Sunday, December 10, 2017

Abortion Politics in Alabama


Logic, rhyme and reason have all left the state when it comes to abortion in Alabama. And I don't mean abortion per se; I mean "abortion politics." Make no mistake: None of this is honestly about abortion and it surely isn't about seeing to the rights and well-being of newborns. Both our laws and our record on such things as childhood poverty, infant mortality, healthcare and education all prove that one.

People in these parts get so riled up about abortions, they can't see straight. Some politicians, we are going to call them "abortion politicians," most notably the ones who don't have a logical platform to stand on, can't tell you one good thing they are going to work toward, and have a past that would make Mae West blush, routinely use the abortion issue to get people riled up against opponents to whom they can't hold a candle and don't have a chance beating this side of Hades in a real debate on real issues.

Not a platform to stand on? No problem. Yell, "Abortion!" Abysmal record? No problem. Yell, "Abortion!" Questionable behavior? Not a problem. Yell, "Abortion!" Really seriously questionable and abysmally immoral behavior? Yell, "Abortion! Abortion! Abortion!"

The special Alabama Senate race has taken the whole thing with abortion politics to entirely new levels. These abortion politicians have been keeping that abortion ball rolling, Kayla Moore, Roy Moore's wife, coined a brand new abortion term, "full-term abortion," just for her husband's campaign against Doug Jones. Not that it had any basis in reality, but it was surely a good play. It got folks riled up real good and they are still talking about those full-term abortions, which still don't have any basis in reality.

Not to be outdone, a copy and paste post flooding social media began by stating, "Doug Jones is not just pro abortion ... he is pro-late term abortion .... up until the time that the baby is outside the womb."




Let's take a minute here. If the baby is outside the womb, it has already been born. There goes that logic and reason again. In addition to federal standards, set by the Supreme Court, the different states also have guidelines. Ours is Alabama Code Title 26. Infants and Incompetents § 26-22-1 

I am not a lawyer, but from my understanding of that code, it is illegal to perform an abortion in Alabama if the fetus is to the point of viability. Different states set that point somewhere between 20 and 24 weeks. One point is clear though and that is that if the fetus is able to survive outside the womb, it is an illegal abortion.

Doug Jones said that he believed in following the law when it comes to abortion and he was clear on that. This thing about full-term and outside the womb abortions and twisting his words in a knot is at its very best a pile of abortion politician malarkey.

The Real Opponent

 

So what is going on here? In the current special election in Alabama, we have Roy Moore and Doug Jones running for the U.S. Senate seat that was left vacant when Jeff Sessions accepted the position as Attorney General under President Trump.

Roy Moore is mostly famous for not quite believing in equality for all. Since this discussion is abortion politics, I am not going to go into all that here. A nutshell is that he has made national news repeatedly because he did not  think that some group was entitled to equal rights under our laws. That includes discriminating against folks who have religions that are different from his, not believing that women deserve the same opportunities, not believing that those in the gay community deserve the same opportunities, including same-sex marriage, serving in the military, and the list goes on to include matters of racial equality.

Regarding all of these things, this has absolutely nothing to do with whether I might agree with any single person's choice of a lifestyle. However, one thing that I believe very strongly in is that we should all be treated equally under the law. That is a core American value and that one little detail is where I, along with a whole lot of folks seriously do not agree with Roy Moore.

If you are going to take a job in which you swear to uphold the Constitution and equality for all, then you need to be upholding the Constitution and supporting equality for all. If for some reason or other, you don't believe in equality for all, then you need to be getting another job, which is pretty much why he lost the jobs that he had in the past that related to upholding the law with equality for all.

The other thing that is very curious about all this is that, as a judge, for reasons that are perhaps now obvious, Moore has a very soft record on prison sentences for sex crimes. In the meantime, he was sending people to prison for refusing to obey whatever given law while he was breaking his own set of laws regarding equality. So what do you when questioned on such a matter as your belief in equality and upholding the laws that you have sworn to protect? Much less why you are breaking them. You yell, "Abortion!"

As to Doug Jones, the best I can tell, he never has made a whole lot of noise. He is not a grandstanding kind of person. He is a lawyer and served as a federal prosecutor, most famous for bringing the Klansmen to justice who were responsible for bombing a church and killing four little girls back in 1964. I have never heard a single thing that would come close to a smear on his character. Nothing. Not one iota. Just a smart hardworking man who not only believes in but also will work for equality for everybody. Coincidentally, if you hurt little girls, he is going to put you in jail. And he has spent his career doing just that.




So what is Moore to do when he is running against Jones, his integrity is questionable and his ability to uphold the law has been shown many times over to not be exactly where it should be? He yells, "Abortion!"

