Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects my eclectic interests and, I hope, yours. It’s Black History Month and hoping you are getting enough serious information elsewhere, this week’s quiz focuses on the wit and wisdom of Whoopi Goldberg and Wanda Sykes. That’s partly as a prequel to Women’s History Month in March as explained below.

I hope you are finding these offerings fun, and perhaps even useful, and I welcome your feedback. ( And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.

The Quirky Quote
Nipsy Russell (1918 – 2005) was known for turning others’ witticisms into 4-line poems. I can no longer find the one of his I failed to copy at the time on how White man’s winning of battles were called “victories” and Indian wins were called “massacres,” which was another way history was miswritten, but this one of his on our legislature is still valid:

The opposite of pro is con.
That fact is clearly seen:
If progress means move forward,
Then what does Congress mean?

The Quirky Facts
Because Martin Luther King, Jr. is easily the most recognizable name in civil rights icons, it’s confusing to lots of people why we celebrate his birthday in January and Black History Month in February. The answer is that the roots go back much further than Dr. King’s activism. In 1926, Carter G. Woodson, already then a noted Black historian, educator and publisher, created “Negro History Week” to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass* and Abraham Lincoln. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. But if you are looking for famous Blacks born in February, here are just a few: 1- Langston Hughes, 4- Rosa Parks, 5- Hank Aaron, 10- Leontyne Price, 17- Michael Jordan, 18- Toni Morrison, 19- Smokey Robinson, 20- Sidney Poitier, 23 – W.E.B. Dubois, 27- Marian Anderson.

*Because his birth date was unknown, Frederick Douglas chose February 14.
The Quirky Observation
When I was in college, I took a 2-semester course on art history using a 500-page textbook that did not include a single woman artist and no more than a couple of people of color (counting Diego Rivera), but I was slow to recognize how White-man-biased all school texts were. It is my fervent hope that someday neither a Black History Month nor a Women’s History Month will be needed because their contributions are already included in every child’s schooling. Until then, it’s up to us to spread the word. (Pictured: one of Ellis Wilson’s colorful paintings that was not in my art history book.)

The Question
A challenge this week: Google “Black leaders in _____ (any field that interests you).” Read up on one or more of them and have a conversation with family or friends about what you learned.

Featured Product
One of my favorite exercises is using clues to reveal a hidden message, so I wrote a book of them. In What’s Left? – Holidays and Seasons, I have created more than two dozen, including two for Black History Month on Black leaders (one on men and one on women). You are given a grid of 40 words or phrases and usually six clues (e.g., “Cross out all the words that are vegetables”). When you have crossed out all the words suggested by the clues, a funny or inspiring quote remains. Wonderfully satisfying.
The Quiz
Humor is a great way to break down barriers, as many comedians have shown us. Although famous male Black comedians far outnumber women, in honor of the upcoming Women’s History Month, I chose Whoopi Goldberg and Wanda Sykes for this quiz, because they are complex women, both funny and philosophical. (Check out their interviews under Resources below.) I admire them both and want to give them proper credit for what they’ve said, but more than getting the right answers, my real hope is that you will reflect on the quotes. Do you agree? Are you amused? Can you relate to it?

Who said what?

1. I don’t like the saying keep your friends close and enemies closer. I want my enemy on a different planet.
___ Whoopi Goldberg      ___ Wanda Sykes

2. I don't have pet peeves; I have whole kennels of irritation.
___ Whoopi Goldberg      ___ Wanda Sykes

3. Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine.
___ Whoopi Goldberg      ___ Wanda Sykes

4. I was hanging out with my little nephew, and the kid - he had a helmet, shoulder pads, knee pads, some shin guards, gloves. Talk about, 'I'm a go ride my bike.' I'm like, 'Where – through a mine field?'
___ Whoopi Goldberg      ___ Wanda Sykes

5. When you are kind to someone in trouble, you hope they'll remember and be kind to someone else. And it'll become like a wildfire.
                                                 ___ Whoopi Goldberg      ___ Wanda Sykes

6. When life gives you lemons don’t make lemonade, make pink lemonade. Be unique.
___ Whoopi Goldberg      ___ Wanda Sykes

7. What drives the creative person is that we see it all.
___ Whoopi Goldberg      ___ Wanda Sykes

8. Born ham, that's basically me.
___ Whoopi Goldberg      ___ Wanda Sykes

Answers provided at the end of the document.

The Shameless Request
Please share Wiser Now Wednesday with anyone you think might be interested, and if you represent an organization that would like a customized version, send me a note at

The Resources

Answers to the quiz
  1. Wanda
  2. Whoopi
  3. Whoopi
  4. Wanda
  5. Whoopi
  6. Wanda
  7. Wanda
  8. Whoopi
My multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what I and people whom I admire are doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. I hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (
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Copyright (c) 2021 Kathy Laurenhue | All rights reserved.

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