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barbed wire

When will we say it’s not a freedom, if it doesn’t include everyone?

When will the majority stand up and demand that common sense prevail over special interests?

When will we insist on, invest in and protect our most powerful weapon: an educated public?

When will we all take a long look at religion and say, it can’t be a religion if it promotes:

death to non-believers
hatred for those who are different
any kind of exclusion?

When will we require pundits to study -and fairly represent- both sides of an issue before preaching?

When will we demand that our politicians do what is right, not what is expedient?

Vote for everyone’s future is right, not just their re-election chances?
Vote for what is forward thinking, not interest-preserving?

When will we tell the 24 hour news cycle it’s not news if it’s not facts?

When will we demand that our government (who has a job to do), our spying agencies (who have a job to do), our local and national security forces (who have a job to do) not treat all of us equally as criminals?

When will we demand of technology and the investment community to solve real-world problems rather than create more ways of collecting profile data for targeted advertising?

When will we require ourselves to be more active, more engaged in our communities and the decisions that are thirsting for our attention?

When will we wake up and realize our freedoms are being chipped away, that stupidity, apathy and sloth are the sharpest pick axes?

When will we believe again that there is virtue in compromise?

chess downed pawn


The time to start is … now.


What if ….

What if ATM fees were deducted straight out of your withdrawal such that instead of getting $40 dollars, you received $37? Might ring the death knell for ATM fees (or at least push them down to pennies, which would still provide great profits).

But rather than embark on a rant about the need to separate commercial banking from investment banking (an enormous conflict of interests), let’s apply this ATM rule to other items (I’ll skip contentious items like over taxation, the debt, and stick with lighter analogies). What if:

  • Jeans makers sold you a pair of jeans but without pockets?
  • Nature made trees but with no bark?
  • Car makers didn’t provide tires?
  • Pencil makers left out the lead?
  • Gas pumps gave you half a gallon but rang up a full gallon?
  • Candy bars got shorter for the same price? Oh wait, they did that with the Hershey bar!!

I think you get the point. Daily we accept dodgy man-behind-the-curtain ripoffs all in the name of convenience.

HIV testing

So it’s a law in New York that if you are admitted into an emergency room in a New York hospital, the staff HAS TO ask you if you’d like a HIV test performed while you’re there.

  • Mind you, the hospital won’t pay for the testing, that’s on you (but they don’t tell you that, at least, initially).
  • Mind you, age is no barrier: they will ask you if you’re 12 years old (Sheesh!!).
  • Mind you, the law just states that they just have to ask and show proof that they did ask (appropriate forms must be filled).

My question: with all that’s going on politically, economically, socially in this country, in this state, who was the Einstein who came up with this brainstorm and then believed this little time-saving nugget of an achievement was worth authoring and fighting for?

The Ash Tree

He had a small house. So small it was easily dwarfed by the 40-foot ash tree that stood regally not 20 feet from the house in the backwoods. When people came down his driveway, they oohed and aahed over the sheer size and graceful stateliness of the arbor. Storms couldn’t budge the tree, but they caused the man to worry about his house, for should the tree fall, it would destroy the house and everything in it. Of that, the man was sure.

And one day the mother of all storms raced across the countryside. Warnings started a week in advance. People were told to evacuate from the lower areas closer to the water. The man had to leave his house and find shelter elsewhere fearing the worse. For 4 days he sat in a shelter listening to the winds and rain pummel the building, raising images of the tree cracking and swooping down on his home. He didn’t sleep for those 4 days, so sure was he that the tree had crushed his house and destroyed his belongings. On the fifth day, he was allowed to leave and return home.

When he got there, he saw, to his great relief, that the graceful, beautiful ash still stood watch over his house and no damage was sustained. The man ran up to the great ash and hugged it and thanked it.

And in celebration of the tree not falling on his house, the next day he had it cut down, so he would worry no more.

Priorities amuck

So we go through this hand-wringing exercise at the end of every summer with our public school system: the kids cannot afford to miss preseason practice because they will miss games. A couple of years ago we went away during the last week of August for a major family reunion and the kids did not play in the first few games of the season until they attained a specific number of days of practice.

Now again we are going away for just Labor Day weekend (again big family get-together) and there is bitching and disgruntledness over the decision.

I am a big sports fan and I do get it, but question is: shouldn’t we be setting these kinds of high bars on the (admittedly more important, and reason for being there in the first place) educational side of the house?


Heard on *Local Phone Monopoly* Customer Service Call

Now I do like my *Local Phone Monopoly* company, but I have had occasion to call them any number of times when FIOS (oops!) just wasn’t working as advertised.

So I would dutifully dial the customer service number and while waiting for a real person to answer the other end, a very chipper female voice informed me that “if you are having trouble connecting to the internet with FIOS and you don’t want to stay on the phone, you can reach us at…..”

But wait! I’m having trouble connecting to the internet, how can I connect to

I can see the automated clerk getting a nervous tic trying to answer that question: “Please try again, that was not a valid response. To get to the Main menu, press star….”