This happens repeatedly in Alabama. At the very least, it changes the subject, which is very often the only reason it was brought up in the first place. Things get mighty uncomfortable when you throw in the part about Moore being a mall stalking pervert that hit on teenage girls. I don't blame him for wanting to change the conversation.

And the thing is, it works. At the mention of abortion, people forget all about those very serious and important issues that were once part of the discussion.

Real Issues


Now, I am not saying that abortion is not a real issue. I am just saying that it is to the point that abortion politics are more an issue in Alabama than abortion ever was.

A recent headline, "Moore using Abortion to Shame Conservatives into Turning out to Vote for Him," nails it. That is exactly what he is doing and what so many politicians have done before him. If there is not a logical reason why anybody in his or her right mind would vote for you, play the abortion card. And these folks have it down to an art.

I am not buying any of that. Anybody with half a lick of sense knows that the best way to do something about the number of abortions is to nip it in the bud, before there is ever a problem. Make damn certain that every single person who is old enough to even halfway consider making whoopee has access to good, dependable and affordable birth control and that they know how to use it.

Do Something Real about the Abortion Rate

With today's wealth, technology and infrastructure, we have a real opportunity to reduce the number of abortions, not just in Alabama, but throughout the entire world. However, every time real progress is made on that, somebody starts lamenting that some poor woman somewhere might be making whoopee on somebody else's dime.

Folks get all riled up at the very thought that a poor person who has no means to afford birth control might engage in sexual intercourse, and they cut the funding and pull the access to the birth control, which increases the number of abortions all over again. You can't have it both ways. Either you do something about the abortion rate or you don't. None of this, but, but, but… poor women ought to be buying their own birth control. I am not even going to argue that they should be buying their own birth control, of course they should. 

Put Up or Shut Up


What I am saying is that if folks honestly wanted to do something about abortion, they would. Cut the highfaluting hoity-toity moralizing. You either do something real to cut down on the number of abortions by putting birth control where it is honestly needed or you shut your mouth. It is way past time to either "put up or shut up" when it comes to abortion.

I don't see that happening any time soon though. How could these abortion politicians convince folks to vote for them when the abortion card is the only thing they have going for them? And I do mean the only thing. The most ridiculous thing of all is that it works and now we have a mall creeper pervert arguing the abortion card. Everybody in town knew that he was a mall creeper pervert. I used to work at a mall. No. Just no. I sure know better than that malarkey.

That's my two cents. What's yours?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gone Political



The blog here, formerly named Regina Garson’s Blog has gone political and renamed to accommodate My Two Cents (commentary on politics, social issues and life). My original blog is not gone though. It has been updated,upgraded, expanded and moved to my ReginaGarson.com domain site, which used to be my author page and writing portfolio. It’s all still there. It has merely been rearranged and this Blogger Blog site will now be the home to My TwoCents, political and other commentary.

In the meantime, I’ve definitely been busy.







Connect with Me!


I have a brand new writing group on Facebook, Writing in the Digital Age. Writers at every level are welcome.

What used to be my author fan page on Facebook is now a hub for networking and talking shop for writers, editors, and social media influencers. Drop by to chew the fat if you take a notion.

My Y’all Facebook page focuses on Southern life and culture. It’s just to kickback and have a little fun, share a laugh. 

Twitter is rocking and there is a little bit of everything there. I do follow back.  My handle is @ReginaGarson

Although I lagged behind some, I am now on Instagram as well. Be sure to follow me there, my handle is reginagarson.

Like just about everybody else who loves to cook, I'm pretty active on Pinterest too these days. Feel free to check out by boards. In addition to recipes, my various musical involvements tend to pop up there. ReginaGarson on Pinterest.

That is it for now.

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Don’t forget to check out my new blog site: Regina Garson’s Blog.







Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Short of a Political Resume

By Regina Garson
Short of a resume, this is a brief overview of my political related experience. Why I suddenly feel the need, I don't know. But I do.

My first experience going deeper into politics was after I had finished my last degree (BS Behavioral Science and BA English, double major), at Athens State College, now University (my first degree was in Advertising/Communications from the University of Alabama).

Anyway, early on, I had the opportunity to do some writing for one of the major minority publishing companies. I actually did some writing for a couple of them. My Behavioral Science curriculum was a split between sociology and psychology, so it was right in line with what I had been studying in school. With the way things were in the area where I grew up, which was just south of Birmingham, Alabama, during the Civil Rights Movement, I was excited to be able to do some work covering race issues. It was at this point that I started to go deeper on both social issues and politics and I also started to learn how the media worked on the coverage of the various social and political issues as well.

One of my regular assignments was to pull the news from the wire service. We had a set number of stories that I would pull every day on a given topic. My area was women's issues (employment issues, pay, benefits, sexual harassment, related political issues, etc.). So I'd go through and see what the news service had on that topic and pull the ones that I felt were the most important for the site.

