Friday, December 27, 2019

2020 needs men like Paul Newman

2020 is just around the corner and it got me thinking about our lives and how sad it is that we have become such a divided country. Money seems to be the top priority but when I hear about the “great economy” I can't help but think about all the people who live below the poverty level and how they must feel.

It reminded me of an interview that I heard many years ago with the movie star Paul Newman.

He told how he and his wife JoAnne decided early in their marriage to put a cap on the amount of money that they would need to lead a good life.He went on to say that a person, or persons, could only have so many “toys” and, in a world that was overcome with poverty and hardship they felt it was a crime to just keep on getting without giving back. He said they intended to live the rest of their lives like this and he was true to his word.

Newman's Own, his line of salad dressings & sauces, gives every bit of the profits for charitable purposes but I think his favorite might have been the Hole In The Wall camps that he started in 1988. These camps are still providing free holidays to children with life threatening illnesses.

This picture says it all.  A contented man who is still changing the world for millions with his legacy.  

Sunday, December 22, 2019

My favorite Santa

This bright red Santa is made of papier-mâché and measures 14 inches high. He is at least 85 years old and was originally a lamp base.

As a child I remember that lamp. It had a colorful glass shade that rotated when activated by the bulbs heat. My sisters and I would sit in front of it, mesmerized as we watched a variety of winter scenes come into view and then slowly pass by with each turn.

I’m not sure how old I was when that lamp toppled over or what caused it … but, topple it did and the lampshade shattered to bits. My four older sisters and I were devastated but my mother took it in stride. The next day she took the lamp parts out, worked her own papier-mâché magic and patched the hole in his head. Voila! … he became the Santa that you see here.

I love the expression on his face. Despite all the love that I‘ve lavished on him over the years he seems to have never recovered from that ill-fated fall more than 75 years ago when he lost his “innards” and fancy headgear.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Out of the mouths of babes …

In less than a year and a half 16 year old Greta Thunberg of Sweden has inspired millions of people world-wide to join her fight for climate control. 

The passionate pleas of this youngster seem to have hit home where others have failed. She appeals to those of us who already believe that it is a critical problem and openly shames those who close their eyes and won't even listen to reason.

I was thrilled to see that she is the pick for Time Magazine's Person of the Year and not at all surprised when Trump, instead of congratulating her, sent a ridiculous tweet telling her to “work on her Anger Management'.

In contrast the tweet from Michelle Obama read “Don't let anyone dim your light. ...Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.”   

…  and I am just one of the millions !

Thursday, December 12, 2019

My GYPSY escapade … (1959)

son Mark was born on July 3rd, 1959, in New York City at Lenox Hill Hospital and it was also the setting for one of the strangest scenarios that I’ve ever been privy to.

The day before I was having labor pains and Dick and I went to the hospital where we were told to wait in the Admissions office. No sooner had we sat down when the doors opened and a group of at least a dozen people came in. The women and little girls were dressed in colorful long skirts and bright scarves. The men sported white shirts with ruffles, cowboy-style boots and hats with ribbons that circled the stiff brims and fell over their shoulders.

The central figure was a lovely young girl with pitch-black hair that cascaded over
her extended belly. She was as pregnant as I, but I felt very dowdy compared to her and envied the amount of attention that was showered upon her. It was obvious that she was closer to giving birth than I was, so when the admissions gal came out of her office I told her to go ahead and admit her first. The group was effusive in their thanks and we chatted away like old friends until it was her time to go upstairs.

Now it was my turn to be admitted and I asked the clerk if she knew who they were? She gave me a condescending look and then explained that they were “gypsies”. She advised me to keep an eye on my belongings “if I insisted on communicating with them.” Her superior attitude and bias really annoyed me and made me all the more anxious to continue my friendship with them.

As luck would have it the gypsy girl was in the room next to mine and we both had uncomplicated and easy births. When her baby was less than 8 hours old she brought him to my bedside and we laughed as we patted his perfect little head covered with black hair.
It was about 9 pm and I was exhausted so soon after her visit I fell asleep. When I woke I was surprised to see that all the overhead lights were on in the hallway. There also seemed to be a buzz of activity going on and I realized that they hadn’t brought my baby to me yet. “What’s going on?” I called to one of the nurses and she stopped long enough to say, “Your 'friend' and her baby are gone but don’t ask me how she managed it. They just disappeared.”

I learned later that this was par for the course with the gypsy community. I enjoyed being part of the intrigue, however, and never did tell anyone that my watch, which had been on my bed-side table, had mysteriously disappeared that night, too.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

My heart is heavy ...

Today … December 10th, 2019 is a historic and very sad day. I know that you, my readers, much prefer when I post a “feel good” blog entry but I feel compelled to give this solemn day the attention that it deserves.

Our president, Donald Trump, has been charged with impeachment . He is accused with Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. I feel sure that many Republicans will continue to curry favor with the president no matter if that stands in the way of protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States but I also pray that the majority of the ordinary people will see this for what it truly is.

Trump and his blatant lies and disregard for actual facts has taken our county to a place that I would never have thought possible. No matter if you are Republican, Independent or Democrat, I pray that you will keep an open mind and listen carefully as the proceedings go forth.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Radio City Music Hall…1941

When I was 8 years old my oldest sister Mary treated me to an afternoon at the world-famous Radio City Music Hall in NY City. We were there to see the musical film “Fantasia” and it was enchanting.
Leopold Stokowski conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra as the movie portrayed cartoon characters performing their skits. I particularly remember “The Sorcerer's Apprentice” featuring Mickey Mouse as an aspiring magician who gets himself into and out of a bunch of predicaments.
Fantasia” never became a box office success but it was an enormous treat for me and I loved it. 

However, as an impressionable child what I really found thrilling was the live show that followed the movie. Two comedians were sparring with each other and playing to the audience. At the end of their performance they both approached the edge of the platform as one man said, “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here” … which was quickly followed by his partner turning his back to the audience, dropping his pants and “mooning” the lot of us.

How shocking ! How crude ! How DELIGHTFUL !!

My virgin 8-year-old ears were burning but I was thrilled by the naughtiness of it all. I couldn't wait to get home to share the experience (in great detail and with many embellishments) with all my young friends.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

The Roy Cohn influence ...

I have often wondered about the relationship of Donald Trump and Roy Cohn, the ruthless and corrupt attorney of the McCarthy era.

Cohn and he met in 1973 and Trump claims that his life was changed forever, but WHY did it have such an impact on him? The relationship lasted a mere 13 years when, in 1986, Cohn died of complications relating to Aids. It was also the same year that the Apellate Division of the Supreme Court of NY disbarred Cohn on charges of “dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation.” Why would anyone want to emulate a man with this sordid background? 

This morning I listened to a replay of an interview that NBC newsman Brian Williams had with Edward Snowden and, strange as the source may be, I think I've finally found my answer. Snowden was expressing his knowledge of our present technology and how it has, in his opinion, undermined our democracy. Of course that led to questions surrounding the present administration and Williams asked him for his assessment of Trump. Snowden pondered the question and then finally answered it by saying, “Trump has never had a love that he hasn't paid for.”

Immediately I thought, “that's true except for this one time”. The one exception to that statement is his relationship with Roy Cohn. Always the devious opportunist Cohn had approached the 27 year old Trump in 1973 when he was at his most vulnerable. Cohn showered Trump with the love and adoration that he craved and Trump awarded him by hiring him to be his personal lawyer. Trump had finally found a person who gave him a strange sort of love,  100% loyalty  and the expertise of his devious past … no matter the cost.  It was a triple play that Trump could not resist and the rest is history.

I can't help but wonder how different things might have been if the two had never met.