles.  The older children and adults present would collectively “what again” sigh.  The object was found by a toddler in one of the usual places; on the arm of a large stuffed chair or on top of the kitchen table.  A cherished reward was rendered ---- a hug and a loud juicy kiss on the cheek.


Grandma forgot a lot of things, but remembered more.  Like when it is was time for Grandpa’s medicine.  A cake for the Church bake sale.  When to take a pot roast from the oven.  Ingredients for biscuits, cornbread and pastries.  Where your ticklish spot was.  When a helping hand was needed, because she was blessed and had more than she needed.


You constantly look for her because she was “right there ---- just a minute ago”.


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80 column punch card

The Census: But, Who's Counting?

In 1790 the cry went across the land “That all shall be counted” and the first of 23 Constitution Convention mandated decadal censuses was duly initiated.  Nearly a century later, the 1880 Census took eight years to complete and tabulate; the 1890 Census was estimated to take 12 ½ years for the burgeoning Republic using these manual door-to-door data gathering procedures.  Therefore a more efficacious methodology was in order.  Enter John Hollerith and his innovative punch card (iterations of this data collection device are still in use worldwide.  Remember the hanging chad in the 2000 Election Florida recount?) The Computer Age began with the 1890 Census which was accordingly completed in two years and the term “Race” was introduced.  Note: In February, next month a missive regarding Race would be disseminated during the personally disdained Black History Month. Briefly, this perceived Janus-faced discord is two pronged (1) The admittedly deserving presented selective nuggets re: Black Achievement and History are “surface mining” ignoring the intentionally buried minified rich veins, (2) Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month; et al implies the default value of History is Euro-centrically White.  The European explorers/conquistadors in the post-Colombian Age of Discovery did not bring Civilization to the New World ---- instead, they found Civilization.


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Columbus, UFOs and the 2016 Presidential Election

At 10:00 PM on 11 October 1492 Rodrigo Triana, a seaman on the flagship Santa Maria saw what appeared to be a giant candle veil, increase in intensity before ascending skyward.  He alerted Cristobal Colon aka Christopher Columbus of this phenomenon on or near Watlings Island in Guanahani off the main island San Salvador in the Bahamas chain.  This was one of several similar sightings recorded in the navigational logs of History’s most famous voyage to the often depicted New World.


The ensuing day Columbus when he saw the inhabitants of San Salvador did not utter “may the force be with you” or “take me to your leader” gleefully crying out instead, “miran a los habanos” (habanos or havanos  is Spanish for tan ones and they were not referencing cigars which have the same designation in modern parlance).  Columbus thought these inhabitants were Indios (Indians, the indigenous people of India) and his ships were south of China, the charted designation of the fleet of three ships (Nino, named for one of the co-owners of the smallest of the ships; Pinta, Pintada or “Painted One” humorously named for the hostess of a bawdy tavern / house of leisure seaman hangout (unfortunately the name stuck instead of Santa Clara) and Santa Maria, the winter mooring bay in Spain for these and many other ships).


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Sylvania MOBIDIC computer

Information Technology Pioneers

In the 60’s Fifth US Army Headquarters was located near Hyde Park in Chicago at 51stand Lake Shore Drive with information technology operations at the Data Processing Service Center at 1819 West Pershing Road in a building then known as the Quartermaster Building. Data processing at this facility used Electronic Accounting Machine (EAM) 80 column punch card based methodology that morphed into the magnetic tape based  large computer (32K; yes kilobytes!) mainframe world using a new software tool called COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language).  Eighty-five-year-old Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper who dedicated her life to the Navy passed away in 1992 on New Year’s Day; the pioneer Computer Programmer co-inventor of COBOL was known as the Grand Lady of Software, Amazing Grace and Grandma COBOL.  She'll be remembered for her now famous sayings, one of which is "It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."

Software Engineers aka Computer programmers including myself were her ‘love children’ because this simplified language facilitated design, development, and implementation.  Army personnel and accounting applications were converted from punch cards to COBOL mimicking basically the same “standard” EAM procedures until the Fifth Army Command Operation Budget (COB) was fully automated in 1965.  This system was a veritable case study of accounting application development, data collection, procedural documentation, user interfacing, and technical implementation.


