Talk about doing the most with what life presents! Rashad McCrorey, our episode 39 guest, is doing just that.
McCrorey joins Planet Noun for another COVID catch-up. In this series, I’ve been chatting with past guests on Planet Noun—to find out how they’ve been faring during 2020, a year that’s been described countless times as “unprecedented,” and simultaneously likened unto a train wreck, dumpster fire, and a sh!t show.
McCrorey is a travel company owner who is new to Planet Noun. We connected via Instagram a few months ago.
His podcast preamble goes something like this: McCrorey went to Ghana on business—temporarily. But then COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, and then a national emergency in the United States, where he was born, so Rashad McCrorey decided stick around in Ghana after the first wave of lockdowns was ramping up. He’s still there, and joined me via Zoom to talk about his journey.
Well, let’s get to it…Meet Rashad McCrorey… on Planet Noun!
Thanks for listening to Planet Noun where it’s all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents.
Thanks again for stopping by, and do me a favor. It’s the end of a tough year, but there seems to be some hope in sight with the COVID vaccine.
Even so, it’s still rough going, so drop a kind and positive word to someone in your life whether it’s by email or you can slide into someone’s DM’s with kindness and encouragement—expecting nothing in return. Or if you know them IRL, a word via phone, voice note—just to brighten their day.
Welcome to Planet Noun where it’s all about the People, Places, Things and Ideas that teach us, prompt us to make a difference and do more with what life presents.
Episode 38 is another installment in the COVID catch-up series…I’ve been chatting with past guests on Planet Noun—to find out how they’ve been faring during this rough year…known as 2020.
This time, I’m catching up with someone I met a couple of years ago…at what was my full time job…. We met at an event in Washington, D.C., and I wanted to interview him for a story I was going to file with the radio station where I worked.
That’s where it started…and we’ve been chatting online about him coming on the show…then the pandemic hit….and at last… here he is!
Rodd Quinn’s his name…and I was intrigued because during the interview for work, I found out he was a traveling artist. Look…by now, you know that anyone who has the courage to follow their dreams — intrigues me!
Well, let’s get to it…Meet Rodd Quinn… he joined Planet Noun— from Laredo Texas…
Thanks for listening to Planet Noun and our guest was Rodd Quinn. Learn more about him and his adventures on social media:
You can find him at a couple of spots on Instagram:
Don’t forget to follow us on Social Media… Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There are links to those platforms in the side nav bars. We’re on SoundCloud–that’s one way you can listen to the show. You can also stop byApple Podcasts and rate the show. OHHHH, and we’re on Spotify now. That’s another place where you can listen.
Thanks again for stopping by!
Hey, do me a favor and you, too: Drop a kind and positive word to someone in your life–whether it’s an email, a social media message, a word via phone, a voice note—just to brighten another’s day…and expecting nothing in return. Even a smile works–and if you’re wearing a mask–smiling eyes will do!
Somehow, I don’t quite know how, a book about the Palos Verdes Peninsula titled “Time and the Terraced Land” ended up in my hands. Actually, I think it ended up in my dad’s possession when he made a visit to a brick-a-brack store when I was a teenager, I think. As an adult, I kind of lifted it from him to get more information about one of my favorite places on the planet.
If you don’t know where the Palos Verdes Peninsula is located, it’s in Los Angeles County, Calif., past Torrance and near San Pedro, Calif.
It juts out, as peninsulas are wont to do, in the Pacific, gifting folks with extraordinarily beautiful views—especially on clear days. This particular Sunday wasn’t the clearest one, but the beauty was still extraordinary…and enough where a healthy crop of people came out to enjoy the vistas.
This land has had plenty of visits from me—from peaceful, scenic drives, to stops by the interpretive center just near the Point Vicente Lighthouse, and pauses along the pathways there to listen to the waves.
On this particular trip, I parked my rental car and walked toward the fence separating walkers, joggers and whale watchers from a precarious fall.
A kind man named Desmond started telling me about some seals perched on a rock near the shore. He had some really super duper binoculars and he shared some of his views with me—along with a snippet of his story…see, his wife was with one of his granddaughters. And they were at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center.
In the mean time, I found out this man (hadn’t asked his name just yet) had traveled the world with the Navy, so he tells me, and was on this day out spotting sea life like dolphins (he let me look at a pod traveling north) in addition to the seals.
He also told me that he and his wife did things differently—formerly living in a boat in the area—and that they both love to travel and she, at the tender age of 52, he tells me, decided to become a flight attendant, which fell in line with their love for travel.
Folks had gathered there to see if they could be party, visually speaking, to migrating whale pods that move along the California shoreline during the winter months. While we didn’t have any luck with whale sightings, there was that group of dolphins we saw. Desmond engaged others who happened upon our little section of the fence, and then I noticed the group gradually grow larger as folks learned dolphins had been spotted out yonder. One of the dudes who was there with another lady and a dog estimated about 100 dolphins were swimming and leaping with the group.
