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Patty Quinn
Works at Drexel University
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Patty Quinn

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In the June/July issue, Bruce Birchard makes the case to explore new images of God: "We are in need of creative new images or models of God (the Spirit) that will inspire and guide us to adapt a very different way of living on the earth."
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Patty Quinn

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Courage doesn't always roar.  But quite often, cowardice does.
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The key to peace and stability anywhere is the empowerment of women. 
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Patty Quinn

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Her full regal title was Exalted Mistress of the Manor, the Baroness.  I cheat her here by calling her simply Mistress or Her Worship.  She was the landed gentry.  It shows what an insubordinate servant I was to this unappreciated aristocrat who occupied rarefied air not shared by the humble likes of me.  I didn't have permission to gaze upon the royal features, and did it anyway.  I didn't address her in the third person.  I didn't curtsy when she entered the room.  Brazenly, I gazed upon the noble features without permission, instead of averting my eyes until Her Worship gave her permission.  I didn't polish the noble tiara.  I had the temerity to approach Her Worship to ask that she accommodate my responsibilities away from The Manor of the Realm, where lots are close to an acre in size and most houses have a third floor.  Some even have swimming pools and tennis courts!  This is the world of high aristocracy, where Mistress exercised her right to be imperious.  Imagine what a cheeky, impudent servant I was, thinking I had the right to any say in anything.  It was for Mistress to issue commands, and it was for me to obey meekly, without any sass.  I didn't answer the door and announce her visitors.  The Throne Room was on the third floor—the fitting place at the very top of the household—but Her Worship had no bell cord or call button to summon the servant.  I didn't bring her mail to her on a silver platter, sparing her having to take it directly from my hand. She had to venture to the mailbox herself to reach her exalted, dainty hand into a dusty, dirty mailbox.  I didn’t anticipate her every whim and satisfy it without her having to ask.  She didn’t have a yacht.  There was no family office.  Her Worship had to run her own errands and carry her packages into the house.  She had to drive herself to her massages, facial treatments, art classes, and the health club.  She didn’t have a staff dressed in livery lined up in the driveway to see her off and to greet her on her return from this horror.  In my defense, I have to say I couldn’t do that for her because there was only one of me.  I wasn’t on duty while Her Worship was down for her siesta, in case she needed anything.  I wasn't resigned to my lowly status in life.  Good help is so hard to find these days.

Poor Mistress.  She was so cheated.  She was not received in the homes of the Rockefellers, the Biddles, or the Carnegies. She didn't have a chauffeur, a sous chef, a sommelier, a nanny, a cook, or a gardener.  I never could figure out if I was the upstairs staff or the downstairs staff.  I had to serve as both, and Her Worship, in her life of deprivation, had to settle for that.  She wasn't on the Social Register.  Her education was going to waste.  She majored in Dominion Over Living Things, with a minor in Bald-Faced Lying.  Who can blame her for her urge to declare, “Off with her head!” when I dared to request that she accommodate me in any way.  She worked hard to hone her unique skills.  I rewarded her by persecuting her when I balked at sharing with her every aspect of my private life she wanted me to share.  And she didn't even impose a curfew on me!

Her Worship must want for nothing!

My list of offenses against Her Worship goes on—I didn’t take care not to breathe heavily in her presence.  I didn’t give a fast curtsy and then turn to face the wall when Her Worship entered the room.  I didn't iron her newspapers and spread them out neatly and crisply on the table for her.  I didn’t hand wash Her Worship’s loose change—there’s no telling where it had been before it landed in her pristine, aristocratic hands!
 
I treated her so harshly!  How could I blame her for seeing me as a servant?  I didn't have money to the degree of the family she married into.  What else could I have been, except "the help"?  Anyone without a fat portfolio must be a servant.  And what's the use of having servants if you can't degrade and humiliate them?  Oh, and this--landed gentry are entitled to lie in a dispute with the servant, and then claim the servant is lying, not them.  They're entitled to be believed if that's what they want.  They're entitled to throw a hissy fit if an underling says things to them they don't like to hear.

I didn't give Her Worship her money's worth--oh, wait.  She wasn't paying me anything.  I wasn't an employee.  But never mind.  I was under Her Worship's rule, and Her Worship was going to get the insubordinate servant to behave herself.

These are my memories of the honored life I had in the presence of Her Worship. I'm sure she is faring better now, with a far more humble, accommodating servant.      
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LYING

I did it in too abrasive and inappropriate a way, but I told the truth about things that were going on involving other house occupants.  I was angry about what was going on, but then came the blowback from those house occupants when I raised issues truthfully: They accused me of lying about all of it, and some told lies of their own.  That turned anger into a belly full of lava.

