A Giant Leap – Backwards

Neil Armstrong has died, and so has our news media . . .

This last weekend the news Staffs of newspapers, TV, Internet segments, all proved what we have long guessed.  They have all become what we once termed cheap journalism. 

Neil Armstrong, a man whose name will be listed with the Greats of History died last week and the news organizations of the world revealed their shallowness.  And that is, if you aren’t a ‘Personality’, go ahead and die, but don’t expect us to do anything about it.  No money in those kind of names.

Neil Armstrong’s name will be right there alongside Galileo, The Father of Astronomy, and with Lindberg, the first to fly over the Atlantic solo.  With Magellan, first to sail around the world, and Columbus, who ‘discovered America’ and opened the western hemisphere to the rest of the world.  Names of men and women who have changed the world, and Armstrong’s name has long been  high on that list.

He was the one who made that ‘small step by man, but a giant leap for all mankind”.  The very first time a human had stepped upon any surface other than this earth.

The picture sent down to earth of his booted foot cautiously stepping into the unknown surface of the moon, will live forever, and is recognized world-wide, with no names or explanation needed. That ‘giant leap for mankind’ will be seen centuries from now, and our news gave it a bored ho-hum.  You see, there’s no money in a moon story.

I speak of the shallow depths to which ‘the news’ has allowed itself to fall, and deny and excuse it though they may, this last weekend they helped kill themselves, ‘hoist by their own petard’.  No one did it to them, and have no one to blame but themselves.  Deny it as they have, but they, and I mean ALL forms of the ‘news’,  revealed themselves to be naught but gatherers of junk.  The presses literally stopped when Michael Jackson died, and all he did was sing and dance in an odd way popular with the teenagers of his generation, and, oh yes, and he took drugs, alcohol, and died as a result, too.

Yes, Armstrong died on a weekend when the ‘second staffers’ are in charge, but, there was a time, not too long ago, when all news organizations, built files on well known men and women, so that when death claimed them, all that was needed was to fill in the death date and reason, and within minutes a perfect obit was ready. But that was the time when Journalism was a proud, professional occupation and former newsmen and women would weep at how far their craft has fallen.

That picture of Armstrong’s foot stepping on to the Moon’s surface should have been on every front page of the world, with  the words of A GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND the only ones used.

Yes, Armstrong chose to NOT become a so-called celebrity, and lived out of the public eye, as a Professor.  He did, much like Lindberg, of a generation before him, also did.  They saw the job, loved it, did it superbly, and then went on with their lives. Both choosing not to subject their wives and children to the notoriety given today’s ‘names’.

Galileo was the first man to SEE the moon’s surface, and even elementary students know his name, if not exactly what he did.  Neil Armstrong was the first human to put his foot upon a surface other than our Planet, other than the one we call Earth, and there are pictures to record it for all time, for any Planet yet to be explored, and to be seen by whatever form of mankind found there.  And, to our shame, we met his death with a yawn.

Perhaps it’s just as well.  Take a long, lingering look at the magazines and tabloids featured at all grocery stores, and you will see exactly what and why both Armstrong and Lindberg chose to step aside from it. 

We all should be ashamed because what we buy is what the news sources give us.  I’ve collected Front Pages of great events and even found one of Pearl Harbor.  There is no Front Page for the death of the man who took That Giant Leap For Mankind.

Free Health Care For Life

For the lifers, it’s all free

No one told us that life was going to be fair, but this is one time there must be an answer to the dilemma.

There are thousands of older people who need the care that can only be given in special centers, but can’t afford the expense.  However, at the same time, another growing group, with the very same needs, and no money eithe, but this time our government is erecting buildings  (and don’t forget who pays for government buildings) to take care of that second group. In truth, within the last 10 (+ or -) years, have already built three, and residency there costs those of that second group, absolutely not one cent.  Free.

And the difference?  It’s hard to believe, but the first, who pay for their own Care, or don’t get it, are the law abiding citizens who’ve done nothing more illegal than running a red light.  And the other segment? Those who are getting special buildings, special doctors, food, medicine and all such needs at no cost at all?   Well,  they’re the criminals we’ve sent to prison for life. Murder, usually the cause, and in doing so, we also took on the job of supplying every need.  For that life time.