After meeting Desmond’s wife and lively granddaughter, I decided to take a walk through the interpretive center. It had been some years since my last visit.
The center tells the story of the Palos Verdes Peninsula from prehistoric times and the indigenous people who resided there, to the era of the Ranchos in Alta California, to the history of Japanese Americans there, and the era of Marine Land, a marine zoo (akin to Sea World) which closed in the late 1980s, to the Fresnel lens of the Point Vicente Lighthouse which is on display courtesy of the US Coast Guard.
Whaling was also big business back in the day, and there’s a whaling boat as well as a display of an array of products used throughout the years that relied on parts of Baleen Whales in order to produce. From soap to toothbrushes, clothespins, and oils for various purposes.
The center also explains the dynamic nature of the peninsula, and the constant, albeit slow, movement of earth in the Portuguese Bend landslide area. The Bend is part of one of my favorite scenic routes ever, and I like to drive it when I can—just to see how the roads have changed and how much new road patching has been necessary to repair bumps and cracks that inevitably develop due to the constant movement of the earth there.
Another cool thing about the PV Interpretive Center—the awesome walking trails overlooking the ocean with a cool view of Catalina Island. That actually was two things…and the third? It’s FREE! Nothing better than the opportunity to experience grand views and learn something new for $Free.99!
That interaction was quite nice and refreshing, and here are some images from that day, as well as one of the view through Desmond’s binoculars:
Place: Point Vicente Interpretive Center
Address: 31501 Palos Verdes Dr W, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
In August of 2019 I had the opportunity to attend a wedding in the Bahamas. The Bahamas is such a beautiful vacation spot, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit this lovely island again.
I stayed at the Atlantis on Paradise Island. I wish I had more time to experience what they had to offer, but my time spent there was very enjoyable and fun.
As it turned out, Junkanoo was also being celebrated. Oh the joy! I’d told myself that I wanted to start attending Carnival and Junkanoo celebrations in the Caribbean, and look what happened.
What is Junkanoo?
“Junkanoo, a Bahamian national festival, is a kaleidoscope of colours and sound,” states this excerpt from the Bahamas Government website, which also summarizes the festival’s traceable origins, and evolution of its costumes.
“The rhythmic sounds of cowbells, goat skin drums and whistles, accompanied by an array of brass instruments, create a sweet musical beat that will move you; while brilliantly coloured costumes capture your eye, and bring much visual delight. This bi-annual cultural highlight takes place on Bay Street in New Providence and other Family Islands during the early morning hours, from 1:00a.m. – 9:00a.m. on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) and New Year’s Morning. Junkanoo can also be experienced on many celebrated occasions such as independence Day (July 10th). There is also a Junior Junkanoo Parade in December, held in New Providence.”
I was told by several locals that the parade in December is much bigger and that I should come back. Putting that on my bucket list. Have you ever been to any Carnival or Junkanoo celebrations in the Caribbean? Tell me about them.
February is Black History Month in the United States…a time to focus on the contributions and achievements of African Americans not only in the past, but to hear stories of those who are still with us, still writing their stories. George O. Davis is such a person. Part of his work involves helping to expose museum visitors to the stories of others.
00:43—Davis’s Pathway to CAAM ==========
22:23—Rundown of the museum’s features and a few current exhibits. By the time this episode drops, a couple of those will be on their last days. Here is a link list that includes information on the artists mentioned in this episode and exhibit dates:
SOMEWHERE IN THE DMV—Why in theeee WORLD does it sometimes take friends and family coming to visit before I venture out and about the these D.C., Maryland and Virginia streets?
When friends say they are coming into town and that they’d like to visit some spots around the city, that’s when I usually remember “OMG, I have zero idea what to show them!”
And then the internal questions: Should I show them this place? Should I show them that spot? Should I take them here… Or what about there? Will they think this is fun… Or will they fall asleep standing up?
That was a recent predicament before a pal of mine came to town for business. Now, lookie here: I have lived in this area for a decade. And when Friend conveyed a desire to see parts of the town, I drew a blank.
It’s that whole idea of living somewhere for so long, you eventually slack off on exploring new local terrain on your own…and when you do, it’s because family member or pal visits the area. Well, maybe this isn’t your issue, so I won’t put my -ish on you, lol.
After wheel-traipsing around the National Mall monuments in pouring nighttime rain, and with more showers in the forecast, looking into an indoor activity option seemed a better bet for our next brief jaunt. Driving around trying to see the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the MLK Memorial can be pretty awe inspiring past the Golden Time of Day, but isn’t the best during inclement weather. Washington Monument is best for a drive-by view… but one needs to walk up to the Lincoln and MLK memorials to get the full visual and inspirational experience. T’wasn’t happening that weekday night.
