Thursday, July 22, 2010

Excerpts from Facebook on Shirley Sherrod episode

I am so tired of hearing all stripes of Republicans and Tea Party types spin their wheels looking for examples of so called "racism" on the part of African Americans. The truth is it makes them feel better to think that Black people are just like them, bigoted and narrow minded. It is a complete projection and fabrication on their part. Breitbart shut up!!!
about a minute ago · Comment · Like

Sharon Raphael I was thinking about what the next step for Shirley Sherrod will be. I think the likely move would be for her to turn down the job at Agriculture which sounds like a token appt. and for her to go on the speaking circuit at universities and non profits etc. and also to publish a book. Makes sense to me. Who am I to say though.

I am glad Sherrod received apologies and maybe even a big promotion at Agriculture.
However. this incident shows how backward
the politicians are when racial issues challenge their sense of a safe zone.
Remember when Clinton rejected a Black woman candidate for the Supreme Court because she seemed in favor of quotas in th.e South. ..
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Yesterday at 3:53pm via Facebook for iPhone · Comment · Like
Sara McFall Sullivan likes this.

This situation with Shirley Sherrod makes me so mad. I hope Sherrod is unfired immediately. How stupid all the way round both right wing and Dems involved. Accusing a good person of Black Racism against Whites when the reverse is true is not good sport. It is disgusting. I hope Vilsck is sacked if he doesn't correct his terrible mistake.

Sharon Raphael Toni Blankley and other conservatives are beating a dead horse when it come to the Shirley Sherrod episode. They try to defend the racist blogger who sent out the manufactured tape trying to say the NAACP
audience on the tape applauded when Sherrod said implied racist statements. I listened to the tape and feel they are making it up out of whole cloth. No one clapped, there were a few snickers as what she said sounded kind of funny, the way she said it .
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I mostly post on facebook now

I have to admit I mostly post on facebook now. I hope you check me out at Sharon Raphael on facebook. You will figure out which one I am. i do plan to make entries back here once in a great while. Sorry. I find facebook to be very interactive. Thanks for ak
Your support over the years.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Future is Now

This pic labove looks like my old Blue Roadmaster of the 50's.not exact but close enough. The colors are right. I rode that bike everywhere I could go in Cleveland Heghts, Cumberland, Cain Park, exploring gulleys and what was left of Severance Estate in Forest Hills and beyond.

I like what my friend Susan Wiseheart said when we ended our group session on Skype, "They told us this was going to happen, and now it is here" and I add "We are in it. The future is now".

The Past can be the Future: Here is a pic of me on my new 3 wheeler bike. When I was a kid I had a blue Roadmaster, two wheeler. Life comes full circle.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Musings on Life and Death of An Old Lesbian Friend

Mina and I attended a memorial service, actually a celebration of life of our friend and sister OLOC member Ginny Borders. Ginny died in March 2010 about three weeks ago from this writing. Ginny was 86 years old. We knew Ginny originally when we attended Women over Forty Plus meetings at our local Long Beach Lesbian/Gay Center in Long Beach. When I first met Ginny, she seemed like a pretty crusty old gal. I wasn't sure she took to us newcomers, Mina and me. But we kept coming and Ginny seemed to mellow toward us. We both found the group which provided a support group for mostly sixty plus Lesbians to be kind of cliqueish, also inaptly named but we figured the women had grown old together and never wanted to change their name still including a few younger amid their midst. Most of the women had been members for years. We were new, outsiders, rather new to Long Beach via S. Bay with many connections to the Los Angeles, Silver Lake, Hollywood LGBT community. Ginny hosted many parties for the group. She also worked along with us on a Long Beach Lesbian's (Gerri Schipske's) run for City Council and earlier the same Lesbian's run for Congress which she lost by 2 percentage points.

Some years passed and Ginny now in her eighties became slightly unenchanted with the group because as the oldest in the group or so it seemed, she felt she was being objectified and patronized, her perception. Ageism seemed to be rearing its ugly head because as some of the women in the group approached their sixties, even seventies, they became afraid of getting past the age mark of 80 that Ginny had already reached. She sought out another group that Mina and I were leading, a local OLD Lesbians Organizing for Change, a group that stands up against ageism both within and outside of the LGBT community. Ginny joined OLOC finding some solace there as so many of the women in the group were either in their eighties also or if younger very empathetic with the issues surrounding ageism and Old Lesbian issues. Ginny remained loyal to her original group and continued with OLOC too.

