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Showing posts from 2014

My Back Pages:    In a few days, we will be welcoming the year 2...

My Back Pages:
   In a few days, we will be welcoming the year 2...
:    In a few days, we will be welcoming the year 2015 AD. I wonder, as people my age are wont to do, will this be a truly better year? O...
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In a few days, we will be welcoming the year 2015 AD. I wonder, as people my age are wont to do, will this be a truly better year? Or will it be more of the same? We, as a people, have the ability to really make a change, and make things better for our children and grandchildren. 
 Oh, I know, I can hear so many people saying "What can I do? Things are out of control, and I am but one person!" But, my friends, each and every one of us can start to turn things around. All it takes is to treat everyone that with whom you come in contact, with a little respect! A smile, a thank you, I have found, turns around most people. The cashier that seems to be hostile,  the server who seems to be less than caring... I have found that smiling and being nice turns the most hardened person around. Be kind and pleasant to everyone that you come in contact with, and you will be surprised at the way their actions change.
  We are in the middle of a crisis with police and the public. People seem …

My Back Pages: Peace On Earth, Good Will Towards Men......???

My Back Pages: Peace On Earth, Good Will Towards Men......???:     This is the season of Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men (and Women!)..... Right! We are supposed to be charitable to our fellow human...

Peace On Earth, Good Will Towards Men......???

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    This is the season of Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Men (and Women!)..... Right! We are supposed to be charitable to our fellow humans, and spread Happiness and Good Cheer.. and that's what everyone is doing.... right? Think again, John..
   Children are slaughtered in Pakistan as retribution, by people calling themselves 'The Taliban', which loosely translates to 'Religious Students'. They walked into the school, brandishing automatic weapons and were told to 'Kill them all!'.. they pulled students out from under desks and shot them to death. 
  In Australia, an Iranian Immigrant holds hostages in a cafe for 16 hours, before police rushed in and freed most of the hostages after hearing gunshots from within. The gunman had killed two of the hostages, and he, in turn, was killed by the police. The gunman was out on bail for being an accessory in the murder of his exwife.
  In upstate New York, a woman tells police that a child she was caring for was kidn…

My Back Pages: Tis The Season......

My Back Pages: Tis The Season......:  As we enter another Holiday Season, let's try to get along. Recently, the 'Holidays' have become a time of contention... who&...

Tis The Season......

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 As we enter another Holiday Season, let's try to get along. Recently, the 'Holidays' have become a time of contention... who's celebration is the real  one. Let me tell you, as the product of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic family... as a someone who married someone who was raised in another religion from the one that I was raised in.. we all need to chill and accept everyone else.
  I don't care if you are a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or a Wiccan... I don't care if you believe in Jesus, or Buddha, or just the God Of Abraham... I don't care who, or what you believe in.... I respect your beliefs, or your lack of beliefs! I think that we all have a right to worship whomever we believe in, or to not worship anything or anyone, if that is what you wish. What I would love to see is everyone being accepting of the beliefs of everyone else. Differences it what makes the world go 'round. Difference makes life intriguing. 
  I keep hearing that there is a 'Wa…

My Back Pages: Thoughts....

My Back Pages: Thoughts....:  Where to start.... there is so much to talk about, and yet I cannot find a starting place. It seems like we have been here so many times ...

Thoughts....

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 Where to start.... there is so much to talk about, and yet I cannot find a starting place. It seems like we have been here so many times before.... riots in the streets... peaceful protests gone bad.. Opportunistic sociopaths taking legitimate protests and turning them into reasons to loot and burn businesses and homes, making people who are already living lives of misery more miserable. Spokespersons who, instead of trying to be calm and reasonable, use the protests as a time to justify their dubious claims to being 'Leaders'. It does no good for the people to loot and burn. It does nothing to make anyone's lives better. It does nothing to right any wrong, or to avenge any death. All it does is promote more misery for more people. Dr. King would not be happy with this. He believed in peaceful protests. The violence always came from the other side, not from him. This all just makes me so damned sad. Sad, because I thought that my grandchildren would grow up in a better, m…

My Back Pages: Veteran's Day...