I’ve seen the Obamas’ portraits reproduced online, so it really didn’t occur to me to visit them in person. But I figured Friend would want to see them—and I was right!
So we had a National touristy mission: to see the images of POTUS 44 and Michelle Obama, get to the MLK memorial if it wasn’t raining too hard, and to the airport. But I’m not here to talk about all of that—just the Gallery.
The Portrait Gallery is located in the Penn Quarter of D.C., which overlaps with the historic Chinatown neighborhood. The Gallery is right across the street from a major Metro stop (Gallery Place/Chinatown) and across from the Capital One Arena and less than a mile from the National Mall. Its really easy to find… and a walk to the Mall might be nice for a spring day, sans rain.
Anyhoo, our mission at the Portrait Gallery was accomplished quick-fast, thanks to the greeters at the Gallery’s door—this older brotha and sista. He reminded me of a loving uncle who crafted creative cussing combinations—the same one who would offer me popsicles at each visit—even when I was thirty-damn years old. Brotha-Unc pointed us upstairs and to the right before we could even form our lips to ask. We all had a good laugh over that. Thanks, Brotha-Unc and Aunty-Ma’am.
Up the stairs and to the right—Brotha Unc’s directions were spot on… To the presidential portraits… and it wasn’t too hard to find a line of folks waiting to see 44’s up close—and to snap photos.
After taking in portraits of Bill Clinton, which is on loan to the museum (I really liked his), JFK, and quick-peeping those of Daddy and Dubya Bush, Jimmy Carter, and quick glances at folks like William Howard Taft and Ronald Reagan, it was on to Ms. Michelle. We left the presidential portraits through a pod of youth wearing MAGA hats, then through a diverse showing of humanity… up the stairs… to the right… and merging with a casually, but thickly scattered group—each person, dyad, triad or more waiting for turns to behold Michelle’s portrait.
The young-us sometimes say representation gives them life. Methinks I know what that means. I felt it when I saw the Obama’s portraits. It’s a buoyancy that allows the spirit to take flight and soar… or just stamps a cheesy grin or hallelujah shout into your soul.
Info: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Open 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. every day…well most days of the year.
If you go on Christmas Day, you’ll be SOL.
(Forgive me for that, Baby and Grownup Jesus…Amen.)
A one person play. Haven’t been to very many of these, and was a tad skeptical after accepting an opening night invitation to a production about the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
How in the world would a one-man play keep my attention for 90 minutes? I doubted it was possible. But I was open to the idea, else I wouldn’t have left home for Olney Theatre Center as the rain fell that evening.
Curiosity is what drove me through that rainfall. I wanted to see if I’d learn a little something-something new about the first black United States Supreme Court Justice. I had never seen a play about Thurgood Marshall. Never read a book about him either. Never have really done much study about him aside from Brown v. Board of education section in history books, and an occasional browsing of the Internet. Outside of that, my knowledge about this legal icon of the civil rights movement was paltry.
Didn’t know his first name was Thoroughgood before he shortened it to Thurgood.
Didn’t know he was married two times. Didn’t know his first wife died of cancer at age 44. Didn’t know they dealt with a few miscarriages.
I did know he went to Howard University because the University of Maryland law school didn’t admit tax-paying black folks because of their blackness. In place, ostensibly, was a separate but (not) equal facility for training black lawyers. Some tried to pass it off as good enough.
But it wasn’t. And Thurgood Marshall became a force of intention to change that by using the law as a weapon to achieve actual equal justice under the law instead of some oppressive, inequitable, pseudo-facsimile. After all, those words “Equal Justice Under Law” were (and still are) engraved into the front of the Supreme Court building.
The theater was cozy and intimate, and the actor who portrayed Marshall, Brian Anthony Wilson, managed to pull in this one-man-play doubter and convince her that even her (my) attention could be held for 90 minutes with one man talking the whole time.
And Justice Marshall’s theatrical mouthpiece reeled me in from start to finish. First he’s as an older gentleman, slightly lumbering and leaning on a cane, then memories spring forth along with a more animated, agile gait in tandem with lively words, Wilson-as-Marshall leads a trip back in time to his younger years.
Childhood in Baltimore.
Rejection by the University of Maryland School of Law.
Howard University Law days.
The footwork required to build what would become Brown v. Board of Education case.
Marriage and sacrifices.
His first wife’s death.
His second marriage and children.
Supreme Court appointment.
That’s a sketch of what the play covers in 90 minutes. However, there are so many events, solemn and defining moments, and slathers of good humor in between those lines. And a reminder, in my mind, that while the law can intentionally be used as a weapon to bring about justice for all, it can also be wielded, depending on the benched interpreter, as a weapon to roll back the march toward justice for all.