I can think of few experiences in life more infuriating than to know someone is lying to you and about you, and you aren't going to offer evidence to support yourself.  It has happened to me more than once, but this last time it happened shifted something inside of me.  It has had a lasting effect on me.  I'm much slower to trust people and to let them into my life.  I take ample time getting to know people and observing them, and at any sign of dishonesty, they've lost any chance of being accepted into my personal life. 
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Patty Quinn

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Graffiti on a wall in Beirut, Lebanon: "The Ministry of Health warns that thinking leads to dangerous and deadly diseases."
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With digital photography, I can straddle color and black-and-white with ease.  Both have their merits.  Once color photography became easy and affordable, with commercial labs processing the film and prints, black-and-white became a forgotten orphan for casual amateur snapshots.  Black-and-white became the reserve of the art of photography, of serious photographers.

I don't think of myself as a serious photographer, just an amateur who likes to experiment and explore possibilities.  Now that I'm returning to black-and-white, I'm rediscovering its evocative power, especially with digital photography, which lets me see the photo in color, and then recreate it in black-and-white.  

Some photographs lend themselves more to color, others more to black-and-white.  Years ago I took a course in black-and-white photographing, and film and print developing.  I'm rediscovering the impact that grayscale wields.  It's about shapes, shadows, lines, and perspective.  Color, when it's about color, packs a wallop, too, but of a different kind.  Black-and-white resonates with mood and depending on the subject, it can reach the viewer with greater clarity.  

I see this even more forcefully when I view a photograph I've taken in color, convert it to black-and-white, and I view both side by side.  I'm seeing the same scene or the same people, but sensing greatly different essences. 
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The IRS wants your take: Should it tighten regulations for dark money groups? http://propub.ca/1gjudFi @NPR reports.

At ProPublica, Kim Barker explains the proposed guidlines: http://propub.ca/1gjut7h

What do you think? Tell us here, then submit a formal comment at federalregister.gov: http://propub.ca/1gkKnhq
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This morning I got together with a group of friends in our Meetup group, the Greater Philadelphia Thinking Society.  We meet regularly for brunch on Sunday mornings to talk about various topics.  We've taken on some weighty topics in science, philosophy, and the humanities.  This morning, we discussed current events.  All of us offered topics for discussion: Events in the Ukraine, the proposed merger of Comcast and Time-Warner,  and a few others.  One woman who has taken part a few times asked that we discuss street crime in Philadelphia.

When she said that, I groaned inside.  In past meetups, she has made comments that stopped just short of racist, and only on a technicality; her comments revealed the racism lurking just beneath her words.  I knew she raised the issue of street crime to vent racist notions about who is responsible for crime.

I hoped I was wrong.  I hoped that she would hold back voicing open racism, and I thought she would since one of those present was an African American woman.

Unhappily, that didn't stop her.  I saw the shocked looks on the faces of others present when she uttered her ugly comments, and felt my jaw drop when she pushed back at people who challenged her.  She left early, and when she did, I and another woman present took her aside, separately, to confront her. 

She had her rationalizations.  When she'd complained that "the blacks" had offended her, she claimed she was "just making an observation."  When I called her on her comment, "Have you ever seen a white person committing that crime?" she complained that she was being denied her freedom of speech. 

I'm still trying to sort this out, so my writing here will be rambling. 

I'll forget for a moment how wrong her racism is, period.  There is also the matter of her either assuming that a white person wouldn't be offended by her words, or her feeling that if others are offended, she doesn't care.  There is the matter of her uttering racist speech in the presence of an African American woman, with no thought to how painful it must have been for that woman to hear her racist speech.  I find myself wondering if hubris is a trait that accompanies racism the way some genetic traits accompany each other. 



   
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Overwhelmingly, it's the right wing, conservative, ultra-rich, corporate, Wall Street crowd that's resorting to secret, anonymous political donations, dark money, and other tactics intended to rig the system.  That's a tacit acknowledgement that they can't win a fair fight.
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Interested in what happens outside the Quaker bubble? That's the theme for our December issue, and tomorrow is the deadline to subscribe in order to get it! http://fdsj.nl/17eYEC0
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Have her in circles
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حيدر عطوف's profile photo
Martin Kelley's profile photo
charlene estornell's profile photo
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  • Drexel University
    standardized patient, 2012 - present
  • Friends Journal
    copyeditor, 2006 - present
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
    standardized patient, 2010 - present
  • Thomas Jefferson University
    standardized patient, 2010 - present
  • University of Pennsylvania
    standardized patient, 2007 - present