Monday, December 23, 2013


There was a time when New York City had a bunch of newspapers, in the morning, afternoon, early evening and late editions. In the morning we had The Daily News, The Daily Mirror, The Post. Of course there was the New York Times and The Herald Tribune. On Long Island we had the Star Journal and the Long Island Press which was an afternoon paper. Other afternoon papers were The Journal American, The World telegram and Sun. There were ethnic newspapers in Italian, Spanish and Jewish (Yiddish?).

The News had an edition call Night Owl which came out in the early evening a later edition and of course the morning issue. The Daily Mirror came out in the morning and was great for the horse players among us. They had a single frame comic called Joe and Asbestos which were two touts one white and the other black. It had the racing results and the races for the day as did the news. The News and the Mirror had great sport sections with Dan Parker the dean of the Mirror and Jimmy Powers the top News sports columnist. The cost of these papers were a couple of pennies in the 1940's up to a nickel then 15 cents in the 1950's. They carried gossip as well as editorials which were generally conservative. The Post back then was a leftist leaning newspaper and considered by some to favor communism despite the fact that Alexander Hamilton started the paper in 1801. Today it is more conservative that the Conservative party ever thought it would be.

The Times and The Herald Tribune were the serious papers then as they are now. The Trib. is published in France I believe and everyone know The Times as a beacon of Progressive thought which to this day stays away from the gossip and reports and analyzes. The Times and The Tribune didn't have comics but the other papers did and great ones like Dick Tracey, Smiling' Jack, Terry and The Pirates. Price Valiant which appears in The Sunday News today was a feature of the Journal American. I believe the great sports columnist, Jimmy Cannon wrote for The Journal American.

Many of these papers were formed by mergers The Journal American were two papers, The Journal and The American. The World Telegram and Sun were three papers, The World, The Telegram and the Sun. Even though we had radio the Newspapers were the main source of news. all news. With the advent of TV, Cable News Today and instant communication by the time the news gets published it is old news. There is nothing as dead as "old news". Newspapers today are trying to find their place in the world of the Internet and Digital copies so that the digital issues of the papers actually have the news way before it can be published and put out on the street. There may come a time in the not so far future that hard copies of Newspapers will be a thing of the past. We will still have the great reporters, columnists and analyzers of the events as they unfold but not in the form we have become accustomed to.

I sort of miss the days when one would go to the candy store and wait for the Night Owl edition of the Daily News to be delivered so we could see the news in print that we had missed during our workday. The quick look at the track results to see if we won, the report of the day's games and if Brooklyn Dodgers lost again. Then Jimmy Powers column to see what manager was being fired, eventually turn to the front for the hard news and then the Editorial section. Of course The Inquiring Photographer was always looked at. This was a column where six or so were asked a question and they would give a short answer which would appear next to their picture. Hey it was a big deal to get you picture in The Daily News in those days.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Helping The Least Is What A Great Nation Does

I love to solve puzzles. I don't do well with jumbles but I do fairly well with easy crossword puzzles. But the one I do best with is puzzles that come out of the human condition. I guess that is because I am a people watcher. People generally react in certain situations in predictable ways. Yet there is one puzzle I never can solve and that is the one where people in the middle class seem to want to blame the the poor for the maladies of our society while they want to give the ones on the upper echelon of the pecking order a free pass. You have heard it all before and perhaps you have even mouthed these words, "The people on welfare are milking the system. Food stamps is a credit card for those who are not responsible to buy anything they want.".  It seems that those who are saying this seem to think the poor are living high off the hog while we who have three squares and many noshes during the day and are well clothed are being ripped off by our brothers who are the working poor, or single mothers who are homeless, or all the others who are at the bottom rung of our economic pecking order.

There will always be those few who can rip off any system. But they are the few, the masses who are in the welfare system live at levels we wouldn't want to consider livable under any circumstances. I have worked in soup kitchens. I taught at Westchester Community College  in a special program that was geared to those on the dole with the express goal to try and lift them out of the vicious spiral life had taken them. While I must admit my experience is with a very small pool of people it was large enough to let me know that many of the poor had no chance because of the circumstances life had place them in.

First of all there were some who were affected by a medical calamity that had severe financial affects. There were others who found themselves unemployed for a long time because their company went belly up or decided to cut expenses by firing the older employees while they hired younger ones at less cost. There were others who were born in poverty which meant less schooling, and a neighborhood full of temptations to go down the wrong path. These people could have been you or me the only difference is they were beaten down by our society and were finding it very difficult to rise above their circumstances. I ask the question, "Who wouldn't be beaten Down when from birth the rules seemed to be working for the other guy and not me?". Here in New York, we have many thousands of homeless who are forced to live in unsafe shelters that are filthy and dangerous to women and children and the general populace as well. Food stamps, welfare payments, any help whatsoever is necessary and needed. They are our brothers and sisters. Why then is the middle class and the Conservative so ready to cut benefits with the unfounded conclusion that these people are ripping us off by taking advantage of the system? Why aren't we as a nation trying to alleviate the conditions that keep people down? Maybe it is because we fear that someday we may find ourselves in dire need and there will be no-one to take care of us!

On the other side of the coin we have the situation where the middle class and Conservative see nothing wrong in business making as much profit as they can despite the fact that much of the profits are on the backs of their workers who are getting wages that are at the poverty level. Bernie Madoff while spending the rest of his life in prison lived high, very high off the hog because the very rich wanted to get richer by investing with him. The greed shown by the majority of his investors drove them to invest without questioning as long as they made a lot of money. This is what a lot of the very rich do. They have more money than they could ever need and they want more. Many accumulate greater wealth by doing things that can be likened to Madoff except they make sure that the laws protect them. For example, business like fracking which can pollute our environment, or drilling for oil without the proper safeguards, are pursued for big profits by spending money influencing and supporting politicians that are either too ignorant of the scientific evidence, or are just too selfish and greedy, continue to prosper despite the fact that these pursuits injure our environment greatly. Many of us see these injustices and wink at them with the thought that if the elite are doing this it must be alright. Perhaps this attitude is the result of our selfish, greedy thoughts of acquiring great wealth ourselves.

So the puzzle remains unsolvable in my mind especially when I hear that we are supposed to be a Christian nation. If we were truly a Christian nation then we would make sure the very weakest of our brothers and sisters would be taken care of, always. If we were truly a Christian nation the spreading of the wealth wouldn't seem to be so foreign. Read the "Acts of The Apostles" where it describes the very first Christian community. The description is of a Socialist form of economics where every one shared and no-one was left  needing. I am not suggesting our nation turn to Socialism. I am saying if we are truly Christian then we should have the real desire to help the least fortunate and stop bashing them.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Prince of Peace Still Reigns

As he watched the snow fall gently to the earth covering all in it's blanket of white his thoughts were about the people he was reading about that had a profound affect on the world and it's surroundings.  He lived through the turbulent times of the last half of the twentieth century and it seemed that those who took the roads of violence and pain slipped into the past to be examined by historians but those who remained were those who chose peace, love forgiveness and healing were the only ones who remained in the hearts and actions of those who live.

The Catholic Church certainly did not distinguish itself and was beset by scandals about pedophilia and those who tried to cover it up. Yet the one who had the most profound affect on the Church by "Opening Up The Windows" and letting out the old ways and letting in the new is Pope John XXIII. A common man who never forgot his roots which were with the people. He used to sneak out of the Vatican to visit prisoners. He laughed. He prayed. He wanted social justice. Pope Francis, the current Pope, comes from the poorer sections of the world and just goes about his business of loving people not judging them. If it is true he spent some time as a bouncer than it could very well explain his understanding of what drives certain people most of whom live outside the confines of those that live within the walls of the church. These Popes wanted reconciliation through love and understanding nothing that would be forced on anyone.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi
  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the preeminent leader and freedom fighter of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahatma —applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa,—is now used worldwide. He is also called Bapu in India.
  • · Text under CC-BY-SA license

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
  • Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress from 1991 to 1997. Internationally, Mandela was Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998 to 1999.
  • · Text under CC-BY-SA license

These two guys accomplished the impossible through peaceful means and they are giants of our civilization. Mandela after being imprisoned for 27 years never held the bitter pangs of revenge instead he forgave, he spread love and even invited his former prison guards to sit on a place of honor at the inauguration of his Presidency.