I hate to end on that depressing note, so I’ll end with a surprise:
As I left a post-play reception, I opened the doors on my way out of the main theater building. Two people were also opening the doors in the opposite direction.
Well, whaddya know? One of them was “Thurgood!” Or Brian Anthony Wilson. And he consented to a selfie! 🙂
Check it out Thurgood at Only Theatre Center! By: George Stevens, Jr. Directed by: Walter Dallas
July 19-August 20
Tickets: $55-$70. (Prices depend on selected day/time.)
Mark this event on your calendar, because it spans “from sea to shining sea.” National Park Week is your chance to partake in some of the United States’ national treasure sites, from beautiful natural locales, to spaces where a nation grappled over its past and its future, and pathways tread by those who sought liberty.
National Park Week runs April 15-23, 2017.
Visitors can enjoy free entry at every national park during the weekends that bookend National Park Week: April 15-16 and 21-23.
If you live in or are planning to visit Washington D.C., a newly restored National Historic Site will be open to peruse during the final weekend of National Park Week: The home of Carter G. Woodson, the man known as “The Father of Black History.” In 1915, Woodson established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History which is now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
Woodson purchased and lived in his home on 9th Street, Northwest near Q Street from 1922 until his death in 1950. Negro History Week, the precursor of Black History Month, was also established in 1926 while he lived and worked in this home.
The first of a three-phase revitalization project was being completed as Black History Month 2017 drew to a close.
“I know there was a significant amount of work done,” says Carter G. Woodson Home superintendent Tara Morrison.
Morrison says all of the bricks on the home’s facade were taken out, identified by location and catalogued. They were then repaired and placed in their original locations. Historic moldings, frames and decorative pieces were also removed, repaired an replaced. During the first phase of the restoration, fixing structural damage from natural happenings, such as the 2011 earthquake, were a first phase priority. Exhibit development and interpretation will happen during the next two phases.
Not only was the process of structural restoration a painstaking one, but Dr. Woodson painstakingly worked to increase popular consciousness about African American history, work which happened in this home on 9th Street, NW.
Woodson historian and author Pero Dagbovie describes it as a clearing house of historical information about black people.
“He would ship things to people throughout the country who would write him asking for materials on black history. Of course, it wasn’t like things are today where you can just go on the Internet and download anything you want. He singlehandedly launched this movement from this space…”
Dr. Woodson dedicated his life to this mission.
“I mean on average, they say he worked about 18 hour days and didn’t sleep a whole lot, and committed his entire life to popularizing and legitimizing the study of black history at a time when African American history in the broader American society and academy was not seen with great respect, and he used to refer to this movement, this black history movement as a life and death struggle, literally,” Dagbovie says.
Dr. Woodson’s home will be open on April 21-23, the final days of National Park Week. Space is limited. Call (202) 690-5152 to make a reservation, or visit the Carter G. Woodson Home site for more information.
Home is where the heart is, so said someone somewhere. Home can be here, there or everywhere at once. Warmth is what my heart-cockles feel in those special hearthy-homey places and spaces.
For me, home conjures a desire for a warmer holiday season—specifically Christmas.
Memories of Laker games, concerts, tennis matches and hockey…
Familiar sites along the street—using utility poles to visually hawk wares and services…
Chicken joints I never frequented, but recall folks in the neighborhood swearing those fried fowls were the business!
The liquor store along a familiar street from my youth. For better or worse, booze barns speak every language in every neighborhood.
A memorial to local legends, the Beach Boys.
Their childhood home in Hawthorne, Calif. was demolished to make way for “The 105” or Glenn Anderson Freeway. But some folks got together to to memorialize the location where they crafted some of their works. This group—one to help change the musical landscape and put everyday parts of sunny Southern California on the map in some ways. I grew up not too far from that area. Never realized how close! I literally caught a bus one block south of their home while traveling to the local Hawthorne Mall (which has since closed down).
By the time I was born, I’m sure the neighborhood’s demographics had either significantly changed, or were about to. The Beach Boys’ tunes struck my fancy as a kid after I started listening to an oldies station in our area. Their songs sounded so light and airy. Whenever I want to steal away to a carefree bubble, I put their songs on. Whenever I want to feel appreciated for being a California Girl, I play that song… even though I can’t help but wonder if, in those days, that vision of beautiful ones included young ladies who look like me.
When I am out in the field for work, I usually gather way more than enough tape than I need to turn a story around. What a waste if I don’t at least try to use at least some more of what’s gathered to tell more of the story.
That’s the goal of Extra Tape… even though I’m not using tangible tape to record anything anymore.
So let’s get to the story… The rector of a congregation in Silver Spring, Md. arrived to church and found hate-based messages written in two places on the church campus. Both messages read “Trump Nation whites only.” This congregation and its supporters and allies are pushing back with love:
Montgomery County, Md. Police are investigating what they call “hate-based vandalism,” and are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest or arrests.