My Back Pages: Veteran's Day...:  Veteran's Day, Armistice Day, to me is a time of reflection. Over the years, I have known so many good men and women who quietly served...

Veteran's Day...

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 Veteran's Day, Armistice Day, to me is a time of reflection. Over the years, I have known so many good men and women who quietly served their country in time of war, and time of peace. They came from all religions, from a multitude of ethnic groups. They didn't question why their country made the call, they just knew that this was the price of living free and without fear. Some of them did not have the same freedoms  as the majority; but that would change over time. 
 Most were unassuming young men and women, who's lives were interrupted by the madness of those beyond their immediate control. They were still youngsters, barely out of childhood; yet they were asked to take up arms and place their lives on the line so that this nation could remain free.
 Who are the Veterans? They are not politicians... although some politicians are veterans. They are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Liberal, Conservative.. of every political stripe. The thing that they have in common is…

My Back Pages: A Word For Brittany

My Back Pages: A Word For Brittany: Brittany with her husband, and shortly before her death.   Brittany Maynard died the other day. She had terminal brain cancer and was sl...

A Word For Brittany

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  Brittany Maynard died the other day. She had terminal brain cancer and was slowly slipping away. She had forgotten the name of her husband, even though she still knew him and had been married just a short time.  She suffered increasingly long seizures and excruciating headaches and neck pain. She chose to end her life with dignity, instead of having the cancer take away her sense of self, and having her loved ones bear the agony of watching her slip slowly away, unaware of who they were. 
"She died as she intended — peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones," said Sean Crowley, a spokesman for the advocacy group Compassion & Choices. Many people admired her choice. Others, such as myself, think that her decision was a personal one, and that she made it of her own free will. I think that she was a brave young woman who decided to take her final journey by her own hand. It should have ended there, with tributes to her life and a mourning period for her lo…

My Back Pages: Reluctant Politics

My Back Pages: Reluctant Politics:  A week or so ago, I posted on my Facebook page that I was backing away from politics on facebook, except for my blog. Well, circumstances...

Reluctant Politics

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 A week or so ago, I posted on my Facebook page that I was backing away from politics on facebook, except for my blog. Well, circumstances being what they are, I need to post my thoughts on the political situation in this country. This is my take on it, and my take alone. If you feel an urge to comment, please do. It will not change my mind. I carefully study every position that I take, Every vote that I cast, and these opinions are mine, and mine alone. Do not attempt to change my mind.. my positions and my feelings come from a lifetime of experience.
  I am very disappointed in this President.  I approved of his message of hope, but i feel that he has let us down, and missed his calling. I find that he has been very indecisive in so many areas. He should have stood up to the far right and moved his agenda forward. Instead, we are still left with a crumbling infrastructure, and a half assed healthcare plan. Oh, it's better than nothing, but it should have been made to be under a s…

My Back Pages: Farewell To The Captain... We May Never See Your L...

My Back Pages: Farewell To The Captain... We May Never See Your L...:   A legend played his last game in Yankee Stadium tonight. I have watched this still young man from the time that he was a 19 year old roo...

Farewell To The Captain... We May Never See Your Like Again..

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A legend played his last game in Yankee Stadium tonight. I have watched this still young man from the time that he was a 19 year old rookie through the present day. He is a man of grace and honor. He wore his uniform with pride, and he brought honor and a will to win to a storied franchise. Derek Sanderson Jeter was raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan by loving, caring, parents. They instilled in him a sense of respect and honor that he has carried with him his whole life. His mother had contracts with him concerning his schoolwork and baseball time. His father constantly challenged him to be competitive. Not to show him up, but to make him always try to do his best. 
 I first heard of Derek from another Yankee legend: Phil 'Scooter' Rizzzuto. He would mention him often during Derek's time in the minor leagues. He spoke glowingly of "This kid, Jeter, that the Yankees have in the minor leagues. He's going to be the next great shortstop! Fittingly, Scooter called his first…

My Back Pages: Fading

My Back Pages: Fading:   I haven't written anything in a while..... not because there are not things that I have strong opinions about, but because I just c...

