Before You Use the “N” Word, Read This

On May 5th the United States and Great Britain celebrated V-E Day, Victory in Europe Day. On this day in 1945 the Allied forces defeated the Nazis in Western Europe.

Adolph Hitler and his Nazi war machine represented the most heinous type of evil that I can think of. How did this man acquire the power to commit these demonic acts and almost get away with it? If we look at history we see how Hitler manipulated Germany’s predicament after WWI to distribute his propaganda and work his way into the Chancellor position.

In 1919 the German Worker’s Party was founded. Hitler became a member in that year and because of his magnetism and oratory skills rose to lead the party. He soon renamed the party the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi).

The party organized for a number of reasons. They opposed the concessions that Germany made in the Treaty of Versailles after WWI, they called for the expansion of German territory and they established their anti-Semitic rhetoric.

The Treaty forced Germany to pay reparations for the destruction of WWI. This put Germany into a depression, and by 1923 Hitler thought the time was right to stage a coup on the Bavarian state government. The Beer Hall Putsch was unsuccessful and Hitler was sent to prison, but it brought attention to his cause.

When in prison he wrote his famous treatise, Mein Kampf, meaning “My Struggle.” This book became the bible of the Nazi party. Hitler outlined his belief in a superior Aryan race.

Hitler didn’t just target Jews.

Hitler’s primary target in creating a pure German race was to discriminate against the Jews. He blamed the Jews for losing WWI, and he saw them as capitalists controlling the German economy or communists seeking to enslave Germans. His discrimination crossed over to intellectuals, artists, gypsies, mentally and physically handicapped and homosexuals.

After getting out of prison Hitler decided to re-build the party legally by winning elections. By 1929, the party’s membership had grown to 180,000 using gauleiters (“district leaders”) to contest local, state and federal elections.

Hitler’s Nazi Party used the Great Depression to its advantage, exploiting the joblessness of the German people. With increased membership comes increased voting strength. In 1933, Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolph Hitler chancellor.

A dictator was born.

Elections continued to be further “influenced” by Nazi-Party tactics and in March, 1933 the Enabling Act was passed, allowing Hitler to issue decrees independent of the Reichstag and the presidency. A dictator was born, and before long the only party allowed to exist was the Nazis.

In 1935, Hitler enacted the Nuremberg laws, stripping Jews of their citizenship. Germans could no longer work for Jews, Jewish doctors could not treat Germans, and marriage between Germans and Jews was forbidden. “Jews Not Welcome” signs were put up making it difficult for Jews to buy food and medicine.

Once Hitler invaded Poland, his anti-Jewish policies escalated. Troops shot thousands of Polish Jews, confined them to ghettos and forced many into slave labor. Finally, the last phase was to exterminate the Jews by hauling them off to death camps. Over 6 million Jews had died by the time WWII was over.

The characteristics of Fascism.

Today, we hear the term Nazi being thrown around whenever some group doesn’t like what the other group is doing or saying. I hear it from both the Left and Right. I have a problem with this. Nothing that is happening today compares with what happened 70 years ago.

There is a popular grammar website called “Grammar Nazi” that I will not visit because of the name, and they use the swastika. Why would you want to associate your brand with such an evil and heinous time of history?

Before you decide to flippantly use this term, I would caution you to think again.

Remember what the Nazi Party represented and what it accomplished. Is what you’re comparing to the Nazis really that bad? I highly doubt it.

References:

  1. Nazi Party. Encyclopaedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/topic/Nazi-Party
  2. Nazi Party. History Channel. http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/nazi-party

True Confessions

Hello. My name is Jayne, and I am a gamer.

I started gaming with my first computer back in the early nineties. I had a four-year old and a one year old in 1991. I rationalized that getting a computer would jump-start their education, and having a word processing program would make my life much more productive. Gaming wasn’t a consideration back then, unless it was labeled “educational.”

We would have so much fun going to the electronics department to pick out a new game, I mean educational software. Underwater adventures counting fish, dinosaurs eating up the wrong words, just to get to the fireworks at the end declaring you won your certificate.

