Friday, August 29, 2014

Flip Flops

I was in New York City yesterday for a meeting. The streets were filled with tourists of all shapes, sizes and nationalities.

There was one commonality among all of them. Flip flops! What is it with these things that makes them so popular, ubiquitous and sometimes dangerous.

A young woman was visiting a high falls in my home area recently and was wearing flip flops. She stepped to the edge of the precipice to take a picture and her flip flops slipped on the rocks and she fell to her death.

To me you don't hike, trek, or walk the streets of New York City in flip flops. Flip flops are for around the house, pool or yard. Come'on people who wants to see your toes anyway.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Returning to the United States

I was in Canada for a few days to attend a conference. I've been going to Canada since I was a small child to both visit relatives and enjoy the magnificent nature that Canada has to offer. My Father was born there, but became a naturalized USA citizen in the 1940's. I remember border crossings being friendly, easy and without much documentation accept for a birth certificate or drivers license.

Ever since 9/11 our customs folks have turned suspicious, dour, accusatory, and basically unwelcoming and unfriendly.

It seems to me that the United States of America, whose welcoming statue has stood for over a century of decades, is no longer the open arms welcoming words of Emma lazarus' sonnet.

I was disappointed in the greeting we received coming home. It was unwelcoming at best and accusatory at worst. First of all they asked questions that they are not allowed to ask, such as, what were you doing in Canada. They may only ask questions that relate to verifying your citizenship.

I understand the need the protect our borders from those who would do us harm and the like, but the perpetuation of a fear based society is asinine and promotes a military mentality among our uniformed agencies.

A country as great as the United States should welcome all visitors and returning citizens with a smile, but maintain a diligence and discernment that protects our home.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I'm still not ready to resume this delightful task, so please enjoy the following.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Good Morning All,

Sorry about not posting for the last several days. I have been traveling out of the country, but I will get back to a routine in the next couple of days.

Once again thank you for reading these posts.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Harvesting Potatoes

I am not a farmer and at the same time I was not a city kid growing up. I was reared in the tiny villages near the small cities of up-state New York. the biggest club in some of my secondary schools was the 4H, so I have some awareness of the power and pleasure of a nurturing earth.

Growing up we had a garden patch or two around the various houses where I lived. I do remember as a child that my father was given some plants from an uncle and he planted them upside down. The family laughed at that for decades.

We had an asparagus patch and rows of Raspberry bushes and a small plowed patch behind the garage at one home, but nothing that was planted ever survived that I can remember; except the Raspberries and the asparagus stocks.

The other day I was with one of my sons outside of Boston. He’s an executive for a large chemical firm, but he and his wife also have a gentle and creative hold on flower gardens at their home and a rented farm plot for vegetables.

They grow all the usual stuff, but I had the experience of helping him harvest Russian fingerling potatoes, and a plethora of vegetables.

My son had me dig into the earth with my bare hands to gently scrape the small potatoes from the soft earth. A spiritual pleasure ensued. It was marvelous. Hands in the soil, mind in the process and my soul in the heavens. I loved it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Zak Brown

I had the pleasure of attending a Zak Brown Band concert in New Hampshire with my son and granddaughters. The pleasure part was being with family and that was delightful. The music part was OK, not great, but OK. When Brown sings his standards and the lyrics are understandable it’s fine, but when he goes off on guitar rock rifts, it’s annoying.

The other negative was the crowd, the audience, the fans, so many were inconsiderate and drunk. I like to sit and enjoy the music, but everyone in front of me stood up the minute the concert started and I could not see the stage for the entire performance. I had to watch the performance on a gigantic jumbo-tron suspended from the ceiling.

If I had wanted to watch Zak Brown on television I would have stayed home and saved a lot of aggravation.

So, my message to Zak Brown is to ask your fans to sit down as a courtesy to others. Cut your guitar rock music and stick to what brought you to fame.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Iraq and more

Yesterday's news alert from the New York Times.

BREAKING NEWSWednesday, August 13, 2014 1:40 PM EDT
U.S. Could Use Ground Troops to Save Iraqi Refugees

A boot is a boot.
And the ground is ground.
Whatever you you call it.
It is war unbound.

Yet helping is right.
We do it so often.
Just know at the start
Some end in a coffin.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tragedy in Saint Louis

Not one of us knows the circumstances for the shooting in Saint Louis. We only know what we read and hear and what we construe from that. All of us have emotions and passions on the tragic event.

All of us should mourn with the Michael Brown family.

I am disturbed, angered and unbelieving that this 18 year old was shot to death in the back of a police car. You have to ask how could this happen. You have to hope that there is no cover-up. You have to wish for calm and for peace and know that passions are strong and anger is justified.

The FBI is on the scene and that is good.

The fact that the Reverend Al Sharpton is there is not good. His presence, in my mind, is reactionary and racial. Look at his history of self-involvement in issues beyond his sphere of influence. Listen to his calls for calm, when his demeanor does just the opposite.