And with the care they get, nutritional, medical, etc. and with no stress, their lives are most often longer than the ones on ‘the outside’.

I taught at the Prison for several years and more than one man (I was not in the women’s section) said out-rightly that if ever they were ‘freed’ and sent out into the world, the very first thing they’d do would be to commit some crime that would send them right back.

One man, perhaps in his late 50’s or SO said, “This is the first time in my entire life that I’ve known I’d have a bed to sleep in at night.  It’s the first time I’ve had three good meals every day,  first time I’ve had clean clothing, dental care, clean bedding, and so much more.  You couldn’t pay me to leave here.”

And I shivered,  as I saw others nodding their agreement.

We have a fast growing population of people that we’ve committed ourselves to supporting. For life. And not one single thing or act  is required from them.  Nothing.  No  chores or duties, and it seemed to me that when they get into their late 40’s, they are very content, and I’ve heard so many of them say, “I’ve never had it so good.”

Several years ago, I read where three large facilities were being built to house prisoners from prisons all over the U.S.A., who needed special Care for reasons incident to age, would be sent.  Now they are needing and building  more.

Turning them loose is not the answer,  but I do think a good answer, maybe not a solution, but a part time one, is to use the men and women, from the time imprisoned, on labor forces such road work, janitor work in government parks and buildings, and such places where labor only is needed. Places where they can be watched constantly and also to be clothes in quickly identifiable Prison Uniforms, and ankle ‘bracelets’ so as to be instantly recognized, and their movements hampered, and controlled, an absolute requirement.  And no wages paid, either.

Sounds good?  Yes it does, and has been tried out, but has been fought right and left, as the opponents say, those prisoners would be performing jobs and activities that law-abiding men and women could fill, and so you are depriving law-abiding citizens of wage paying jobs.

It’s a dilemma  but think about it.  So many law abiding people need such care, but cannot afford the exorbitant prices.  Yet the criminals who robbed, killed, raped or kidnapped, are getting that care free of charge, and while you might not afford to pay for it for some one in  your family, you are paying those same bills for the life-time criminals.

We, the public, are ending up being victims for the second time. First for their crimes and now for their care.  Justice for all?????  Think again, and again and again and if you think there’s some solution, fine, wonderful, but meanwhile send this column to every name on your list.  Thank  you.


A Think Twice Quiz

For a Hot, Sweltering Summer Day

Yes, it’s the hot, sweltering days of Summer and I’ve searched and found what Gerard Mosler sent me on another hot Summer day. I enjoyed his words (questions) and hope you do, too.

And it’s the perfect Quiz for such days as we have had. It’s a list of puzzle questions, and try not to peek at the answers at the bottom of my column, but, what the heck, it’s August.  It’s hot.  I don’t know who you are, so cheat on every one, if you want.  I won’t know.  And, if the truth be know, I cheated the first time (and the second time, too) that I read them, too.

1. Which was the smallest continent before Australia was discovered?

2. You have prepared ten pounds of peaches because you’re making jam.  When you start to put them in the kettle, you remember the old recipe advised, for improved flavor,  you to add the juice of a lemon for every dozen peaches.  You don’t remember the number of peaches you’ve prepared, and so how can you determine the proper number of lemons to squeeze?

3. An old fashioned, antique six-day alarm clock will run at least five days without winding. True or false?

4. What is the only word to the English language that can be written without pen, pencil, chalk, or any other pigment?

5. Behind each girl is a boy.  Behind each boy is a girl.  What is the smallest number of children that will fulfill those specifications?

6. A planeload of famous people crashed near the boundary of two countries.  A question of International Law arose about where to bury the survivors.  It was finally decided that each country would bury half of them.  Do you agree?

7. Can you make sense of the following sentence by adding to it question marks? “Before popping the important man often time.

8. Three women are standing under one umbrella without anybody’s getting wet.  How is this done?

9. What word will be shorter if you add a syllable to it?

10. Can you tell in what case two times two is six.





1. It has always been Australia whether we knew it was there or not.

2. Just count the peach pits.

3. No non-electric clock will run without winding, five days, five minutes or otherwise.

4. The word already is “written.”

5. One boy, one girl, standing back to back.

6. Who ever heard of survivors being buried?

7. Before popping the important QUESTION man often MARKS  time.

8.  It isn’t raining.

9. Short.

10.  In no case!

See, I told you it was a ‘hot, sweltering summer day’ quiz.  But Gerard Mosler must have enjoyed putting it together, and I enjoyed it enough to tuck it away to be found at a later date, and the same to you.  And you.  And you.

