Monday, December 29, 2014
It was a terrible, horrendous happening the assassinations of the two New York City Police Officers, a loss of life always is especially when it happens to heroes and those who seemingly never did any wrong. BUT the real sin is the guy who did it had access to guns despite the fact that he was a sick felon. A guy who was on the streets when the system should have had him behind bars. He killed himself which is another tragedy. Any loss of life is, when it happens we lose a little of our collective selves.
Mayor de Blasio has not inflamed the people against the cops. He spoke the truth about what the parents of Black young men say to their children based on years of experience. He also defended the police on many occasions. But the union representatives seem to think it is OK to say the Mayor has blood on his hands which if isn't inciting bad feelings and possible riots in reaction to these sayings by the very people who have suffered also during this time then nothing ever will.
I have known many Police Officers and some were heroic, some were not but none ever told me that they joined the force to protect society even though they did so knowing what the job entailed. They all told me a major consideration was pay, benefits and pension. Some might have told me about supplementing their income in ways that were punishable by law if caught. Remember I said "may" have told me. But I reiterate, none told me that they joined to protect their fellow citizens.
The Motion picture "The Imitation Game" is powerful in telling of the way we as a society relentlessly hounded those whose sexual preference was different than the majorities based on religious interpretation. Wonderful, brilliant men were hounded by the law into what ended in suicide. It tells me at least that Pope Francis is correct when asked about gay men, "Who am I to judge?". The problem with judging is that eventually everyone who disagrees with the judge is wrong even if they're right.
Too many people who are in a long term marriage or relationship tend to lose the fire they once had when the relationship was in the young stages. They lose the first blush of wanting, then needing one another so much so it hurt. They settle. They grow stale and never realize it, some drift apart and never get back together. I think the memories of the first kiss, the first touch, the bonding together in the most intimate ways should never be forgotten and should remain as hot and furious until they die or the relationship disintegrates into the ashes of what once was. This should go on through all the ages from teens through 100's. What the hell, I may be wrong but I really think I'm right.
I have come to know Jesus through writings, and I believe the touching of the Spirit. I really believe he is divine but more than that, if there can be more than being divine, he is my friend. Through him I have learned that love and acceptance is the only way to live. It starts by loving ones self because you can't love anyone if you hate yourself. This all includes forgiveness, of anyone who may have hurt you. He has taught me to enjoy all the colors of the rainbow, to laugh, love and enjoy the opportunities life gives to us all. Most important he has brought his father to me as my father and though the Spirit know if we have all that nobody can be against us. Which is really some good thoughts to end this year and start the new year.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
From August to the present we have seen four young men gunned down over relatively minor offenses where the police involved feared for their lives. Michael Brown, 18 years old, Ferguson Missouri, confrontation over stolen cigars. 12 year old Cleveland boy, Tamir Rice playing with toy gun. Eric Garner, Staten Island, NYC, selling loosies (cigarettes). Shot by mistake in a darkened Brooklyn, NYC, hallway, 28 year old Akai Gurley. All killed by what appears to be trigger happy Policeman over trivial matters that certainly wasn't life threatening at least by all reports. And by the looks of it all are getting away free of any charge for what extensively is murder. Demonstrations may spur action by other authorities. The whole United States is in an uproar and should be but lets not kid ourselves the Police have been covering up such things since they were organized and everyone knows about it especially those who are supposed to oversee the Police department. But now with the advent of digital cameras on cell phones we can't hide the actions. We see the obvious and we wait for justice and there is very little. Four young men, all their families, and friends remain devastated with lives that will never be the same and our officials from the local level all the way up to the Federal level knew about abuses such as these and even more yet have done nothing. What a mess. What a shame. Let's hope that this time change for good will happen but I doubt it!!!
