Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Family

The average American family is an amalgam of individual experiences, both from immigrant contributions as well as citizens born from revolutionary descendants.

The “American Family,” if there is such a collective, may have  morphed into a global family because of our standard of living and easy access to information. This is true for most developed nationalities unless they are controlled by a dictatorial component or a restrictive dogma.

The Internet, relatively free access to information, television programs, instantaneous news coverage from anywhere and the ease of world travel today for business or pleasure contributes greatly to the advent of a global family.

The developing world’s families, however, remain more isolated and provincial mostly for lack of education, opportunities, stagnant economies, oppressive regimes along with a dearth of global information and mercantile connections, which, if available, widens awareness and lessens fear.

While it does diminish nationalism, I think globalization is a good omen for the future of humankind. Until we, as a global collective society, are able to see ourselves as one and part of All That Is, we will not be able to eliminate territorial and religious wars, tribal conflicts and ignorance that permeates the world of today.  

The miracle of life is not the oneness of a global family, but the diversity within the oneness.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Robert Garrett was probably as surprised as anyone that his name would go down in the Olympic history book.

He was captain of the Princeton running team and back in 1896 when the modern day Olympic games were born, Garrett was urged to participate. One of his professors, William Sloane, was one of the games' organizers. When the king of Greece finally agreed to host the games, Professor Sloane asked Garrett to attend.

At that time the entries were unlimited and not really "national" in the sense of representing each nation's best athletes. Garrett probably decided to go because his professor asked him and his Mother could afford it. She not only paid for him to travel to Athens, but also for three of his classmates.

Garrett was a runner, but he always wanted to throw the discus. He even asked a local blacksmith to make one so he could practice. The Smithy did so, but it was based on a 2nd century description and ended up weighing 20-pounds. Much too heavy to throw.

On a sightseeing tour in Athens Garrett saw an old discus and picked it up. It was light. It weighed less than 5 pounds. He decided to enter the discus event just for fun.

The first time he threw it, he was so bad the stadium crowd roared with laughter. With each throw he got better and managed to qualify for the finals.

He competed with several Greeks who had been practicing all winter, but on his last throw he made a distance of 95 feet, 7 and a half inches and won a laurel wreath, the equivalent of a gold medal.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Filthy Habit!

For the last three years I have written about this habit and I will continue to do so.

I was always taught that spitting was unsanitary, unhealthy and a filthy habit. The only time it was acceptable was when a bug flew in my mouth or I got hit in the mouth while playing a game or just fooling around and you had to spit blood. Spitting was never done in polite society.

Over the last few weeks I’ve watched a few baseball games with my Yankee fan wife. Baseball players spit everywhere, they spit at home plate, they spit on the pitchers mound and the outfield. At first I thought the only one who doesn’t spit is the catcher because he has a mask on, but then I saw one lift the mask, spit and go back to signaling his pitcher.

I know this is gross, but can you imagine the collective accumulation of germ-infested saliva in the dirt around home plate and the other bases and especially in the dugout. I’d hate to be the guy who has to swab the dugout floor after a game. And I’d hate to be the catcher who has to look at that stuff in the dirt and then catch a ball that’s bounced in a glob of body fluid. What does this teach to our Little Leaguers?

Major League Baseball is a big, big business. They bill themselves as wholesome family entertainment; they promote high moral and ethical standards among the players, yet baseball is one of the few sports where spitting is constant and the camera always seems to have a close-up of the player in the act.

It seems to me Major League Baseball could suggest and encourage its players to be a little more courteous to the fans who watch on television and the players who have to catch a ball bathed in spittle.

And it’s not just baseball; recently Tiger Woods was criticized for spitting on the green at the British Open.  

Spitting is a habit and habits can be eliminated with conscience effort. I call on major league baseball to memo each player and manager to curb the disgusting habit. In golf? How about a loss of a stroke for each glob that hits the ground.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Civility Remembered

Have you ever noticed that the poor attack the poor because they see what they don’t like in others in themselves and apparently can see no way out of what they don’t like.

The rich belittle the rich because others have more or less than themselves and they live under the illusion that success, security and safety is having more and riches make you a better person.

Religions contend with other beliefs saying their way is the only way to worship the one God of All That Is. Belief has always had an arrogant component.

The old besmirch the young because that’s not the way they did it or lived and they can’t remember their own youthful enthusiasm for the zest of life.

The Young disrespect the elderly because they see their own passage in the old and cannot accept vulnerability and decay.

Race diminishes race because few understand that the sacredness of culture, traditions and family is the same for all.

Perhaps it is just remembering what civility is and then practicing it because it is the right thing to do. It makes you feel good plus you get it back a hundred fold.

I know civility existed once, at least when I was a child. I was taught manners and respect and admonished when I didn’t embrace them.

Our neighbors were called Mr. and Mrs. You didn’t sass an adult, teachers had the authority of parents, you wrote a thank you note for a gift or a kindness, you dressed up for travel  and church and you dressed down to play, you earned the money you needed; you didn’t take it from someone else and you said thank you and no thank you when you were offered something.

Not a bad way to live.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Anthony Weiner's Saga

The Anthony Weiner saga continues in New York City.

If you don’t know the latest, I’ll spare you the sordid details, but suffice it to say, two years ago he resigned from Congress because of salacious emails to women, said he was sorry, went through therapy, was forgiven by his wife, yet continued to send lewd emails to women, decided to run for mayor and was caught again with more allegations of prurient suggestive emails to unknown women.

I acknowledge people make mistakes. I understand the loving forgiveness of his wife and the desire of both of them to put this behind them and get on with their lives, but Anthony Weiner has some severe ethical and character flaws.

So far nobody has asked what does his candidacy for mayor of New York City, especially if he’s elected, say about New York City?

This is one of, if not the greatest city in the world. Does New York City want an admitted liar as its administrative and public figurehead? Does New York want a figurehead who may have mental problems of sexuality as its leader?

What message does it send to our youth? What message does it portray to the rest of the world?

Whether we like it or not, character is important in the world. And even though we forget it, far to often, character is the adjudicator of one’s being for it tells others who we are, what’s important in our lives and for what we stand.

Anthony Weiner is not New York City and New York City is not Anthony Weiner. He should get on with his life, but not as mayor of New York City.
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