Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Directions...

Since my first blog in 2008, I've posted opinions, pet peeves, and observations on topics from politics to celebrities, often with lapses in-between.

In October, I attended a day-long workshop---"Internet ACE: Online Self-Promotion"---with Greg Kompes (http://www.kompes/, writerpreneur, publisher and co-founder of Choice Publishing's Patchwork Path series

Greg emphasized the importance of posting regularly and providing content that serves my followers.

To that end, a major goal for 2011 is to reach families of inmates, provide them with relevant content, and direct traffic to my website:

Consequently, I'm considering shifting the focus of this blog. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you have a loved one in jail or prison, send e-mails about about your issues or concerns to

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Random Ramblings

A friend recently reminded me that I hadn't updated this blog. (Thanks for noticing.) However, if I don't feel the urge to express an opinion about a current event or issue, I don't.

Blogging is one aspect of my writing career, and I'm still working to develop a unique online presence.

Consequently, I experiment with different ways for using "The Written Word."

Hopefully, someday I will attract enough followers whose input will help keep it relevant and informative.

The idea for this blog popped into my head recently. So, here it is.

Things That Will Probably Never Happen...

TV political ads that offer a candidate's platform NOT merely attack an opponent with shrill accusations.

Credit card bills less than four-pages long;

Correspondence from corporations or government agencies written in plain English;

Telephone customer service reps who don't treat you like a two-year old;

Call-backs from companies that are "investigating" your problem or issue;

TV reality shows that don't feature heavily-made up girls and muscle-bound guys;

Websites that don't require you to register, sign-in, or view a promotional ad;

"Free" products or services that don't require a credit card;

President Obama getting recognition from Republicans (and increasingly, Democrats) for anything his administration has done;

Expensive premium channels that don't show the same (old) movies over and over again;

Conservative talk show hosts who express points of view without insults or shouting.

Got a minute? Why not share a few of your own?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Worse Prez, Yet...?

Obama, the "worst president in history?"

So says Ben Quayle (Congressional candidate from Arizona), son of former VP Dan Quayle. Well, it has garnered his heretofore unknown campaign some attention.

As stated on this blog previously, President Obama ain't above criticism. But, there seems to be a movement afoot to bash anything Obama does or says.

He did not cause the nation's economic woes; they've been around more or less for many years. Just that some folks (read, middle-class) are beginning to feel the chill.

Likewise, his health care reform isn't scheduled to in kick for another year or two. Yet, Bill O'Reilly, a top FOX newscaster says it's led to increased premiums. Where's the evidence, sir?

The First Lady is not a spendthrift; her retailer of choice is J. Crew. Pricey, but not high end couture. Where are these fancy cars and clothes she's supposed to have?

Obama faces some of the most contentious and difficult problems of any president--wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, collapsing business giants, changing immigration policies, slow job growth, a disastrous oil spill, and countless international issues.

He's a novice on the world stage, but not an idiot. It seems that he considers issues carefully before making decisions.

Nor, is he a wuss vis a vis terrorists. America had pretty awful methods for getting tough with "enemy combatants" under Bush. Do we want a repeat of this?

History will judge his presidency.

Perhaps, in the future, we can better assess the good and bad of his tenure as the nation's first black president.

To Fantasia:

For a young girl from the other side of the tracks, you have accomplished much. I had the pleasure of seeing you in "The Color Purple" on Broadway and was surprised by how well you handled yourself.

You have a great gift. Hope your recent troubles are a springboard to a better future for you and your daughter.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Random Ramblings...

  • Fame and fortune: Doesn't matter how high we climb, it's impossible to predict where we'll end up. Think Tiger, O.J., Heath, Chris B., or MJ. On the other hand, we should never give up hope that our fortunes can change for the better (if only temporarily, alas). Think Susan Boyle, Tyler Perry, Jennifer Hudson, or Fantasia. The lesson: Build our lives around things that mean more than fame or fortune--dreams, faith, family, and friends.

  • Baffling bureaucratic policies: I've had some experience with bureaucratic irrationality. After 9-11, NYC offered Medicaid and food stamps for all takers with virtually no paperwork. Normally, I wouldn't have qualified even with just a part-time teaching job. Nonetheless, I applied, and for six months I had medical coverage and food assistance. I received approximately $37.50 per week. At the end of the benefit period, I was encouraged to re-apply. I would have to complete a six- or seven-page application about every aspect of my life (and anybody who lived with me). Considering how much I'd receive (see above) and the fact that I'd have to go through this procedure every six months, I decided it wasn't worth it. I came away wondering, Why do recipients have to repeat all the paperwork every six months, rather than once a year (when they would merely attest that there's no change in their circumstances or report whatever changes have occurred--new address, birth of a child, work circumstances). Think of all the trees we could save. Green power!

