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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dear Diary 12.21.13

  The year is just about finished yet the entrails of unhappiness lingers. Countless millions are unemployed, the economy is stalled into the wilderness among the brush and dust of the withered plants of unfulfilled dreams.

  Those who have the power to change the circumstances have no idea which way to turn, they are frozen by their ignorance or indifference, perhaps by their self serving advisers. Nothing is being done, the stagnant waters swell with the decay. The mold and mildew seething into a sauce of dissatisfaction boiling over into the frost of days without sun.

  To distract the dissatisfied hungry idle the illegal immigrant society in America is being singled as a problem needing current attention. Finally eleven and a half million illegal people who came here looking for ...? whatever? are getting the eyes of the government on them. Uncle Sam is trying to find a way to assimilate them into the mainstream of America. One condition for their 'legal' status being discussed is to have them pay back taxes.

  There is not a word mentioned regarding the corporations, companies and people who employed these 'illegals', no mention of any possible penalty for those who gave these foreigners a reason to come here. No mention of the negligence of the government for not addressing the issue when they were 'only' one million illegals. No one did anything, those who were aware of the influx closed their eyes, looked the other way or were bought into blindness. Yet, there is no dialog as to what punishment should befall them. They who caused this abundance of cheap labor producing windfall profits for companies who never reduced prices or paid fair wages for their services. Why are they not being discussed anywhere. Why are these companies not being investigated, brought to trial, if not in a courthouse how about the court of public opinion.

 Today it is winter, although the cooler temperatures have already set up shop around the country, the chill in the air is breathing a frost on compassion, causing strife before winter, and still, millions are unemployed, millions are illegal. How can the nation weather this storm of discontent.

 Corporate employees as well as government personnel seem to be exempt from accountability, their wrongdoing is nonpunishable, except in the case of misuse of funds. Some corporations are penalized for wrongdoing by paying fines which are never received by those who have been wronged, instead the bounty is recouped by legal fees and the government. These monies go to the government but never seem to trickle down to benefit the governed. Politicians who were poor when first elected to public service are millionaires upon their retirement.

 Originally, America was a consumer driven economy, the consumer, you and me, would vote with our hard earned dollars where to spend our money and what to purchase. It seems this is no longer the American way, competition is being or has been choked by 'the economies of scale', large businesses who can buy goods in bulk at much cheaper prices than the 'mom and pop business' drive smaller competition from the marketplace. We no longer have local eateries, or variety stores run by families. Every city has the same clothiers or mercantile with facades that look like warehouses, no windows for browsing or investigating to choose whether or not to walk in, you must walk in to see what is being offered and because there is no competition theirs is your only choice, No longer are products advertised with integrity, no longer are goods expected to perform as advertised. You got what they got and if you don't like it you do without. Ah, yes, the prices are cheap, goods produced in countries which have never seen 'one of those' have no idea how they are supposed to work, or why someone would buy one. Eateries are all the same, every town visited has one of each of the fastest saltiest food, again putting mom and pop into retirement. For persons with limited income there is no choice, no competition, these monopolies are the new face of America along the roads that are so large they divide communities making a walk across the street impossible. When you call a company you no longer speak to a person, you answer to a computer, over and over again, trying to make yourself clear, heard or understood.

 Integrity, an unknown word at the end of twenty thirteen, making the best is no longer a mantra, making more and more is what matters. Call someone about your charge account and the computer you reach will only answer select questions, all other inquiries must be addressed at their website, where you send a message and wait and see if you get an answer.

 Medical insurers are also trying to monopolize their business. Last year they tried to put locally owned pharmacies out of business by offer cheaper prescriptions through their owned mail order pharmacies or mega shops like Walgreen or Walmart.

 Democrats and Republicans alike, have stalemated the nation by refusing to compromise. The President misspoke about his health care, repeatedly, and then the all important roll out failed. Maybe we ought change our name to 'Murphyland' everything that can go wrong does. It is for us to decide is this incompetence, indifference, negligence, fraud or simply laziness.

 Reducing government at this time will increase the unemployment rate to catastrophic proportions since manufacturing is obsolete on these shores. Education ineffective, which is a nice way of saying our children are falling on their scale of competitiveness in the world arena.

 Since we are already over our heads in debt, investing a little more in educating the unemployed is probably money well spent. Overcoming ignorance may get us some individuals who have some good ideas to turn around our boom bust economy hopefully preventing another greater depression. But already the seeds of the newest world war are being sown. China wants the water and islands close to them as their territory, they are increasing their military, probably because there is a slow down in economic production for them also, and they must find something for their millions of millions of young people to do to earn an income, so why not get them ready to dominate the world.

 Fast food and television is probably making our kids crazier than they have to be. Ever sit in front of the television to watch a program to be bombarded by commercial after commercial selling stuff by persons yelling and screaming, a good way to agitate any age, younger persons full of energy just explode and have no way to expend that energy. Their parents work more than one job, with little time to spend nurturing their offspring, not even the energy to cook a meal. So what is left, a bunch of baby boomers retiring on social security with their medical issues in hand, but the separation of the masses continues to isolate every individual into striving alone in this 'sea of troubles'.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


(not just for k) be happy
a better life for yourself
all that brings you peace
and well being throw away misery

whether poor or rich
choose for yourself

to keep a smile on your face
the warm glow knowing that you are loved

live well
spend your time wisely
do not waste your time
'tis all you have
find the fastest easiest way to get a job done
so there is more time to do those things
that you would rather choose to do
than have to do

give yourself
a gift
acknowledge accomplishments
reward success

be kind to yourself
treat yourself well
take really good care of yourself

acquire good habits
always do your best

do not spend your time teaching yourself to be sloppy
always do your best
it will then become your second nature
like thinking happy thoughts

hug yourself you made it through another day
you have learned the value of well being
practice being happy
practice silliness
practice being happy
practice giggling

remember the good times
savor the good times
cherish the good times
and most of all
be good to yourself. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

poGo patrons

If you have ever played games at the site you know it is a little bit quirky.  If you play a card gave with robots you will notice they are programmed to be a better partner to the opponent than to the side they are on, or they do not pick up cards their side needs. That's ok, it is not a chess match, and if you want to practice and there is no one to play with, the bots will help you think better about yourself.

The site has many games to sharpen the brains that have grown a little dull, as with age, so good problem solving and fun games too. They are not, the card games it is, random, as probably are the other games also. Most of the time, you are the winner, the reward is virtual currency to be used at their virtual store or virtual badges of honor to further challenge personal competition. Sometimes they are fun, other times they are too many challenges to achieve within the scheduled time frame, simply redundantly boring.

Oh, and yes, you can chat with players at a small space while playing games. Most times players say hi and say where they are, Nova Scotia, Chicago etc. But you don't have to chat if you choose not to.

What is in fact an interesting note is the quality of the players. Some are very sharp and competitive. Others are down right rude, stopping playing a game to answer the phone, leaving the other players to wonder if the players screen is frozen, they do this without standing up at the table and letting the robot play their hand until they return. They give the brb (be right back abbreviation) and leave the other players hanging. Or they dilly around past the time expired waiting to get additional time to play.

Along with the rude players mentioned above the site has an extraordinary amount of bad sports - or it is a malaise of the times. If the bad sport is losing they just get up and leave in the middle of play -disappear into the sunset - without finishing the game, they give up and run away. And if they win, they flash one of the faces like the smiley sun, or dancing cactus, to gloat their success. These are the people who must win, who absolutely refuse to accept failure -which in life may be a good thing - who knows, but they ruin the experience or competition for all the others. Like 'I'm not playing unless I can be the chief'. For those of us who enjoy the challenge and appreciate a worthy opponent, when the bad sport begins to lose and drops the game, we are glad they leave. They remind us of the bad sport tennis players that go into their temper tantrums like little children, only there are proportionately more of them at this site, maybe it is really a magnet.

