Last year after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, I wondered which way the world is heading. I still do.


What direction are we going? by Rich Paschall

My closest friend lives in France and is one of the nicest people I know.  He avoids conflicts and always has a sunny disposition.  I could sing his praises all day and yet, he surprised me with a facebook post recently.  It was totally out of character.  He exclaimed, “Fxxxxd up world…”  He said nothing more.  It was the day of the massacre in Paris of 12 at the French satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo.  It sparked a massive manhunt and additional killings in France.

The proliferation of terrorist attacks, the wars and various conflicts around the globe, as well as the accusations against police, make the day’s news disturbing at the very least.  Scandals and corruption stun us.  Political hijinks appall us.  Societal polarization dismay us.  The daily news offers little source of comfort.

Recently I followed back someone on Twitter who followed me. …

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NO H8 Campaign Comes To Chicago

No H8_mediumThe NO H8 campaign returns to Chicago this afternoon so I thought it was a good time to rerun this article and photo gallery from 2014.  My photo from this stop is on the right. 

Spreading the message of equality

Perhaps you have seen some of the famous pictures captured by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska.  The ones where the subject has duct tape on his or her mouth and “NO H8” stenciled on the person, usually the face. While many celebrities and politicians, including a large number from the House Democratic Caucus, have had their pictures taken by the campaign, it is the many thousands of others who make the campaign a success.

The NO H8 (No hate) campaign was started in response to California’s Proposition 8, or as some called it, Prop H8.  The photo campaign of silent protest was started by photographer Adam Bouska and his partner Jeff Parshley.  The duct tape over the mouth is a symbol of voices being silenced by legislation like Proposition 8 and the No H8 stencil is the message that is being spread anyway.  The pictures struck a chord with supporters and eventually the movement spread across the country and finally it has gone international.

When the campaign came to Chicago in 2012, the second visit to the Windy City, I went to the photo shoot and posted a small gallery here.  The following year I noted the campaign had gone international.  Now the campaign has returned for another photo shoot.  Almost 300 people came to have Adam take their picture as Jeff prepared the participants for their moment in front of the camera.  Adam took many shots of each person and later will decide with picture to add to the growing No H8 gallery.  Following is from last Sunday’s gathering in downtown Chicago.

Click on a picture for a larger version, then go through the gallery.

The video shows the moments just before many of the photos above were taken as well other moments.


This was written last year when “The Way He Looks” played in limited release in America.


Watching Foreign Language Films, Rich Paschall

Unless you were born in another country or became fluent in another language, you probably have little interest in foreign language films. The language barrier is something many of us do not wish to overcome while reading subtitles. So we take a pass on them, and in turn may be missing some of the best films ever made.

Even if you are interested in films of another language, where would you go to see them? Large cities might have “art houses” that show indie and foreign language films, but that is not the case in most locales. You can always order them online, but do you want to own a foreign language DVD or stream a film to your computer or tablet? Perhaps the whole process of tracking down the good ones to watch seems to be more trouble than it is worth.

For most of my life I…

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It does not look like a New Year will bring Peace on Earth, but we can hope.


The Same Auld Lang Syne, by Rich Paschall

Another year has begun and we can see it is indeed the same as days gone by.  The old days are not forgotten as old conflicts rage on and new ones have arisen.  If old acquaintances happen to be forgotten as one year passes into another, old hatred, old disputes, old border wars, old and new religious battles carry on as if they will forever be remembered.  Are these disagreements worth the killing of men, women and children standing on the other side?

In our neighborhood, just as in many around the world we conclude our year wishing “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”  It is on our greeting cards and in our songs.  It appears in Christmas stories and is heard from pulpits and lecterns around the world. The invocations I read to those assembled at noon mass at our church on Christmas Day included a…

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Writing the Blog

Years ago, before I had a blog, I would tell people after they did something a little crazy, or I caught them in a candid picture, “You will be on my blog by midnight,” or “You will be in my blog on Sunday.”  I really did not give much thought to actually doing a blog.  It did not seem there was enough time for it and besides, who would read it anyway?  So it was just a running joke, nothing more.