  • Blessed are the rich is the societal mindset that leads to billion-dollar giveaways to corporate giants, while low-income families or persons with disabilities must jump through hoops for relatively little (or limited) assistance. Likewise, we shower celebrities (such as Oprah) and powerful people with free gifts and services; however, if you're homeless or poor, it's considered disgraceful to ask for help. In addition, when you do pay for something, you're likely to pay twice as much as others. Hmmm.

  • Just who's violent, anyway? Come on, folks. Let's stop paying lip service to non-violence--from bullying to killing--when every successful TV show--reality or otherwise--glorifies the use of force: "Dog the Bounty Hunter," "Operation Repo," "Jerry Springer," "Parking Wars," "Prisoners Out of Control," "E! Investigates: Rich Kids Who Kill," and "Most Shocking" (car chases, etc.). Unfortunately, violence is how nations and individuals solve problems. It's also what entertains us. Hence, the success of viral videos of teens beating each other up. I don't know the answer to promoting less violence, however, let's at least recognize our contribution to its pervasiveness.

  • "All-American John Wayne"? AMC is promoting a John Wayne movie marathon by describing him as an "All-American Icon." "What is an All-American?" Can someone be "Half-American," or "Part-American?" This is one of several terms frequently spouted by politicians and pundits that baffles me. Others are "patriot," "family values," "American values," and "true American hero." How does one qualify to be "all-American?"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ugly American Politiks

I am ashamed of how elected officials are running the country. The name of the game seems to be: say whatever it takes to discredit the other guy--mostly these days, President Obama.

Needless to say, he shouldn't be above criticism. Yet, in a little over a year, he's been active on many fronts from pushing through the health care bill to promoting non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Give the guy an "A" for effort.

He orchestrated a health summit, during which Republicans were testy and disgruntled.

Now gay activists are heckling him over the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. They want him to honor a campaign promise to end it. I don't know all the details--much of what I hear on TV news isn't informative but so much bombast. Nonetheless, can't groups push their agendas without so much acrimony?

America extols free speech, diversity of opinion, fair exchange of ideas. But, more and more, national debates are rancorous, uninformative, and mean-spirited.

Despite hours of TV coverage, neither Democrats nor Republicans clearly explained their health care platforms. They merely made dire predictions about escalating costs, higher premiums, and government control over health choices.

Many people I speak to have no idea what "health care reform" really means. Even today, I' m not clear how or when my uninsured niece will get health coverage for her family.

I don't have much hope that public debate will improve. Our country--like the rest of the world--faces serious issues in the 21st century from the environmental to the economic.

Still, we can't seem to put the public good above special interests.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Help for Haiti

For all the worse reasons, Haiti is in the news.

The recent earthquake has focused the world's attention on this small country that is the western third of the island, Hispaniola; the Dominican Republic makes up the other two-thirds.

As with many events that involve predominantly black countries, myths abound about the people and culture of Haiti. Despite the worldwide fame of stars, such as Wyclef Jean, most Americans know little about its history.

In fact, it was the first nation in the Western Hemisphere to gain independence, when the legendary Touissant L'Overture defeated British, Spanish, and French troops to emanicipate the slave population in 1804.

Movies and TV have depicted Haitian voudu (or voodoo, as its more commonly called) as dark and mysterious. In fact, it's a blend of religious worship originating in several West African countries transplanted to Haiti.

This week, Pat Robertson, chairman and founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, added to the confusion by stating that Haitians had made "a pact with the devil," which led to the earthquake. (Mr. Robertson, how do you explain killer mudslides in China, tsunamis in Asia, or the World Trade Center devastation?)

Fortunately, the international community, celebrities, medical personnel, and relief organizations have rushed to meet the needs of the people without judgement. Relief aid is difficult to administer when the structures that housed government offices have been demolished and political leaders have no resources or places from which to govern.

Bereft of food and supplies, some have resorted to looting. Despite no police presence to protect innocent bystanders, let's hope order is restored soon.

Haitians outside of the country are helpless to reach or help their own. I learned this week that a friend lost her sister in the earthquake. Her family has no idea how it will arrange for services.

On the positive side, ordinary people (like my granddaughter) are donating five and ten dollars to the relief effort. This is the best response to tragedy: reach out to those in need without prejudice.