One of the first things that I learned was that no matter how important a story might be, we could only run so many stories a day and sometimes things that I really did think were important would not be run because they didn't precisely fit what I was supposed to be pulling or there were no more news slots that day. So you always had to be thinking about which was the most important story to cover. I learned real quick that there is a whole lot more going on than people get in their daily news. That is true even when they try hard to keep up. There is more than one reason for that though, which I will not go into at this point.





Also, on both the writing and as a managing type editor, I covered various worker related political issues, a lot of Department of Labor related, race issues, women and minority equality issues. I  had the Asian American beat for a while, which has its own group of race issues entirely. Race issues aren't always what immediately comes to people's mind. We did some major work on WWII related race issues as well, things like the Japanese Internment and the Nanjing Massacre.

Oh the things you learn along the way, how about that camp they had in Tennessee, just in case they needed to exchange a few Jews for US POWs. Whatever work you do, you learn a thing or two that you never would have known if you hadn't been doing that work. A lot of mine had to do with politics and social issues. I went through stacks of books and articles on the subject and, of all things, ended up auditing a course on Chinese history for background before I was finished with one group of assignments.  Another time, I audited a course in Southern Sociology for some stuff I was writing. That is in addition to working toward my degrees and whatever other research I had to do to write a story or figure out what needed to be written, since I also assigned out stories.

During all that, I was mostly a pretty conservative Republican, but after a certain amount of time spent working with and covering all this stuff, I slowly migrated to the other side. Kind of like a know too much to go back kind of thing. I spent too much time way too deep in those issues. I am surely not the first person who has ever changed their mind on a political party.

Along the way, I took a trip to lobby in Washington on women's equality and workplace issues, at the Women's Equality Summit. I made it to a couple of those famous DC parties and I even got to hear Hillary Clinton talk, now that was something. I am not certain if I was more amazed at her  or being in a a situation to see how all that security comes together for somebody at that level. Anyway, it was all an experience to start to get my toes wet on how at least a few  things work in DC. I surely do love that town, any chance to go back and I have always been ready for more.

My main feminist area of interest had to do with childcare issues, especially regarding the hard time young working women and families have getting by with the cost of childcare. A lot of countries actually do a whole lot better than we do in the US on that one and young families especially do a whole lot better financially as a result. For a while, that was one of my areas of major political effort and coverage. I always felt like changes in that area would make a lot of difference in a lot of people's lives, but it has never been a trendy issue. Preaching about issues that aren't trendy and nobody wants to hear about no matter how much good some changes would do is something else. Oh well. Ivanka Trump is interested in that issue, hopefully she can get somewhere on it.

Although I have done other along the way, my next major political focused writing was with Forward Progressives, mostly covering national politics (see Regina Garson at Forward Progressives). Although I have slacked off on the writing credits somewhat lately, I pulled a lot of my daily commentary to Facebook instead. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I am not so sure. I still have my own blog though, and I have been transitioning this one into more of a political focus.

In the interest of consolidating, day jobs and all that, I had meanwhile pulled a lot of my daily commentary to my personal Facebook page. That might not have been such a good idea either, since I really did try to welcome and encourage bipartisan discussion. The discussions can get quite lively at times, you are welcome to follow me there if you are so inclined. It's a mixture of politics and personal and a lot of people follow me there for the politics.

I am also politically active on Twitter. https://twitter.com/ReginaGarson

In addition to the above, I have also done a fair amount of writing on issues relating to the war on drugs and marijuana prohibition. some amount  educating folks on the war on drugs in general as well. My off line efforts in this area included an internship/practicum at Bradford Parkside Outpatient Addictions program. I have done just  a little speaking out on marijuana prohibition and the drug war related issues as well. Back in the day, I also took training and certified as a paraprofessional counselor, volunteered for a while with our local crisis services. That was in addition to the online resources that I developed and maintained for years. So I have various perspectives on the related issues, politically, as a writer/publisher, in the community and in my daily life.

After a tech writing gig in support of the NASA Ares program, my interest in space and space development continued to increase and I have done a pretty fair amount covering politically focused space issues as well. I was involved with Huntsville Space Professionals for a while and made it to DC for some space related efforts as well.

In the last few years, I decided to take my political involvements beyond writing and have been involved in area political efforts. If there is a town hall, forum or other political meeting nearby and I can make it, I am generally there.

Well aware that as hard as you try, you can't learn everything you need to know about life from books or even the Internet,  I also felt the need for some face-to-face training. In the last couple of years, I have attended political training in Montgomery, Alabama, a couple different political training sessions at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), and I took some local political training in Huntsville as well.