"They paved paradise..."

"I see a dead tire and a couch with a broken leg!"

"There's another bottle! And a big black plastic bag, wonder what's in it?"

"Ok kids, enough of that, why don't you go back to counting red cars?"

"Ooh! Look, there's a bottle."

 "OK". "OK."

 "There's the sod company. I wonder how they put the dirt back on the ground after they cut out the patches of sod?" "That's a good question?"

 "Number one. I saw the first red one!"

 "Wow, look at all the new construction, you think they are making it six lanes?" "Looks like it." "Here too, wow, wonder what they are building?" "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot…." "Remember that song?" "Hmmm."

 "You know, when we were watching that football game the other night, the college game where they were playing in the rain, on the field had the fake grass?" "Yeah." "Well, I was thinking, did you ever hear of a grass museum?" "Uh, no. Why?" I think it may be time for someone to make a grass or lawn museum. Soon the kids in the next generation will never know what grass is, they'll have to go to a museum to see it, like the petting zoo for animals, where they can go in and touch grass, to see what it feels like. Pretty soon there won't be any more real grass like blue grass or rye grass, it'll be cement and artificial turf." "Uh, maybe, hope not in our lifetime."

 "Well, think about it, they are widening roadways, adding overpasses that move acres of rock and dirt. They drive right through towns and never make it a place to visit. Most of the new roads go straight somewhere bypassing everything in between. Remember, we would to take a ride and stop and visit towns as we drove along. We would notice local mom and pop shops with their own signature décor, everything was different, some places had country curtains or colorful tablecloths.

  We don't see anything of the towns anymore as we ride the road, all we see are highway arches in the distance. It is always the same thing. The same chains stores are everywhere with all the same facades. Everything the same, doesn't matter how many miles we travel, nothing new to look at.    Where ever we go we can get salty pizza, or burgers and fries. There are automotive supply chains, pharmacy chains, big retail chains, nothing different, no choice, nor variety. Soon it will all be uniforms, we'll all wear the same clothing, we'll all eat the same food, drive the same autos, fill up at the same chains. They call it the economies of scale, but I call it monopolies. Monopolies that are soooooo big they tell us what we want and what we can have. No longer is it a consumer driven economy but a mega corporate economy, a few big companies telling us what to choose and when to choose it. Remember in town there was the clothing store on Main Street, where we would walk and window shop? There is no such thing as window shopping any more. I miss that. I miss seeing what is offered without having to go into the store. I miss being outside in the fresh air looking to decide if I want to go into a place, if I like what they are offering. Now if I want something I have to walk into the store and walk all the way across the building to see if they have the color towels I want or what style shoes they carry.

  I liked seeing the way people, those mom and pop people, decorated their businesses. I liked seeing their personalities. Now, it's just the same. All of the same. Yes, it took longer to get from A to B but there were things to see in between. All I see is cement and macadam. Besides that, now they have divided communities. It is difficult thing to walk across cross six lanes. They don't have stop lights. All you can do is drive there, from one side of the road to the other. People can't even cross the road to visit their neighbors.

  Boy, talk about segregation and alienation. All in the name of progress. If you think I like it you are mistaken. And the sound of all that traffic moving faster, past homes and what is left of small businesses is probably dangerous, sucking in all those fumes every time they open their front door. Like that French movie we saw, where the family home was surrounded by fields and then a roadway was built right next to them and they had to wear gas masks to go outdoors, and they sealed up the whole house, all the windows, so the pollution wouldn't get in.

  Remember that fast food place we stopped at yesterday for coffee?" "Yes." "Well right across the one lane street from it there is a house. Their front door opened to see the parking lot and all the cars that came and stopped and left and arrived and kept moving through and those big rigs, those monster trucks, the ones who never turn off their engines when they are stopped. And the gas station with the radio blasting over outdoor speakers, right across the street from somebody's home, I bet the homeowners can't even watch their own tv or read a book without hearing the radio across the street, all in the name of progress. "

 "The more I think of it the more important that grass museum will be. Like the museums of the old west, a view of the bygone era. No grass, sad. No more listening to the noise from lawn mowers on Saturday mornings, maybe they ought to make a lawn mower museum too."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Something on our Minds (a book review)

  Something on our Minds
        An Anthology to Benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Edited by Tracy A Todd & Sean J Mahoney

available at  285pgs

  also at Amazon  and soon Kindle

   What is life, living with MS, or caring for someone who is diagnosed with MS.

  Is there someone in your life struggling with life after being diagnosed with MS.

  Or are you just curious, to discover that these people are like everyone else, with the same hopes, dreams, fears and needs.

  All will not, be revealed in this tome, it is a glimpse of life through the eyes and minds of more than thirty volunteers who in this labor of love, share their thoughts and experiences for the benefit of others. Their emotions , joys and sorrows the primal visceral feelings of collective man's journey as he walks through life and as travelling with an unwelcome companion.

  Yet the flavor of the pages is a blend of chocolate and vanilla sprinkled with a hint of mint from the strength of the forest of the giant oak of optimism,  depression growth here too has shortened, melded with a dose of acceptance, a tolerance of mice and the value of nothing.
  A heaviness of self pity is whitewashed with waves of knowledge, the backbone of the arsenal of weapons needed to cope with this still as yet unknown foe.

  The Anthology is the brain child of Tracy A Todd as a way for people with MS, their friends and caregivers to raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, to continue their work to find a cause and cure for MS and to make available to everyone the resources and information the Society has funded and acquired about MS.

  The group Ms Todd founded for the project: We Write For The Fight has given a great first volume  with contributions by more than thirty individuals.
The work of a second anthology has begun.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

This is a true story

Two months after I found my partner(whom I adored) dead on the living room floor, I was financially forced to go back to work. Then I was freelance, no vacations, no benefits, no medical, just money.

I supervised the last face to face shareholder counter for Ma Bell (AT&T). We were helping the shareholders fill out the paperwork for their choices of new companies with the breakup of AT&T.

A portable counter was set up for us on the main floor of the AT&T corporate office building at Broadway in downtown New York City. Marble columns, marble floors and walls with glass windows looking out at Manhattan. It was a cold snowy February.

We let one of the women keep a bottle of perfume a Texan, dressed with cowboy belt boots, hat and tie, and suit jacket too. She reminded him of his fiancé, who was a telephone operator, who died before they were married, a long time ago. He was maybe eighty if not  older.

To my station appeared a gentleman, about six feet four or five, thin and fair skinned.  He looked me in the eye and began to speak. "When I was in Buchenwald," he said, "there were ten thousand men. Of the ten thousand men they chose two hundred, and of the two hundred they chose twenty. I was one of the twenty, that they allowed to live."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013






Cole Camp Courier

201 E Junge

Cole Camp MO 65325


Re: How long is awhile?


Dear Editor,


  What is that putrid odor? Some say it is the smell of money, others know it is the rancid concentration of foul/fowl waste from the Tyson chicken barns on 52 Highway east of Cole Camp and those on Boeshenville Avenue off Highway W from 52 Highway.

  November 30, 2012 I received an email from Jim Leis at Tyson's in Arkansas, in response to my complaint about the odors emanating from both operations. His email gave me the telephone number of Kevin Gibbs (660.827.8815) the Live Production Manager at the Sedalia facility.

  December 12, 2012 Mr. Gibbs advised that it would take a while to remedy the issue.

  A mile away from each facility the stench is still an affront to the sense of smell. These Tyson chicken barns are not good neighbors, and do not have consideration for the environment, or the residents of Benton County.

