Men on Porch With Cell Phone

I went for my daily run this morning, and as usual, I saw a surprising number of men, outside their houses, on cell phones. I ran four miles — I saw four men. This equates to one man per mile. This equates to peculiar. This is pretty much standard for my morning weekend runs.

Okay, guys, so what’s up with this? Anthony Weiner is having his weenie publicly castrated as we speak, and you’re out on your front porch on your cell phone? Four of you? On a Sunday morning?

Don’t say your reception isn’t good in the house because we know that’s crap. Don’t say you’re talking to a customer, colleague, patient, boss because we suspect that’s also crap. Maybe you’re talking about getting together with the guys for an afternoon of putting and Pepsi (try Pabst). This is plausible. Or … dare we go THERE?? To talk about HER??

Gents, thanks to Bill, Anthony, Elliott, and Arnold, and of course to Tom, Dick, and Harry, do your best to avoid doing the cell phone on porch on Sunday morning thing or some jogger may come by and blow your cover.

Hundreds of herbal remedies now outlawed across Europe

Hundreds of herbal remedies now outlawed across Europe

via Hundreds of herbal remedies now outlawed across Europe.

The Rudeness of Texting

My partner came home the other day from dropping his son off at his ex’s. He came in ranting about her constant texting while he was trying to carry on a conversation about their son. She is a text-aholic, but when it comes to interfering with the care of her son, we’re talking a major and disgusted WOW!

Anyway, the next day I came across this article: “Ahem, Are You Talking to Me” and I simply cannot resist passing it on to you!

Weapons of Mass Destruction: Strollers and Supermarket Kiddie Tanks

I have gritted my teeth about this topic for a long time, and frankly refrained from writing about it for fear of being pelted by half-full babybottles and tippy-cups full of apple juice. But I can stay silent no more! Here is the crux of it: I am tired of mac-trucks disguised as baby-strollers, and sherman tanks dressed up as supermarket carts with kiddie-car plastic things on the front that extend in total to half an aisle.

Here’s what kicked my ass into gear to write about this at long last. Today I was out of apples, and believe me, this is crisis material. Instead of paying a fortune for 3 or 4 apples of not even my favorite varietal at the supermarket, I decided to take advantage of the market’s midweek hours to get my apples. I have a favorite vendor for apples, and so of course, I got into my march forth mode and headed to their booth. There they were — all the shiny, juciy, and robust apples you could ever want! Surrounding them were bright oranges and green grapes the size of superballs.

The market was not particularly crowded, but right in front of those apples, positioned like an army battalion, were three very young and fresh-looking “Mommies” with their very little, and un-fresh-looking children, who were firmly planted in three of those huge strollers — one a tandom affair. Not only were they entrenched in front of my apples, they appeared to rival the Rock of Gibralter in their immobility. Thus I was relegated to reaching over some combination of child-Mommy-stroller to get my four very-heavy bags of fruit, while fumbling helplessly to deal with the financial matters of this transactions. In the meantime, Mommy-dearests all stood around looking very beatific while I surely exhibited a veneer of frantic frustration.

Okay — so much for today. Now what about these Sherman tanks? I am convinced that one day someone is going to get seriously hurt by being run over by one of these things> And get this: my local supermarket has brilliantly redesigned their traffic patterns so now there are aisles intersecting east-west/north-south, halfway down. Add this configuration to the Mommies who schlep their kids into these simply outrageous cart affairs that belong on merry-go-rounds and absolutely no where else in the universe, least of all the supermarket aisle!

Deep Water Graves or Above Water Answers

The crash of Air Fance flight 447 on May 11, 2009 has haunted me now for two years. Over and over I have pored over the same articles, looking for a missed clue or detail. something to indicate what caused that mighty plane to plummet to its sea-bed grave. Likewise, I have gone over and over in my head what those final moments were like in that plane as it tried to make its way through a violent thunderstorm. As one who white-knuckles it with nary a tail ripple, I can’t even imagine what was going through the minds of the people on that plane.

In the relative scheme of the things, not much of that plane was found, and several subsequent searches yielded nothing. It was feared that neither the wreck, nor its black boxes, may never be found, perhaps swallowed into the savage underwater mountain range filled with miles deep valleys and crevices.

But efforts to find the thing became frantic as both aviation experts and flyers — fearful or not — were stymied over what makes a big, beautiful Airbus just drop out of the sky and disappear? Not to mention the fact that manslaughter charges are pending against both Air France and Airbus — charges that could perhaps be mitigated or dropped based on evidence about what really happened.

