"TwitChat," is a weekly posting in which I simply give you a word, or short phrase, and you then just waffle on about the subject in any way you see fit. 

If the number of comments on any one TwitFace post gets to fifty, all those who have commented will receive 500 days off purgatory. Should the comments ever reach one hundred I will grant all the participants a general plenary. Now, you don't get offers like that on Facebook!

Your subject for discussion this week is:


I would suggest that if you want this thread to be interesting and lead to conversation you should give some explanation for your choice rather than just a name and nothing else.


TWITCHAT (9) — 39 Comments

  1. It makes me think of the Foo Fighters who had a song called “My Hero”, and their unhappiness with the creator of the TV show “Glee”. They don’t want to have their music on the show and don’t believe that’s a crime.

  2. Two people immediately spring to mind who were both my heroes when I was eleven: Helen Keller and Van Cliburn.

    There are others I came to revere a bit later in life. I may comment later about them!

  3. I was short on time when I commented earlier.

    It was in 1958 (so I would have been nine – not eleven after all!) when Van Cliburn won the first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. The cold war was in its height back then so it was really amazing for someone from the US to walk away with first prize. He got a ticker tape parade in New York City on returning home. I was a serious music student at the time and I felt so proud that a MUSICIAN would be so honored. My father quickly bought the LP record that was issued of Cliburn performing the Tchaikovsky first piano concerto and I listened to it over and over and over again. I was simply enchanted. (That album, by the way, was the first classical record to go platinum.)

    I learned about Helen Keller in school. And maybe my REAL hero was Anne Sullivan. The story just intrigued and inspired me and I thought it was wonderful that people could talk with their fingers. I took pains to learn the manual alphabet back then. Still remember it.

  4. Yikes. I’m going to have to really think about that one. I used to have certain heroes, but…I actually just see them as the humble human beings they always were. :sigh:

  5. OK…there are some folks I hugely admire…

    1: Anyone who has something like “Dr” or “Rev” or some such title by their name. They’ve accomplished something. It’s more than what *I* can say about my own life, really. Because it’s something I’ve never done, I tend to be kind of awed by those who have done something like this.

    2: My old college friend, Arn Slater. Not only does he have CP, but he was abused quite a bit by someone in his family – I think it was his father? Anyway, despite the CP, despite the abuse, despite being told “you’ll never walk”…not only does he walk, but he used to be a wheelchair athlete. He did a lot of bodybuilding competitions before he got married and had a kid, and he finished often quite high in these competitions. And ya know what? He’s the nicest guy you’d ever hope to meet. I don’t know if he’d be comfortable with the title “hero” but damn, he’s worth his weight in gold, he really is. (And he’s a Viking too – “Slater” is a Norwegian name and he’s a member of the Sons of Norway. Maybe that explains his great determination to overcome all his obstacles and succeed no matter what anyone else said! Hahahaha!)

  6. My friend Cath, Memory Eternal.

    Our +Desmond, Our +Gene, Our TELP. Louie Crew (founder of Integrity).

    Everyone standing for justice, at the risk of their lives…

  7. I’m just posting for the days off purgatory since I can’t think of anyone at the moment. I can think of a lot of heroic people, but when I try to think of MY hero, I’m drawing a blank.

  8. My brother, Elliott, because he’s gone through so much, including the loss of a leg, and every time he eventually gets back to living fully. Plus he’s always been my big brother and I’ve always looked up to him. (He’s the one with the violin in the picture.)

  9. Rosa Parks and Lewie Crew for the courage to say “no” to injustice are among mine. Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko or in English Thaddeus Kosciusko a hero of wars against tyranny in four countries including the USA. he was arguably the most successful combat engineer in the 18th century, a brilliant pianist by all accounts and one of the few intellectuals Thomas Jefferson considered his peer. A true fighter for the rights of the governed over the governors.


  10. A hero I have always admired is the late actor Lew Ayres. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, there was a huge wave of patriotic fervor, with tens of thousands of men lining up to enlist the day after. Many in Hollywood did the same. Lew Ayres was a pacifist and conscientious objector and registered as such. it cost him his thriving Hollywood acting career, including his stint as Dr. Kildare. MGM even made a movie, “Dr. Gillespie’s New Assistant”, to erase Ayres’ presence once and for all. But here is the thing: Lew Ayres went into the Navy as a hospital corpsman, and served heroically saving the lives of Marines wounded in a number of battles in the Pacific campaigns. He was decorated for bravery more than once, proving he was a man of principle and not a coward as many claimed. He never re-established his career to the extent it had been, but he was a better man than that and went on to do more movies and television, and make a documentary about Eastern religions. He died at age 88.

  11. Oscar Romero, who found the courage to accept the truth that he saw with eyes and heard with his ears. And then he followed it.
    Joe from L.A.

  12. I got one key detail wrong – I read an old incorrect bio on Lew Ayres. He actually went into the Army and served as a combat medic and a chaplain’s assistant. In the Philippines, he treated wounded Japanese soldiers as well as Americans and native Filipinos. He was actually respected by the soldiers in his service areas because he stood for a principle, yet did not duck the dangerous duty of being a medic. The Japanese often targeted medics to kill, because of the morale effect on the US troops. Most medics in the Pacific did not wear any red cross insignia, as it made them easy targets.

  13. My older sister Joan, who was a Freedom Rider in the ’60’s. Then, she and the others faced down dogs and fire hoses and hostile crowds; today, she talks to classroom kids and corrects re-enactments of marches: smart marchers carried hand-held signs and banners, not signs on sticks—because someone was liable to wrench the stick away from you and beat you with it.