He thought that even though these men were religious leaders, leaders for social justice and freedom another person has shown what grace and forgiveness means to a successful life.  Joe Torre grew up in Brooklyn. His father was an abusive man who mistreated his mother. The family had tough times until the children grew to be men and stop the abuse. Joe Torre and his brother Frank became major league ballplayers with good but not hall of fame careers. Joe Torre went on to become a manager with his most successful tenure with the New York Yankees. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by acclamation.  Some say he was the most important manager of the New York Yankees ever. The most repeated slogan from those who played for him, wrote about him, all said it was the grace in which he treated everyone that was his biggest asset. He treated all with respect even those he had strong disagreements with. He brought a feeling of trust and a form of peace that calmed athletes that were always hyped up by their competitive nature and he had respect for all even those on the opposing teams. He has established The Safe At Home Foundation which offers assistance for abused women. He remembers his upbringing and has not forgotten those who still experience abuse.

The snow was letting up a bit. He couldn't help but experience a feeling of peace as he viewed the beauty of the newly fallen snow. He also couldn't help but feel so thankful that those who understood the sermon on the mount, perhaps never even knowing about it, have lived it to its powerful conclusion. Greatness lives in the era of peace and love eternally, while hate and violence eventually dissipates.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Meet Louis & Lena

I can't remember when I first Louis & Lena but it was before I could open my eyes. When I became aware of them it seemed that they were always there sort of like our idea of God, seemingly eternal. Louis was born December 1, 1901 and Lena was born November 21 1908. They were only 32 and 25 when I first met them but they always seemed so old to me I guess because I was so young. Know what I mean? But they had lives before I intruded on theirs I just never realized it. I guess it was all about "me" in my mind but it really wasn't was it?

Louis was born in Bari, Italy into a very large family who I guess one could say was poor but always had enough for meals. He finished what we would call elementary school but in those days didn't see the need to pursue a higher education. His father was a shoemaker, emphasis on maker not repairer, but he really didn't want to follow that career. As a young man he played Soccer (football), sang with a love for music especially Opera,. He knew all the Italian Operas and was not ashamed to cry, even when he was an older person, when the hero and heroine broke up or died. But he knew he wasn't going to have any life in Italy so he followed two of his sisters and brothers to Waterbury, Connecticut in the United States of America when he was 19 years old, in 1920. Can you imagine being a 19 year old going alone to a strange country where the customs and the language was so different from your own and getting aboard a ship's lowest deck where the living comforts were few and far between and having the courage to leave everything you know and love? I am not so sure I'd be able to do that but Louis did. His courage was strong as was his faith and love for his siblings who preceded him to this strange new land. While in Waterbury he worked in the local factory and lived among his fellow Italians and a large Polish community. He loved to dance especially the Tango and dated a few pretty Polish girls but eventually followed his siblings into New York where he eventually met Lena.

Lena was born in lower Manhattan into a very poor family who didn't always have much to put on the table except some soup which was made with some vegetables, water and a ham bone along with day old bread they could get from a local bakery. Their big meals with a lot of meat and spaghetti in the gravy were few and far between. The living children were including Lena were three boys and three girls. They grew up being very close and loving but not so much that they were above disagreements. Growing up in the Italian ghettos exposed Lena to the old Italian men who were drawn to her because even though she was only 5'1" her figure was ample and apparently tempting. But being a New York girl she was tough enough to fend off unwanted advances. She finished grade school which was an accomplishment in those days and went to work. She was a crochet beader a highly sort after position where the material of expensive dresses were spread across wooden frames called "horses" and would have the beads manually placed on the design with a crotchet needle. Around the middle of the 1920's Louis & Lena met.

They were both living in Corona a suburb of New York City which at the time was considered the country. A mutual friend introduced them and there was attraction immediately for Louis I guess the ample figure didn't hurt, for Lena she liked the fact he was so clean and gentlemanly. One day they met on the way to work where Louis tried to convince her to take off and spend the day together. (What happened to the guy who was so "gentlemanly?) But she coyly gave no indication that she knew he was testing her (was she a good girl?) and convinced him to meet for their first date, a walk in a nearby park. She and her mother argued about a chaperon, a person who would shadow them to make sure no hanky panky would go on, this was the custom of the day. They agreed no chaperon but her sisters would be placed in inconspicuous places in the park with their children and they would just happen to meet by chance. Needless to say they had a lovely walk and Louis met most of Lena's family.

They married in 1929, April I think. They were the first to have a catered reception, at Toffenetti's at Times Square New York. The place is no longer there but you could see it as you came out of the subway at 42nd. Street, on level above the tracks and a level below the sidewalk. The wedding dress and the tux were both rented. The families enjoyed the first catered non Italian Football wedding. The gifts ranged between $1 and $5. And everybody had a good time.

I met them five years later and as long as I knew them they were happy but they had their disagreements, heartaches but they had their joys and laughter. They had two boys, one a handful the other really a good guy. Louis and Lena were together until Jan. 1971 when Louis died. Lena nursed him for all of his sickness, it was tough but so was she. Lena lived some 36 years longer saying she didn't need another man to wash his socks but secretly she knew she didn't need another man because Louis was hers forever. I know deep down in my soul that they are together in that great dimension awaiting all of us who love.      


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's All About Love

My Facebook page gets a lot of "stuff" I don't want and I ignore. But it gets other "stuff that I find somewhat on the mark and I would like to share a few of the quotes  with my blog friends. They really do not any explanation as they are more than self explanatory for those who are in love or ever have been in love.

I don't care if I'm not your first. All I want is to be your last!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Unrecognized Superheroes of Our World

He left the movie house chuckling to himself. The Superheroes, The Iron Man, Thor, Spider Man and their likes all had powers to beat the bad guys with eclat, a show of power and superiority. He was chuckling because he knew that many, children and adults alike, wished secretly they could be Superheroes or at least be a Robin to someone's Batman. Or at least know one of the real Superheroes. Little did they realize they probably have chanced upon, or even know a real Superhero but they never recognized them because they did it all quietly and efficiently without bullets and fanfare. But life's Superheroes continue to go unheralded without fanfare living a life of heroism without really knowing they are doing great things.

He knew a guy who wanted to be a rock musician and worked at it but his day job had him playing for old frail people, playing songs they knew and loved certainly not rock. Maybe someday he will be as popular as Dylan or Paul but for now that isn't to be. Some might be bitter about this but this guy isn't. He plays for his audience singing their songs with love and glee and fun in his heart and soul. The measure of his success may never be known to him but to some who talk to some of his audience hear how much they appreciate him and some even love him. No there is no jumping up in wild applause these people just haven't got the energy for this but there is just that going on in their hearts. Yes, this young musician is a Superhero spreading joy while releasing the chains of age and sickness as he plays and sings for those who can't sing or dance the way they once could but he lifts their hearts and spirits so that for a brief but joyful moment their spirits sing within where their youth still lies.

He found his car in the movies parking lot and he was still musing to himself about these silent Superheroes when his mind drifted to two beautiful young ladies he knew who worked in a beauty salon in the same place the musician played. The fail residents would come to them in their wheel chairs and for another brief moment their spirits would be lifted as these beauticians would bend over their chairs and dye the hair, cut the hair, style the hair and for as long as they could the residents would feel like they felt when they were young, going out on dates, alive for another day. The beauticians would be bending over and their backs would be hurting, I am sure, yet they were always of good cheer even when some resident unknowingly would strike out trying to hit them.