  For those who choose to fight for Benton County, call Mr. Gibbs, send emails to Tyson in Arkansas, boycott Tyson brands and tell everyone you know how repulsed you are by the corporate negligence and irresponsibility to the impact on the quality of life they have negatively affected for the neighbors, homeowners and residents of Benton County. If you do not care about land values, air quality or smelling the roses, do nothing! If you believe that respecting your neighbor is in part, protecting their land values by maintaining your property thus aiding in maintaining stable prices, make the call, let your voice be heard, vote with your dollars and boycott Tyson products.  Let Benton County not be known as 'the stinking county in Missouri'. Thank you.



Let's hold corporations accountable! Let's hold Tyson accountable!

How much is that chicken dinner costing?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

MORE about the disease obese

  In the 1940's we veiled our existence in a cloud of smoke. The 1950's was the celebration party. 1960's we did drugs to drown our ineffectiveness. 1970's brought purpose we worked hard at being a country. In the 1980's we began a painful transition, adapting and adjusting to reality . 1990 began with the anticipation of the twenties, the new millennium, waiting for the doomsday clock to hit 2000 and worrying about what computers would backfire our accounting records. AH! The twenties we welcomed with open arms, optimistic about new beginnings happy to make history and forge into the future.
THEN the twenties grew in age and everything began to go wrong even though we still had faith in tomorrow. We learned our faith was defective, we have been sold a bill of goods(false hope) and the walls of will begin to crumble. We see all our efforts for naught, our weary strength waning, our stamina shrinking, and the walls continue to crumble. Like the levees of Katrina, we have been defeated. We are saving our last burst of energy for emergencies and we walk in a stupor, numb to the pain, shielded from the slings and arrows, our fortunes dwindled, and those of us who do, we pray for the miracle, to reverse the arrows of 2013 to sling into the vein of gold.

The Disease obese?

  America has done it again! Who else in the world would come up with such an excuse, to fritter away any responsibility for what ails a growing number of people in one country. Or is this a joke?

   In the past decade there have been good reasons for us to eat away our troubles, to find no other repast to assuage the ache in the malaise of most.

  Sugar is good to sweeten the sadness
Fried chicken is great to fill the gut on the run
Burgers on the run with fries on the side make a no mess meal easy to deal

  The fast food industry has been chastised for the salt, fat and sugar content of it's products, is eating it a disease, is the hurry up-fill up a disease particular to America, the United States there of. Is being hungry a disease too. When rushed to make money is the norm, why is the food fill up with the wrong octane a disease.

  Exercise is for the rich!!!!! The poor can not afford that luxury.

  A real meal with all the fixin's is a dream for many. Now that unemployment is at twenty five million here, food is becoming a dream too. The faster fill up with whatever will quell the ache in the belly and the heart is the best cheapest fastest choice.

  The disease in America, the United States there of, is more a pain in the heart, the government lies, and expects us to buy the untruths. The government is spending the money the poor and middle incomers no longer have. The  nation debt is rising and we all know we all must pay the piper, is the debt to earning ratio a disease. There is nothing to show for the money. Corruption of the infrastructure is the same as the corruption of the leaders of this free world. Trust and accountability are sitting beside the right to pursue happiness. There is no longer any illusion of 'for the good of the people', Katrina erased that dream. We have no one to follow.

 The god fearing religious are disenchanted with those leaders also, they too are only human.

  The new law of the land is the mega corporation where no one is responsible, or if someone accepts responsibility for any wrongdoing they step down from their throne, with a severance package which will feed some third world nations, the reward for the corporate leader who takes responsibility!

  There was a time when the government meant something, when police officers walked a beat and new the people they were serving, now they drive by faster than those shooting, or they make so much noise when they are arriving the bad guys have plenty of time to hide.

  Is it a disease that disenfranchises those who serve or those who are being served. A quality product is not what production is now about. Make as many as you can, even if it doesn't work, who cares, someone will buy it, even the 'junkman'.

  Is there someone in America, the United States there of, who has self respect. Can the poor eke out a meager existence and be happy with one's accomplishments. Can someone on a production line feel good about riveting all day long, the same shape, the same color, the same part. For tens of years can a union worker feel good about making a product that is substandard, dangerous, or useless.

  Feel good America, the United States there of, for all your children who can not read or write, never mind add or subtract. Feel good about all the children who can not communicate with the spoken word, but get what they want with a gun. Thank you television, for not educating the masses, for the dumbing down of a captive audience, all the little children whose parents had them because their religion said it was the right thing to do, but never gave them the tools needed to feed them, so they put the progeny in front of the 'boob tube' while they finally have a minute to relieve themselves or wash their face. And they give them a snack out of a bag, to hold the hunger until the rice and beans or pasta and sauce is ready to eat. And the water coming out of the pipes has a smell and a taste not worth mentioning, so they drink anything, soda, bottled water, milk if they are lucky. But even the milk has all the nutrients cooked out of it. Ah, feel good America, it won't kill you.

 How about more for the corporations, the irresponsible partners in our consumer economy. How does one individual feel good about themselves when the corporation they work for, pays them minimum wage, without medical benefits, without vacation pay, and less hours than is needed to survive. Thus, they must work one two or three more jobs a week to try to make ends meet, because that corporation has eliminated all competition, and is the only company with jobs for hire, and some of the products, not all, are useless no matter they are advertised, or the quality is so poor it will not stand up to the rigors of a growing child, therefore, must be replaced more frequently. Who: 'owes their soul to the company store?'

 The Disease obese? Knowing that at any time a bomb could explode in one's face is a newer reality, the new crusades of the twenty first century, the new enemy without a face, the cowards who hide in corners, masked in daylight and nightlight, the enemy within and the enemy without. 'If that's all there is...' There is no one to negotiate with, the headless rider spreading the plague of fear, the constant reminder that we are all doomed, no matter what we do. 

  There is no leader telling us not to worry, that in the end we all die, and all that matters is doing our very best, being true to ourselves, even if we must starve for the cause, like those who think they will be bestowed with virgins when they die.

 The, as Charles Dickens shared with us, fear, greed, ignorance and want will infect the masses, and the masters and mistresses or is it mizzes, will judge who will have the opportunity to continue in their pursuits of a better life, while others will be cut short.

 The Disease obese. Can the lack of opportunity be a disease, can we find no relief for the fatigue, the hunger, the desire, the need, the empty days filled with nothing that resembles joy, happiness, satisfaction, gratitude or just plain pleasure ever exist in our lifetimes. Is this the generation that will be plunged into the valley of darkness, or can we slowly climb out into the daylight and feel the sun warm our faces.

 Who are they kidding, giving more money to the AMA American Medical Association to experiment with the jelly rolls, to alter the physical appearance without addressing the starving minds. It is not the bodies that have turned to fat, it is the brains being wasted. The generation of educated or almost educated who have some much to learn who have no opportunity to learn. The wasted generation, that even the children are so angry they are eliminating each other.

  America is wasting it's resources, any sensible individual sees it, and is abhorred by it, and can not shut their eyes, and has no leader to show us another way, to a better life. The leaders have corrupted the system, or has the system always been in place for the leaders to feather their own nests, regardless of their constituents. Or has the corporation taken over as 'lord and master' of the masses.

  Monopolies are more the economies of scale, tsk, world wide wonders feeding the masses, controlling what is consumed. We are no longer a consumer economy, yet, the illusion is propagated. The world economies are no longer a consumer driven machine, it is now the corporations driving the wheels of demand. We want rice, we have one choice, it may not taste as good as you remember, but you will always save. Yuck, bring back my old brand. You want napkins, buy millions, even if you only need ten. Don't like the color of that chair, buy it and paint it, from the color choices we show here, not what you want, get use to it. There is no more a pleasing economy, it's more take what you can get and like it and pay what we want you to pay, because we are the only store in town. Basic staples, who needs choice, we got plenty, what those napkins too harsh for you soft face, too bad, get use to it, and like it.

