April 2014 ~ The Legacy of Hirro Onoda
May I recommend the book THIS TOWN by Mark Leibovich for a current look behind the scenes in Washington which will astonish even the most cynical voter. If I ever thought he exaggerated the boldness of big business’s control of government the front page of the NY Times on March 28th reinforced his facts reporting that Senator Lindsey Graham brazenly introduced legislation actually drafted by a donor’s lobbyist. Remember when the sport of kings was horse racing? Well that seems to have taken a backseat to politics. Why own a thoroughbred when for less money you can buy a senator? With the return on investment more guaranteed.
Which solves the puzzle about who these people in congress are listening to. It can’t be to the working middle class citizens of their home towns. They can’t be that of touch with the real concerns of the people they are sworn to represent. It appears they are more inclined to listen to lobbyists who donate and dictate. (read the book). How else can you explain that 90% of Americans want stronger gun laws but not even 50% of their representatives will vote for them.
Why can’t these non-progressive law makers see what my Aunt Adelaide used to call “the handwriting in the hall”? Democrats are getting stronger because of young voters. While Republicans have cornered the market with the 60+ crowd, Dems have captured the 18-29 year olds. A recent Pew poll reveals that most Americans between 18 and 33 (68%) think gays should be allowed to marry. 56% think abortion should be legal. 55% believe people living illegally on the US should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship. 54% feel the government should be responsible for Americans health. This magnificent country is driving forward while the Republican leadership is fixated on the rear view mirror.
Aunt Adelaide used to claim she was all for progress she just didn’t like change. That seems to be the mindset of the more conservative elected officials. They should speak to their children or talk to their chauffeurs or barbers. Most of the biggest bones of contention in todays politics will not be an issue for their children and grandchildren. Gay marriage, abortion, creationism, resistance to climate change won’t be issues. Educational prospects, equal opportunities, level playing fields will be their concerns. Dignity and fairness in the job market will be important. The environment and universal health care will be paramount.
Why can’t conservatives accept that the world is changing, the good old days are gone and the best of times is now. Instead, they seem to have embraced the attitude of the late Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese soldier who defended his post in the jungle of the Philippines for 29 years after the war ended, refusing to believe Japan had surrendered.
He meant well. He just couldn’t see the handwriting in the hall!
February 2014 ~ THREE LITTLE WORDS
There are many opinions about what are the most beautiful three words in the English language. Many say I LOVE YOU. My friend Alma says REDUCED FOR CLEARANCE. Another old standby, my personal favorite, is TOLD YOU SO.
That one springs to mind given that last month I blabbered on about not putting anything of the least importance in an email. Alex Rodriquez didn’t listen. Gov. Christie’s staff didn’t listen and several Wall Street traders are heading for prison because they didn’t pay attention either. Had the aforementioned put their ideas in their diaries (the ones with the locks) as I suggested, they would have avoided losing millions, sinking presidential aspirations and going to the slammer.
Emails would also indicate that Jamie Dimon, the feisty CEO of JP Morgan Chase, didn’t have a good year. An internet trail resulted in his company being fined 20 billion (yes BILLION) dollars in penalties but its Directors recognized this disgrace by giving him a 74% raise . . . 20 million dollars. A checkout clerk at Target who misplaced $100 would have been fired. Clearly Main Street and Wall Street have dissimilar criteria. And by the way what ever happened to “A rising tide lifts all boats”?
When we consider big money, let’s not forget the Koch brothers who spend millions pushing conservative ideals promoting the reduction of social services (luxuries like food stamps and medical care) while indignantly suing a wine merchant who sold them a $9,000 bottle of counterfeit hooch. Which they unquestionably needed since one of the brothers only has 40,000 bottles in his wine cellar. As the Irish are fond of saying, “Thirst is a terrible thing”.
One of the elected officials the Kochs supported was the Florida conservative Congressman Trey Radel who insisted that poor people shouldn’t get food stamps until they pass drug tests. He managed to take the word “hypocrisy” to a new level. Soon after throwing down this gauntlet he was arrested in DC while buying cocaine but nevertheless returned to Congress until their ethics folks suggested he resign to “spend more time with his family”. When I hear that ubiquitous phrase I wonder if anyone bothered to ask the family. You can only just imagine what fun it must be to have 24/7 time with a jobless disgraced man in withdrawal.
Lastly, back to the subject of words (every writer’s obsession) I am constantly befuddled by the way words are twisted and rearranged so that bank tellers become customer service personnel, secretaries are administrative assistants and that formally deadly sin of “greed” is merely “irrational exuberance”. But there’s a new phrase popping up in government circles that takes the cake. “Revenge” is out . . . now called “negative reciprocity”. Gov. Christie take note.