IT Pioneers - Q & A
(Follow this LINK for the rest of the story)



Mothers Day has a fixed date in Baja CA MX, 10 May; whereas the USA celebrates the second Sunday in May.  The Cleveland Ohio families of kidnap victims; Amanda Berry, Gina De Jesus and Michelle Knight are celebrating their return.  Amanda Berry’s mother died brokenhearted three years ago before her daughter returned from captivity.

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The Face of Terror --- It’s Only Money 

Swedish innovative chemist Alfred Nobel, the holder of 355 patents invented dynamite to become the major armaments manufacturer after a lucrative enterprise of producing iron and steel. He established the Nobel Foundation which recognizes cultural and scientific achievement by bestowing achievers with grants. The prizes are usually annually awarded in ceremonies in Stockholm Sweden with the exception of the Peace Prize, which is presented in Oslo Norway. 44th USA President Barack Obama was the 2009 Nobel Peace laureate.

Oslo Norway, the City where Peace lives was terrorized on 22 July 2011.



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Gold, Olympics and Cinderella

 Fame, the glass slipper lost when time passes thru Fate’s hourglass. The charming conniving demagogues of commerce will not chase the mouse drawn pumpkin to woo anew ---- instead pursuing the well turned ankle of an attractive fresh arrival or someone with a longer curfew to trip the light fantastic while bestowing treasure laden tribute.  Fame though often rewarding is a starter’s pistol shot from inevitable demise leaving chroniclers to compare erstwhile champions with present. Such comparisons are useless fodder for self serving debate on barstools or media settings.

Why? The parameters of sports constantly evolve as equipment, playing surfaces, rules, training regimen and of course performance enhancers are injected (pun intended) into the discussion.

Even transient fame is parceled unevenly ---- enter Jesse Owens, considered by many as the greatest Olympian ever as none endured the obstacles Owens had to hurdle (I can’t resist a chance for a pun). The star of the politicized 1936 Berlin Olympics was unjustly denied the acclaim due. Beginning in college at Ohio State University where he was not awarded a scholarship because Ohio State at the time did not give athletic scholarships to Blacks.  Owens did not receive on campus housing because Ohio State did not grant on campus housing to Blacks. Owens had to work to pay for his tuition and housing.  The 1936 Olympics highlighted, buried and propagandized these injustices still unknown to most.

The Adolph Hitler alleged snub is also misrepresented. This is not intended to defend Hitler, a drek stain on the annals of Civilization ---- the genetics experiments imposed during the twentieth century Holocaust were a repeat of the 1890s travesties imposed upon Blacks in Africa. Hitler was banned by the Olympic governing body from shaking hands and congratulating ANYONE after he had been previously congratulating German athletes only. Historians differ on the opinion whether Hitler was even present during any or all of Owens’ accomplishments. (He was a little preoccupied with plans for world dominance at the time.)

Noteworthy, Owens was permitted to stay in the same hotel as White Olympians, something he could not do in the USA. Owens had to use the freight elevator in the rear of the hotel to attend his own reception in New York.  By the way, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, FDR in the second of his four elected terms in 1936 did not invite Jesse Owens to the White House or shake his hand either.

While giving belated recognition, let’s not overlook some of the notables that finished second to Owens beginning with Ralph Metcalfe, who became a Chicago Alderman and US Congressman (my late father ran track against Metcalfe); UCLA legend Mack Robinson, the older brother of UCLA four sports star, baseball icon Jackie Robinson; and Lutz Long. WHO? Lutz Long was an Olympic long jumper who befriended Jesse Owens, giving him the tip that prevented Owens from committing the foul that would have led to elimination as he had fouled before. Ironically Jesse defeated Lutz and took the long jump Gold as Lutz then took Silver. Lutz Long was a member of the German Olympic team.  Another notable was NFL pioneer Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard, who took Bronze in the high hurdles.

Was Nazi superiority debunked?  Germany took 89 officially sanctioned medals (101 overall). The USA was second with 56 medals in 1936.

When pundits nostalgically recall the Berlin Olympics, it is real “feel good” patriotic story ---- if you omit the indignations suffered by Jesse Owens and the propaganda. 