I did have a Windows Live Space, however.  I think it was supposed to compete with the popular myspace.  This was all before facebook began to dominate social media.  My Windows Live Space was more of a repository of photo albums than anything else.  Only a few friends actually looked at anything I posted there.  I had no thoughts of promoting it to the general public, although that was a possibility.  I also had a myspace, still do I guess.  It was THE social media outlet of its time.  I used it to play Mobsters for a while.  Now it is a site for promoting music and entertainment news.  I rarely visit it.

When it was clear Windows Live was never going to hit it big, they decided to migrate everyone to Word Press.  Some of the content transferred when I finally got around to moving everything, most did not.  All the pictures are in some Windows cloud off in cyberspace that I can find if I explore my Outlook.  The Word Press page, named after my long running joke, sat idle for a long time.  A couple of articles came over in 2010.  I wrote nothing in 2011.   Then I started to post things in 2012.  It was fun, for a while.

At the end of 2013, Marilyn Armstrong offered me a Sunday spot on SERENDIPITY.  I offered a Christmas story.  We both liked it enough to run it every year.  So the true Sunday blog posts ended up over there.  There is something new on SERENDIPITY every day and Marilyn has a following.  A site with new content daily is far more successful than a weekly site, I think.

I am CharlieThe most posts for this site appeared in 2014, but the readership never grew and I decided to concentrate on the SERENDIPITY posts.  For 2015 most of what appeared here were actually written for SERENDIPITY in 2014.  There were original posts too.  The most topical and political pieces showed up here.  Here are the top 5 of the past year written for Sunday Night Blog:

  1. HASHTAG: I am Charlie  This followed the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.  It was more than an attack on freedom of the press.  Millions came together to support a publication they had never head of before.
  2. A life too short I have run this story several years in a row.  It concerns the life of French singer Gregory Lemarchal and his losing battle with Cystic Fibrosis.  I don’t feel I have adequately explained it yet and have tweaked it every time trying to do better.
  3. WE STAND WITH PARIS  This political commentary came 11 months after the Charlie Hebdo piece and following another terrorist attack.
  4. Beyond Freedom of Speech  This was a follow-up to the Charlie Hebdo story.  There was another side that I felt needed to be said.
  5. A TRIP TO ALSACE  A short article plus a photo gallery of my trip to France.

All of these had something in common.  It was not intended but likely speaks to the influences of my life.  They all have to do with France.  So it is no surprise that after American readers, the next country on the “views” list is France.  Photo galleries really skew the stats in deceptive ways.  A look at each picture counts as a “view,” which is equal to reading a whole article.  One person can run your total way up by looking at every picture in several galleries.  One day I had 136 views (according to the stats page) but only 3 visitors.  We can not take the stats page too seriously as they seem to be behind real-time.

Interestingly, the stats say my most popular day is Sunday.  Imagine that!  I wonder why that is, LOL.  Search engines, facebook and teepee12.com (SERENDIPITY) drove the most traffic to this site.  I was surprised to see StumbleUpon drove traffic here as well.  I thought the site did nothing for me so I stopped posting there.  Their stats did not reveal views on anything I posted there.  I may have to resume posting there.  Like my tumblr posts, the StumbleUpon posts are just links back to here or SERENDIPITY.

My most read post ever all time is ANGEL COMES OUT.  It was written for SERENDIPITY in 2014 and almost immediately found an audience.  It’s the true coming out story of someone I saw on You Tube and subsequently located.  It’s harrowing, to say the least.  Angel kindly let me proceed with a dramatic retelling, although it certainly is an episode he would like to leave behind.  His dramatic telling of it is still on You Tube.


A little question for New Year’s Eve.