Fading

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I haven't written anything in a while..... not because there are not things that I have strong opinions about, but because I just can't find it lately. I'm in a funk, and I don't know what to do about it. I have started no fewer than four different blogs in the past month and a half, but I just can't find the rhythm to flesh them out and finish them. I hate this.. it's like losing my voice in the middle of a conversation.
  I've had a lot of things going on in my life this year. Perhaps this is the cause of the loss of my ability to put words to print. It's hard to find clarity amidst chaos, and that's what it's been since the early Spring. Added to that is the fact that I have been in some pain recently, mostly in my hands and knees. Age has a way of slowing you down, and it's never subtle. In any case, I have been distracted by these things, personal and public, that have made it hard for me to compose.
 I have plenty of opinions about all t…

Respect

What has happened to people in our society? We seem to have lost any regard for those who raised us, or came before us. RESPECT... it's a simple word, and a simple concept; yet, so many have lost the ability to respect anyone, or any thing, that they do not agree with. It has come to the point where the younger generation does not acknowledge a death, or a sad occurance in the lives of those who came before them. 
 Oh, I do not mean everyone. I have had so much grief in my family in the past year, and my family, for the most part, have responded with love and respect. First, I lost my godmother, Aunt Mary Huffman, last October. Then, my great nephew, Damien, died this past Spring. My cousin, Phil Cassara, died just a few months ago, in July.  The outpouring of support and love from my dear friends across the world, overwhelmed me. Yet, there were those that should have been among the first to come forward to offer support, were dead silent.. These same people demand that I respect …

Labor Day

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It's Labor Day, 2014.. and what significance does the day have in the modern era?
 When I was a young boy, the Labor Force in this country was making great strides, thanks to the policies of our government, and thanks to organized labor. I'm not talking about the corrupt people within organized labor.. I'm talking about the actual strides that unions made to improve the life of, not only their members, but all workers. Wages increased.. we had healthcare offered.. retirement programs... improved working conditions. 
 These were all backed by politicians like Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and yes, even Nixon.. who gave us OSHA. I remember the Golden Days well. We all gathered together to celebrate how great America was for the working man. Every gain trickled down to every worker.
 I remember, after I joined the great labor force of the '70s and '80s, proud Labor Day parades and celebrations. We were celebrating America's respect for the workers in the c…

My Back Pages: War and Peace

My Back Pages: War and Peace: War... I cannot remember a day without it, and I will be 68 years old in October. If we are not directly involved, we are supporting one fac...

War and Peace

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War... I cannot remember a day without it, and I will be 68 years old in October. If we are not directly involved, we are supporting one faction or another in some part of the world. Countries go to war over land, over religion, over perceived slights.. just the damnedest things. Young men and women get slaughtered and maimed in the wars, while old men (and women!) use them as pawns in the games of power. It has been like this since the beginning of time, and I fear that it will always  be like this, as long as there are humans on this planet. 
  We war not only over religion, but over different sects in the same religions. We war over borders, or to prove who is the biggest and baddest in the world. Who is the most powerful, or who will determine how the rest of the world will live. We war because some little wannabe Cossack wants to bring back a system and an empire that collapsed under it's own weight. We war because people resent one another because of religious differences. We…

My Back Pages: Independence Day, and My Independence....

My Back Pages: Independence Day, and My Independence....: The Fourth Of July..... our Independence Day! It has so many meanings to me. The founders of this country were brilliant men. They had a v...

Independence Day, and My Independence....

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The Fourth Of July..... our Independence Day! It has so many meanings to me. The founders of this country were brilliant men. They had a vision that endures to the this day, despite the best efforts of varied politicians and justices to change that vision.. to divert it.... to dilute it. This is a Democratic Republic... a Democracy, of the People, by the People, and for the People, as father Abraham said, despite the efforts of some politicians and radicals who wish to convince us that we are not a democracy. 
 Perhaps they should have told GW Bush that. He envisioned spreading Democracy to the the Middle East. It was a flawed effort, but he did it with good intentions, with poor advice. It is important that we all remember that we are a nation founded on democratic principles. 
  I love this country, and the ideals that it was founded on. I love the fact that it not only guarantees freedom of religion, it guarantees freedom of choice. It disturbs me that some politicians, and some judg…

My Back Pages: Summer

My Back Pages: Summer: Summer! What I have waited for all year... I love the Spring, but I am head over heels IN LOVE with Summer. My favorite day is the Summer So...