This was a wonderful bonding time for my oldest son and me as he sat on my lap watching me add 2+3 and then collect the gold at the bottom of the ocean floor. The bonding time wasn’t that long because playing on his swing set seemed more fun, but I knew we were building lasting memories.

Remember shareware?

As my son grew, we branched out and drifted away from educational games. We found ourselves victims of the shareware craze. It wasn’t long before we found the “Commander Keene” series. Since it was free and G rated, I let my son enjoy the game on occasion. Of course, when he had trouble, I had to be the one to “fix” the problem, meaning, get past the hard part. Pretty soon, I found myself anxious for his bedtime so I could have my gaming time.

Pretty soon, we found the game “Prince of Persia.” This game actually made my palms sweat as I tried to lead the Prince across crumbling floors to avoid spiked bottoms while fighting turban-clad guards with swords. I finally led the Prince to the princess, while my son proudly watched. That was a special moment for the two of us. I don’t think I could have done it without him cheering me on.

As my son got older we started to develop our own individual tastes in video games. I continued to gravitate toward the adventure; he liked the simulation games. Lucasfilms developed a couple Indiana Jones games, that I enjoyed while my son took to the “SimCity” games. This was a defining moment for us. I knew that we were drifting apart. Although he would occasionally play my Indiana Jones games to break up the monotony, I knew his heart wasn’t in it. The generation gap was starting.

On my 42nd birthday, I realized we would probably never share our love of the same computer games. My son gave me a very popular game that I never would have picked for myself. I didn’t like timed games. They made my nervous. I was a sophisticated gamer. I used my mind to solve puzzles, and lead my hero through mazes to reach his goal. I was exercising my mind; computer games were as good as crossword puzzles.

But there it was. The happy looking face of Flo smiling at me, and I don’t mean Progressive Flo. This was Flo from “Diner Dash.” I was supposed to seat, serve, collect and clean up all in record time. Oh, the rush when I got all-stars and the title of “Expert.” I guess you could say that this was the beginning of my time management period.

I dashed through “Dashes” and went looking for others. It was around this time I joined Big Fish Games. The days of waiting for your game to arrive from Amazon were over. You could download the game as soon as you decided what you wanted. This was nirvana. An instant fix. I went through all the “Build-a-Lot” games and a couple of “Ranch Rushes” but knew that I couldn’t continue at that pace. I soon developed MFF (Mouse Finger Fatigue). Was it time to hand up my mouse?

My television time was suffering, after all, and it was a constant battle to get computer time with two teenage boys in the house who needed their fair share of gaming time.

But my son wouldn’t let me disconnect from the gaming life. He continued to suck me back in. On my next birthday, he gave me a game called “Tropico,” introducing me to the strategy-based games. I got to be dictator and build stuff for my loyal comrades. How fun is that. I played through two versions of that game. If I couldn’t get two teenagers to do as I wanted, at least I could control hundreds of citizens on my little island.

Big Fish Games is a great way to enjoy a variety of games.

Big Fish has supplied me with cheap entertainment off and on for almost ten years. Most games are $10, and sometimes you can get them for half price. I fell in love with the “Mystery Case Files” games where you have to solve puzzles and find hidden objects. This was like being a kid again, reading the “Highlights Magazine” in the doctor’s office.

These days the industry offers a new alternative. Give the game away, and if you want something special in the game you can purchase it with game coins. “Farmville” and “Candy Crush”work like this, both of which I’ve played. I’m happy to report that I spent $5 total on the two games. I skipped my McDonald’s lunch for that week.

Although I am an avid gamer, I am happy to report that I have not mortgaged the house to pay for my game coin habit. This is an ingenious idea the gaming industry created. To buy a video game you usually pay between $10 and $50 and the game is yours; there is nothing else to buy.

This new idea of buying coins, diamonds or gold to spend in the game, keeps you buying. I read in a game forum where someone spent $300 on coins. As long as the game company keeps adding new levels, the game can be endless, and so is the revenue.