And so now, it has been found, and with its large, intact section of fuselage are the bodies of souls, still strapped in their seats, in a grave 2 miles underwater. Now the question arises: do we preserve the entire scene, allowing it to remain ensconced on the ocean floor as a measure of paying respect to its victims, or do we bring it up and analyze both the bodies and the wreckage to help solve the mystery of why Air France 447 just dropped off the radar screen — permanently?

Fukushima is now the radioactive Deepwater Horizon of the Pacific

It’s My Ocean, Too!!

Fukushima is now the radioactive Deepwater Horizon of the Pacific.

The Demise of Facebook?

I had two encounters within the last week that got me to wondering. The first was with a student in one of my classes. In a business communications class, asked thestudents how many of them had a Facebook page. As always before, I expected all 15 hands to go up. Only 14 did. Whoa! I was shocked. I zeroed in on the abstaining student, and he said he didn’t need Facebook, and he didn’t want Facebook. He relied upon, he ssid, conventional communication tools such as telephone and face-to-face meetings.

The second encounter was with a friend of my daughter’s who I inadvertantly ran into. Somehow the topic of Facebook came up and she offered that she didn’t have a Facebook page anymore. I was shocked. This young woman was the face of Facebook, and now she had obliterated her digital face and replaced it with her “real” face.

My question is now — are we looking at a trend or an exception, and if a trend, what does it mean? For some reason, I am excited and hopeful. Is this the blossoming hint of a society that might be  returning to its basic, and oh so precious, roots?

Silence: World of Feast or Famine?

As some of you know, I am committed to man who lives in silence. My “person” is what is called “late deafened.” He became deaf at the vulnerable age of 23 after a severe illness the cause of which was never determined. As he shared some of experiences with me, one stands out. Soon after descent into silence, he went to the infamous Gallaudet University in Washington, DC to learn the art of sign language. As you can imagine, this violent change in how he had to interact with his environment was traumatic enough, but one day while at Gallaudet,  he approached a group of young people in the cafeteria with his tray in hand and asked if he could join them. They said no. He wasn’t “deaf enough.” He was not a member of often militant “Deaf culture,” an intense group of Deaf (with a capital D) people, most often deaf from birth and born to deaf parents, who eshew anyone who does not submerge themselves COMPLETELY into a world where American Sign Language( as opposed to English Sign Language) is the core of their communication and culture.

Now, ASL is indeed a beautiful thing to watch, along with the animation in action and facila expressions that accompany the actual signing. But the intensity of the culture’s animosity and rejection of anyone of deaf (with a small d) who does not embrace their “way of being” is off-putting at the least. Then enter the issue of the Cochlear implant, which has incited a veritable riot amongst the Deaf people. I have embedded herein a

that embodies the emotional extremes of both sides of this issue.

So You Want to Write a Book?

You do, admit it. You really, really, really want to write a book. Maybe you pine to write a memoir. Or maybe a “how-to collect and make beautiful things from sea glass” is calling to you. Perhaps you want to research and write a pithy account of your experiences going around the world. Whatever your topic is, the thought of the “doing” of it, the process of writing a book, is an undertaking of mammoth proportions. Or so it seems …

Guess what — it is not as gargantuan a task as you think, and I aim to tell you why, and then show you how — how to manage the process. Take a read about the course I am offering: So You Want to Write a Book. You can do it — you really can.

Requiem to the English Language

I read an article this morning in The New York Times that saddened me greatly. It saddened me from several perspectives. Maybe not quite so much saddened on this one as astounded: the rampant pace at which inter-personal media preferences are changing. Just five years ago email was the communication vehicle de rigor. Read on and you’ll find that today it is all about NOW — instant communication, instant responses, instant blurts in the form of instant messaging and text messaging. Even phoning is way down the preferred list. What does this all mean? Great philosopher that I am, (cough cough), I wonder about the long term effects on society and culture. Such instant forms of communication don’t set pathways to careful and thoughtful ways of interaction.

My second source of great chagrin is the loss of the language. Yes, loss. In the flurry of faster, faster, faster, words are abbreviated into private forms of shorthand that are even difficult to translate among seasoned users. Everyone, so it appears, has his or her abbreviated alphabets, thereby butchering what was once a uniform and magnificant language.

And so — we lose our ability to be thoughtful and we lose our language. Sigh. So speaketh an old, curmudgeonly English teacher.

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