Dreaming with my father.

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Dad looked like this in my dream!

I have always been the type to remember dreams, but I’ve never dreamt with a dead person before. I dreamt of my father last night.

It was pretty weird. There he was, gone in his bed at the nursing home (a sight I’ll never forget), and then he was in one of those drawers they have at the morgue, but awake. They called us three weeks after, saying it was a mistake, so there I was to pick him up. He was awake. And so I drove him back to the nursing home.

I hung out in his room and talked to him, catching him up on all the madness, namely the election and the raging dumpster fire that is our President-to-be, and the ‘bad dream’ (pun intended, I guess) that was the relationship I recently got out of (both stories complete with protagonists who are fond of to gas lighting! Yay!)

So what does this dream mean? Well, I’m not expert in how to interpret dreams except I’ve heard when you dream of the dead they’re thinking of you. But here’s the best I could get from Dreammoods.com (I’ve bolded and italicized the parts that may be relevant to me):

Dead
To see or talk to the dead in your dream forewarns that you are being influenced by negative people and are hanging around the wrong crowd. This dream may also be a way for you to resolve your feelings with those who have passed on. Alternatively, the dream symbolizes material loss. If you dream of a person who has died a long time ago, then it suggests that a current situation or relationship in your life resembles the quality of that deceased person. The dream may depict how you need to let this situation or relationship die and end it. If you dream of someone who has recently passed away, then it means that their death is still freshly in your mind. You are still trying to grasp the notion that he or she is really gone. If the dead is trying to get you to go somewhere with her or him, then it signifies that you are trying to understand their death. You also don’t want to be alone.

To see and talk with your dead parents in your dream is a way of keeping them alive. It is also a way of coping with the loss. You are using your dream as a last opportunity to say your final good-byes to them.

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You didn’t think I only had one dream, did you? I had a very frustrating dream in which my older brother, Richard, was arrested for shooting at his cell phone. That’s all I remember. I don’t remember where he was, but I arrived at a police precinct to bail him out and I was very frustrated, yelling at him for hanging out with the wrong people. LOL. I wish I knew what that was about! I can tell you my brother is not fond of guns and he’d never destroy his cell phone!

Dreammoods.com isn’t really helpful on this one, since all the gun interpretation seems to involve the dreamer, and I wasn’t holding a gun in the dream. The same goes for their interpretation of bail:

Gun
To see a gun in your dream represents aggression, anger, and potential danger. You could be on the defensive about something. Or you may be dealing with issues of passiveness/aggressiveness and authority/dependence. Alternatively, a gun is a symbol of power and pride. Perhaps you are looking for shelter or protection in your dream. From a Freudian perspective, a gun represents the penis and male sexual drive. Thus, the gun may mean power or impotence, depending on whether the gun went off or misfired.

To dream that you are loading a gun forewarns that you should be careful in not letting your temper get out of control. It may also signify your ability to defend yourself in a situation.

To dream that a gun jams or fails to fire indicates that you are feeling powerless in some waking situation. Perhaps you need to attack your problems from a different approach. Alternatively, a malfunctioning gun represents sexual impotence or fear of impotence.

To dream that you are hiding a gun implies that you are repressing your angry feelings.

To dream that you shoot someone with a gun denotes your aggressive feeling and hidden anger toward that particular person. You may be trying to blame them for something.

To dream that someone is shooting you with a gun suggests that you are experiencing some confrontation in your waking life. You feel victimized in a situation or that you are being targeted.

Bail
To dream that you are making bail symbolizes your need to accept help in your business dealings. This dream is trying to make you acknowledge that it is perfectly all right to accept a helping hand.

 

 

 

 

Every time an anti-government gun nut …

via WNYC
via WNYC

… would go on an internet rant about how he would rather be well-armed in order to protect himself against a government takeover (see top anti-government conspiracies here), I’d roll my eyes, and think to myself, “What is your weapon going to do against the military’s tanks or drones?”

Not much, I’d think. But now it’s time to revise that to, “What is your weapon going to do against the local police department’s war tanks?”

Take a look at all this military surplus sitting in the wee town of Little Falls, NJ, population: 10, 800, courtesy of WNYC‘s Sarah Gonzalez.

Police in the small suburban town of Little Ferry recently received six military trucks for its 25 police officers. 

Police departments in the state have received everything from armored trucks, rifles and grenade launchers to shirts for extreme cold weather, boots, and ladders. But the use of military equipment to quell protests in Ferguson, Mo., following the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, has sparked a national conversation about whether local law enforcement agencies are becoming too militarized.

For example, among the most expensive items on the list of supplies used in Iraq and Afghanistan are the MRAPs – 30,000-ton armored, mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.  

Police in Middletown, N.J., have one. And the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has just ordered two.

Read or listen to the rest of the report here. And then read about the sad demise of our democracy in this fantastic piece by Fordham’s Heather Gautney in the Huffington Post:

“Social control is the opposite of social change. And it is the opposite of democratic freedom.” (Ferguson and America’s Hatred of Democracy.)

A Bronx story that relates to the murders in Chicago

ImageBy Mark Naison
Professor of History, Fordham University
Jan. 30, 2013
It’s the mid 1950’s. Howie Evans, a 15 yearold up-and-coming basketball and track star, is shooting hoops in the night center at Public School #99 in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, which like most elementary school gymnasiums in New York City, was kept open five nights a week from 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.

Howie’s friends rush into the gym. Their mostly Puerto Rican gang, of which Howie is a member, is having a rumble with a much feared Black gang called the “Slicksters.” The head of the night center,Vincent Tibbs, a powerfully built African American teacher who was a friend to many young people in the neighborhood, overheard what was going on and walked slowly over to the door of the gym. When Howie tried to rush out, Mr Tibbs stood in front of the door and said “I’m not letting you leave here. You have a future. You’re not going to die in the street.”

Howie, who told me this story during an oral history interview I did with him, screamed and cried. But Mr. Tibbs, who had the strength and appearance of a weightlifter, wouldn’t move. Howie ended up missing the rumble. It is well he did because two young men died that night, not something that often happened in a time before guns were common weapons on the streets of New York. And Mr Tibbs was right., Howie did have a great future. He went on to become a teacher, a young center director, a college basketball coach (which is how I met him) and the sports writer for the Amsterdam News, a position he holds to this day.

But the story is not just about Howie, it’s about the incredible after school and night centers that were a fixture of every single public school in New York City until they were closed down during the NYC fiscal crisis of the 1970’s. These centers ( I attended one religiously in Brooklyn) had basketball and Nok-hockey, arts and crafts and music programs, and held tournaments and dances.

Some of them, like the P.S. 99 Center, held talent shows which spawned some of New York City’s great doo-wop and Latin music acts. But all of them had teachers like Mr. Tibbs who provided supervision, skill instruction, mentoring, and sometimes life saving advice to two generations of young men and women who attended the city’s public schools, a good many of whom lived in tough working class neighborhoods like Morrisania.

Now let’s segue to Chicago, where young people are killing one another at an alarming rate. The Schools in that city are in upheaval; many have been closed, some are faced with closing, teachers and students are being told that the fate of the schools they are at depend on how well students score on standardized tests; some of which have been installed at the expense of arts and music and sports programs in the schools. Those in charge of education, locally and nationally, think these strategies will improve educational achievement.

But what happens in these schools after regular school hours finish? Do they offer safe zones for young people in Chicago’s working class and poor neighborhoods? Do they have arts and sports programs that will attract young people off the streets? Do they have teacher mentors like Mr. Tibbs who will take a personal interest in tough young men and women and place their own bodies between them and the prospect of death through gang violence?

If the answer is no, that these schools are largely empty once classes end, and they do little or anything to attract young people in, maybe it’s time to start rethinking current school programs. Wouldn’t it be better to have a moratorium on all policies- like school closings- which destabilize neighborhoods- and invest in turning schools into round the clock community centers the way they were in NYC when Howie Evans was growing up?

And if the problem is money, how about taking the money currently spent on testing and assessment, and using it to create after school programs where caring adults offer activities that build on young people’s talents and creativity?

But to do this, we have to rethink the roles school play in neighborhoods like the Bronx’s Morrisania and Chicago’s Humbolt Park, and view them, not primarily as places to train and discipline a future labor force, but as places which strengthen communities and nurture young people into become community minded citizens. But to do that, we have to also treat teachers differently, respecting those who have made teaching a lifetime profession and who are committed to nurturing and mentoring young people even in the most challenging circumstances.

If we don’t do that kind of reconfiguration of our thinking, and ultimately, our policies, we are likely to mourning a lot more young people killed by their peers, and not just in Chicago.

Mark Naison is professor of African American Studies and History at Fordham University. He is the author of White Boy: A Memoir.

The gun debate: Out of the mouths of teens

teenagersPBS Newshour asked high school teenagers for their thoughts on the gun debate. Their comments are enlightening. Are lawmakers listening to this generation?

I found it interesting that the African American teens seemed to lean towards gun regulation, gun control and high security measures, such as metal detectors. Meanwhile, one young man from West Virginia, where hunting is popular, hinted that guns are a way of life and therefore, all that can be done is “raising awareness and keeping hope.” If that doesn’t say something about what ones concerns and fears are when growing up in different surroundings/neighborhoods, I don’t know what does.

Budding inventors should look out for the girl who suggests a “non-lethal defense system.” She may be onto something.

Watch Students Across the U.S. Reflect on Gun Control on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.