Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Mother Effect

No matter how much or how little you want to acknowledge it, I bet there are a few things about your Mother that stick.  The one that immediately comes to my mind is the hair and make up thing.  I don't ever remember seeing her without both done to perfection.  I heard that she went to the beauty parlor on the day she died.  If that is "fake news" or "alternative facts", its essence is certainly true.

I made sure to pack my cosmetics kit before going to the emergency room.  The doc told me I was having a heart attack but that I looked damn good.

My Mother was a great cook -- American style.  Baked ham, parker house rolls, apple pie, roast beef, chicken salad.  As in all things, she created her own rules.  She loved a good corned beef sandwich.  On white toast with thousand island dressing.

Sounds good to me.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Lead Up



Casual observers are paying scant attention to the NBA finals so far.  Why should they?  It's just the undercard to the inevitable meet up between LeBron and Steph.  I say: "Listen.  There's a lot going on right now.  Last night the Wizards beat the Celtics with a three point shot at the buzzer.  Can't get any better than that."

And then there are the stories.  The up close and personal stuff.  The Spurs won the series against the Rockets despite being complete underdogs because of injuries to their star, Kawhi Leonard, and their vet Tony Parker.  Jonathon Simmons played the mythical understudy role.  The unknown who steps up and steals the show.  He started out undrafted, bounced from team to team, even paid $150 of his own money to secure a tryout. When his moment came . . .

Steve Kerr, the Warrior's coach,  (don't forget he was a Bull) is watching from a hospital bed somewhere because of botched back surgery.  His father was murdered in Beirut when Steve was in college.  (That generation of terrorism.)  Steve deserves the best from life.

Games Sunday and Monday.

Friday, May 12, 2017

What Remains



Years ago, my great friend Beverly suffered a severe stroke and went into a nursing home.  Inexplicably, and to my dismay, I learned that she didn't want any visitors.  It was difficult for her to talk on the phone, so I was reduced to writing her little notes.  At one point, I called her rabbi.  I thought I was calling to ask how she was doing, but I realized I wanted to vent about being cut off and how sad it made me feel.  The rabbi, a very loving man, gave me advice about letting go.

The other day my friend Marilyn told me how disturbed she was that her friend Paul was dying and she wasn't able to see him for one last time.  I wrote back.

Don't be concerned about Paul and his caretakers.  When his soul leaves his body, he will leave knowing what a great friend you were and how you were there for him.  He is beyond your reach now, except for his place in your mind.  You are in charge of that.

Bev remains alive in my mind.



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Out of Service



I wanted to tell you about the extraordinary driver of bus no. 4125.  It was last Wednesday morning on the 147 express.  It's usually crowded and there are always opportunities for people to get testy, or noisy, or whatever happens with "the public."

This time there were two mothers with babies and strollers.  And, an old black man struggling with an enormous suitcase.  The seniors were angry about losing their seating area.  The driver stopped.  He helped the mothers collapse their strollers.  (First time I had ever seen that.)  He help position the suitcase. The seniors took their seats.

As the bus moved on to the express run on Lake Shore Drive, a very excited young fellow cried out:  "I missed my stop!  I missed my stop!"  The driver calmly told him to wait.  He turned off at Lawrence, let the man out, and immediately got back on the Drive.  (First time I had ever seen that.)

When we got on Michigan Avenue and the mothers needed to get off, the driver helped with the strollers.  By this time a passenger was willing to help by holding one of the babies.

When I got off at Washington, I saw a CTA dispatcher.  I told him I wanted to pass along praise of the driver to the higher ups.  He grumbled:  "Call this number."  When I got home, I called.  "This number is out of service."

"Well", I thought:  "Bus no. 4125 wasn't out of service.  Not today."

Monday, May 1, 2017

From A to A



The Lost City of Z is a good old fashioned movie.  Old fashioned because it is about exploration when earth was a mysterious place upon which it was still considered bold for man to leave his mark.  Not the exhausted planet over which we weep today.

And, it is the classic story:  Travel into the unknown excites the imagination, fosters ambition, attracts glory. Then, the ultimate discovery is revealed.  It is the hidden place inside.  From ambition to acceptance.  Some find that "lost city."  Some never do.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Tokens


Why am I so disappointed that ex-President Obama has entered the "star" speaking circuit at $400,000 a pop?  And, that his first gig is with a Wall Street firm?  Some say:  "We're only mad when the black guy or the woman (Hillary) want to cash in."  And that makes some sense, but doesn't make me feel any better.

Maybe the disappointment comes from an overblown estimate of him (and us) in the first place:  decent, well meaning, determined to prove that our better instincts of fairness and inclusion can reach all the way to the top.  Could his inner dialogue now be:  "They disrespected me at every turn, so now I'll take from them the only thing that matters to them -- amassing the big bucks."

I suspect that Obama is smarter than that.  He knows that the $800,000 (so far) and what Michele can add is just a token.  Small change to the big boys.  And, I suspect that this decent man knows he was a token too.  He'll make his bank deposits as he watches his accomplishments "blowin' in the wind."


Sunday, April 16, 2017

No is Not Enough



I saw a video of Naomi Klein on Facebook.  She was talking about "brand jamming."  She referred to a book she wrote years ago, No Logo, where she explains that if a brand is designed to convey a certain image or message, the alternative message can be just a powerful.  For example, Nike was damaged so severely by sweat shop images that it had to change its policies. ( I know you're thinking right now that United Airlines inflicted the brand jamming directly upon itself.)

Turning her attention to Trump, she says he is an ideal candidate for brand-jamming because brand means everything to him.  She has a lot of ideas on how to make the Trump name toxic wherever it appears.

Naomi Klein's brand is super intelligent creative thinker who can lead us to some innovative actions. At a time when the brands of diversity, empathy, and community have been jammed almost to oblivion, she is worth listening to.

Her new book is No is Not Enough.