Thou Shalt Not Lie

But careful, the whole world depends on them

The Good Book tells us not to lie, but I’d wager there isn’t one person on this whole planet who can go through 24 hours without doing so.

Now, I’m not going into the ‘descriptions’ that are posted ‘on line’ when people are seeking a mate, lover or partner, for anyone choosing that method to find a husband, lover or wife, and doesn’t know that every word is gilded with white lies, ought to have their head examined.

But apart from those exaggerations, there are other situations where those lies are demanded if we want to get along with the world.  They are so much  a part of being civilized that not to tell an occasional one can be cruel and inhuman.  Our culture is built around the lies we tell each other, and without them, this world might be better in some ways, but then it could/would be much worse in other ways.  Take a look.

If we didn’t tell a few, we’d soon have no friends, and peppering a few white ones here and there, is the only way to keep them.  There’s no way you can tell your long-time friend what you actually think of the clothes she often chooses, or what you really think of her new boy friend, or worse still, of her husband.  Wow.

The old adage says: “White lies are the oil that keeps life’s ‘machinery’ running smoothly,” and the one who penned those words had certainly been ‘around the block’ and knew the score.

Who could be so cruel as to tell a bride that she isn’t beautiful, or that the new born baby isn’t a living doll, even though everyone knows that newborns all look like Winston Churchill, and from every picture ever taken of him, he wasn’t famous for his good looks.

Histories of nations show us that wars are started when nations begin telling the truth about their plans, and Peace comes only when the leaders start lying.  Think it over, think it over.

And politicians have only one goal, i.e. to be elected. And the slogan of everyone of them, only in their own words is, “This world, (Country, State, City, County) is in a mess and I’m the only one who knows how to fix it.”  And every other word they speak is an outcrop of that lie.
And then they start telling us what we want to hear.  They know they’re lying, as when the first President Bush said about taxes, “Read my lips. Read my lips. I won’t raise your taxes.”  Shakespeare said it best, “What fools we mortals be.”

But inasmuch as few of us will ever run for high office, let’s get down to the everyday kind of lie.  Routine lies.  “How are you?” we ask.  “Fine, how are you?” they answer with another lie, and we say “Fine.” Lies, both of them, and, truthfully, we aren’t  even asking about their health, but just, in modern lingo,  saying, “Hello.”  And unnecessary lies pile atop each other.

My mother told that same lie, and it maddened me as a child, because often, I knew she wasn’t feeling fine, and wondered why she lied. I was punished with a swift whack on the butt when I told a lie, and yet no one criticized her for her lies.  Well, in time I learned. 

Like Mom, if I’m ill or have something wrong, I lie and tell no one. Oh, once it’s over I talk all over the place, but until then, I lie, and lie and lie.  And silently apologize to my mother.

But, again, to get down to everyday  living, lies are not only wanted, but needed.  You meet a friend for lunch and she walks across the restaurant you wonder what in the world happened to her hair, and doesn’t she have a mirror?  Is she blind?   But as she sits down, your first words are, “Oh, you have a new hairdo.”

See, you didn’t actually say a lie, but it was implied and she beams, thinks you said her hair is wonderful, and that she looks terrific.  You keep your thoughts to yourself, and everyone’s happy.  But, oh me, just maybe it’s a  good thing  you don’t know what she might be  thinking about your hair.

And, as you witness the wedding vows of a friend, you can almost see the divorce papers waving in the offing, But did you tell the truth, when she  gushingly asked, “Oh, isn’t he just wonderful?”

No, you didn’t think that, but you smiled an agreement with her as you inwardly  thought, “I think he’s a drip, a gambler, a cheat and before a year is over, you’ll be wondering why you married him.”  But you lie.  After all, you want to have her for a friend after the fireworks are over, and, in today’s world, marriages can be of short stuff,  while friendships are for life.

I know, and you know, of huge sad happenings in someone’s past, and tell a lie to not reveal what is past and over done with.  I knew of the event by accident, chose to be silent, to insure other’s happiness, and my lips are sealed forever.  Who am I to be the arbiter of another’s future happiness, or heartache and sorrow.  You be the judge.