Ginny had a conspiratorial air about her when she talked sometimes, then you felt only the two of you existed and you both were about to embark on a secret mission somewhere unknown. Her blue eyes twinkled almost winked as you listened as she took you into some confidence with no real words at all. She covered her loneliness with a false kind of bravado that seemed to stem from being widowed so many years from the love of her life Corrine. They had been together 44 years. Ginny liked to flirt with women much younger than herself, younger but still in the category of old age. Someone asked her once, if one of these women took you up on your come on, what would you do. Ginny said she would "run".

At the Celebration of Ginny Border's Life, stories were shared. One woman stood up, her name is Maria, Maria had interviewed
Ginny for her dissertation and in the process Ginny told her how she came to be with her partner Corinne. Ginny and Corinne who was older by maybe ten years was working at a camp that Ginny attended when she was about 19 years of age. Ginny became very attracted to Corine and at one point asked her if she had a penis under there. Corinne said if you still feel that way after camp is over, come to where I live and I will explain it all to you. Ginny was still feeling that way and hurried over to Corinne as she was directed. When Ginny arrived finally, Corinne read to her from Radcliffe Hall's book THE WELL OF LONELINESS. Maria asked " Is that all it took?" Ginny's response was " I didn't need permission. I needed a definition." They stayed together 44 years until Corinne's untimely death from illness.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Firmin_Adventures_of_a_Metropolitan_Lowlife" Book Summary

Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage

When I bought this book it was titled something like A Rat's Tale but Firmin is the name of the rat so I guess the title changed to name of the narrator of the book who is a Rat. Or maybe I am wrong. I say who because this rat learns to read by living in a bookshop in a poor rundown section of NYC. Fermin is a philospher of life, a genius. This is a sad story about a world and a few people the rat comes to know or should I say observe or both. It is a love story too. It is the saddest book I ever read but I still love Firmin. I can say this was one of the best most profound book I have ever read. If you can take the painfulness of Fermin's life, it is more than a worthwhile read. When I bought this book in a bookstore in SF, the book was shaped in the form of a Rat. All the kids and mothers were drawn to the book and asked about it. I would just say this is not a kid's book. Not a kid's book at all but I can imagine reading it as a kid and understanding it and then later really understanding it.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, March 05, 2010

Who Does Sara Jessica Parker Think She Is? ( NBC episode)

I was caught off guard while watching the new NBC show and first segment featuring Sara Jessica Parker on the new series titled "Who Do You Think You are?" which helps famous stars track down their ancestors using historical and genealogical experts who work with each actor to uncover their long lost or unknown ancestors. Parker starts off saying her father's side is Eastern European Jewish and her Mother's side is of German descent. Both sides of the family are from Cincinnati, Ohio. Parker visits her Mother in New Jersey and with her Mother's help Parker gathers the names of all her grand and great grandparents and other relatives. In the course of looking at the names, she comes across an Anglo sounding name Hodge, later comes across a wife of a Hodge named Elwell. Turns out one of the Hodges in the late 1840's goes out West in search of gold and is written up in his local newspaper as dying in 1849. Parker is excited by this find and after a trip to Eldorado, California where she discovers this ancestor named Hodge dies of a disease that many miners searching for gold succumbed to around that same time, 1849 or 50.

Parker comes across other Hodges and also Elwells from New England. She goes to New England and discovers one of the Elwells is accused of murder during the Salem witchcraft trials period. She is relieved to discover this Elwell who is some kind of Great Great Great Great ... Grandparent never comes to trial and is spared as she is the last accused in the whole witchcraft episode and the cases come to a close just in time to spare this family member. Parker shares each new discovery about these ancestors conveying a sense of awe and excitement in the knowledge that members of her family were part of traditional history we all think of when we hear about the American experience. At one point toward the end of the episode she even says (paraphrasing), I never really felt like I was an American and now I do. She seems very proud she can share these names and facts about these so called very American ancestors with her children and that now their progeny will also know the true story of their family heritage.