Cuba Then and Now, When Blacks Were Republicans

In 1898 victory was within grasp for the Cuban revolutionaries as the nearly 100 years quest for independence from Spain was almost in hand.  Spain had quelled all previous attempts until the Ten Years War (1868-1878) gave rise to Josè Martì and his lifelong friend Afro-Cuban General Antonio Maceo Grajales a renown military strategist.Although Spain prevailed in the Ten Years War, the cloak of invincibility had been removed.  Journalist, composer, poet, and patriot Martì traveled abroad to raise funds and conscience. 

The well documented cruelties of the Spanish forces under General Valeriano Weyler known as the Butcher had to be purged. General Maceo organized an efficacious military. The regular revolutionary forces led by Dominican General Maximo Gomez with Afro-Cuban General Calixto Garcia in charge of the rag tag insurgents had turned the tide.  The strains of the Martì anthem of the revolution, "Guantanamera" reverberated as the coup de gras, the advance to the Capitol, Santiago began.

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Cuba Then and Now, When Blacks Were Republicans.



Tale of Two Georges - General Washington vs King George III

The two leaders clashed when the fledgling republic later known as the United States of America sought independence. But, whose War was it anyway? The populace in England was growing weary of the impudent brood across the pond ---- besides, the vast Empire was having enough problems with ongoing conflicts with France and Spain.
Washington was two years older than King George and both were cloaked in affluence ---- GW agriculture/commerce and KG3, royalty. After a distinguished military career GW was enjoying the perquisites of being wealthy and having as his wife, the widowed cherubic Martha one of the richest women in America. When the call to duty needed to be answered, GW planned to emulate the legendary Roman emperor, Cincinnatus known for his efficiency in actions and short reign as emperor.

Benjamin Franklin´s wife Deborah entering his study to find him in a compromising position with a comely young maid exclaimed, “Ben I’m surprised at you!”

 Venerable Ben replied, “My Dear you were amazed ---- I was surprised.”

 America’s first postmaster, premier scientist, inventor and statesman could then add the linguistic science of semantics to his long list of accomplishments.  Semantics, utilizing the most appropriate word or phrase.

Words like mores evolve with zeitgeist.  Say it politically correct, render an apology, and consider counseling ---- then most indiscretions are usually placed in abeyance pending further examination before fading into texted, trending obscurity.  The omnipresent global specter of Racism is a case in point as Nation State after Nation States “apologizes” for prior and present misdeeds

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What Jackie Meant

“Jackie”, Jack Roosevelt Robinson placed the doorstop into the egresses of social economics to make integration the rule rather than a temporary politicized compromise. There had been Blacks with respect to political correctness, African Americans in organized baseball and other sports as late or early as the turn of the twentieth century. Bigotry, first among a select group of power broker owners and later a megalomaniacal czar-like commissioner, Kennesaw Mountain Landis decreed that “a baseball was white and so shall be its domain“; acting and administrating accordingly.


Jackie’s older brother, “Mack”, Matthew Robinson also a UCLA multi-sports star finished a Silver Medal second to Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympics 200 meters event. Chicago matriculated “Fritz”, Frederick Douglass Pollard at the age of 42 garnered a Bronze Medal in the high hurdles in this pseudonym, Hitler Olympics.  Fritz, the first African American participant in the Rose Bowl was a charter member in what is now the National Football League ---- later becoming the first Black owner, coach and quarterback in this organization as well.  Mack, Fritz, Paul Robeson, Duke Slater, Woody Stroud, Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Satchel Paige; et al were sports dark clouds and breezes filtering through color-coded cracks ---- harbingers of the maelstrom Jackie Robinson.


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Honorable Nelson Mandela

CLICK the photo for . . . .

The poem by R e Hill honoring Dr Mandela was performed by international activist Ginger Lee Dread who said "I  pray you don't mind.........I used your poem ----"

Gingerlee directs "Vote intelligently, “we must satisfy the following questions: is the candidate's idea of governance and leadership desirable, new and progressive? Is the candidate trustworthy and ethical? What leadership qualities does he/she have? Is the work accomplished and voted on, done for the people or for self interest?

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning, the devil says, "OH CRAP, SHE'S UP"!"