These days, I spend my free time traveling through the ages, building my city, raising an army and trying not to get plundered by the likes of Balls Chapped, Youbuttplug or Firecrotch90 in “Forge of Empires.” (Yes, those are real players, probably prepubescent boys or middle aged men still living with their parents. I can’t decide.) I am happy to report that I have yet to spend a dime for precious diamonds on this game. I prefer to save my money for the real ones.

 

 

Revolutionary War Women You Didn’t Learn About in School

“Remember the ladies.” In her letter dated March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams writes to her husband John, reminding him that women should not be considered second class citizens and to “be more favorable to them than your ancestors.”

I wonder if Abigail knew how much a role the ladies would play in America’s fight for independence.

I’ve always been amazed how this country came to be. I’ve read books about John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, watched numerous history series about the American Revolution, and visited historical sites. Every time I learn something about how we gained our independence, I’m more amazed that our thirteen colonies succeeded.

Our founding fathers were an extraordinary group of men, and plenty has been written about them. Some of their wives, such as Martha Washington and Abigail Adams also became famous. What we don’t hear about are the every day women who made significant contributions during the war. I must admit that I didn’t think about them until I started watching the AMC series “Turn: Washington’s Spies.”

By the summer of 1778, General Washington needed to know where the British troops were in New York and what their plans were. He realized the value of intelligence and appointed Benjamin Tallmadge head of the Continental Army’s secret service in November 1778. This new group of spies would be known as the Culper Spy ring.

Tallmadge recruited only those he could trust, his childhood friend Abraham Woodhull and Caleb Brewster who had served under Tallmadge in various major battles.

Among the members of the Culper Ring was Anna Smith Strong, Woodhull’s neighbor. She lived alone for most of the war, after her husband was confined to a British prison ship, and would use laundry hanging on her clothesline as signals for clandestine meeting locations.

Other women were in the infamous spy ring, but were only known as 355, the numeric code designated for a woman. These women supplied information to General Washington and played a role in uncovering Benedict Arnold’s treason.
Some women were known as floaters, “moving” information great distances, sometimes behind enemy lines.

Sybil Ludington was a female Paul Revere. In 1777 a rider came to their door with information the British were going to attack the nearby town of Danbury, CT. Her father was a colonel who had to prepare for battle. His regiment had disbanded for planting season. The rider was too tired to ride any farther, so the colonel sent his 16-year-old daughter to ride 40 miles, (more than Paul Revere) to spread word to the regiment. Almost all were gathered before daybreak. And she did it without a map!

It was easy for women to fall into the world of spying, but no less dangerous. Women were left at home while sons and husbands were off fighting. Many women worked as cooks and maids so it was easy to eavesdrop and they often had unrestricted access to officers’ and soldiers’ areas. Women were seen as innocent and non-threatening so it was easy for them to gather intelligence. They could easily report on supply levels, troop movements and troop numbers.

Lydia Barrington Darragh lived opposite the house where British Gen.William Howe conducted business. She would listen through the keyhole and smuggle out information when she could. When she learned of the planned surprise attack on Washington, she made up an excuse that the house needed flour so she could get a pass to leave occupied Philadelphia to get supplies. On the her way to Whitemarsh she ran into her friend Col. Thomas Craig. She relayed her information to him, and he relayed the information directly to Washington.

Some of the women left at home offered their homes as storage areas for contraband. Martha Bratton became famous for blowing up hidden ammunition and gunpowder before the British troops could excavate it.

There must be hundreds of stories like these that we will never know about. Every day citizens, doing what they could with what they had to help the rebels in the cause for independence. We don’t hear too much about the sacrifices and heroic actions of the every day citizen during the American Revolution. Sharing a few of these behind the scenes stories makes you see one more layer of our American history.

References:

  1. The American Revolution. National Women’s History Museum. https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/spies/2.htm.
  2. The Culper Spy Ring. History.com. http://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/culper-spy-ring.

 

 

 

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