Yes, You, me and all of us, have seen when the white lie, that sweet lie, the kind lie, the blessed lie was actually the kindest words ever spoken, and in time knew it as the most needed ‘truth’ ever given.  A blessing for all. 

Yes, there  are times when the White Lie is the most wonderful words ever spoken.  Okay?  And don’t try to tell me that you didn’t see yourself mirrored in every word I’ve written.

Our Daily Bread

Or should I say hourly bread

Every living creature, human down to microcosmic cell, needs its Daily Bread, and if deprived will scavenge, fight, even kill for it, because without it, and water, we’ll die.

Over half of the world’s population is lucky if they get any food for the day and, yet, we here in the U.S., while there are hungry among us, we’re also facing a cradle-to-the-grave epidemic of obesity.  Too much food. We’re fat.

And in doing so, we’ve turned the joy and comfort of good family meals into a scramble to see who can out-do others in serving food that’s the  most unusual, fanciest, grown farthest away, and prepared in the most unique manner.

The other side of the coin, there are the millions who consider Pizza, Hamburgers, and French Fries, or any  frozen meal that can be micro-ed in minutes, as perfect, nutritious meals.

And they’re okay, and fun for once-in-a-while, but we’re at cross-roads, because where ever we look, we’re being pressured  towards different attitudes in what makes a nutritious meal. 

First, wherever we look, any form of the media from TV, magazines, newspapers, ads, we’re bombarded with articles and gorgeous pictures of foods and  nice slender people telling us if we cook food as they say,  we can look like them too.  It’s hard to find a news program, talk show or whatever, without its segment of food and telling us how to make, or buy it.

The way they talk, you’d think we’d  die unless they reminded us that when we’re hungry we should eat, and that food is usually found in the kitchen.

And in the same publication or program, there will also be articles, with pictures, telling us what food is not good for us to eat,  what to keep away from our children, berating schools for what snacks or drinks they offer our kids, and the medical professions step in and tells us the horrid maladies being  overeating brings, how our food choices  are ‘doing’ to our kids’, and also trying to sell us  pills to control our appetite. 

Then there are hour long TV programs year after year, showing us grossly overweight people and how they are ‘suffering’ to lose it, and that we’re no where near THAT fat and so that our few fat pounds are okay.  The dangers of Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia, (diabetes and its counterpart) all from lack of balance of our meals,  and you each can go on and on with your own lists of what the doctors tell us.

And, believe it or not, the effects of the obesity epidemic have reached into and brought changes to every store that sells clothing. 

I recall my mother making very nice dresses, night clothes, and one time a coat for an overweight neighbor.  Not grossly fat, but just the same, she couldn’t find clothing her size, and so came to Mama, and got them made for her.

She’d have no problem today. The Extra-large section is as large or larger than the ‘normal’ racks.  (Who knows what’s normal?)  One day I saw a ‘Small’ Tee-shirt on sale in a color I liked and bought it, but took it back within an hour.  Yes, it was Small, but what I missed in my hurry was that the label actually read, ‘Small XXX’.  See, even a new lingo. A Small extra large.  Oh me.

A nurse, with lots of capital letters after her name, simplified the food problem for me.  She said: eat three,  four, even five  SMALL meals a day and have each ‘meal’ one-third protein (meat, eggs, yogurt, peanut butter, etc), one-third Good Carbs (brown bread, brown rice, etc) and one-third fruit and veggies. 

Cookies?  Ice Cream?  Cake?  Candy? Of course, but these are not food needs.  They are treats, eaten sparingly. Not as constant tid-bits, substitutes for a meal, or a package eaten while watching TV.    

 I don’t know about the farmer, but store keepers, makers of fancy pots, pans, grills, cookers, etc., medical pills and nostrums, gyms, spas, and, special clothing, you name it, and it all boils down to that you gotta be your own doctor, nurse and coach.  That is, if you don’t want to be fat.

And not a one of these businesses dealing with Food and it’s results is going to help you, because, as it stands, they’re all making money hand-over-fist and not a one of them is going to rock their wonderful money-making boat.

It’s all working just they way they want it to work, and there’s nothing wrong or illegal about it at all.  The fact that it’s making us fat is our problem, not theirs.