Simone Askew Selected 1st Captain of Corps of Cadets at West Point


U.S. Military Academy Class of 2018 Cadet Simone Askew was selected First Captain of the Corps of Cadets, the highest position in the cadet chain of command. (Photo Credit: 2nd Lt. Austin LaChance)


WEST POINT, N.Y. — Cadet Simone Askew of Fairfax, Virginia, has been selected First Captain of the U.S. Military Academy’s Corps of Cadets for the 2017-2018 academic year, achieving the highest position in the cadet chain of command. She will assume her duties on Aug. 14.

Askew, an International History major, currently leads 1,502 cadets as the Regimental Commander of Cadet Basic Training II. As First Captain she is responsible for the overall performance of the approximately 4,400-member Corps of Cadets. Her duties also include implementing a class agenda and acting as a liaison between the Corps and the administration.

Askew is the first African-American woman to hold this esteemed position.

“Simone truly exemplifies our…

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LL Cool J to Become Kennedy Center’s First Hip-Hop Honoree


LLCoolJ (photo via

by Rodney Carmichael via

Thirty years after becoming rap’s first sex symbol, LL Cool J will be the first hip-hop artist to receive Kennedy Center Honors in its 40-year history.

The rapper-turned-actor born James Todd Smith will be inducted with a prestigious 2017 class — including pop stars Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, television icon Norman Lear and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade – on Sunday, Dec. 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.

The honorees will be saluted by performers while seated alongside President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. While Kennedy Center Honors acknowledge the lifetime achievements of contributors to American culture, the list has traditionally been limited in scope. But the inclusion of LL, born James Todd Smith, in this year’s honoree list further expands the center’s growing embrace of hip-hop culture.

Earlier this year the center appointed Simone…

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Feel the Power

Roth Poetry


I am always been fascinated with power. Tractor Trailer trucks exude raw power as they haul our products up and down the highways. Tractors in the field have evolved into huge transformer-like machines that cut our grain and till our fields. The power of storms and the aftermath of destruction conjure up great respect for what they can do. I love the feeling of power as I sit on a tractor and ride through the fields. Power comes in so many forms. I thought I would share some of them in this poem!

Power is a beautiful thing
when used for the common good
Steam trains of my childhood
Dragons of steel
Snorting their way through the Pennsylvania hills
Pulling a hundred coal cars
to the steel mills at Pittsburgh


Farmall tractors shiny red
Roaring through the fields
Pulling plow and disc
through soil of rock and clay
Rolling over…

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“Wild Bergamot – Mondarda fistulosa”

Ed Lehming Photography

“Wild Bergamot - Mondarda fistulosa”“Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air.”
– Georges Bernanos

Have you noticed the summer shift to purple and yellow? The pattern repeats. There is a gradual shift from pinks to purples and yellows. Thistles, bergamot, vervain for purples, yellow coneflower, sunflower, wood sorrel, and sunflower for yellow.

It’s a definite shift in colours and the pollinators, which are plentiful this year, seem to favour purple.

Wild Bergamot, or Bee Balm is plentiful in the local meadows and conservation areas. The vast clumps are literally ‘abuzz’ with bees and wasps of all shapes and sizes. The Wild Bergamot flower is a fascinating thing, appearing quite ragged, yet wonderfully complex at the same time.

I thought it would make a nice subject for a studio shot and I was not disappointed. This image gives me a…

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Sketch of the day no 1113 in my moleskine art journal: Peony and bird. 

The Crazy Bag Lady

A symbol of a Happy and properous union. Peony and bird motif on Peranakan carved furniture

Sketch of the day in my moleskine art journal is of the Peony and bird. A symbol of a Happy and properous union. This is a common pairing in Peranakan furniture as furniture was commissioned from Chinese artisans for weddings.

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