  Disease obese. There is no place to run. There is no place to hide. It is the disease of dissatisfaction, disappointment, disenfranchisement, downtrodden, decay, and displeasure. A disease of disunity. Dog eat dog, every man for himself. There is no more for the good of the people.

  For the masses: the food is no good, the work is no good, the religion is no good, the play is no good, the sleep is no good, there is nothing left, there is no dream, no land of opportunity, no land of knowledge, no safe place. The closest we get is to try to feed our physical hunger with the empty calories of no benefit.

 Mr Ford made cogs in a wheel of us all, the assembly line mentality, for the good of the masses. Then the government made the automobile the wheel of the economy, driving all industry or the majority of industry, tires nuts bolts, paint, oil, grease, leather, glass, music, video, roads, machinery to build roads, and so forth. PEOPLE here do not walk, do not cycle, we are transported here there and everywhere, the Disease obese, it is the illness of the nation, not the people. We have lost sight of people, machines answer all our questions, machines communicate for us, there is little left for us to do to feel good about ourselves, so let's call it: Disease obese, and maybe we will forget about all our dissatisfaction, with all the leaders, the non leaders whom we have entrusted our lives, whom we have given our all, everything we have and will have, to make our lives safer and better, and we watch the infrastructures crumble, and we ought smile, or giggle or laugh, because the joke is on us.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What a MESS!

The pressure washer we bought last year, that we used once to wash the deck, began sprouting water when we used it the first time this year. So we decided to call Honda, the maker of the engine, to see if there was something we could do to stop the eruption. We called the number in the instruction manual, of course we get the robot answering the line with the usual press two if you want Spanish, press three for ..... press four.... etc., after pressing the closest appropriate number an announcement comes on to say we won a two day cruise in the Bahamas. If we didn't want to take advantage of the free ride press such and such number, then the next recorded message is to make sure we do not want to take advantage of the trip we won press such and such number. After pressing the next number we get disconnected.

Next we call Troy Bilt, the brand pressure washer, and of course get the robot and have to hold for customer service. The person in customer service tells me to call so and so, a local 'gold' service rep who tell me to call another company that is handling the warranty on the item.

The fifteen year old car finally became so unpredictable we bit the bullet and decided to purchase a brand new car. After shopping around and pricing brands and models we started to go look at a few. We decided on the car we wanted. One dealer for Nissan told us we were close to making a deal. We wanted to know what would be the final cost, without a trade in of the old car. Three times we asked and no numbers were forthcoming. We get a call that the want us to go back to the dealer so they can test drive the old car.  We call back and tell the salesperson that we would not be buying a car from them.

We find another Nissan dealer and make a deal to purchase a car. We have to wait a week to pick it up because we wanted to add a moon roof. They do not do that work but have to send it to another city. The week later when we arrive to pick up the car, we have to wait an hour for someone to sign the paperwork so we can drive the car off the lot.

The television picture sometimes keeps blinking. We have satellite service and a DVR to record programs we want to see later than when it is being played.  For the first call in to a Directv rep we go through all the usual stuff, reset the receiver, check all connections, unplug and replug in receiver, the problem is fixed. Another call in for the same problem and we are told that the resolution on the DVR is wrong and should be changed but there is no way to make the change, but turning everything off fixes it again. The next call in for the same problem the rep tells us to unplug the tv, that the receiver and tv equipment are not compatible - again the problem is fixed.  The blinking begins again and we call for a new DVR  and are told we should probably have a service person to check everything out, and there would be a service call even though we do not own the DVR but lease it. There would be a fee for a new DVR.  And if we pay five ninety nine for a service contract the house call will be covered. Since one of the other calls in for the same problem someone said a new DVR would not solve the problem and we are reaching the threshold of not worth spending any more money to watch reruns and the few sports programs, we opt to do nothing until we decide if we want to keep the service.

Accountability and the buck stops here are slogans that have gone by the wayside with integrity, the customer is always right, quality, and customer service. What this is causing, without anyone paying attention, is a breakdown in the consumer economy in America. There is no reason for anyone to buy something if they must be subjected to such abuse. It is the same as paying to be beaten up. There will be a further slow down in jobs because there will be no demand, the engine that runs America will reach a dead stop.

Corporations no longer are the economies of scale, the bigger is better to save cost and increase profits. There is no one responsible for the finished product. There is no quality control. And the corporations are now coming up with another smokescreen for the consumer, the satisfaction survey. They think we believe that they are paying attention to what we have to say. They don't answer their phones, why would we believe that.

Small business is attempting a come back, the mega shops call it the cottage industry, but the big corporations a trying to choke them out. First it was Walmart, moving into small towns in America forcing small businesses out of business because they could not compete with the product pricing of buying in bulk. Then the McDonald's starving local mom and pop eateries again for pricing. UnitedHealth Group is getting in their licks by offering cheap prescriptions through their mail order pharmacies killing local pharmacies. Monopolies will reign, there is no longer any competition for goods and services. The global economy has given the company store a new meaning. A shop like Walmart resembles the sweat shops of the twentieth century, and no one notices, because the goods are bought from another country and no one sees the squalor and poor working conditions. The blind eye to the financial bargain. The dog eat dog world.

Radical Islam has aggravated the situation, fostering insecurity and fear. But that is for another discussion.

Accountability is non existent. Much of American military activity is farmed out to consignment shops. Even the running of the government is not done by government employees but companies hired to do the job. Government employees were long believed to be slow to work, now the integrity and quality of the work is questionable and it is not being done by government employees.

The volunteer soldier is also being abused with extended tours of duty pressing their emotional well being to every test, more suicides among enlisted than ever and the numbers keep growing.

It is a free for all, if you know the expression, it is, everything is up for grabs, everyone is out for themselves grabbing all they can. The fear of the future has captured all by the throat, as the lunge their hands into the coffers, sweeping away every penny of workable cash from the American citizen. The few are stealing from the many.

Maybe this is a global consciousness - going on everywhere - a sign of the times - the new age of everything different but the same.

Twenty five million in America unemployed, infrastructure rotting, national debt unfunded.

And still we have millionaires and billionaires, the few who have it all. Seems like we are vaulting back to the dark ages of serfdom and there is probably nothing we can do about it but accept it. Too bad, it was nice while it lasted. And nothing lasts forever. Too bad it has to end this way. Too bad we didn't learn how to make it better. Take really good care of yourself.

Monday, June 24, 2013

About the Dear letters, WWII

This blog will be five years old in November. The most popular piece is written by my father, way back during WWII. The letters he wrote to my mother while he was overseas fighting a war. The majority of those notes were censored, meaning they were read by some military person to make sure my father was not sharing military secrets with the enemy. So there is a vagueness about them, a guarded script, like someone looking over one's shoulder. The do share the emotion of someone doing what they feel must be done and their uncomfortable-mess with the surroundings, circumstances and the not knowing about anything that is going on. In today's world we learn everything instantly. Back then, newspapers, radio and television in a small way, let everyone know what was going on. But, here is a guy in his thirties with a daughter he never saw, living every day in danger, unaware about everything except what was right in front of him. The only link with his outside world were the letters he received from family and friends, sometimes it was weeks before he received a post, sometimes plenty arrived together. It was his lifeline, and because he was a soldier on the front lines, he had to destroy the mail he received, so we have on an idea of what people wrote to him. Little stories of home life that reminded him of other places instead of the mud in front of him. He sounds so young. His first trip and only trip overseas. He volunteered, probably because he felt obligated. All his friends and relatives of age were drafted or volunteered. He felt strongly about doing his part to win the war. He drove a truck to bring supplies to the front lines, or he was chauffeuring  the general. You don't learn that from his letters. They don't really say anything about the war, except for the mud, rain and the cigarettes. Like the worker bee, he did his job, he did what was required of him. He did his best. And like the worker bee, he was one among the many. They are all very simple letters written mostly in pencil. Throughout the years writing you get the sense of the person, alone, lost, lonely, in a strange place, unable to leave, wanting to leave, waiting to leave, thinking of home, worrying about those at home, annoyed that he was not there to take care of things. He was a self educated man, who made something of himself, who read books to learn how to achieve his goals. A man with integrity who had some bad luck in his life, the worst being his mother dying when he was about five years old. A guy who grew up on the streets and set his standard of right and wrong above the average, and who was beaten down several times, just because of circumstances out of his control. And his days in the army captured in the letters he wrote to my mother, say nothing, and everything about being a soldier at war.