Violence and looting diminishes the life of Michael Brown.

The most important aspect of this tragedy must be that all investigations, all interrogations, all inquiries, all intelligence gathered must be TRANSPARENT.

Without that…justice will not be served. Justice may be blind in our society, but she is not stupid.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

It's sad that Robin Williams will no longer be making us laugh or truly entertain us with his character portrayal abilities and spontaneous humor.

He died yesterday at age sixty-three. In so many ways it's such a young age to pass.
The word from his publicist was that he was suffering from severe depression.

So many of our accomplished actors and notables succumb to the agony of depression. They live in a rarefied arena of adulation and accomplishment and must constantly think of new ways to please their perceived public. Each day is a performance of life that never quite seems real for success and adulation come from the unreal. The hard part is letting go. Releasing the illusion must be the gordian knot of assuming a character and then trying to release the fantasy when the character is no longer required. Depression is the result.

Whether Robin Williams committed suicide has yet to be determined, at least as of this writing, but, if so, he fits into a vast litany of entertainers, celebrities, and leaders who could not handle the life they perceived and chose to end life rather than face their demons and dragons.

Williams is not alone in celebrity suicide. Signund Freud, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, and Herve Villechaize - Tattoo - in Fantasy island just to name a few.

For me suicide is never the right choose, but, at the same time, suicide should not be judged by us and others for we have not lived in the shoes of those who give up the most precious of gifts.

It is still a sadness never understood by the living.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Little Things

I had the pleasure yesterday to kayak a river near my home. It was an eight miles run as the crow flies, but probably about ten miles with the winds and bends of the river in a point to point paddle.

It was peaceful, calm, mostly quiet and deeply spiritual. The weather was perfect, a zephyr or two here and there, but mostly sunny with a few puffy clouds festooning the blue dream of sky.

In the calm glide of still water I watched the life that lives on the flotsam of the surface. Spiders and other insects marooned on leaves and on pieces of bark and wood that might flow for miles to a damn and a falls. What their fate will be I know not, but in the meantime their float was gentle.

Water spiders skated across the smooth glassy surface and often times exceed my paddled glide as I conversed with friends and enjoyed the companionship and the natural experience of a day on the river.

At one point I thought about all the life that lives in places we rarely think about. On the leaves and debrie I just mentioned, but also the bacteria in and on our bodies, the living organisms that we breath in and out with every breath, the microbes beneath the sea and the ones that sail on the particles of dust in the high atmosphere.

Life is everywhere, all we have to do is be aware and acknowledge that each is connected to the other in the sustainment of all life.

Friday, August 8, 2014

ISIS and Iraq

Yes to international aid to the Kurdish refugees in Iraq.

No to more military involvement in Iraq.

Come on Mr. President. Enough is enough.

It is time to quit being the world's belligerent policemen.

If we must fight something, fight the Ebola outbreak, fight poverty, fight inequality, fight prejudice, let's spend our treasure on cures for disease and easing the pain of lack in the world.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Some Things Never Change

I was walking the dog past a neighbors home yesterday. Their kids and some friends were in a pool near the roadway. I could hear splashing and laughter and then...





Some thing never change. I remember playing that pool game when I was a child and when my own children played it in the pool.

It wasn't a pool game, but does anybody remember, "grease, grease, the frying pan?"

I hope your day is filled with great memories.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Just busy

Hi all,
Thanks for tuning into this blog. I've been a little more busy lately working on a new syndicated radio program called Smith/Sabatino. It can be hear on the Envision Radio Networks as part of their America Weekend format.
I hope you tune in there too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ed Joyce

Throughout the years of my career employments in what is called the “News Business” we all meet many people who are our colleagues and who are our bosses and sometimes they become our friends.
I’ve come to the conclusion in my later years that it is not easy to be a boss. It’s not easy to assuage the wants, needs and emotions of people you try to manage and supervise and encourage them to give the best performance out of their innate and experiential abilities.
I’ve had the pleasure of staying in contact with a man who was my boss over forty years ago.
I was just informed that he passed to the other side on Saturday.
Ed Joyce was 82. His wife Maureen and his son and daughter obviously will miss him. I will miss him too even though we had not been in touch for a few years.
When I last talked to him the strength of his thought and reason had not changed. He was tough when I worked for him, but he was fair and that to me is the quintessential quality of a good leader.
Ed was skilled in all aspects of journalism. He was a reporter, a writer, a broadcaster, a news director and eventually president of CBS News. He had the imagination and vision of seeing the potential and the opportunity in something new while maintaining the ethic and dignity of an old and established profession.

Journalism has lost a good man. Rest in Peace Ed; see you on the other side.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Joy of a Vision

Good Morning,

I am sharing a link this morning to a video from my good friend, Canadian photographer Claude Charlebois.

He is producing a series of videos that tell the story of how he was movitated to produce, "Tonal Visions." A work of inspirational photographs that I have been priviledged to use in lectures and presentation for several years.

I trust you will enjoy the following.
Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation