Somewhere down the line a glitch happened and a lot of these posts from 2010 and 2011 were placed in the "draft" file where they didn't get published. I've taken them out of the "draft" file and re-published them. So, now everything should be back to normal, whatever that means, and you can now read all the gibberish and ramblings for the past two years. Enjoy...or not.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Originally posted July 17, 2011I saw "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II" this morning and while I know it received five stars and great reviews I'm not ready to say I liked it.
That's not unusual. Some of these films I've had to see a number of times to really appreciate them. "Hallows, Part I" I saw last night to bring myself up to date and I realize it was a really s l o w film.
I've enjoyed both the books and the movies and most of the films were great, it's just taken me a little longer to appreciate them.
Now that the franchise is over I'd like to see the Rick Riordon books come to the screen. Only one was made, "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief." It's time to make the rest of them. Hey, Rick, Logan Lerman, are you listening?
Originally posted July 9, 2011"Atlantis" blasted into the sky from Cape Canaveral on the final flight of the space shuttle program. How sad!
I remember President John Kennedy appearing on national television challenging us to go to the moon.
October 12, 1957. The United States was stunned to learn the Soviet Union, our adversaries in what presidential advisor Bernard Baruch of S. C. called "the cold war," had sent a small satellite into Earth orbit. The constant beeping of "Sputnick" from outer space sent a chilling reminder to President Kennedy and others that the Russians had a viable program underway to explore space.
To add to America's woes, the Soviets put a man into space, Yuri Gagarin, on April 12, 1961.
A few weeks later, the 35th president challenged the nation to, "Commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth."
Eight years, 1 month and 26 days later, Neil Armstrong put his bootprints in the surface dust of the moon.
Now, after 50 years of dominance in space, the United States is abandoning its preeminence and leaving future challenges to the very nation President Kennedy exhorted us to defeat, Russia.
Other nations have also sent satellites into space but America was the pioneer, the country with the resources to succeed.
What is the future mission of NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration? Many former astronauts want to go to Mars. Others want to return to the moon. On what spacecraft? Under whose national flag?
When Atlantis lands for the final time any further space flight will originate from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Russian spacecraft will be supplying and servicing the International Space Station. How sad.
The Mercury Program featured seven astronauts, former test pilots and other heroes with "the right stuff," who rode a rocket into the air housed in a container with enough room for only one person. I remember seeing Alan Shepard ride "Friendship 7" on a suborbital flight, our first man in space. Then John Glenn taking a ride in orbit around the Earth in Friendship 7.
I remember Donald "Deke" Slayton, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper Jr., Wally Schirra Jr., Shepard and Glenn.
Then came the Gemini Program. Two men at a time leaving Earth's gravity. It took a different space capsule and a different rocket to get them into space. More American ingenuity. More American genius.
Then the crowning achievement. The Apollo Program. Three men riding a flaming cylinder into history. The tragedy of Apollo One. The beauty of an Earthrise on Christmas Eve from Apollo 8. The triumph of Apollo 11. The anxiety of Apollo 13. The last Apollo mission, Apollo 17.
The Mutual Broadcasting System was the pool feed for all radio networks. Every network: NBC, CBS, ABC and independents, were fed the reports of the spacecraft recoveries from one reporter on board an aircraft carrier. I remember, as an audio engineer, looking through the glass into the studio where Mutual's chief engineer was coordinating everything with the satellite, land lines and member networks. We watched it all on television and it was the most exciting thing we ever witnessed, and it never grew old.
The shuttle missions became so routine we rarely noticed them unless something went horribly wrong. We lost more than a few heroes during our age of space exploration. They knew the risks and all of them looked to the heavens with anticipation and excitement because they, astronauts or civilians, saw the importance of taking that leap forward, of going where no man, or woman, has gone before.
But now it's over! Will we ever return to space? Will "Captain Midnight," "Buck Rogers," "Lost in Space," "Star Trek," "Star Wars" and the rest of that genre be the only way we leave our atmosphere?
On September 12, 1962, President Kennedy said, "We choose to go to the moon in this decade...because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills...."
Have we, like turtles, tucked our heads and hands into our shells and shut out the drive, innovation, curiosity and sense of pride which took us to the moon?