Bill Cosby has been charged before with sexual misconduct and has managed to settle the cases without ever being charged. Now a whole slew of women have come out of the wood work with charges of sexual abuse in the most heinous manner. Bill Cosby was an icon both to the Black community and the White. But like most idols he has clay feet and he should never recover from this present onslaught. Too many women not related with stories that are related in theme and misconduct. Let Mr. Cosby crawl into his hole and live out his life in shame and rejection. I for one am disappointed and would like to believe in his innocence but find it very difficult to do so.
Come Jan. 1, 2015 the next Congress with both houses controlled by the Republicans will come into being. The Republicans are still talking about repealing The Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) even though it is working, not perfectly but well enough to be as successful as Medicare after some tweaks. The are complaining loudly over President Obama's Executive order about immigration which can help many families who are good citizens without actually being citizens. They are looking to undo this Executive order hurting many families it is now helping claiming that the President acted illegally. I would suggest they study history and find that our Presidents had to act in the very same way in the past when an intransigent Congress refused to act. I believe President Harry S, Truman acted in such a way when he integrated our Armed Forces over the objections of our racist Southern Lawmakers. I will never understand how the American electorate puts people into off who actually want to enact laws which are hurtful to the majority and are useful to those who are in the minority and I don't mean people of color. I mean people of the color of money!
So far all our NY sport teams are terrible. The Knicks, the Nets just can't seem to play inspired and winning Basketball. The Knicks became a bad team when the acquired Melo, give him the ball and everyone stops moving. He scores 40 points or 9 points and they lose it doesn't matter they are a terrible team. Phil Jackson, The Zen Master, has got to make some moves or this team will disintegrate into a sorry mess. What am I saying? They are a sorry mess.
Waiting for the Yankees to make some smart moves. Headly for third base, Robertson as the closer, instead of a .240 shortstop from the west coast they have acquired to replace Jeter who is not replaceable but come on there has to be a better choice than this guy, DiDi Gregorius. WHO?
Friday, November 28, 2014
The argument about what came first always intrigued me. The basic one is about the chicken and the egg, which came first? But in the order of creation I always wondered which season came first and I have come to the conclusion that the seasons follow the life of human beings.
Spring seems to me the first order of things. There are little spouts of growth pushing their heads up though mother earth. Trees are showing buds and leaves are appearing on bushes. Soon the grass is getting greener, flowers are showing their colors and the world seems to be waking up from a deep slumber. However everything hasn't settled in just yet. The roots have to go deeper into the soil. The early buds have to open. The flowers must bloom. This new birth is very much like human life as the baby pushes itself out of the mother's body, full of life, crying, wet from the mothers insides and ready to grow and flower.
Summer is the next step for nature's beginnings. Everything seems to be taking form and the form is healthy and strong. The days are longer and warmer and full of doings. The trees reach for the heavens with their branches full of green leaves fluttering in the air and providing nesting places for the birds and climbing for the squirrels. Youthful maturity is all around us as the air is warmer, the sea more inviting, the fish biting. And everything seems to be mating and creating and loving the light and strength of newness. As the summer comes to a close things seem to move slower as the sun's heat starts to wear down everything, the plants wilt because of the heat and lack of water. Everything is starting to age little by little. Humanity is great and strong when it is healthy and young and immortality seems it's destination. But even the great athletes of seven feet and two-hundred-fifty pounds of muscle start to feel the wear and tear of their doings, of their aging.
Autumn gives a bit of reprieve. The days begin to get shorter letting the height of the sun's heat cool in the evening skies with a heat-less orb so big and round light up the skies and stars blink against the darkness of the night skies. New colors are shooting forth from the trees as the leaves are preparing to drop off the branches and flowers, bushes and trees begin their fall into a coming Winter's sleep. The deeper into Autumn, the weaker all growth on earth becomes, grass browns and loses it's greenery, everything is bare, no flowers or leaves. Seemingly, the flicker of earth's candle is getting weaker and seems like it is entering old age. And so it is with humanity. Humanity, crawls, grows strong, works, breeds and just when it seems to be ready to enjoy all of it the flicker of life gets weaker and the flame starts to fade.