  14. Seriously, my heroes are the many people, most of whom are nameless to us, that have been martyred throughout history and up until the present day. They have been killed not because of their actions but because of their beliefs.

    Most days I don’t know if I could be that strong.

  15. RE: Paul @ 17:52

    Amen to that.

    I’d like to tweak that thought a bit, to include the ordinary American worker, whose labor built so much in this nation, and who has also taken so much up the shorts from the wealthy who wouldn’t be where they are if it wasn’t FOR the working man & woman.

  16. I didn’t leave any explanation in the hopes that folks might check out who Harry Hay was – essentially he was an early leader in the US GLBT movement. His achievements: helping form Mattachine Society, sleeping with Grandpa Walton, and helping form the Radical Fairies – among others. He was an awesome man.

  17. MP, for moving from the promotion of AIDS and syphilis through buggery to the promotion of his finances through beggary.

  18. Well, MP, of course 🙂

    And also John Courtney Murray SJ who spoke up for religious freedom (the freedom to not be a Catholic) even though it got him in trouble with the Vatican.

    And Daniel Ellsberg, who blew the whistle on the war in Vietnam.

    And Socrates.

  19. Yes, indeed, Anonymous. MadPriest is my hero as well because he has the integrity, the decency, not to mention the simple good manners, to sign his name to his opinions.

  20. Oh, yeah, Anonymous. I have some more heroes I’d like to mention here: the entire set of human beings world-wide who are straight, not narrow.

  21. Trolls who demonstrate, in the clear light of day, the bigotry and idiocy of the rightwing.

  22. Gough Whitlam. Labour Prime minister of Australia for a brief period 1972-75, but what years they were. Amoungst other things he introduced free university education and free universal health care. It paved the way for me to enter university in 1978 (an other wise unlikely scenario).

  23. I’m with Ellie up there, when she cited Rev. Jonathan as a hero because he has the balls to say exactly what is on his mind and not sugar-coat it no matter how unpalatable the truth may be. I wish I had the iron ovaries to match his ‘nads of steel. 🙂

  24. From 28 March Prayer Thread:

    Please pray for MadPriest who is going on a long journey tomorrow. Please pray that it will all be, as they say, satisfactory.

  25. Heroes? ++ Desmond Tutu, ++Trevor Huddlestone CR in the Church, HH Asquith and Clement Attlee in British politcs, FDR in US politics and Billy Connolly:-)

  26. The list and the troll gave me to wonder, what do we mean when we say someone is a hero? Do we mean we want to be like her / him, that we wish we were (the troll) or that we know we could never measure up (also the troll) to that person?



  27. JCF is my hero for being able to answer my question in code and trigger my worsening memory so that I know now what is occurring. Thanks.

  28. My parents are my heroes.

    I watched my mother battle the cancer that would take her when I was fourteen, for seven years of her life. At that time there was no chemo, no oncology as a specialty, not even an MRI or CT scanner. X-ray was the only diagnostic tool; so, even though she and my dad were sure she had a malignancy, it was not found and treated until it was way too late. She set about to mold my thinking and my ability to be independent with the short time she had. She faced death with what I thought was calm, but later realized (when I faced my own death diagnosis) was dogged determination to keep those she loved protected as much as was possible. In her entire, short life, she treated everyone she knew or came into contact with, with kindness and respect, right up to the very last breath she took.

    I watched my father use his World War II G.I. Bill to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor, even though he was nearly forty by the time he graduated and finished his internship. Due to my age (under six) I was the only one in the family who was free from having to pitch in to get him through school. When he finally went into private practice, I went with him on house calls in the rural South, from the time I was seven or eight years old. We were in every kind of house from mansions to hovels, and he treated everyone with dignity, no matter the setting. Nearly half of his practice was pro-bono. He and my mother would discuss the economics of it and they both felt we would survive financially somehow. This was in the days before Medicare and Medicaid. Most people who talk about health care do not realize that “Country Doctors” like my father were treating the poverty population out of their own pockets and had been doing so for years, decades, centuries. It was just part of the practice of medicine as those of the old school saw it.

    Being a G.P. and working alone in a small town and poor county made managing my mother’s illness too difficult. I watched him shift gears, specialize in psychiatry and enter institutional practice, with regular hours and more time for our family. The institution where he was on staff had 4,800 to 5,200 patients and only eight regular staff doctors. I did volunteer work there from an early age and had been on every ward in that hospital, sometimes with him on grand rounds, by the time I was fourteen. With so few of the miracle drugs we have now, treatment was often difficult. As challenging as it was, I watched him treat those institutionalized patients with the same dignity and respect he had done as a G.P. When he was given the acute treatment facility that was attached to that hospital, I saw him get patients back out into the community, and because there were few, if any, community based programs, he operated a follow-up clinic where patients could return for regular visits, have medication adjusted, and most ended up staying out of the hospital–something that was though pretty much impossible before he did it.

    Due to the free services he provided in private practice or being in institutional practice later, he never was wealthy, but he was rich in so many other ways.

    The best advice he ever gave me was to hate no one and forgive everyone everything. He said hate and holding onto grudges only ate up the heart and soul the person who did the hating and had no effect at all on the hated person.

    I was blessed by God when he let me be born to the two parents I had. I had one of them for too short a time, and took care of the other one right through to the end of his life. I miss them both and always will. They will always be heroes to me.

    (Sorry this turned out to be so long.)