Have you ever seen me post a fundraiser? I receive requests at least once a month but in 8 years I’ve never felt comfortable posting a funds request until now. This is the camp that reached out to me and offered for Jacket to attend- for free- for 10 whole weeks. Jacket never made it (sadly) but this kind of FREE, post-foster care/post-reunification offer
It’s exactly the “beyond The System” community effort that Fosterhood is all about. Sure, Jacket is eligible for reduced fee, or maybe even free, camp at the YMCA or something. But do you think her mom is going to fill out a financial aid form or hand over any tax returns? No way. Sasha and Abby, the co-directors, were willing to break down all obstacles for Jacket to come to camp.
In the end, Camp Alamander had 5 foster kids this summer for a total of 34 weeks of free camp
for foster kids. Sandy attended for 8 of those weeks. They also had sliding scale and free spots for families
making less than $50,000 a year and single parent families.
So could you just click on the link and check them out? The camp is a small, mom and pop (actually, 2 moms) operation. Over the summer they raised $2,034 of their $5,000 goal which isn’t even a fraction of the free camp they provided foster kids. I want this opportunity to be available for future foster kids (and future former, post-reunification foster kids) in the summers to come- and maybe one year Jacket might go! Thanks guys-
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So we think its time to start a blog. A lot of incredible things have been happening recently: we have a new guitarist named Piggy, Terrence grew an inch, my amp screen got a little scratched and dented, we have three new t-shirts (new shwag!!)… Ok, well, Terrence didn’t grow an inch but the rest is true. We’re headed out again on tour out West. I love Colorado! The vibe out there reminds me SO much of the Midwest, but with mountains. I’m always so surprised at how many people in Colorado have connections, or know somebody, or have been to Kalamazoo. The last time we went through the state (May 2011) the weather was beautiful, I’m thinking it will be quite a bit colder this run. Time to bust out the puffy jacket, call me the walking sleeping bag but that coat is WARM… thank you water birds for supplying me with winter warmth.
I’m so excited for this next year of music with Funktion. We are officially an exclusive artist with In The Pocket Artists now, which makes our job a whole lot easier… let’s us focus on new tunes WHICH btw will be coming out soon. Just in the last few months we’ve brought about 5 new songs to the table with some new sounds. Definitely still the same Funky guitar-fueled fireball of FUNK, but with a little different sound. I’m also looking forward to our road trip to South by Southwest next spring. Sounds like we’ll be doing a “U-Tour” through Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Carolinas, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Even if we’re aren’t asked to play at the festival, we’re still going. We have to, I’ve heard incredible things about SXSW and Austin for SOOO long… I need to see it.
The summer is starting to come to a close and fall is making the trees bare. The one in front of my house is still completely green, however… Kinda like me: holding on to summer for dear life. Funktion, as we have a newbie in the group, has been rehearsing a ton recently. At least once a week. We also started doing vocal sectionals to tighten the harmonies and rhythm sectionals to focus on the groove. They have been amazingly beneficial to our sound the last month. Actually, it’s kinda funny how when you start practicing hard it seems like your playing ability slumps a little, then gradually starts to grow and come together. At first it makes it seems like your not doing it right and you begin to think too much. But the group as a whole has buckled down both as a group and individually to make this the best we can. We’re going for the big show, no excuses. We want to get as much as possible out of this unique and fulfilling opportunity so we’re going strong.
Anyway… Do people REALLY read this far into a blog… or should I stop typ
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The book the editor had referred to is “The Reason Why: The Story of the Fatal Charge of the Light Brigade” by Cecil Woodham-Smith (Constable, 1953), and it focuses on the contentious relationship between the seventh Earl of Cardigan and the third Earl of Lucan, their obsession with the details of their station and the trappings of military regalia rather than with any actual fighting. Their conflict came to a head on the battlefield in the 1854 Battle of Balaclava and the infamous cavalry charge immortalized in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
Now, while the male wardrobe owes much to the military (trench coats, epaulets, the blazer), one would be hard-pressed to find a single more sartorially significant campaign. The aforementioned Earl of Cardigan is the one in whose honor the coat-type cardigan sweater was named, his commanding general, Lord Raglan, who had lost an arm at the battle of Waterloo, is the namesake of the raglan sleeve, and the knit ski mask-type head gear known as the balaclava takes its name from the battle.
So the notion that a fascination with fashion may have played a part in the famously mismanaged military maneuver (the British casualties were extremely high and the battle didn’t do much to advance their position against the Russians) was too intriguing to pass up. I soon tracked down a copy (it’s readily available both online and at the Los Angeles public library).
One would be hard-pressed to find a work of history crammed with more bed-hopping and bursts of bombast than the dense opening chapters of “The Reason Why.” But Woodham-Smith’s somewhat labored attempt at fleshing out the main characters - brothers-in-law Lt.-Gen. James Thomas Brudenell (a.k.a. the seventh Earl of Cardigan) and Field Marshal George Charles Bingham (the third Earl of Lucan) - is worth it since their behavior when they head into battle for the first time wouldn’t otherwise be the least bit believable - even as fiction.
Foreshadowing anecdotes include an 1833 court-martial involving the issue of new stable jackets, a blow-up over a banned bottle of porter on a banquet table, and a long-simmering animosity that played out through the micromanagement of, and obsession over, every last detail of training, clothing and preparing the troops.
And what uniforms they were. For example, Woodham-Smith describes the uniforms of the 11th Hussars, a regiment under the command of Lord Cardigan, as follows: “They wore overalls (trousers) of cherry colour, jackets of royal blue edged with gold, furred pelisses, short coats, worn as capes, glittering with bullion braid and gold lace, (and) high fur hats adorned with brilliant plumes.”
Apparently, the author was far from alone in her breathless descriptions, and she quotes a newspaper of the day commenting on the same uniforms: “The brevity of their jackets, the irrationality of their headgear, the incredible tightness of their cherry coloured pants altogether defy description; they must be seen to be appreciated.”
In the end, the fashion editor I overheard had it partly right - though the fashion fixation was less a root cause of the blunder of a military campaign that takes place in the final chapters and more a symptom of it.
And while it may seem like the battlefield shenanigans of aristocratic dandies more than a century and a half ago would have little relevance, Woodham-Smith closes by positing, more or less, that the look, feel and organization of today’s military - in the U.K. and here in the U.S. - follow from the fateful charge of the Light Brigade.
Which, as our military involvement abroad itself advances toward the decade mark, actually makes it more relevant than ever.
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