The start of Winter isn't so bad, the days feel brisk, not bone chilling. Some snow comes and the whiteness is beautiful. But soon the days are almost nonexistent. The evenings get long, and even longer which makes one wish for the golden sunlight that summer brings. Soon the air is bone chilling cold, the snow turns to ice, the animals are sleeping, and quiet fill the days and nights. It is as though the world has gone into hibernation, or death has arrived. And so it is with life. As one gets older the days get shorter and soon the sweet sleep of death takes over an embattled body and mind. The long sleep of rejuvenation starts to take place.
For as the Poet says, "If Winter Comes Can Spring Be Far Behind?". And the cycle starts all over again, for the earth to be sure, and for those of us who have the faith, and even those who do not have the faith.
For our winter will also cycle into our renewed spring of a new life as sure as it does for the planet we call Earth, and this life which contains our souls.
Monday, November 17, 2014
It was a rainy, dreary slow moving day. No place to go. Nothing to do. He was looking out his window and his mind started to drift back to when he was a kid, radio was king and television existed with only a few stations only for those that could afford it. When he could convince his mother he was really sick she'd let him stay home and he'd listen to the radio for stories, music and ideas that let him fly all over the world without ever leaving his room or opening his eyes if he so preferred.
A little later there was Gertrude Berg staring in "The Goldbergs" a delightful story about a Jewish family living in New York City. It eventually got to TV but it never was as popular as when it played Radio, with her husband, Uncle David, her son and daughter. He could close his eyes and live with them in their apartment as they went through their daily troubles which always turned out OK.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Just heard Sinatra singing about all the girls he's loved before. Checked out the Internet and got Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson singing a duet of the same song. I am sure these Lotharios all loved many beauties with names and fame like they had it would be easy. But for any real time relationships that the public knows about they weren't as successful as the song has them boasting they were. We read about these famous love affairs some of them very sad and tragic, like Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. But we never get the real intimate words and thoughts they shared, the real things that formed the basis of their relationships. I guess it would be very hard to get what was really going on in any relationship for it is not words, or events it is love, feelings and more spiritual mixed in with the physical that makes up any relationship. These are things that really can't be explained they have to be lived. Only those who are sharing their lives can really know what the whole relationship is.
This whole thing got me to thinking about some of the girls I've loved from when I was very young to when I am very old. Some were very short relationships, one was extremely long, one or two were ones I didn't know there was a relationship going on until it was over. The ones I knew about were very intense, and burned with desire. The other ones remain a sad thought of reflection. The shortest ones were somewhat comical. The shortest occurred when I was 17.
I was a senior in high school and Loretta was in my class as well as in my neighborhood. Two things ranked first and second in my life then, baseball and music, coming up closer was girls and Loretta was all girl that captured my attention and returned some favors. We hung around all summer together and then one hot summer night after sharing some summer kisses she asked me where we were going in our hanging around together. I was under the influence of the starlit , full moon skies and I asked her to be my girl. After she said yes and we smooched and petted a bit, she said "And one more thing". This is a phrase I felt bared some problems and I was right. She proceeded to tell me that now that we were a couple I would have to spend more time with her, like going to church on Sundays which would mean I would have to give up my Sunday Baseball games. I had a game the very next day and we were fighting for first place. I didn't want to give up Baseball so I had to choose. Maybe it was a cowardly thing to do but I agreed with her, went home, woke up the next day and played the game, we never spoke again until some 45 years later when we happened to meet. I think she forgot about our entanglement. By the way I got a couple of hits that day.
The next gal was a bouncy blond that was a few years older than me which held a certain mystery, going out with an "older women", who knows what this could mean. My best friend was part of this whole group of guys and gals that went out together. Georgette and I hit it off right away and we became a couple. I must admit I felt a bit guilty since she had a boyfriend in the Army and the Korean war was going on. But what the heck, life goes on. And to prove that fact it seems that my best friend was also attracted to Georgette and when they became too friendly I decided to step aside and let them have a go at it. Unfortunately, Georgette didn't see it that way and used to call me at all hours, two or three in the morning which caused my mother a lot of distress but didn't seem to bother my father. After going through a year of this craziness I split once and for all and asked her to go on with her life and let me go on with mine. And we did. She eventually married my best friend and became a shrew. I thank him from the bottom of my heart.
The last girl I will tell about was a long term affair, over fifty years, but not without it's very own problems. This beautiful gal had many suitors before me and in fact was engaged. She would never tell me much about these guys just enough to let me realize she never forgot them, that is until she came down with Alzheimer's. The recurrent theme always came up, the other guy. In fact if she didn't split with Rocky Castle, Roberto Di Castillo, we would have never married. That bothered me in a way. The other suitors were a flight of fancy and I guess so what. One thing was certain that in over the fifty years we were a couple the only arms she was in was mine. But the recurring theme was there was always another guy lurking in my girl's past. Of course there was another girl in my past. But you know how guys are, don't you? They want to be the only one even if it means the ones before are just forgotten.
As to unknown loves there were only two I remember. One was with a vivacious co-worker with whom I got very close but not until we were in separate jobs did I realize she was looking for a deeper relationship. She came to town on a business trip and invited me up to her hotel room for breakfast before work. She was in her bathrobe but face made up and I know something could've happened but I had a quick cup of coffee and left. Since that time we have drifted so far away that we barely exchange Christmas cards. Before that day so many years ago we always shared deep emotions and ideas. The other one was Marilyn, who was a Secretary and with whom I got very close. She was married, older and was in love with her husband and children. She was moving away and came into my office and said she wanted me to know that she was in love with me. She said she could tell me that knowing we would never see each other again and therefore nothing would ever come of it because she still loved her husband. Needless to say I was floored but very flattered, and also very sad for obvious reasons.
I guess that's all about all the girls I've ever loved before, well not all but the most important. As to present relationship, I can't refer to that except to say history has a way of repeating itself but most important the thrill of a kiss never wanes, a hand holding that says "I am here for you", the thrill of life that comes from a shared love always makes life exciting and worth the ride.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
It was almost sixty years ago but it was clear in his mind today as though it happened yesterday. He was in the middle of his first eight weeks of basic training and he was sure he hated the Army and would get out as soon as his time was up which would be in a little less than two years but for now he had to put up with all this "chicken s**t". From the very first day it was a battle for control. They, the Cadre, wanted to control him but he wasn't going to let those SOB's take away his identity, his very sense of self. They could go screw themselves. And so the battle for control, survival was on, waged. The question was who was going to win.
This exercise was starting in a trench. You had to crawl out of it and reaching barbed wire, roll on your back put your M1 on your chest and lift the barbed wire up so you could crawl to the end of the run while live bullets, or so he was told, were fired about ten feet above you. They were told the war stories of how some guys stood up and the machine guns yanked off their anchors and those guys were killed. Personally he thought this was a lot of BS, but all the same he wasn't going to test the theory.
The first exercise was done during daylight. When your company got through the full course instead of going back to the barracks to clean up from all the dirt and dust the Cadre made them police, clean up, the place and dig holes with their entrenching tools. Being in Company C (Charlie Company), they were among the first ones finished and they worked the longest and hardest whereas the last company didn't work at at all.
He figured the night exercise would be the same and he swore to himself he wasn't going to be controlled by these sadist anymore. He would start out with Charlie Company but it would be dark and he would stop crawling once he first got on his back under the barbed wire and wait for the last company to come out and he would finish the course with them. He didn't want to be left behind because the exercise was being conducted out in the boon docks and he wouldn't be able to find his way back, which could lead to him being marked AWOL and then there would be hell to pay.
The night was dark even though the skies were lit up by the moon and skies. He never saw skies like that in the city but out here it was a sight to behold, beautiful. The exercise started and the first wave left the trench. The bullets lit up the overhead with their fiery blasts but he was certain they could not see the crawlers. He was with the next wave and then all of a sudden the firing stopped and big lights lit the whole area up and everyone stopped while a voice over the loud speakers told everyone not to move until the lights went out again. He wondered if this unexpected happening would foul up his plan. We shall see what we shall see, he thought. The lights went out, the machine guns exploded with their rat-a-tat and he crawled to the wire turned over on his back and with the rifle, M1, he lifted the wire up crawled under it and stopped. The next wave of guys came and he asked how many more till the last wave of guys would come. The guys crawled past him and he waited, actually snoozing at one point, the bright lights woke him.
Then something unusual happened, a guy started yelling and trying to get out from under the barbed wire, the bullets stopped, the spotlights went on and there were Cadre cutting the wire to free the guy who was about fifty yards away from him. The guy cracked, was yelling for his mama and crying like a baby. He recognized him. He was with another company, he was a bully, a wise guy, always looking for a fight. This tough guy cracked. He thought "I guess he wasn't so tough after all.". Later he heard he was mustered out on a Section 8, which in those days was a mental discharge but later was a discharge for pregnancy, only God knows what it might be today. The Cadre removed the guy, the waves of companies kept coming as the machine guns kept firing their rat-a-tat. Finally one guy said his was the last wave so he crawled out with them. Got on the truck for the ride back to camp and found his barracks.
When he walked into the barracks his Sargent and two other Cadre came up to him yelling. screaming curses wanting to know where he had been. He claimed he got separated somehow but he was here now and OK. The Sargent wasn't really a bright light, maybe a helluva soldier but not too much gray matter.
After he vented he went into his room leaving him to take a shower and talk to his buddies. In those days The shower was open and you didn't drop the soap even if you weren't in the navy. The barracks was an open space with bunk beds and a small aera was yours. He heard it was quite different now, even co-ed. Hey maybe today's Army wouldn't be bad except of course for all the fighting one may be involved in. His buddies told him that they were worked liked slaves until the full exercise was over.
Looking back on those days he chuckled to himself. The Army taught him patience; to plan; to find other ways to accomplish a plan; that some tough guys aren't so tough after all; to never let someone or something control you. There may be times when it appears that you have lost control of your destiny but the only real time that happens is when you get sick and die. In the long run it is always good to have the last laugh even if it doesn't look that way in the short run.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
CBS News on Sunday, today, had a segment about things happening that we call coincidences, asking if they are really happenstance of divinely inspired. They explored different happenings and had different views. Naturally the scientific view supported by Mathematicians was these occurrences were just "coincidences" supported by something I for one never heard of called "Law of large numbers" which when applied to this earth which has so many people in it that events, occurrences are bound to happen . This is applied to the roll of dice or flipping of coins. The other point of view is that there is something outside of the laws of probability that causes the "coincidences". These people are speaking about a supreme being who is involved with creation on a level that can be called micro-managing. However just because these occurrences present themselves doesn't mean the desired outcome will happen. One has to recognize and act on the opportunities as the occur. I can't speak for others but I can tell you about some of these coincidences that have happened to me that is inexplicable in the events that followed all connected but at the time they were happening seemed unconnected.
Back in those days every young man had to serve in the Army through the draft or joining an armed service or the peace corps. After being eligible for four years I eventually pushed my draft number up and went into the Army in the summer of 1956. Spent a week at Fort Dix until my orders came through sending me down to Fort Benning, Georgia. When I arrived at Benning my papers couldn't be found. They finally determined that I was sent down to Georgia by accident, that I was supposed to take my Basic Training in New Jersey at Fort Dix. I thought this was a colossal turn of bad luck. I was thousands of miles away from my girl, the one that I finally married,and I could have been close by seeing her on weekends. Here I am stuck in no man's land, what a rotten break! It so happens that my records showed I was a musician that club dated. After the first eight weeks of basic came the second eight. I was called to audition for the Third Infantry Division Band. It so happens that many of the band members were short timers going to be mustered out in six months or so. There was a shortage of musicians to fill the slots and of course the US Army must have it's parades. My audition went well and I was pulled from my second eight weeks of basic to play Trumpet in the band. I stayed in the band throughout my term, was able to get married and this beautiful girl who wouldn't give me a tumble came to live with me off base at 79 B Baker Village off Victory Blvd. a mile or two from the Fort which I went to every day to play my Trumpet.