I was surprised Sara Jessica Parker grew up thinking she was not really an American. I am Jewish on both sides of my family and I always felt very American and I am only second generation with grandparents born in the old country (Poland and Russia). Sure I did not feel I was part of the Anglo-Saxon America or Puritan America. I knew I was not descended from the folks who came over on the Mayflower or from those who rode covered wagons or plowed ground in the Midwest or New England. But still I am American, Jewish and born in U.S.A. which is quite real and no mystery to me. on the other hand, Sara Jessica Parker comes off somewhat ashamed of her Mother's seemingly all German American (Germantown,Cincinnati) background and her Father's Jewish relatives who are not mentioned at all in the broadcast. I say this because Parker was just too enthusiastic about finding that because one relative's line was old line Anglo-Saxon Puritan America, she was suddenly redeemed and rediscovered. She states "this experience has changed my life" and "turned everything upside down and inside out." So does that mean before she was poor Cinderella who suddenly finds the slipper of a Prince fits, The Prince being old line American Protestants, not German or Jewish. Nothing wrong with being descended from these old line families who had both good and bad in them like everyone else and who have gained enormous stature for being the first non Indians to claim this land of ours. The problem lies in the naive belief that Sara Jessica Parker conveys to everyone watching the show, maybe it is poor editing, that finding she is a true American and most of the rest of us are not is quite offensive and conveys a very wrong message to America and Americans alike. And another thing, Sara Jessica Parker should know better. I am hoping the rest of this series offers something better than I experienced as the Parker "downer". And by the way, I really admire Parker
as an actress, loved
Sex in the City
. I certainly expected more from her.

Sharon Raphael

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jon Manasse, my cousin, plays Mozart for Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Go to this website ( to hear Jon playing Mozart. Jon Manasse is my first cousin Helen' s son. Helen is the daughter of one of my Mother's (all 4 deceased) 3 sisters. They were very close especially in the younger years. I have always enjoyed his brilliant clarinet sound. Thanks Jon. I also have the disk of same. Jon teaches at Julliard and at Rochester University in the Music School. He graduated from Julliard. He often works with a pianist Jon Nakamatsu where they play as the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo. They are both co-Directors of the Cap Cod Chamber Music Festival. Manasse plays solo concerts around the world.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Interview on Lesbian and Gay Studies

Today Mina and I were interviewed by Dr. Susan Freeman, assistant professor of women's studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She plans to write a book on the history of Lesbian and Gay Studies courses and related symposums and workshops that were taught in the late sixties through 1987. I had a good time both preparing and doing the interview. I found some news clipping from a column MIna and I wrote in our college newspaper (CSCDH) now (CSUDH) titled Lavender Notes. We relayed the news of the day re Gay Liberation and Lesbian activism going on in the Los Angeles and wider communities. That was back in 1975. I taught a variety of courses starting around 1974 that focused on Gay concerns, i.e. Lesbian and Gay Communites, The Lesbian and Gay Experience, Aging in the Lesbian and Gay Communities. Last semester I taught my last course focused on The Life Cycle of Lesbians and Gays (Lesbian and Gay Aging and Health Issues) that was sponsored by the graduate Gerontology curriculum. I plan to retire in May so the powers that be are also retiring the Gerontology Program with me. It was a good run while it lasted. I think eventually Gerontology will start up again via the Sociology Dept at CSUDH.

One noticeable difference I noted between then and today after I read several installments of Lavender Notes was how much mo progressive we were and more open we were about explaining exactly everything going on in the LGBT communities which we knew. We talked about how Socialism was patriarchal and needed changing. We talked about the Lavender and Red Union of which we were supporters. We mentioned the first Gay Alcoholism treatment Center at GCSC. We discussed "coming out" issues and talked about both the risks and positives that could benefit those who came out on college campuses and beyond. We were very optimistic about what was going on in the activist communities. It was lovely to look back and to remember that once upon a time, a small group of LGBT people made great waves and changed their own lives dramatically as well as had a real impact on the world, we made our imprint not only in the minds and hearts of people but also reallly got to the soul of what we were about., making the world safer for all Lesbians and Gay men yet risking our anonymity and throwing off our horrid masks to get there.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Update Jan. 23, 2010

The rain ceased today. Our new front lawn grass is growing like crazy. I understand more rain coming next week. Mina is doing great, her wound is almost fully healed. She was interviewed by Arden Eversmeyer today for the OLOC, OLD Lesbian Oral Herstory Project (Archives).