In the meantime, I  also wanted to learn more on how things worked from the perspective of a campaign, so when the opportunity presented itself, I ran for a position as a district DNC delegate this last year. It was my first political run and I didn't win but I got out there, got my feet wet and learned a lot of stuff about how campaigns work from the inside, which included more training. At the end, I didn't do that poorly, and did well in my category. So it's all good.

At this phase of my life, I feel confident enough in my combined politically related work experience, education and life to get out there and get more involved. I also try to read and keep up with what is going on in the news, with the media with the various as well.

Anyway, that is a quick overview of some of my political and social issue related experience. It seems that women continually confront the issue of  when is it time to blow your own horn, at what point have you turned into a narcissist braggart, and at what point do you say, hey folks, I have significant related experience, this is what I have been doing for the last ever how many years and I am not into being minimized because I have reached a certain age, I am a woman, or whatever. It could be that some of all of that is involved.

It could also be that it was a mistake taking so much of my commentary to Facebook. You never quit learning though, or hopefully you don't,  and I have been very active on social media and a lot of politics does indeed happen on social media, so I'll chalk that up to lessons learned because I also know that the minute you blink you eyes on some of this stuff, you have missed the boat. I sure don't pretend to know it all,  but the analyses I do have are a combination of the background of my experience, both education and work, and just being out there and involved. I also try to keep myself informed on an everyday basis and I learn new stuff all the time through my editorial work as well. I'm done.

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Regina Garson's Blog


Friday, January 20, 2017

Personal Musings On Trump's Inauguration

About the time that I went from being a Democrat to a Republican, one of my work tasks was to go through the news feeds of one of the major news services and pull a certain number of articles on a given topic, to be published every day. In addition to the articles that the publisher had us write in-house, this designated number of national stories was included as the day's news.

One thing that occurred to me, more like perplexed me, was that no matter how much you thought that certain things should or should not be covered, you were limited by the number of things you could publish and your topic area. Therefore, there was always a certain amount of stuff that you very much knew about and that in your soul, you knew really should be out there and that people really did need to know about but that never made the news.

That was just with the national news stories; in addition to that, on the various beats and such, any one writer can also only write so much and that too is governed by the slant of the publication for which you are writing or reporting. The things that I learned in the process had a significant influence on the change in my political leaning. Everything related also has to do with why I went independent on my own blog. Between work and other obligations, a certain amount just has to settle for Facebook. So follow me there if you feel like you are missing something with me.


Even though I don't produce nearly as much of my own stuff in the process of paying bills and such, it was what I needed to do. For all the years that I spent working with, writing, editing, pulling and publishing the various, along the way, I read stacks of books, and articles to educate myself in the related social and political areas that I was covering.

It absolutely amazes me that folks who have also spent ever how many years gaining experience in whatever their field somehow assume that a person who spends the same amount of time working with and studying the various social and political issues somehow crawled out from under a cabbage leaf with a poke bag full of smoke and that is how I/we whoever came to our political ideas.

Sorry folks, but I came to my political perspective from twenty some odd random years of experience, writing, editing, studying and covering the various as well as involvements in various doings on the local and state level.

I do understand that my side lost the election, but when you have as much experience in whatever field and your opinions are considered nothing more than hot air, there are not a whole lot of words for that. Most especially if people somehow expect that they should be respected for their own level of expertise in whatever field. After this recent, I don't have a clue why anyone would expect such at all, at least not from the likes of me.

People would understand what I was saying if I suggested that they go to a mechanic who decided to be a mechanic yesterday instead of twenty years ago. They would think that I was off my ever-loving rocker. Give the gal a chance. How about a plumber? Or how about a doctor? Why would you even consider a doctor's experience being of any kind of importance at all?

I feel that really heavy on a personal level, but it could be that is what was going on in this election as well. It's going to be an interesting four years and make no mistake I have enough experience in the field to know that without any kind of doubt whatsoever. Y'all have a good day and buckle up. We're all going to need our seat belts on this one.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Political Blogging: A Transition

Life is change, sometimes what we expect, and sometimes not so much. Y'all know, a while back, I was gleefully, or more like painstakingly transitioning this blog, and other as well, to a blog at my own domain - ReginaGarson.com/blog. Thinking, it would all be one blog. And I did that - sort of.

At the time, it didn't quite click why it wouldn't necessarily be such a great idea to write about road-trips, poems and politics all on the same blog.

Meanwhile, this little blog is still sitting here, thank all you kind readers who kept coming back and kept reading, despite the fact that I was somewhere over there, on Regina Garson's "new" Blog.

It's still there, but "lessons learned," I'm moving the politics back over here, which best I can figure is mostly why folks are still coming back to this one. However, if it's the other stuff you prefer, not the political at all, or at least not going forward, click here for Southern style road-trips, a little bit of poetry, my writer's take on writing and life.






