Wednesday, November 26, 2008

George Who???

Let's see. It's been slightly over three weeks since the voters had the good sense to elect Barack Obama President of the United States. It is slightly less than two months before he actually takes office. Yet, he has done more good for the country than Junior did in the eight years he's been in office. In fact as Gail Collins, columnist in the New York Times says, W. might as well leave now. He remains totally ineffective, generally ignored, minimally damaging given what's he's already destroyed and completely out of touch with the needs of the country. Head back to Crawford, Junior. And for God's sake, don't forget to take Cheney with you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

National Crisis-No Not the Economy!

We have a national crisis. It's not the collapse of Wall Street, AIG, the auto industry, CitiBank, the recession or even the mess in Iraq and elsewhere. No, it's right here at home. The crisis is the current state of morning television. First, I don't watch TV for very long in the mornings but I do like to have it on while reading the paper or checking emails. Also, I like to know what's going on in the world that our lousy local paper isn't telling us. But instead of these things what do I get? A bunch of junk about Dancing With The Stars on Good Morning America and Rosy O'Donnel on Today. Yuk! The Morning Show on CBS isn't much better. What's one to do? A couple of years ago I could at least watch Imus on MSNBC but he's only on the radio now. Maybe that's what I should do. Just turn on the radio. I'll have to work on this more.

Friday, November 21, 2008

To Bail or Not to Bail

To Bail or Not to Bail. That is the question. Should the auto industry be rescued or should they follow the same route as any other mismanaged, poorly run business? Tough one. Millions of jobs. Bad times. The last great bastion of American manufacturing. What to do. What to do.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More About Kids

Yesterday was 'Grand Daughters Day' again. It's interesting to see how their interests evolve as they get older. For example the latest new, fun activity is cutting pictures of animals-adult and baby-from some old calendars and magazines I save for that purpose. For the most part it goes smoothly except for the times when they both want the same one. Then, it's necessary to strictly adhere to the rule: the first one to claim it, gets it. Then the other child gets the next pick. As in almost all other cases, once kids know the rules and they're fair, then it all works out. The key here is 'fair rules'. Kids have an uncanny knack for immediatley recognizing a 'fixed' or unfair game. The other interesting thing about this game is something the older grand daughter frequently asks: Is this animal 'mean'? Try explaining to an almost 5 year old that the concept of 'mean' only applies to people. There really aren't 'mean' animals. They are what they are. Well, of course, one doesn't start a discussion like this because what the child really wants to know is 'is the animal hostile, harmful, aggresive or scary looking.' For example yellow jackets, snakes and dinosaurs could be defined as mean according to the above. The last animal my grand daughter asked about was a lion. I just explained that they are indeed aggressive when hungry or threatened but aside from that they weren't any meaner than any other animal. She seemed to buy that for the moment.
Then there's the other meaning of 'mean' to a child. At some point in the day, I had to reprimand the 4 year old for something she was doing. She said she wasn't coming to the house any more because I was 'mean'. Kids say things like that all the time. Adults who take it too seriously or who let their feelings get hurt are making a big mistake because in a few minutes the child completely forgets it but some adults will obsess about it the rest of the day! I used to see it happen all the time with the parents of my students. Kids blurt out things when they're mad, that's all. And then they're over it. Done. There's a lot to be learned from kids. All we need to do is listen.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More on the Obama Presidency

The Steve Kroft 60 Minutes interview with the Obamas was very interesting. To hear him state that he takes his inspiration from Lincoln was not a surprise. I don't suppose he's going to be looking to Junior for much these days. The scuttlebutt on his cabinet picks is revealing as well-so long as one keeps in mind that it's just that-scuttlebutt. What does surprise me is his meeting with John McCain today. Rarely does one meet with the loser even if he is still a Senator. It's not like McCain is a Senate leader. After all, he even described himself as a maverick and one who often reached 'across the aisle'. Maybe he and Lieberman should just quietly ride off into the sunset-along with Junior and Cheney!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

She Just Won't Go Away!