Congress can find money to fund bridges to nowhere, unnecessary highways, studies in stupidity and earmarks galore but they can't find the funds necessary to send men and women with vision and daring to places we only dream about.
Originally posted June 21, 2011After looking for work and finding none (see the previous blog) I've been substitute teaching. It's the most rewarding job I've ever had.
I've been subbing in a South Carolina school district teaching classes from kindergarten through high school. They all have one thing in common: the kids can't stop talking!
I'm not one of those subs who sits behind a desk reading the newspaper while the kids take over the classroom. I'm constantly walking the room making sure everyone is doing what the absent teacher has told me (s)he wants done. There are times when the teacher leaves a broad lesson plan or one that is supposed to last the entire class period but doesn't. That's when I get a chance to teach...with a capital "T."
I've taught Government, Investing, English, Social Studies, Math, Art, Science, English as a Second Language and Physical Education. I've taught special ed kids and Autistic children and I can't get enough.
I was subbing for a teacher who knew she was going to be absent for a few days and she asked me if I wanted to teach anything in particular. I gave her my lesson plans. The following Monday we discussed Americas wars from the Revolution through the Gulf War. What surprised and thrilled me most was many of the answers to my questions were coming from one of the kids who was the classic goof-off, the one who disrupted every class he was in.
The following day I taught the history of music from Beethoven through Run DMC. I asked the kids to write down whether they liked the type of music they were listening to or not, and why. Thanks to "You Tube" they heard Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, the Big Band sounds, Blues, Jazz, Country and finally Hip Hop. I'm sure some of them had never heard some of these genres.
Some of the kids have asked me how I know all this stuff. The answer is simple. Experience and I read everything.
Subbing has also brought back some of the stuff I learned in high school, especially math. It's nice to know I still remember.
One might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but it's nice to know this old dog still has a trick or two up his sleeve and can teach tomorrow's leaders.
Originally posted June 21, 2011I closed the family clothing store in July 2010 and, since I have experience in a number of fields, I thought getting a new job wouldn't be too difficult. How naive!
After exhausting all my personal contact resources I started searching the internet, which seems to be the preferred way to advertise and apply for a job these days.
After applying for over 100 jobs in radio or television (in front of the camera / microphone or behind it), public relations, media relations, executive director, marketing, public information, writer, manager, assistant manager, communications coordinator, sales and media buyer, I haven't had the first interview.
After almost 10 months looking for work I figured out age descrimination may be blocking my chances of ever having a job again. So I revised my resume. I removed all dates and all historical references. Unfortunately, most applications ask for dates of employment, which, in a word means "you're screwed!"
It's a damn shame that company's even care about your age when you're the most qualified candidate for the job. I guess they think you'll only stick around for a few years or perhaps die on the job. The flaw in that reasoning is because of the recession and the high unemployment rate in the country and especially in South Carolina, people who were retired are returning to work out of necessity. Those who had jobs and aren't ready to retire, whatever that means, find themselves having to work to put food on the table. Of course, there are many who just like to work, to have something to do each day, to have a reason to get up in the morning, to be productive.
I hope something positive happens soon and I land a job. If not, Spiderman and I will have something in common...we'll both be climbing walls.
Originally posted January 30, 2011I recently received an email copy of the Keshet Newsletter (Keshet being an organization working for the full inclusion of GLBT Jews) and the BBYO Advisor, "e-connect." In both they talked about bullying as it affects Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender youth. They included the letter "Q" (GLBTQ) and defined that letter as "queer" instead of "questioning", which, I understand, has been the accepted definition.
The word Queer offends me just like I'm offended by the "N" word and other words like them. They have, historically, been used to inflict pain, embarrassment and fear.
It seems some in the African-American community, primarily younger people, have taken the "N" word as an empowering tool. It's certainly not empowering to those like former Ambassador Andrew Young, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and other leaders of the African-American community. Martin Luther King never used it. Neither did Whitney Young, Thurgood Marshall, Bayard Rustin nor anyone else of character.
I've heard it said Jews are the biggest anti-Semites, denigrading their religion, traditions and people. But just like the African-American community we're a member of our group. We're Jews. We can use those words.