In the meantime, if you missed anything political, my more recent posts, in reverse chronological order, include:




Tuesday, June 2, 2015

On The Road – Solo And 60



Change – It could be that “change” is the definition of life. Whether you like it or not and whether you are ready or not, change is going to happen. I'll be 60 in a couple weeks. I was the one who was never going to retire. I was going to work until I died, and I had my life planned out to the minute.

One thing I never considered though was that mortality might get in the way and make some changes that I didn’t expect. Things that were not on my list.

It’s not like I took my health for granted. I have worked out all my life, starting in high school. I learned Tai Chi instead of getting surgery when I first had back problems, and I kept at it. I learned about nutrition and I ate right. Started that in high school too.

I was as healthy as a so called horse, and then I choked on a handful of junk food. Talk about karma or poetic justice – or something. I didn’t just choke. I spent upwards of a month in the hospital, living on tubes, and then I went back. A couple times. Change. Unintended. Unexpected. And a doozey. On a brighter note, thinking positive and all that, the doc said if I hadn't been in such good shape, I would not have survived. There is something to be said for survival. Change too, I suppose.

The thing is, in a so called blink of the eye, I went from right near the best shape of my life, to the slow doddering woman that takes way too much time at the front of the grocery store line. Just like that. In one instant.

This was not a slow progressive aging process. This was a blink of an eye and everything changes process. To say I was not prepared for the change would be the understatement of the millennium.

I’m not dead yet though and I’m still at it, huffing and puffing and tweaking those workouts one more time. Dreams and ambitions, I got plenty. Always did, but sometimes they need some rearranging along the way. Change and all that. You’d think I was the only one who had been in such a boat.





Despite the fact that I have no diseases, and I am still as healthy as a proverbial horse, I am a mangled mess. Kind of like a healthy, hobbling, rickety, but still running jalopy. Can’t get far at a whack, and my work outs these days are more a candidate for a meme gone awry than a fitness show. But as the saying goes: “I’m in really good shape for the shape that I’m in.”

I’m still working too, but to say it has been a challenge would be another great big understatement. The various surgeries and repercussions from the internal injuries left my digestive system a dubious mess, not to be discussed in polite company. The inordinate length of time I spent on an inordinate number of IVs left me without the full functionality of either hand. That cut my typing speed considerably, actually I had to learn to type all over again. I’m still pecking though. And my hands are a lot better than they were, but still nowhere close to as good as they used to be. See above about the grocery store line and trying to open your wallet when you are suddenly down to three fingers on each hand, still trying to figure how to do things all over again, with your current state of ability, and you got a line of people standing “patiently” behind you.

Could be all that sounds like too much information, but I, like many others, live by what they call the spoon theory. I have to pace myself, what can I do and what is realistic. How long is it really going to take?

If we are going to be blogging about going on the road in our elder years, which I’ll get to in a minute, every one of us in that boat has got something we got to deal with. If I go three days without eating right, I feel it. And if you are going on the road and you are not in the best of shape, unless you want the whole thing to turn into a nightmare, spend your time in the hotel room, or your tent, or your camper, if not the nearest ER, you are going to have to be prudent, and as the saying goes – act your age – at least on the health front.

Despite it all, I have mostly worked most of the time. Except maybe the five months that I was completely bedridden. I am not going to be quitting any time soon, but if I had any sense, I’d have put up a help wanted ad for a husband. A roommate. Or something. Could be I should have done that before I got to the shape that I was or am in now.

Actually, though, I am pretty happily single, so there is that.





I sure got side tracked.

But anyway, somewhere in the middle of all this, I get the idea, as many budding senior citizens have before me, that what I really need to do is to get some kind of RV, a camper of some sort and take to the road. Never mind the fact that I am flat broke, count it a blessing that I can now make it successfully through a grocery store line, and have to plan a year in advance to make it three hours away to visit family. I can get a fixer upper camper and fix it up. And wherever I park, I can sit a spell and write, do my work while I check out the scenery. And while I am at it, write about the world from the perspective of barely making it but still on this side of the daisies, a la the fantasies of a Lonely Planet existence, a world to see, not as young as I used to be and all that. It’s not just that. But it sure would be fun.
Convict Laborers around 1915, Florida.

I write and edit too, but back when I first decided that writing was what I wanted to do, it was things my granddaddy (William Joseph "Bill" Pickett) told me about the coal mines and convict labor that really touched my soul. Whatever else I did, I wanted to write about the things that I thought were important, about real people and the real story of things, real life stories that tend to get left out along the way. I always felt that way. And I have always tried to include what I could to inform people in my work as well. Stories and the side of things that needed telling.