Who knew, the blog I started to express myself the easy way, putting out there what I believe is important and valuable, and it is my father who is the star. I guess I really knew how important those letters are, they are the most read items on the site. Good for him, he always wanted  to make a positive difference in the world.

You,me, them

The house is filled with life's accumulations. Memories of the past, people long gone, still holding on, unwilling to let go. There is so much stuff, piled around, collecting dust, needing cleaning, waving hello as we walk by. In every room there is history. Beautiful things, at least we think beautiful, positioned to catch our eye as we pass by, little mementos passed down from generations, the link with ancestors, their way of life, the world they lived in. Are they necessary? Must we continue to hold on to the past> Is there room in the present and the future to hold on to yesterday.

There is less room to move about freely. All the books have been read, they sit on the shelves, their titles easily read to remind us of the adventures between the pages. Why are these volumes clinging to us. The imagination of some one's fictional murder mystery necessary to sit to be viewed. Read years ago and not even significant volumes of literature, average books that touched a spot, a new place in the mind. And yet, must it, they, fill the shelves. What reason does it play in our daily lives, do they connect us with a door that will otherwise remain shut. What will happen to us if we remove them, will we lose the link, will we be unable to jump to the place of creativity.

And the little nick knacks or the photos, the paintings hanging on the walls. What do they do for us, is it something that we can not do for ourselves.

Must make room. Like the kid said, "I see dead people" all around our house. Pretty little things that clutter the space, create work and attract our focus.

They are part of us, they keep us in touch with the links of the memories that are important pieces of our life experience. But we can not continue the task of keeping them clean. We are at the stage in our life when simplicity reigns. Yet, I am unable to remove my share of the little thoughts of yesterday. I am unwilling to let go. I hold dear all the things I received from dead people, my link to the nice things in my life.

That is it!!!! Ah ha! Bingo! Our home is filled with reflections of the nice things in our lives. The happy memories, the little snippets of joy, the good times, the hugs, the warmth, the beauty, the best parts of our lives. We want not to forget, we hold fast, the best parts of our lives.

In the closets too. Old things not worn in years, pieces of the past hanging around to be discovered when we open the door. But there is no room, we must let go. The big house has become small. It is becoming difficult to walk, furniture that has out stayed it's welcome. It is nice to sit in a room filled to the brim with nice things, like a cup of hot chocolate in wintertime.

Must choose what to lose. Must use discipline to open the space, to make room, to reduce work, to eliminate clutter.

Clutter, it blocks the flow, it interrupts. When viewing the whole, looking into the room filled to the brim, it presents the display of clutter, chaos. Then the eye spots the fish on the wall, swimming effortlessly in the water, it has a calming effect. And the statue of the mother with an arm around a child, the comfort and safety, the link with family. So far they don't feel like clutter, when presented one at a time. All together they clog the brain. One at a time they soothe when we didn't even know we needed soothing.

What to do. Where to begin. Simplify. Let go. Give it up. HOW!

Words expended, trying to find the way to begin, the way to let go of the crutches I have invented to make my life better.  Must find the way to make it better on my own. It feels like I am cutting off my arm or leg. The thought of parting with some or all of this stuff is almost frightening. I don't want to give it up. Odd, this communication is all about me. I is not the way to write. For me, this topic is very personal. It is my problem to solve. Too tired to get up and begin, that's a good excuse to rest here a while. I know, I shall walk around the house and look at things to see who I can give them to. Who can I pass them on to. Who will see their value, whose life will it enrich. I am going to do that. Instead of throwing away the treasures by trying to sell them as junk, I shall inspect the value of items and share them with those whom I treasure as well, those who have enriched my life and shared their joy. It is a softer way to approach the portal to old age, to make me feel that my life in a small way is or has been valuable. I feel better already, lighter, less tense than before. It is  not like letting go, it is moving over. Putting the treasures in the place where they will do the most good(for me!) knowing I am giving something of beauty to those who have helped make my life beautiful. It is better than think I am getting old and must shed pounds to help me move. It is a purpose. Have not had a purpose for a while. Making dinner is not as big a purpose. This is good. I can focus on the task at hand. I have given myself the tool to get the job done. It is a position of fullness, unlike letting go  which creates an emptiness, a barrenness, a whole.  Sharing keeps me full. And now there is a twinkle in my eye, thinking about what a surprise I can make. Christmas in July, and I am not even catholic. A good time for giving. A good time to surprise someone with something special. Not necessarily something they may need, just something to help keep the twinkle in their eye. I hope I made this a twinkle in your eye. Happy new year in July. Hope you giggle too.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Melting Pot

  America is called the melting pot. Many persons from the nations on the planet settle here choosing the American way of life. The "original residents"whom Christopher Columbus mistakenly called Indians  thus so because  he had believed he reached the Indies and was meeting "Indians".  North America he believed was the Indies. Having no guide book he can not be faulted for his misinformation of course because in those days, 'the world was flat'.

  Fast forward to today and the name  Indian still sticks to all the tribes and nations, along with the 'politically correct'  title, Native American. A melting pot label for the peoples  found here by the Europeans. These Indigenous people are further disrespected by not being afforded the same label standards as other peoples in this melting pot.  Nationality is watered down to deny the existence of separate nations residing here before it became the United States of America. Why are they not called the Cherokee Nation of North America, or the Sioux Nation of North America, for that matter, what was this placed called before it was named after Amerigo Vespucci? does anyone know?

  Why we are not all called Americans is bizarre, we even segregate the Southerners from the Northerners.

  People settling here from Hungary are called Hungarian American, China - Chinese American, Italy - Italian American, and so on. But, has anyone called themselves English American? I know many "English Americans" but have never heard that label.

  Back to the American Indians aka Native Americans, why are they not called Sioux American and Cherokee American, as well as Blackfoot American. Are they Americans? Are they governed by the laws of the United States, do they pay taxes, are they represented? Native Americans or Indians, or the separate nations of the Native Americans culture and history are the least taught nationalities. Americans with other roots seem to have no interest in the culture of their neighbors whose land 'we' stole, are we trying to assuage our responsibility by ignoring their existence?  There are some individuals who stand out, Geronimo! a lone chief astride his horse atop a mountain. 

  Still the question begs, why not American Blackfoot and American Italian. If roots are relevant, are we not first American, is not our allegiance to this nation and not the nation of our roots. Do we not fight to protect our home not the home our ancestors came from?

The story of the peoples the European settlers met are lost on the wind. Like the tidal wave washing away everything in its path, the land we call home has lost its history, and no one cares, or if they do, they keep their thoughts to themselves.

We celebrate Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Columbus Day, St Patrick's Day, and Thanksgiving Day but nowhere do we pay homage to the 'first' Americans, and the rest of us are first foreigners, then Americans.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The collective conscience

  The collective consciousness

The younger Mr Bush was elected at a time when the country was divided equally. Voters felt strongly for or against issues. There was no compromise of ideals. How he was elected is a matter for the history books. Suffice it to say, it was a time in America when everyone had a black and white image of the issues.