The Jackpot Question, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

By now you are expected to have a good response. So what is it? What are you doing? Certainly your friends have been asking and you must have something interesting to say. Unless you are under 18 or over 80, you do not get a pass on this one. So, what’s it going to be? Party? Dinner and dancing? Will you be outside watching fireworks or in where it is warm? If you are in Florida or Arizona, I guess you could be outside watching fireworks where it is warm.

Since there seems to be so many different things to do, the question might actually be somewhat logical. Restaurants, bars, hotel ballrooms all seem to have some sort of package deal. There are shows and concerts of every type. Whether you are in a big city or a small town, plans for the celebration abound. For some strange reason, everyone…

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Medellin, Colombia

Click on any of the pictures and look through the larger versions.

For a short article on my trip to Medellin, head over to SERENDIPTY here.

Christmas Night Edition

A Hit For Christmas

Where is Christmas?

Where is Christmas?

I need a hit for Christmas
To turn the season green.
A snappy little holiday tune
Is really what I mean.
If I could just find somewhere
In my memory tonight
A verse, a phrase, some words of joy
To the world I would write.

“What is my theme?” I wonder
As I wander here and there.
Christmas songs make lots of cash
And why should I not share
In monies green and silver
But oh what shall I say?
After all I’m thinking now,
“What’s not been said of Christmas Day?”

I’ll write a Christmas Jingle.
Bells of joy will sound –
A song about Kris Kringle
Or snow upon the ground.
I’ll make a little silver.
Bells of joys will play –
A check, a smile, a royalty
With every Christmas Day.

As each and every memory
Was sailing past tonight,
I had to grab the good ones
And to add the music right.
I’m dreaming of best sellers
That every year will rock
Around the Christmas tree
And down every single block.

We then need the musicians
For piano and for bass.
We’ll add a little drummer.
Boy, we’ll really rock the place.
The perfect words and music?
I ask what do you hear.
What I hear are record deals
If we can sound sincere.

I’ll write a Christmas Jingle.
Bells play all the way.
A tune that you will download –
On CD’s that you will play.
I’ll have a greener season
And know just what to say –
“A check, a smile, a royalty
With every Christmas Day.”

Copyright Richard Paschall

Christmas Day Special Edition

What’s Not Been Said of Christmas Day?

O Christmas tree

O Christmas tree

What’s not been said of Christmas Day?
It’s a wonderful day.
It’s been said in many thoughts
And in so many ways.

Almost every sentiment has been said.
The feelings have been spelled out clear.
It would seem we’ve said it all
As that magical day draws near.

We’ve talked about the season’s warmth and charm.
We’ve sung of jingle bells and snow.
Our hearts have prepared the spirit of joy
As we hang our mistletoe.

Everywhere we go decorations hang.
It has become quite a sight.
The carols are sung of the happy time
We’ll have that most holy night.

What’s not been said of Christmas Day?
The thought comes as the day draws near.
We’ve said things we can not say
Through the rest of the year,
Through the rest of the year.

Copyright Michael F. Teolis and Richard Paschall

Christmas Eve Edition

A Christmas Gift

Christmas time

Christmas time

I was caught
In the crush of Christmas shopping,
Fighting the crowds
And always stopping,
To find the right gift
That I can give to you
But nothing seems right.
What shall I do?

The weather is snowing.
The street lights are glowing.
Everyone is knowing,
That Christmas is near.

The crowd is in a hurry.
The people all scurry,
As they battle the flurry and
Shouts of good cheer.

But I have a task
That is not like the rest.
I must choose a gift.
It must be the best.
I’ll search everywhere.
Do what I can do.
The cost doesn’t matter,
Because it’s for you.

The Christmas Bells are ringing.
The snow begins clinging.
Choirs will be singing
Of heaven above.

As soft music plays,
On this Christmas Day,
I know I will say,
That my gift is Love.

Copyright Michael F. Teolis music and Richard Paschall lyrics.