However, those outside those groups can't. If a white person used the "N" word they'd be accused of being racist. If any Gentile used a Jewish slur they'd be jumped on as being anti-Semitic.
Just like the GLBT community, we can't use the word Queer even though they do.
The word Queer might be empowering to some, probably those already "out." However, to a youngster who is questioning their sexuality, the "Q" word is something they've heard only in a negative context. Perhaps not to them directly, but a glance held too long and the admonition, "What are you, queer?" Then the bullying begins because of a "possibility" the youngster might be different. And the kid goes deeper into the closet, but the bullying continues unabated.
At the very least, just like the "N" word, just like "kike" and "yid" and the rest of those words, it's insensitive and that's the opposite of what BBYO (the world's largest Jewish youth organization) tries to teach. It's the antithesis of what I've been teaching my BBYO kids for the past 35 years.
I know what it's like to be bullied. For four miserable high school years my dental overbite got me equated to "Bucky Beaver," the mascot of Pepsodent toothpaste. My tormentors saw me as weak and vulnerable and embarrassed and took full advantage of it.
BBYO and Keshet should be promoting diversity, inclusion and brotherhood, like every other youth organization, instead of using "buzz" words that are insensitive, abusive and painful for even one member of a group. Using those words are totally unnecessary despite the fact some in that group may be using them for whatever purpose, good or ill.
They, and everyone else, should refrain from using those words that only incite and invite divisiveness.
Originally posted January 21, 2011No one condones it, certainly not I, but it's understandable how normal, rational everyday citizens can become violent and act upon their frustrations.
Frustrations there are a-plenty but usually the average individual gets over it quickly and nothing advances further.
There are, however, galling incidents when a person feels totally insignificant, completely ignored - where the rules of common decency are discarded.
CASE IN POINT: I requested a meeting on her voicemail. Two days went by without a return phone call. On day three, I stopped at her place of work and one of her aides told me she was in meetings all day and could I come back next week? Sure, no problem! However, common courtesy would dictate that same aide could have returned my call and given me that information days earlier.
CASE IN POINT: National news reported a change in airport security policy involving flight crews. What I saw was a huge breach in airport security because of the policy change. Going on line to the Department of Homeland Security webpage I found no "contact us" link. Unthinkable!! Instead I entered my concerns on the website of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA). I still haven't heard from them. Did they get the message? Are they closing the loophole? Nothing! Nada! Gornisht! Not one word.
I sent a letter, snail mail, to Janet Napolitano, Director of the Department of Homeland Security expressing my concerns. If you heard from her, tell her I'm still waiting for a response. This is national security we're talking about. Airport security and not one word. Did they get the letter? Was it thrown in the trash by some minimum wage secretary who thought it wasn't important, something so trivial they shouldn't bother the director?
CASE IN POINT: When Barack Obama unveiled his health care plan last year it was more than 1,000 pages long. No one in the administration took the time to explain what was in the bill to the American public. Because they didn't explain it, the talk show pundits decided to explain the bill and they put their own spin on it and excoriated it. They used the bill to bash the administration every way they could and because none of us, and some members of Congress too, didn't know what was in the bill, we couldn't rationally defend the measure.
Fast forward to 2010. The Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and the first order of business was the repeal of the Health Care Law. However, we, the people, still don't know what's in the law. We do know parts of it...dependents can remain on a parent's health care until age 26, pre-existing conditions no longer apply, etc., but what's in the rest of the law, the rest of the thousand pages?
I wrote to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services asking her to buy some television time and tell us what's in the law. I even sent it certified mail, return receipt. I got the return receipt. I know it was delivered. But did the secretary see the letter? I haven't a clue. Someone in the office could have emailed me, but I haven't heard a word. So the House and the pundits will continue to bash the law and the president because no one in authority is talking to US.
The American people can solve the problems of the state, nation and the world during halftime watching the Superbowl, at a bridge game, at a night out with friends. But when we attempt to pass our solutions to those in authority we're ignored, pushed aside or made to wait.
And when someone, someone who's mentally unstable, goes "postal," we shake our collective heads in sadness, we wonder what "set him off" and we go about our lives telling our friends and family, "That's the way it is, we can't change things." How sad!