Welcome 2016, I think…



Happy New Year!

I ran across a memorable quote the other day, from Yogi Berra, the all-time great baseball player and coach. It seems that every single thing that came out of his mouth was funny and wise, in a goofy kind of way. He is the one who said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” (We are indeed at a fork in the road in this country.)

But his quote I love the most, I believe is this one:

“We’re lost, but we’re making good time.”

I thought to myself – that about sums it all up, does it not? The world is such a monumental mess but we seem to be making good time. One day it might feel that our world population is making measurable progress in various areas and with various issues here on the big blue marble – Planet Earth – and other days we take so many steps backward, and so quickly, that we trip and stumble over our own feet and fall down. Will we ever get ahead and stay there? Not just the United States, but globally?

I do not have the post-holiday energy required to dive into a lengthy essay on the state of the world right now….but I will just say that I am more embarrassed than I have ever been about the image our country is projecting…..mostly politically.

What in the hell are we thinking? 

Have we not learn from history? From experience? Think WW II.

Do we want a dictatorship or a Democracy?

And more recently  – we have made such an impact in our schools and our communities in attempting to define BULLYING and shut it down, so that the weak no longer have to suffer at the hands of aggressive, rowdy, loud-mouthed, insensitive, dictatorial, usually uneducated, emotionally immature, frighteningly  sociopathic bullies.

And now we have one of those types running for the position of President of the United States! I repeat, what in the hell are we thinking?

Are you really ready for 2016? I hope we are all up for the challenge, because I predict there is going to be a battle of epic proportions this year. We have only the NOW. Anything we plan to do later may be too late.


Merry Christmas


My photo was taken in the countryside around Siem Reap, Cambodia; where clean water is scarce and children have peace on their minds. 2015

This is a call to the living,
to those who refuse to make peace with evil
with the suffering and waste of the world.
This is a call to the human, not the perfect,
to those who know their own prejudices,
but who have no intention of becoming prisoners of their own limitations.
This is a call to those who remember the dreams of their youth,
who know what it means to share food and shelter,
who care for children and those who are troubled,
to reach beyond barriers of the past
bringing people to communion.
This is a call to the never ending spirit
of the common man, his essential decency and integrity,
his unending capacity to suffer and endure,
to face death and destruction and to rise again
and build from the ruins of life.
This is the greatest call of all
the call to a faith in people.
Algernon D. Black, former senior leader, The New York Society for Ethical Culture



Mailing Christmas Gifts…a true story


The line at the post office today, Saturday morning, was moderate – only about 15 people when I got there, at 9 am when it opened, but rapidly growing out the door as we stood waiting for our turns.

Among the various people in line was a woman on oxygen, a pleasant looking elderly gentleman in front of me with rosy cheeks and white hair (who actually looked a lot like Santa Claus), several women carrying lots of boxes to send, a huge tall man carrying one tiny little package and a lady who was already talking to anyone who would respond to her, making remarks about her career in the Marine core which was followed by an account of her many years working for the United States Post Office and then a current third career as a substitute teacher for kindergartners. She had to tell everyone about the kindergartners now days; how precocious they are and how advanced in their knowledge of the world they are. How cute, but how rambunctious and challenging they are.

The elderly gentleman in front of me chimed in and said that her job at the post office must have been quite difficult at Christmas time, and so then she told a few funny stories from back in the day when everything was simpler and easier during the holidays. She went on to say that now everything is computerized, but somehow things are more complicated than ever and they still get screwed up.

“I remember Lindberg’s flight,” the gentleman said, sort of placing his age on the timeline of life.

“Well he was a Nazi, you know,” she said.

The gentleman ignored that remark and said, “And I don’t even own a computer. I refuse. I do not want to learn about computers.”

“Well some day soon a computer will be installed in every home and it will be automatic that you have a computer and that you must learn to use one,” the lady ex-Marine/kindergarten teacher said to him….smiling.

“Oh I doubt very much that I will live that long,” the elderly gentleman answered.

Another person from behind us in the line chimed in, “Oh yes you will! You are lookin” pretty fit!”

That got a faint smile out of the gentleman.

Soon the entire line was in a group conversation; everyone contributing, laughing and talking to each other. It was a lovely thing to be a part of.

When the elderly gentleman got up to the counter for his turn, he put down in front of the postal clerk an assortment of mailed items – mailed by him – that had all been returned back to him by the USPS for some unknown reason. The postal clerk was aghast! How could that happen? He said that everything was in order on the computer, all addresses correct, all postage charges exactly as they should be so the problem was not postage due, and he could not understand why everything had been returned! The elderly gentleman said he was quite concerned because one of the packages was going to his daughter and it was very important – it contained his Will. How could he be sure it would get there the second time?

The clerk re-stamped everything, re-mailed it all again, assured the gentleman that all was perfectly correct, and as the elderly gentleman left everyone in line shook his hand and wished him a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and MANY MORE.