Summer

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Summer! What I have waited for all year... I love the Spring, but I am head over heels IN LOVE with Summer. My favorite day is the Summer Solstice... the longest day of the year. You will usually find me out early, and staying out late... I need to absorb every single second of light that is given to me on this day. It is Yin and Yang.. good and bad... it signals the beginning of the hot Summer season; but, sadly, it also signals the beginning of the Sun's inexorable march south. The days are beautiful, but each day is slightly shorter. Still, I love it. I love every drop of sweat that trickles from me. I love the caress of the Sun's rays on my aging body. I love the songs of all the birds, starting early in the morning, and lasting until dusk. Sadly, my hearing has deteriorated to the point where I no longer hear the peepers and the crickets singing at night. I miss those songs. However, I can still see the lightning bugs signaling to each other, as they search for a mate. I …

My Back Pages: Respect, Family, Friends, and the Facebook Problem...

My Back Pages: Respect, Family, Friends, and the Facebook Problem...:   I am really upset! I usually do not start my blogs with this kind of a statement, but I have to put this out there because someone that I ...

Respect, Family, Friends, and the Facebook Problem.

I am really upset! I usually do not start my blogs with this kind of a statement, but I have to put this out there because someone that I love with all of my heart and soul is being disrespected simply because of her political beliefs. That person is my soulmate, my love, my wife.... Sheryl. She's being disrespected by members of my family and some of my friends, and I will not tolerate it without making my feelings known.
 First of all, if you have a differing opinion, you have a right to it. This is a free country. However, being disrespectful is not only unnecessary, it shows your lack of decorum. First, let me ask you all... and you know who the hell you are..... what has she ever done that you treat her so disrespectfully? You don't like her politics? Fine... you don't have to. She doesn't try to put down your political or religious beliefs, even though she may not agree with them.  I am so damned angry, I can hardly think clearly enough to write.. but I must push …

My Back Pages: Father's Day.. Dedicated to all the fathers who di...

My Back Pages: Father's Day.. Dedicated to all the fathers who di...:  Another Father's Day has come. We celebrate that hard working man, who made our lives a bit better by all of their hard work. What sa...

Father's Day.. Dedicated to all the fathers who did their best.

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 Another Father's Day has come. We celebrate that hard working man, who made our lives a bit better by all of their hard work. What saddens me is that so many are cast aside as the years wear on. Not necessarily purposely, but due to the pressing needs of immediate family. Soccer games, football games, baseball games... they all come to take precedence over visiting aging family members. It's not of any conscious neglect... it's just that the needs of those in the household overshadow those of the family that we have all left behind.
  Those fathers that worked hard to make a better life for their children and step-children. Those who worked  so hard to try and make a better life than they had growing up; they are often overlooked and cast aside because the pressing issues of day to day life make it so hard to even think about them. Children demand and require attention. Aging parents are slowly pushed to the background....  the only time they are paid any attention to is w…

My Back Pages: Friends and Loss In The Modern Age

My Back Pages: Friends and Loss In The Modern Age: Facebook... Twitter... I love the ability that we have to reach out and find old friends, renew acquaintances, and find new friends across t...

Friends and Loss In The Modern Age

Facebook... Twitter... I love the ability that we have to reach out and find old friends, renew acquaintances, and find new friends across the globe. It's a heady, fascinating thing. We get to meet new people, make friends in different cities... different countries.. and have meaningful dialogues with each other. We can transcend cultural, religious, and political differences, and establish real friendships, despite our differences. I have made many new friends this way, and found so many friends from my past that it boggles the mind. Some, I have sought for years (Yes, Don Radogna, I mean you). Others, I have thought about from time to time, and stumbled on while reaching out to others. It's an amazing time for us. We can use it to all come together, or to affirm the differences that our prejudices already have told us that we have. I choose the former.
 Making new friends is exciting and fun, and it was through this means that I became friends with Ginger Lloyd Wood. I was pr…

My Back Pages: Memorial Day... My Personal Sorrow

My Back Pages: Memorial Day... My Personal Sorrow:    I have already posted my Memorial Day blog. While it is what I feel on this day of remembrance, I left one person out: My Father.   My...