All this wouldn't have happened if I didn't make friends with a guy who had a brother who was pursuing a gal who happened to be the sister of the girl I eventually married. But if I wasn't so much in love I never would've pushed my number up at the time I did which caused me to be inducted in the Army and be sent down to Georgia by mistake so I would be easily taken in the band , which allowed me to marry and live off base and eventually come home and spent fifty years of married life with this girl who wouldn't give me a tumble. But the way these unconnected events led to us having seven children, ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The ripple effect of these unconnected events, coincidences, have touched many people, and will continue to do so long after I am gone. All this just the effect of "The Law of Large Numbers"? I don't think so. I really don't think so! But it doesn't stop there. The coincidences keep on coming.
So I just go along taking care of life as it happens thinking what happens in life isn't necessarily connected especially if it happened in the past, many, many years ago. As an example sometime in 1974 my happy career with American International Pictures was over unceremoniously ended and I joined the banking community. Manufacturers Hanover affectionately called Manny Hanny became my home for The next 15 years. A very unhappy union except for a few things. I lost the glamour of the motion picture industry and most of the people I had come to know as everything was shifting to the west coast. The work was sometimes interesting but for the most part very boring because of the politics connected with it. Yet because of great insurance coverage and some pension rights it fell into place during and even after I left it. There were many coincidences connected with this part of my life but not he most important which I wouldn't realize until almost a quarter of a century passed. During one of the most depressing years there I met a young lady who was just beginning her journey that would lead to marriage and becoming a mother. She was one of my refuges from the boring, political grind of the day. We'd go to lunch, maybe stop at one of those New York mini parks that had foliage and a water fall. Stop at the UN grounds which could be visited without worry in those days, looking at the great rose gardens and just talking sharing a few laughs. Nothing romantic, she was in love with the people in her life and I was in love with the people in mine. Then came the downsizing for me and she had a little child to take care of so we apparently went our separate ways. Apparently to live out our lives as the gods would have it. Or so one would think.
My wife had past after a very long bout with Alzheimer's. I figured there was some life left to live but didn't quite know how to get my footing. Then on day I received a message from some one who wondered if we had known each other at Manny Hanny. This was quite sometime after I had left Manny Hanny. Of course it was that wonderful young, beautiful, vivacious lady who spent time with me when Manny Hanny had gotten too much to handle. We met for lunch, met a few more times, we were both single, available but a huge age differential was there yet despite that, guess what? We fell in love. Remember, I had left my job at American International because I wouldn't move to the west coast, couldn't get another job for a few months until a neighbor referred me to a guy that lived around the block form me who happened to be looking for someone that had credentials like I had. He was let go and the job I was hired for was dissolved causing me to be transferred uptown where eventually I met this young, beautiful lady who some twenty five years after we said goodbye forever we became part of each others life again on a more personal, loving level than we could have ever dreamed would be happening. Now I can't trace the events that may occur from this coincidence the way I could with the ones mentioned above because not enough time has elapsed for the meanings to show themselves. So I have hope that this micro managing God will let us know in his own good time what he has happily planned for us. For me and I hope for her so far what we have experienced is just the beginning of all the good things to follow, for love is full of beauty and happiness and we have that.
So I must say it is my experience "The law of large numbers" while seeming to make much sense really isn't the cause of some mathematical probability that cause coincidences. What one writer terms as "God Wink" while seemingly very illogical, is the true reason that coincidences occur. I ask the reader to ponder their own lives and visualize what their lives might have been if not for those unusual happenstances that have occurred.