9/11 has again created a dichotomy of opposites. Now, there is a strong sense of fear. Some see a scary enemy lurking and they are demanding protection at all costs. Tap the telephone, detain citizens indefinitely, drone the neighborhood.  Keep liquids off planes, scan passengers. A patriot act, cower. Bury your head in the sand of fear the unknown. Let the enemy know they have succeeded. The enemy has obtained control, is it the person seated next to you on the train, is the guy who bumped into you on the street. Hurry home, lock the door, load the gun. Get ready for war, they are coming to get us. Be afraid, freeze the brain into inactivity, dull the senses with the smell of war. Fight for your life, they have poison gas, they have bio hazard, they have the power to destroy us. They are getting stronger, they are on every continent, moving closer, watching, poising, build a wall, don't let them in. Keep us safe, no matter the cost, it is our right. The government must keep us safe.

Freedom. Without freedom this is not America, not The United States of America, home of the free and the brave. Yes, there is a new Crusade, a new religious war heading in our direction. Yes, there are those who are angry with the haves. The have not's have been brain washed into believing that in the next life(of which they are assured is reality) they will be rewarded with virgins. Is there a clarification for the female enemies, will they also receive virgins in the hereafter? We now have cameras on street corners, filming everyone, in the search for the lawbreaker running the red light, to add revenue, to keep the streets safe. And, to catch the killers! There is always someone watching. There is always someone seeing what you are doing, and interpreting what you are doing, to suit their needs. Is it a fair price to relinquish freedoms in the hope of securing safety? Are the watchers sufficiently tempered to see reality and not their illusion of reality? Can we depend upon the keepers of the peace to protect us. Or, do we continue living our lives as a free nation. Is a police state necessary?  9/11 has crippled the world economy. 9/11 has masked us in the apprehension of danger, positioning us for the fight or flight response. But has it also expanded our mind to the need to choose what is good for us. Is it good for us to be a frozen populace, afraid to laugh, afraid to dance, afraid to giggle. Get the gun, forget about folly.

Fear, greed, ignorance and want, the only enemies. Building walls further enhancing the dark ages. Remember the dark ages?, the days of serfs and lords, the haves and the have nots. The days before the printing press, and mass education, or education of the masses. Are we falling back in time, revisiting the dark ages of mass ignorance and mass want? Are we willing to give up the grandeur of the Internet, the instant information highway, in exchange for slave labor or forced imprisonment of the mind? Without the opportunity and the exercise of excellence we are simply surviving or fighting to survive as opposed to striving for excellence, learning about our selves and what is best for all of us. Can we stand by and accept the inevitability of war, to relieve the strain of the unemployed, or can we turn around the fear, the greed, the hunger and the want -- into a unity of purpose, a better life for all. Is because there has always been war the good reason to accept war as the inevitable. Can we stand by, doing nothing, and letting the worst possible scenario become the reality. Or can we each make a positive difference to prevent the habit of war as the only solution.


What's in a name?



A moral

    There was one year, every row was perfectly straight and equally spaced, it looked as though it was done by a machine. Each seed was spaced exactly the same distance, all the onions and garlic too. A beautiful site, amazing, awesome, simply lovely. We stood admiring our handiwork. Nothing grew.

   The artist worked for two years on the sculpture. Placing specks of clay day after day. After two years the artist had a tall statue made of clay, ready for the next step. Realizing exhaustion and needing a vacation before moving on in the process the artist decided to take a vacation. He told the gardener to wet the statue every day. When the two week vacation, the artist arrives home, where his statue one stood was a mound of wet clay.

    Moral of the story? Don't do anything too perfectly, you anger the gods.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day in America

It begins about May first, if not sooner. It is the grandest American celebration, second only to July fourth. The importance touches every American, filling their hearts with sadness and joy.

It is about everything American, hot dogs, picnics, family and remembrance.

We celebrate all who have fought for our way of life. Not necessarily for the reasons we went to war but for the solidarity of the nation. We, who have joined together to act as one to protect and serve all that we stand for, all that we are.

Some believe it is to honor those who have died in service for their country. It is also to honor all of whom who did not have the ability to serve their country risking their lives, those whom the military deemed unacceptable to fight for the right to die for their nation. The mothers who stayed home and wrote letters, the sweethearts who worried stateside. The fathers who shook hands farewell and the children who hugged and kissed the parent who would depart, deployed who knows where, doing who knows what, who may not return.

it is not about celebrating the nations leader, it is us, all of us, together.

For the youngster memorial day seems a sad affair, with the reminder of those who lost their lives fighting in combat, the soldier in uniform, separated from the nation by the dress fatigues of battle, the sacrificed,  marched off in the official warrior garb of the citizens who the nation is willing to risk for the survival of the remainder. Except for the party atmosphere, it is a requiem, a funeral, a burial of the fallen. It is a confusing holiday, the overwhelming sadness of the nation for the fallen warriors and happiness for the celebration of the nations way of living, the lifestyle fought for, the living, those who carry on.

The adult celebrates everything American, the climate, the landscape, the opportunities, and they celebrate the price paid for such an existence. Thank you father, mother uncle, aunt, brother, sister and grandparent for giving us the opportunity to foster freedom and nurture it with our every breath.

Now that we are a country boasting an illegal population living under the radar we have a further obligation, us the living, to strengthen the freedoms of which this nation has been built. If we are to flourish as a 'free' nation, we must continue to fight for those rights we hold dear. We must share the passion with every resident, relishing the freedoms for which we are so proud. We must teach the new neighbors how important it is to be in a free society. The only way possible is by respecting the laws for all people, not just for those born here.

We are Americans, we are a people planted here from all the nations on the planet, we are all immigrants here because this is the land of opportunity. The opportunity to pursue happiness, not that we all do achieve it, but that we have the right to work for our happiness, suppressing the rights of others is not the free society, it is the land of the fear.  It is the oppression of hunger and want, it is the fear and greed that is never satisfied. We as a nation cannot lead the world beyond survival, if we are afraid. We must live our lives as a free people and celebrate the rights we have, we must show the rest of the world that we are a healthy happy nation because our freedoms are something we hold dear and can not be taken away from us.

When we oppress, depress and suppress others we are choking our life's breath. We can not achieve happiness stepping over the lives of others, we can only grow and prosper when we share the opportunities.

It is not necessary for us to give away, what we have worked so hard to acquire, but to share the knowledge of the skills we have honed. The smarter my neighbor the smarter me. We expand exponentially when we give every one the opportunity of knowledge. Ignorance is evil, ignorance is the root of dissatisfaction, ignorance suppresses the expansion of the species. We all are important, we all have something to contribute. The housekeeper is as valuable as the scientist. Without a house kept in order chaos reigns. Chaos is the evil of ignorance, ignorance is the evil of chaos. We  need each other to grow, and maybe that is what the Memorial Day celebration in America is all about.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


My brother was born in Brooklyn on May 14. Thirty three years after his birth my parents moved to upstate New York, and their closest neighbor has a son also born on May 14. His age is 56, my brother 65. I moved to New Jersey in 1988 and my closest neighbors daughter was born on May 14.

In New Jersey I had a dentist whose assistant shares my birth date. Less than five years ago the dentists daughter had a daughter who shares the same birth date as me.

I went to a birthday party for a friend named Robert and there were four other Robert's in the room. There were less than fifty people at the party.

If you are named Mary, Marie or Maria, most people you meet will change your name according to whether or not they like you and other persons they know named Mary, Maria or Marie. They don't care what your name is. If they do not like you and they have a friend they do like with the same name, they will change your name as to not have the negative association rub off to their relationship with the friend they like.  if they don't like you and your name is Mary and the good friend they like is also called Mary, they will call you Marie or Maria. If they like you and your name is Mary and their friend is named Maria they will call you Maria, no matter how many times you correct them.

My grandfather was born on Easter, my cousin on Christmas, my brother Father
's Day, My sister, Mother's Day, me St Patrick's Day, and my uncle and cousin share the same day.