Memorial Day... My Personal Sorrow

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 I have already posted my Memorial Day blog. While it is what I feel on this day of remembrance, I left one person out: My Father.
  My father was a quiet man. A patriot, and someone who loved this country more than he could ever put into words. He also loved his family the same way. He was not outwardly affectionate. I can not tell you when my father kissed me, because, to my memory, and it goes back to when I was two, he never did. I don't know why.. all I can think of is that it, somehow, made him uncomfortable. I know that he loved me; he just never physically showed it.
  My father was of the Greatest Generation and, to me, at least, he was a hero. He joined the US Army to fight Hitler and his Nazi's. He met my mother at his basic training camp of Fort Sill, OK.... then, they shipped him to Panama. PANAMA! They wanted him to stay there for the duration of the war. They wanted to make him a sergeant  and put him in charge of troops guarding the Canal Zone. My father, bless h…

My Back Pages: Memorial Day. 2014

My Back Pages: Memorial Day. 2014: They didn't choose to be heroes. Freddy, Bobby, William, and all the others that heard and answered the call. They were just normal yo...

Memorial Day. 2014

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They didn't choose to be heroes. Freddy, Bobby, William, and all the others that heard and answered the call. They were just normal young men.... boys, really.... who just went about their day to day lives, dreaming their dreams of a future filled with love and marriage, perhaps a couple of kids and a house with a yard. They walked the streets of my hometown, as so many others like  them did in their own hometowns across this country, filled with the bloom of youth, the promise of their futures which were still shining brightly.  Whether they joined, as I did, or were drafted as others were, they still made the choice, without question, to answer it. They were swept up in the war machine and and did their best to play their parts. They paid the ultimate price, did Freddy, Bobby, William and others. They could have run and hid, as some did. They could have done other things, as so many of those who beat the drums of war  today, did to avoid service at that time. They didn't, be…

My Back Pages: Spring and Summer of '59 - "What doesn't kill you....

My Back Pages: Spring and Summer of '59 - "What doesn't kill you....:  While reading the posts from friends the other day, I saw one by my friend, Peg Teague Guelakis about how cruel some boys were back in ou...

Spring and Summer of '59 - "What doesn't kill you......"

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 While reading the posts from friends the other day, I saw one by my friend, Peg Teague Guelakis about how cruel some boys were back in our day. It was about how some of them would torture animals, and how the mothers took a 'Boys will be Boys' attitude. As the day went on and I thought about this, I remembered how she also told  me that she was teased incessantly back then by certain boys. This brought to mind my Summer of Hell, in 1959. It actually lasted from mid-Spring until the fall; but, to me, it seemed to stretch out for an entire lifetime.
  We were a rough and tumble bunch of street kids, my friends and I. Most of us came from families that struggled every day. We never felt deprived,  because this is just the way things were. We made our bicycles from parts that we pulled from the city dump. Back in those days, every thing was taken there and put into the landfill, or burned. Things like bicycles, old baby carriages, toys, etc, found their way to the huge piles where…

My Back Pages: Mother's Day

My Back Pages: Mother's Day: Mothers..... where would we be without them? Well, for one thing, we would not exist... no miracles coming from someone's rib.. no gro...

Mother's Day

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Mothers..... where would we be without them? Well, for one thing, we would not exist... no miracles coming from someone's rib.. no growing in a test tube somewhere, we simply would not be without one. For that reason, and for that reason  alone, we should bow down and thank them.. but that is not all there is to being a mother.. or having one.
  Whether your memory is of a woman in an apron who cleaned the house, cooked meals for you, did all the shopping and the heavy lifting around the house, while your father went off to work; or if it is of a multi-tasking, modern day mother, holding down a job, running a household, raising 2.5 children, and scheduling playdates and organizing all of the modern child's out of the home activities. Either way... she is the one who worried incessantly about your health and welfare, jumping up and taking your temperature at the first sneeze, comforting you when you hurt yourself, making sure that you eat a good meal (I won't get into a defi…