There was this one poet in particular that I met and loved her work. She really influenced me in the way she thought and did things with her writing. Her name was Lucille Clifton. Although she was an activist type, she had her own style. She loved to travel and she’d visit all these plantations, which are a trendy tourist destination all over the South. None of that reminiscing about bygone Southern glory for her, she was African American, and she would go on these tours and ask about the slaves who built the place and did the work, and why weren’t they mentioned on the tour.

Saturn SA-5 launch, January 29, 1964.
NASA Photo.
It was always about the grand life of the plantation owners, not about the slaves and what they went through to build and keep the place going. Anyway, Lucille Clifton kept pushing at the plantation tours, until folks started including both sides of the story. And actually, that was progress. I always admired Lucille Clifton, her poetry was awesome. She inspired me and there is no doubt about that. I wouldn’t mind revisiting some old places too, getting down to the other side of some of those old stories.

There is always another side of the story to what you get on the tours. Like in Huntsville, with Von Braun and the space program. Everybody loves the Space Museum, at the US Space and Rocket Center. I’m a space geek for sure. But talk about slave drivers, what in the world does Von Braun have to do with slavery? Wasn’t he German? A Nazi at that. The way they talk about those old plantation owners, you’d think they were the only ones, or hopefully, at the very least, the last slave drivers in the South. Does Peenemünde ring any kind of bell? We’ll be back to that another day. I still love all things space, but reality is reality.

What about the old mills?

Those old mill buildings have intrigued me since I first moved to Huntsville. There are several in the area. Lowe Mill, also in Huntsville, is now one of the most trendy arts centers in the South, but another side of the mill history was that way back in the day, a photographer traveled through the area and took pictures of the kids working the machines. To say those pictures caused an uproar was an understatement. Those pictures were instrumental in drawing attention to/and ultimately the push toward changing the child labor laws in this whole country. Those were some pictures. Huntsville was actually pretty important in the history of children’s rights and the child labor laws in this country. Bet you didn’t know that about “Rocket City.”

Closing hour, Saturday noon, at Dallas Mill. Photo by Lewis Wickes Hine.
Department of Commerce and Labor. Children's Bureau. (1912 - 1913)
In the meantime, I have a tent, and I have been checking out options. Pop-ups, campers, RVs, etc., the pros and cons of them all from the perspective of a 60 something single solo, somewhat rickety, female traveler with Lonely Planet fantasies and for whom a three hour journey is a monumental undertaking. But more on all that later, including each and every option you look for when you get the itch to hit the road and you are a single woman of a certain age in fair to dubious condition.

People are always writing about how to travel with the kiddos. From the beginning of time, college students have been taking to the road, but what about the oldsters? I know a few who have. But to say they have their own set of travel issues is another one of those understatements. And it’s not like I haven’t hit the road on my own before, but that was before the accident and although I am in a whole lot better shape than I was (when I was on various and sundry life support systems), I am not in anywhere close to the same shape I was in before that fateful handful of junk food.

So there’s that.

We will see where it all leads. I had many good years of good physical ability. I learned some things along the way, about the outdoors and such. At various times, I led Cub Scout and Girl Scout groups both. Things are most definitely different now. But I am not the only one on this planet to reach a certain age and realize that. The difference, I mean change. Even if we do the best we can with our health and our workouts, eat right, and really think we got it right, we are all subject to the whelms of nature and the reality of our own mortality. That doesn’t mean that life stops, or that we can’t get out there and enjoy it. It does mean that we might have to do a little more thinking and planning, but we’ll touch on that along the way too. There was a time not too very long ago that I never honestly thought I’d ever hit the road again to go anywhere, much less see 60, and now, as they say, my feet are itching.

I am not actually there yet, my birthday is June 12. Still got a few days to go. It’s going to take some doing to get on the road again too. You’d think I’d be lamenting the passage of years. Not me. It is a miracle on top of miracles that I am still walking this earth. If you want to talk about counting blessings, I got plenty to count.

Now let’s see what we can get into next.

Copyright 2015 Regina Pickett Garson

Regina Garson's Blog


Friday, May 22, 2015

The Call!


The last few years have been a time of intense change for me. Not exactly what I expected in the direction of my carefully plotted life. Nowhere close. A random choking incident and a month and counting of too many weeks that started to turn into months back and forth from the hospital, bedridden, living on various and sundry tubes, changed my world and everything in it. I just recently saw the third anniversary of the accident. In the last few years, a whole lot of days that turned into months, I did not honestly expect to see another day, much less the three year anniversary from the accident. It sure leaves one with a lot to think about. Reevaluating. Counting blessings. Thinking about the detours, the paths of my life.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that I still publish MagicStream. I started it in 1994–95, not sure of the exact start date, but at any rate, it’s been online right at twenty years now. It could be it is time for a celebration for that too, or something.