I had a friend whose granddaughter was born on the same day as she, so she would play forgetful with the child, asking her when her birthday is and stating that her birthday is the day after, so the child could have her own special day.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Did you touch anything?

   In 'the old days', women always wore gloves, they also always wore dresses and hats but that is not the focus here. Back to gloves, they mostly were always white, until the age of fashionable women needing fashionable distractions, so they were matching their gloves to the other attire of the day.

   White cotton gloves covered ladies hands. These ladies we never permitted to touch anything, it was always the glove that met the banister or doorknob.

   Before leaving their residences women donned their white gloves, stretching their fingers between each other to be sure the fabric was in place, their suit of armour before battle. They, the women felt protected once they were gloved, they were safe, they could travel with impunity.

   Young girls felt especially empowered with their first pair of gloves, as a right of passage, a maturing, coming of age, a key to unlocking the whole world to them, and they were protected from any of the ills.
   The females were always cautioned not to remove their gloves, yet to take care what they touched and do not touch your face with your gloves.

   'Those were the days after World War II when women ventured beyond the home, when women had no servants to do the daily shopping. The days when coal was the fuel delivered to each home. When someone shovelled a barrel full and rolled it on its rim to the rear of the domicile and its contents emptied through and opening to run down a chute to pile on a basement floor for the homeowner to shovel into a small bucket to sit by a furnace and to then be shovelled into the pot belly of fire to further fuel the water heated radiators that hissed through out the winter.

  It was the days when horse drawn wagons rolled down the streets offering fresh fruits and vegetables to the homemakers. When all the automobiles were black. It was the time before air-conditioning, when in summer the windows were wide open and at night the sound of a distant train would roll into the window onto the slumber greeting little ears transporting their imaginations to far away places a mile down the road, as they fancied themselves sitting being jostled along the tracks with the other passengers.

  The days when people amused themselves, whistling was fashionable along with playing spoons on ones laps. When people gathered at someones home to play the musical instruments they carried along, when a harmonica and accordion were a band.

  Travel en mass was a new past time, a Sunday trip to the country, only a few miles from the city, to see cows, horses, pigs and chickens on farms, the old way people use to live.

   Girls were protected in those days, they were guarded. Their safety and value exulted, they were made to feel important, special, nothing was permitted to touch them.

   With them, these women also carried small purses, into which was placed their treasured gloves which were removed when they reached their destinations, the home of a friend with whom they were visiting. The gloves were smoothed straight, the pair together then folded in half and slid into the small purse, to wait to be removed upon leaving. These purses were usually placed upon a small anteroom table, near the entry door to the home, to be sure to be noticed, that these women had their 'coats of armour' for travel.

  Now, into the future of the past, the women venture everywhere, hands unafraid to touch anything beyond the home, and the women attached to these hands will now become the guardians of the safety off all, alongside the men in America, as it is in other lands, women defending the safety of a nation alongside the opposite sex, equal in the responsibility of the well being of all, equally expendable, and dependable, necessary to guard, willing to finally be equally accountable and useful for what we hold dear. No longer standing by, with white gloves, 'un-permitted' to touch anything outside the home.

  Whether or not their participation is necessary is food for thought, but that they, the females are finally empowered, permitted, allowed, and accepted
to protect and serve the great nation where we reside. And we will have the privilege of honoring them in the manner that we honor all who serve and protect this great nation. "You've come a long way baby."

Saturday, January 26, 2013


trod ding

An image the minds eye sees is a whole, from top to bottom, one flowing piece of a person, the outward view of the you. It covers everything as a perfect form. The mind's eye see the self in Toto, all of you, a view of the outside of you from the inside. Like an out of body experience, the mind's eye over there, looking at you here. magic.

When the ankles are broken, a new image is formed alongside the original, you the first  and you the second. This new image is as majestic as the original. Though the flow is broken from the ankles to the feet there are seams at both ankles, like healed scars, a small protrusion that shows a break in the flow the two images of you side by side.

They both look like the cement statues found in gardens, the white stones with the smoothness from dancing with the weather.

But, walking now is a studder, each step a hesitation of thought. The mind, unconnected from the feet, must grope for a new path to transmit the impulses to move. The feet look the same, the legs look the same, the bones seamed at the ankles, less sleek, less reliable, less rapid.

The minds eye effortlessly flows along the body, connections intact, save for the ankles. Confusion, it is not the road map originally built. The model resembles the original, they look the same, except for the seams at the ankles, visible to only the minds eye.

Walking, a normal flow of information from the brain to feet, those transmissions of electrical impulses all executed without the conscious mind's thought or interference. Lift, ambulate, halt, destination achieved while the conscious mind is drifts elsewhere.

 Statues, the two, standing side by side, the minds eye transmitting first to the original work of art and the legs do not move, the minds eye then retransmits the messages to the new original and there is motion. The design of the original is there, never to be deleted, the minds eye always tending there first. The delay may be dangerous at some time, all one can do is practice, practice, practice. The mind always taking the original route followed by the new original route, new pathways to walking.

When knees lose their cartilage walking becomes a grinding action, bone upon bone ringing a shuddering of scrape, scratch and abrasion, up through the ears, causing vibrations everywhere. Grind scrape, scratch, ache. grrrrr.

But when ankles are broken the minds eye rebuilds the model of the self alongside the original, first working schematic. It, the minds eye, always reroutes through the first model before it reaches the new model of wires, nerves and muscles, it always returns to the first one before it can reboot the body through the second one. You with broken ankles are not slower than before, the road is just longer.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

yep and yup

When someone says yes, it is an affirmative action, it reinforces the positive and gives credence to the conversation.

On the other hand, yep is an absolute affirmative motion. There seems to be no ambiguity to the condition. Did you do as I asked? yep. No one can debate the condition. Consider: Did you do as I asked? yes. Is the yes in fact confirmation of the action or simply acknowledgment of hearing the question? There is no doubt with the yep or as some people say, yup.

Nope confirms the same action  in the negative sense and also is an absolute term. But nope shall not be discussed at this time.

Yes is a civilized gentle sway to the affirmative, it neither needs prodding nor weight from adjectives or conjunctions, ah, yes! on some occasions confirms complete satisfaction with the positive position that the yes is moving to, but that is a subjective personal preference which can be altered as with the weather.

Yup and yep stops the action without extension without frills, it defines the action and completes the conversation. There is no need for embellishment.

Yup finishes the thought, it leaves no room for barter, there is no further emphasis or intrusion, it is as they say, a done deal, finis, absolute.

The strength of the yep and its companion yup is the dropping p sound, it does not trail off into the wilderness like the s in yesssss, which flows off into the clouds and lingers floating above as an afterthought. But the yup drops the voice, the breath and the muscle action into an end. There is no debate, it is a direct response to the question posited and closes the doors behind it.

Yup and yep historically have been classified as slang, and at some time should if it has not already occurred, be classified as a real word that has no comparison of strength or power save for the offensive NO! Yep and yup have greater power again because of the action of the vowel o in noooo that trails off into oblivion.

So, when you want to be understood beyond the shadow of a doubt, yep and yup are there to serve and make the meal complete. bon apetit

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

about Lance Armstrong?

   In the beginning it was monumental, an American competing in the Tour de France. The novelty, watching the cyclists climb and descend the slopes, the thrill of one of us attempting to achieve a dream. It was wonderful. We watched and rooted for the American playing by the rules and besting the rest. We had our hero, winning the most grueling of tests. And his team of cyclists and support staff, helping him achieve. The most wonderful example of teamsmenship, a group of individuals working together for one of their BEST to be the best of the best.

  All the tv's in America were turned on to the test, everyone sitting on edge rooting, concentrating, hoping, wishing, wanting and celebrating the winning. It was a boost in the arm of America, we had a hero, a role model.