In a recent interview with Today's Matt Lauer, Sarah Palin attributed her's and McCain's loss to being outspent, smeared and the temper of the times ("tough to be a Republican these days"). How gracious of her! I wonder if it ever occurred to Ms Palin that she and Mac lost because the voters simply believed Barack Obama was the better choice. No, I suppose not.
To top it off, she goes on to assert that all those stories about conflict between her and the McCain camp, the clothing thing, accusations of being a diva, etc were all fabrications of the press. This woman is either a compulsive liar or the entire press corps, McCain's campaign workers, and personnel at several high-end NY department stores are! Gee, I wonder who's telling the truth here. Ya' done good, voters!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bits & Pieces

Bits & Pieces
1. Well here it is, 3 days after the election and already they’re at it. After viewing several ‘Facebook’ comments, reading letters in local newspapers & hearing comments on conservative talk radio & TV I have unfortunately come to the conclusion that the lunatic fringe just won’t give it up. I’ve read and heard comments such as ‘being sickened by the results’, ‘God help America’, ‘we are now a socialist state’, ‘wisdom and experience over change’, etc. etc. The poor guy hasn’t even been inaugurated yet. Are we going to have to listen to these idiots for the next 4 (maybe even 8) years? The answer is no. I’ll read, watch & listen to something else. Simple.
2. Sooo…Joe Lieberman is on the hot seat-as well he should be. I say throw him off the committees he’s on. He’s of no use to anyone except the Republicans. Four more years and then ‘Adios, Joe!’
3. Remember the day when the private sector was always screaming about the wonders of the free market system, glorious capitalism, the evils of government regulation and interference?? So what happens??? The taxpayers bail out Wall Street and now guess who’s next in line-the auto industry-all looking for a hand out. Why should we? Let the market prevail. Right? By the way, Detroit, here’s a little tip: Build a car people want to buy. How’s that for ‘free market’ forces.
4. And now on a somewhat lighter note: It’s a sad day for those of us who value fine American craftsmanship. The company that made the finest wood-burning stove money could buy has declared bankruptcy. Vermont Castings was a small company in Rutland, VT, that hand made fine, attractive cast iron stoves. I’ve owned two. I still have one. It’s 22 years old and still going strong. After moving their operation to Canada for some reason they sold out to Consolidated Dutch West which I think still makes stoves but I’ve heard that the name Vermont Castings will be retired. Too bad.
5. Finally, the best news of all and news that makes all of the above trivial by comparison: my little grand daughter’s tonsil operation went well and she’s fine. All’s right with the world!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Age

Well, the American People have spoken-for good or ill. This country has reached a major milestone but President Elect Obama along with the Congress of the United States are inheriting a huge mess. Come January 21st, America will have put aside its idealism and will be expecting results. For the moment at least one important thing has been accomplished: we can look every other country in the world square in the eye and say we are indeed the land of opportunity where anyone regardless of race, color or creed can be President. That’s a powerful message.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tuesdays With Shirley

Remember the book ‘Tuesdays With Morrie'? Well I have my own story-Tuesdays With Shirley. Shirley was an 87 year old lady who I worked with every Tuesday at Lockwood Lodge. During our year or so together Shirley was writing a series of autobiographical pieces. My job was to help her with basic computer/word processing skills. Very often, however, Shirley would stop and tell me she’s out of ideas so I’d start asking her questions and that would start things going again. As it happens Shirley’s life closely paralleled my mother’s. They both grew up in NYC; their parents were immigrants; they had lots of siblings; and they were poor. Shirley died last week but she left a significant body of work which I reformatted and printed for the family.
Shirley was great lady. She had a wonderful sense of humor, she was smart, liked people and for someone who had her life’s share of diversity, she never ever complained. In fact she considered herself to be very lucky. Shirley set a fine example for her children and grand children-and at least one volunteer. I'm sure she'll be missed by all her knew her.