When I first started Magic Stream, I am not sure I knew exactly what it was supposed to be. The Internet was just starting to move into the area of what would come to be known as the World Wide Web, home pages were new back then. The way it was presented to me, the Internet was going to be a place where everyday people could publish and even compete with the big publishing companies. Looking at it from that perspective, I did a whole lot of thinking; what would I publish if I could publish anything I wanted.


Back then, to get anything published, get started as a writer, you sent submission after blind submission. Likely as not, you also collected stacks of rejection slips. Some writers seem to gloat on how many rejection slips they have collected over the years, such as that never quite appealed to me though. I wanted to publish, not just “be” a writer, I wanted to be involved in whatever and any way I could in the publishing and media industry.

One thing that stuck in my mind. At that point, back then, when I first learned of what would soon be the World Wide Web, it maybe seems insignificant now, but back then it was a very big deal and that was the fact that information wasn’t so easily available like it is today. There is a very real reason this age we live in is called the information age.





Anyway, somewhere in that time, I had been to the doc and given a diagnosis, which we all do sooner or later. That was definitely my turn, long story short, PTSD, that would be post traumatic stress disorder, and a doozey of a case, probably an understatement on the diagnosis, but that’s enough on how crazy I am. The thing is, it is treatable, not to be confused with 100% curable, but I did get help. And if I have a problem, I try to stay on top of things. Really upsets me to realize all these homeless veterans suffering from PTSD, when it really is treatable. Getting the treatment you need is another story though. Coming back from war without the support and treatment they need is another story still. Get me going on that.

Anyway, at the time, I was overwhelmed with trying to find out what was going on with me. I’d go to the doc, okay, I’d go to the shrink, and he’d go yada yada, and the next shrink would go yada yada, “Leave it to us. Don’t worry your pretty little head.” And I’d head off to the library trying to find information on what I was dealing with. If you have ever taken a nose dive, and a detour to Flashback City, tried to find your way back out and you know exactly what I mean. Somebody saying, “Trust me, don’t worry your pretty little head,” doesn’t cut it. By the way, “never trust anybody who says trust me.” You can quote me on that.

Long story short, I’d spend hours at the library and never seemed to get very far. Part of the problem really was most likely the state of mind that I was in while I was looking for the information, which wasn’t wonderful. Don’t ask me how I made it through it all, including finding my way back out of Flashback City, but I did.  

With those considerations, given the notion that I could publish anything I wanted, I thought about that time of frustration in finding information on mental health issues. And that was really only part of what I was dealing with at the time. We all have to deal with something though. Mine just happened to be the PTSD. That is a reality of life. And life does go on, but what could I do to make things better in the meantime. Make no mistake, for just about every diagnosis you can get, there is something you can do on the self-help level as well. Maybe not a cure, but there is always some little something that you can do to make yourself more comfortable, make things better and more bearable along the way.


Given the possibilities of the World Wide Web, I wanted to do something along the lines of self-help information resources, and making it easier to find everyday medical information, focus on mental health information. At the time, I did not have a clue what I was dealing with or where to start. I remembered vividly my own lapse into PTSD, the journeys through Flashback City. The hours spent in the library, never seeming to get much of anywhere. Wanting more information about what was going on with me and not being able to find it. Thinking hard about that time, when I realized the implications of what was coming with the World Wide Web, I decided that what I would like to do was publish a self-help and wellness information resource that focused mostly on mental health issues, helping people to connect and find the related information they needed, also the physical, and the spiritual, because in some kind of way, it is all related. Mind – body – spirit. You really do need it all.


That was the seed of Magic Stream. Other interests at the time, I had really wanted to get certified in bibliotherapy, which is the use of writing and literature for healing, started into it, but the certification is not recognized in Alabama and an unrecognized therapy certification is not worth much of a dime if you got bills to pay. So much for that, somewhere along the way though, I had written a fairy tale, by the name of “Magic Stream”; it is kind of gory when it comes to fairy tales, definitely not of the Disney sort, but the concept was people reaching out to each other for healing. None of us can honestly go it alone. So all that combined together was the start of Magic Stream.

This got long for a short little blog post about a calling. Over the years, I had a lot of ideas that came and went with the changing times of the Internet. Magic Stream was among the earliest, probably first dozen or so, self-help and wellness sites on the Internet. And being as it is still up, it is now one of the oldest continuously published, still up and running, self-help sites on the Internet. Through thick and thin, good times and bad, I’ve managed to keep it online.

There were times when I honestly thought about shutting it down, but at the end of the day, how do you build a mission and close the doors while people are standing there. When all was said and done, it really is a mission, always has been, and a mission to which I have devoted much of my life. And how do you build a mission, and close the doors while people are still coming there for help.