  Then, year after year, as Mr Armstrong continued to excel doubt arose. Could sustained perfection be achieved with only human effort. And still we cheered. He said it was all him, just him, and nothing else but him.

  All those titles, all those medals, all those times we saw him standing in front of the cameras with the yellow jersey, and we were proud. One of us had the strength to compete, for days, and make us all satisfied with his efforts. A modern day champion.

  He cheated us of the nation honor we so desperately needed, he deceived us with his denials and affirmations of honesty, he manipulated our trust, nay, he manipulated our nationalism, much like the leaders of the nation. He sold us a bill of goods and we had no reason to doubt. Authorities attested his right, and his urine too.

  Then over the years, allegations arose, and he still denied and we still accepted, and we still trusted. We didn't think anyone could be that stupid, selfish, self serving, deceitful, demented into thinking winning the prize by cheating was the same thing as really winning the prize. He stole the accolades, he stole our hearts and he conned us all the years he was competing and all the years he continued to deny allegations.

  And now we should forgive him, in his hour of contrition, finally he was really caught and he is emotional about being found out. He could not possibly be emotional about all the years we bowed to him, the star. Disgust is more appropriate. Cheating us is one thing, maybe we could forgive that, his having been ill and battling cancer, is that true??? But living the lie all these years, garnering our respect for the illusion of excellence, never.

  We forgive his stupidity, we forgive his selfishness, we forgive his cheating, but we can not forgive his lying, deceit and years of living the lie at the top.

  Few Americans have grand lives, some have good lives and only one Lance Armstrong got it all served to him on a silver platter, or was it gold. The average American has to work every day to provide for family. It is difficult every day to work for a mere pittance and then see someone blatantly garner attention, riches, fame and success by stealing. The average American seldom steals and can probably tell all the times a pencil was taken. And here is our star, our champion, cheating us again, of all the days we had self respect for our own endeavours, for our own struggle our own diligence in being an upright citizen of the nation and the world. And now with his contrition he is again trying to win our hearts.

  Oprah, the Mother Terese of the air waves may rally into his corner but the rest of us are rooting for the underdogs who get knocked out in the first round, the true heroes, the fighters who did not step on their opponents to reach the top. 

  Mr Armstrong broke our hearts, and now he is reminding us that our hearts are broken. A wound that will never heal, like Mr Nixon, he took what was not his for the taking, and never will be. We Americans have a code of honor and respect, we have a rule of law, and we choose to follow it. Anarchy will not rule. He made his own rules, they made their own rules and never shared it with us, and then lied about it too, and THAT will not do. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Joe's House

The only old victorian left on the block, sandwiched between row houses that have no front yards, only cement. It is not the grand victorians one sees in the motion pictures, but a smaller version. It is called a two story, even though there is a full basement below ground. The classic form with the peaked gables.

You step up to the front door which is covered by a canopy held up by posts. A small antehall holds a larger than life size David, done in classical style, it is a portrait of Joe in marble, covered in a toga sheet because the neighbors took offense at being greeted by a nude of Joe on their street.

Past the second door is the staircase to the second floor, the sleeping quarters I guess. I have never been up there. But looking at the main floor I expect it is a utilitarian abode.

To the left of the staircase is also a narrow passage. There is a doorway close to the front entrance, a double door entryway. It is wide open to the living room. There is no couch, no furniture. Plywood panels stand in the center of the room stretching the length of the room. Each of the panels are filled with red clay, along the floor is a hose. Behind the living room of course is the dining room, with a dining set to seat about six. By the window is an avocado plant that has climbed the wall and half of the ceiling. Joe looks fondly at the plant, his child, raised from a pit. Books everywhere, piled like the mad scientists lab.

The entrance to the basement is under the stairs leading to the second floor. That staircase is narrower than the other. It is a little peoples staircase. In the basement along the walls below the living room are red drippings, from when Joe sprays the clay so it will not dry out until he wants it to. It is an interesting sight. Some may say it is disrespecting the house, others may say it is honoring the house. Joe got a commission to do some clay reliefs for La Guardia College in New York and he is using his home as his studio, It is a wonderful artists haven,

The front room in the basement has small wooden workstations with small benches, enough for six students who are guests by invitation only. There is more than six inches of marble and alabaster powder covering the floor.

There are weekly two hour sessions with a ten minute water or soda and cookies break supplied by Joe, for this he charges two dollars which he uses to pay for the refreshments.

Joe sits on a taller bench, the kind used for models. He doesn't do any sculpting, he watches what the others are doing and chats. They are there for his inspiration. His hawks eye observing the style an content of the pieces being produced. Each week each student must bring their tools and pieces back and forth to Joe's house. So the pieces are not large, probably less than twelve pounds each.

It is  like waltzing into a wonderland, a tiny cubbyhole with seven creative minds crammed into a tiny space, almost elbow to elbow, The creative energies so strong, so powerful the room is transformed to Rodan's studio or Michaelangelo's. The intense focus by each student as each tap of the hammers on the chisels decidedly in place, a chip of stone flies through the air and an article begins to take form, a leg, an arm, a nose. It is the longest fastest two hours, whe Joe announces nine o'clock, the session over. Everyone closes up the bags that carry their tools. Each piece is wrapped in thick cloth, mostly old towels. Everyone whiter than when they walked in, slowly climb the stairs. They say goodnight to Joe, And they say goodnight to David too.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Un United Health Care

Dear Americans,

If you have ever been sick or know someone with a chronic illness, you are aware of the important role the local pharmacy plays in alleviating some of the stress. You know the relief of seeing someone and knowing who you are speaking with. The local pharmacists, often a member of the community, someone you see walking down the street and you both wave hello. They are the people who take the stressful edge off being ill, having to take medication and being afraid. Without these people, the strangeness we feel would be worse. We appreciate how they help make us feel safe.

Now, UnitedHealthcare is penalizing us for wanting to do business with oual pharmacies. They want us insured, to use a mailorder pharmacy or a large chain pharmacy like Walgrens. If we choose to have our prescriptions filled by our local pharmacy, which UnitedHealthcare has reclassified as nonpreferred pharmacy, we are charged more for our copay portion of the prescription.

I have been insured by AARP Medicare Rx Plans through UnitedHealthcare since 2006. Boring Rexall Drug and Cole Camp Pharmacy have been preferred pharmacies until 2013. They have now been moved to the nonpreferred pharmacy statis at UnitedHealthcare. I am also a senior with more than one chronic medical condition which causes me to need the services of the local pharmacy almost as often as the grocer.

That I have been told where to have my prescriptions filled or should I say, where It will cost me more to have my prescriotions filled if I choose not to use UnitedHealthcares preferred pharmacies causes extra tension and stress. If I see my physician and a prescription is written I must then drive more than forty miles one way to have the script filled or wait an additonal day or two to have it delivered.

Had I been able to see and read the notice of policy changes UnitedHealthcare sent last year, I would have changed my provider, cataracts and cataract surgery made that not possible. But that is not the point, there are millions of seniors doing business with UnitedHealthcare because they were referred by AARP, a group they trust. Now, AARP says they do not help UnitedHealthcare set policy but do strive to find value for their members.

I have heard that AARP owns the mailorder pharmacy that  UnitedHealthcare uses, but my email to AARP requesting verification has as yet been unanswered.

If UnitedHealthcare continues with this policy of listing my local pharmacies as nonpreferred pharmacies it will probably put the local pharmacy out of business. The chronically ill are among the poorest of seniors, an already financially strapped group, and we will be forced to  wait to have prescriptions filled by people we do not know and we will have to wait for the mail to be delivered to get the medication we need.

PLEASE, can you get involved in helping undo this error in judgement by UnitedHealthcare, the do not hear or do not care what we are saying.