January 2014 ~ HELLO AGAIN
I have missed too many opportunities to keep in contact with my email friends although you have been more faithful in keeping touch with me. And although I try to answer every one there are things that fall through the cracks. So my only New Year resolution is to keep connected. And this last holiday season offered me a chance to reminisce about my past Christmases which many of you may remember.
Today, post holidays, the reality of looming charges on their credit cards are overwhelming families. Whereas back in the day we had Christmas Clubs. For a year we regularly deposited a portion of our paychecks in a special account (with a passbook) and early in December we cashed out and bought gifts. Credit cards had not yet been invented. Lucky us.
We also didn’t have “black Friday” or indeed any reason to stop eating on Thanksgiving Day. My Mother was the Christmas shopper and as my four brothers got older she not only bought gifts for them but gifts from them . . . appropriate gifts they could give to other family members. She tended to be incredibly generous with these. My brother John claimed the real surprise on Christmas wasn’t what you got but what you gave.
One concern these past few months that we never dealt with was the huge international issue of privacy. It amazes me that so many citizens are troubled by the idea that they are being watched when most of them regularly post astonishingly intimate things about themselves on the internet for all to see. I tediously warn my grandchildren not to put on facebook anything they might regret later. Because emails, like zombies, never really go away. It’s shocking that titans of industry are going to jail because of what they wrote in emails. Which gives a depth of meaning to the word “schadenfreude”.
Because we didn’t have the internet we kept track of our lives by writing everything down in diaries. And years later when we applied for college or jobs we didn’t have to speculate if those secrets might sabotage our chances. Everyone I knew kept a diary albeit with a lock and these private thoughts were guarded . . . kept hidden away in a drawer behind your sweaters lest your Mother pick the lock. Young girls kept track of their crushes and boys tended to record the size of their genitals. There is even an episode of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND about this guy/diary thing. Which prompted me to send this along.
LITTLE KNOW FACTS
It takes your food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.
One human hair can support 6.6 pounds.
The average man's penis is two times the length of his thumb.
Human thighbones are stronger than concrete.
A woman's heart beats faster than a man's.
There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.
Women blink twice as often as men.
The average person's skin weighs twice as much as the brain.
Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.
If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.
will be finished reading this by now.
are still looking at their thumbs.
Happy New Year!!!
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There was a full house at the Nyack Center in Nyack, New York, celebrating Terry Hekker's new book DISREGARD FIRST BOOK as the crowd thoroughly enjoyed an evening with the author and her friends, the actresses Elaine Stritch and Arlene Dahl.
The stars of stage and screen delighted the audience with their readings of book excerpts --- Ms. Stritch relayed the story -- in her inimitable way -- on how she came up with the title of the book (Chapter 1, AFGO). Ms. Dahl enchanted the crowd with highlights from Chapter 6, The Madam Was Adam, sharing the author’s views on the vast, and not-so-obvious differences between the sexes, and the possibility of the female as the original sex.
The author took questions from the audience, including inquiries about her next book and the fascinating people she’s met along the way, and autographed a mountain of books.
CLICK TO SEE TERRY AT THE NYACK CENTER!
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DISREGARD FIRST BOOK, Terry Martin Hekker’s second non-fiction book, follows the success of the 1979 bestseller, Ever Since Adam and Eve, hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as “a gem”. The book launched her as a national domestic authority for her views on the joys of motherhood and homemaking at the height of the feminist movement. Decades later, following Terry’s unforeseen divorce after a 40-year marriage, Terry decided to take life head-on, becoming the first woman elected mayor of her Hudson Valley village of Nyack.
In 2006, The New York Times ran a piece written by Terry about her divorce and recovery in their Modern Love column, which went around the world and triggered enormous media interest and hundreds of letters. Although there had been many requests that she write a book, Terry felt she could hardly write a sequel to her story of happy homemaking with the chronicle of a dumped housewife. Mostly, she couldn’t even think of a title. Until her long-time friend, the astonishing Broadway legend Elaine Stritch, came up with a perfect one, ‘Disregard First Book.’
Disregard First Book offers the author’s mixture of wit and wisdom as she tackles issues triggered by the cataclysmic changes fostered by the feminist and sexual revolutions. Readers will enjoy her odyssey of hope and love punctuated by uproarious anecdotes about her big Irish family.
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Click to read excerpts from "Disregard First Book"