Thursday, September 25, 2008

On to another semi-unrelated topic

OK, you're safe now. I'm off the topic of wishing and on to something else. Grandpa's stock answer when anyone "wished" for anything was, "Wish in one hand and s--t in the other and see which one gets full the quickest." Grandma and Grandpa were a wealth of such salty sayings. I grew up seeing the intangibles of life -- wishing, hoping, day dreaming -- through their eyes. They didn't smother down my imagination, but forced me to look at life realistically.

Would I ever be a princess? NO. you came from sturdy peasant stock, so ethereal beauty, fragile vulnerability, and petite, ladylike charm do not exist anywhere in your makeup.

Would a knight on a white charger show up some day to whisk me away? NO. Knights don't look twice at girls who labor their way through life and don't know one fork from another.

Would I ever have a horse of my own to ride? NO. Horses cost too much to feed and maintain so ride your bike and be glad you have it.

Grandma and Grandpa have frequently been on my mind lately. They'd have plenty to say about the political hi-jinks on the news, and would be raving mad about the bailout of big financial institutions that have mismanaged themselves into the gutter. They didn't trust the stock market or investments because the Great Depression was too stark a memory. They didn't trust most politicians, with a couple possible exceptions. Dwight Eisenhower was one man they trusted. Politically, I can't recall another they thought was worth the powder and lead it would take to blow him up. (Another Grandpa saying. "That guy isn't worth the powder and lead it would take to blow him up.") Of course, if he were overheard saying that now, Homeland Security would come calling.

My point is, Grandma and Grandpa were forced by life and circumstance to live in the real world. They didn't come from money and knew they would never be rich. They had no expectations of financial windfalls or miraculous bailouts. And they certainly did not believe their government would rescue them in tough times. Like most Americans today, they worked hard to feed, clothe, and nurture their children. They paid taxes, saved a bit of every paycheck, and found their joy in simple things. They didn't spend big or live "high on the hog." They didn't fritter away money foolishly and had no respect for politicians who spent taxpayer money like drunken sailors.

Every day, when I watch the news, I wonder what Grandma and Grandpa would have to say about the excesses on Wall Street and in Washington D.C.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wishing, Part Two

In my last post I discussed some wishes. My tongue was firmly planted in my cheek at the time, which is probably a poor technique if I want to see those wishes come true. One of my wishes was as follows:

"I wish excellence, kindness, honesty, courage would be rewarded and failure, dishonesty, meanness, sneakiness punished. Before you say "OH but dishonesty and crime ARE punished!" stop and think about this one. That may be true for poor crooks but not rich ones. Think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and various politicians and CEO's and you'll see where I'm going with this wish."

I saw a Danziger cartoon that illustrates clearly why I doubt excellence and honesty will be rewarded with any regularity. The cartoon showed the CEO of Fannie Mae -- Daniel Mudd --
and the CEO of Freddie Mac -- Richard Syron -- pushing wheelbarrows loaded with their severance packages away from the wrecked businesses they helped ruin. Mudd's severance package was $9.3 million and Syron's $14.1 million. If this cartoon represented a true picture of the situation, there will be no punishment for these two failures. No shame at a botched job. No regret at a colossoal failure. They toddled off to their mansions with a severance package that should have been returned to the coffers they raided. They laughed all the way to a bank that is no doubt still solvent.

Here's a thought for our government. Pick a senior citizen fighting cancer, living on $600 a month and TEN dollars worth of food stamps a month, barely able to survive, and give that person a million dollars. Find NINE of them in similar circumstances and give each one a million dollars. Find fourteen low income families -- two working parents struggling to support and nourish and clothe their children and keep gas in the family car -- and give THEM a million bucks each. If you're gonna reward the failures of big business CEOs, why not branch out and give big bucks to people struggling with courage and succeeding against all the cards you've stacked against them? Start a trend that focuses on the overburdened among us instead of your privileged bigwigs pals who've failed so dismally.

If you do that, I might still believe that wishes come true.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wishing will make it so???

I read an article recently about a woman who tested that old axiom. She wished for certain things for a year, and all -- or most -- of her wishes came true. Maybe I'm just old and cynical. I used to believe whatever I could envision would happen, but that was many moons ago. These days I'm skeptical. Here are a few wishes I'd like to see come true, not necessarily in the order of top priority:
  • I wish all elected and appointed politicians at the local, state, and federal level would spend taxpayer money as if it were their own and live within a strict budget like they expect us to do;
  • I wish homeless people, poor working mothers (parents), and common folk had the same power and respect as millionaires, billionaires, politicians, and power mongers;
  • I wish cures could be found for all catastrophic diseases - cancer, alzheimer's, ALS, etc.
  • I wish excellence, kindness, honesty, courage would be rewarded and failure, dishonesty, meanness, sneakiness punished. Before you say "OH but dishonesty and crime ARE punished!" stop and think about this one. That may be true for poor crooks but not rich ones. Think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and various politicians and CEO's and you'll see where I'm going with this wish.
  • I wish some of the excellent writers I know could have the honors, sales, and recognition they deserve. This goes along with the prior wish that excellence should be rewarded.

My wish list is much longer than that but those are a few of the less selfish and frivolous ones. Maybe tonight I'll pick one at random, wish upon a star and see what happens.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My husband read a sci fi book!!

Yesterday was chilly and cloudy so hubby spent most of the day indoors. Instead of watching the telly, he picked up a book I won in a contest. He read one page, then another, then sat stretched out on the couch and continued reading. As far as I know, this is only the 5th book he's read in our more than 40 years together. He's read my four published books just to make sure I said nice things about him, but otherwise he's a tv watcher or worker bee and not a reader.

The book that held his rapt attention all afternoon was Heroes Die Young by T.M. Hunter. It's a small book of 136 pages, which is probably what appealed to hubby at the beginning. But what held his attention was the sci fi action and adventure and the book's hero, Aston West. West is a humorous, self-effacing, reluctant hero who delivers with courage when the chips are down.

When he finished the book, hubby said, "Well that was pretty damn good! Is this Hunter guy a famous writer?"

I said, "No, but if there's any justice in the world, he will be some day."

My apologies to all the fine, unkown writers whose work deserves more attention than it gets. You all know who you are because I communicated that clearly through my reviews of your work. I singled this one out because a man who rarely reads anything was so intrigued by it he spent the day reading instead of watching reruns of CSI on Spike or Forensic files on Tru TV.

Congrats, T.M. Hunter, for enticing my husband into reading your book. Readers of sci fi out there, remember T.M. Hunter's name. You might even consider following hubby's lead and reading Heroes Die Young.

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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