“The Plane Boss, the Plane” was the opening line delivered by Tattoo, the diminutive television character played by veteran actor Herve Villachaize as another episode of “Fantasy Island” starring the dashing leading man Ricardo Montalbon began.  Times and plots were simpler. The leading women were zaftig with big hair and tight haute couture, the leading men were articulate and stylishly cloaked or politically incorrect buffoons with disheveled Peter Falk’s Columbo being the exception proving the rule.  The bad guys were sleazy camp with plot appropriate foreign accents as television was by and large the moral wasteland Newton Minnow depicted despite being monitored by a self-described pristine government.  Contemporary zeitgeist has arrived at the depths of depravity forecasted where snitch and tell, point and click, acronym, theory based journalism has replaced insightful investigative presentation as corruption abounds everywhere.

 There are thousands of airplanes that “disappear” under mysterious circumstances every year.  The Malaysian Flight MH370 with 239 passengers is the ninth classified major mystery beginning with Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan in 1937.  Where is a sky watcher with a camera phone when you really need one? 


Are You Sure about Insurance?

PPACA or ACA, the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act has received abundant media attention.  As a charter member of the digerati there exists the temptation to “pile on” and offer my fifty cents worth of criticism.  Once such opinions were referred to as “two cents worth” ---- but inflation has raised the value.  Criticizing is easy but judging by merits requires effort and thorough examination.  The division of the project into multiple responsibilities is akin to the adage that “a camel is a horse designed by a committee”.   Absolution of blame takes precedence over solution of problems in these instances.

The self-indulgent calls for consulting and assistance by “experts” in large system development such as Amazon, EBay; et al are implausible.  Rhetorically, who has more experience in developing large systems than the US government?   Conveniently forgotten are the glitches and anomalies that these paradigms of online commerce experienced in inception.

Whenever major systems involving large files have to be constructed and interaction of these data bases are essential, the initial iterations are “relatively slow” and burdened with processing anomalies.  As these files are vetted and linkages accurately managed, processing becomes more efficacious.


(CLICK photo to hear / see Chet Baker play)


Finding Chet Baker: Depression

Lately the Jazz stations have been featuring Chet Baker instrumental recordings.  Chesney Henry Baker though not a scholar was born in Yale ---- Yale Oklahoma.  He saw Yale frequently in his career ---- Yale locks on a prison cell, as the numerous drug related arrests would attest.

I was still developing my “Jazz chops” in the 60’s during one of the peaks as Chet Baker had an up and down career due to this addiction.  To me the haunting vocal inflections seemed to be as someone who was searching.  Again a condition I could relate to in exorcising the demons of Depression.  A friend remarked about my condition, “I don’t have Depression; I give Depression” ---- I respondedthe truth only hurts if you allow it to do so”.  Blond, blue eyed Chet a Hollywood “bad boy” in the mold of James Dean, Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando, appearing in both musical film shorts and features could have had a career in motion pictures opting instead for Jazz.  A gifted trumpeter, though more critically acknowledged as a vocalist ---- the signature recording of “My Funny Valentine” depicts both talents.  A typical pose would be Chet in jeans with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the left sleeve to the shoulder. A perpetual hit on the starlet, socialite circuit as the sexy Renaissance man before the term became popular.  The more liberal drug laws in Europe were more suited for this lifestyle.


(For rest of story CLICK link) 



Mexico Independence: An Intoxicating Experience

Exotic drugs, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco and the like; pale in comparison to freedom as an addiction.  Just one sip of this metaphorical elixir creates a life risking craving.

“Long live independence! Long live America! Away with bad government!” On 16 September 1810 Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla aka el Cura, or Father Hidalgo shouted “el Grito”, the words of protest in Dolores, Guantajuato against the imperialist control of Spain over Mexico; the Revolution effectively began, ending on the 21st of September 1821.  Iterations of this utterance are reprised at 11:00 PM on the 15th of September to commemorate the independence of the Republic of the United States of Mexico. Aligned with patriots including Allende, Aldama, and Abasolo the eleven year battle for freedom ensued although Father Hidalgo was a tragically betrayed casualty in 1811. Despite his early demise during the conflict, he is recognized as the Father of Mexico as George Washington is in the United States.

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Hear one of the greatest speeches ever CLICK the MLK PHOTO