In my mind, and the way I’ve tried to live my life, it’s like crossing a bridge, it was a rough journey, the paths of my life, but if you look back and there is somebody behind you that all they need is a steady hand to get across, how can you not take one little moment to reach back. I always felt like in some kind of way, we should all do some little part to give back to the community as we are able. Magic Stream was my giving back. And so it continued. It was never anything grand, never the highest traffic site on the net, just a place where people went for mostly mental health and wellness information, to find what they needed to get on with their life. Sometimes teachers and counselors go there for information as well.

I never did make a lot of noise about it. There is something about mental health issues, people really aren’t into a lot of noise on that. We all have our little red wagon as they say, but blasting it all on a loud speaker is another matter. And I had no inclination toward being a professional patient. And we all know some of those. But I kept Magic Stream going, published it, maintained the site, and wrote the code. I have published a whole lot of really awesome people along the way, no way was it ever a one person project, never has been. I am really humbled at the caliber of people who have shared their writing, their own journey, and their stories on Magic Stream.

I’ve thought much at different times about where to go with it, and like others who work for a living, have often found myself severely limited in what I could realistically get done with it, especially after the accident. Talk about slow. Nonetheless, sometimes absolutely despite myself, Magic Stream is still there.

Funny thing is. I don’t know how as I got on this, what a rambling circle. I don’t generally talk a lot about Magic Stream, even to people I am around a lot. Some people have worked with me for years and never heard me say a thing about it, other than maybe passing mention of some kind of web publishing, they didn’t have a clue how I would know such. And I know I got some raised eyebrows over the years when in the middle of some meeting or something, some web issue or question would come up and I would have much feedback and people would be rolling their eyes, like where is this coming from and what does she know about the Internet, twenty some years’ worth of publishing actually.

I was never much into that part about blowing one’s horn though, could be that has been one of the big mistakes of my life. Could be I wouldn’t do that much different if I had it to do again. I’ve been building web pages since you pretty much had to write your own code, I still mostly do, old fashioned like that. Anyway, it is something I have always done on the side of whatever else I was doing. Folks who know me, and the site, also know there is a spiritual side of it all, it has always been there as well. Funny how things happen.

Lately it seems that things spiritual and ministerial have been on the brain and popping up here and there in various ways. Others have mentioned ministry related issues as well. Spiritual outreach very similar to what I have been doing with Magic Stream all these years. The mission has been open for a very long time, twenty years, and counting. It really is a mission, never was much of anything else. Could be I went about it in from a completely odd direction, bass ackards as they say, but the minute it was in my head, I knew it was right.

I went ahead with a Universal Life Church ordination. Nobody wants to get married, that I know about, but I can do it too. It is a non-denominational type ordination, although the term would seem to mean no denomination at all, from my perspective it is an inclusiveness thing. Magic Stream is very much about spiritual inclusiveness. Anyway, it is true that some people use the Universal Life Church ordination route for ceremonial purposes, to be licensed to perform weddings and such. I am not looking for a church or a congregation either, but the Magic Stream mission has had its doors open for the last twenty years. It is non-denominational in philosophy, not to be confused with lacking in spirituality or religious values. It is very much welcoming of religious diversity, especially the healing aspects. And interestingly, some of the earliest things I published were written by ministers.

It is the same old Magic Stream, but going into the ministry will allow me to extend some of the resources in various off line ways, into the community, and lend the resources I have already developed and sitting there to support various other of the causes and efforts that I already believe in for the common good.

After publishing Magic Stream for all these years, I actually have significant background and self-help type resources to pull from. It is way past time for a ministerial type, more spiritually focused presence at Magic Stream. And no I am not quitting my day job, nothing much is changing on the day-to-day, just a different direction for what I have been doing all these years.

Growing up as a preacher’s daughter, over the years, I remember when various stood up in church and said that they had “been called.” Called to the ministry that is. One doesn’t however always talk about everything they do. Could be I was called the day I decided to build the Magic Stream website. However, such that it is, the non-denominational ministerial ordination route, lends me to move in a new direction with some of the Magic Stream resources, more focus on the spiritual aspects of healing, which after dealing with my own especially, I really do feel is so important. I also think is very much needed in the world today, and timely, and coincidentally in the process, I am already ordained.

My mission is the same as it has been for the last twenty years. It won’t be over night, there is however going to be a change in the spirit at Magic Stream. This is after much consideration as to how I would commemorate the twenty year mark of Magic Stream. Coincidentally, I can also perform weddings, and funerals, and various such, licensed to do everything that goes with it, which I have actually done in some capacity for many years, I just used to be the piano player. Namaste, Amen and blessings to all.

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