Driving home from this Superhero movie his mind caught a glimmer of his own family, cousins who quitely fought in the big war and left wounded or the cousin who gave up his dream of playing ball because he knew he had to provide for the girl he loved and the family they were sure to have. He became a cop and even though there was no Bat signal on the moon he was there to chase the drunken driver and perhaps run towards danger while we ran from danger. He thought of his own brother who wanted the best for his mother even when he himself was dying from cancer.

His car came to a stop in front of his house. He got out and proceeded to the front door where he proceeded to unlock it. As he entered the darkened house he thought his life was certainly filled with light by the Superheroes he has encountered who are doing the little things that need to be done or this civilization of his would crumble.  As he finally got into bed he chuckled to himself because a silly picture was needed to make him realize that his life was full of Superheroes and he was so thankful for them.      


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hazing Now Called Bulling

Let me make one thing clear while what has happened in Football (Martin?Incognito) does include bullying it is the ritual of hazing. Bullying among children are encouraged by these football players as they gang up on weaker individuals who do not have a strong support system. This is intolerable and should be stopped by the adults, Parents, Teachers Police and the like. What I want to do is take the Miami Dolphin's situation and explore that and what it really is, and how it has come to this ridiculous situation where the media, sportswriters, educators and the establishment express surprise while most knew about and condoned it for as long as it has existed.

The initiation process into any new environment, society, athletic team or any group effort always had what is called hazing. Wikipedia defines hazing in the following way:

Hazing is the practice of rituals and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group. Hazing is seen in many different types of social groups, including gangs, sports teams, schools, military units, and fraternities and sororities. In the United States and Canada, hazing is often associated  (college fraternities and sororities). Hazing is often prohibited by law and may comprise either physical abuse(possibly violent) or psychological abuse. It may also include nudity or sexually-oriented offenses.

Take this into the locker room of testosterone jazzed up men who have spent their lives being told that they should be a "man", "man up", "don't be a girl", and we have what has been going on in football but not only football but all the areas specified in the Wikipedia definition.

As to college hazing refer to the following Washington Post article:

This page was sent to you by:
Message from sender:
Unbelievable. Can't convince me that College officials didn't know that hazing was going on.
The nauseating fraternity/sorority stories  – many of them involving hazing — just keep on coming. The latest is from Wilmington College in Ohio, where three pledges of Gamma Phi Gamma who were taken to the basement of the fraternity, called “Gobbler House,” and subjected to a series of miserable exercises, including being blindfolded, told to […]

Click on to the page and see how many other Colleges are experiencing Fraternities hurting by hazing.

These activities have been going on forever and if they officials in charge of the institutions continue to say they don't know about it they lie because if everyone, from students and players know about it certainly the people who run the schools, teams and what have you know about it and if they don't they should be stripped of their positions.

If we as a collective society find these stories horrifying then we as a collective society should take an active role in raising our children. For the boys we should stop defining being a man as a virile, womanizing, brow beating unfeeling individuals. The mantra shouldn't be "winning is everything" but play the game to the best of your ability always fairly and not cheating. For the girls we should stop telling them to be successful they have to be tough like the guys. We have to stop telling them that being popular is worth giving up pride and following the guys wherever the guys might lead them. And most of all being popular with their female friends should never compromise their individual values and mores.

To our professional athletes and entertainers we should let them know that their sport or field of endeavour is not life, not death, it is after all just a game or a method of providing entertainment for which they are well compensated so that the general populace can get on with the meaning of life which is providing food, shelter, clothing love, most important love, so that the human race can survive and become what the human race can be a loving caring society for all who live in this world.

Yes the hazing thing is going on in this world of ours and people are getting hurt some even losing life. If we as a society can't make the changes starting with our kids and ending with not supporting those in any form of public life who continue to bring moral values, such as respect and love for our brothers, down to the basest levels then the practice shall continue, people will continue to hurt and get hurt and we as a society must share the collective blame.