Sunday, October 26, 2008

Can money and appearance buy success???

I'm a writer who would like to be successful because my message is in the medium.

Palin is a politician who would like to be successful in her bid for U.S. vice president.

Other than riding life's merry-go-round while reaching for the brass ring, that's where this comparison ends. We are apples and oranges, or more likely water and champagne, me being the water.

Before proceeding further, I need to make it clear that I am not a Palin basher. Like Hillary before her, everything she wears, says, or does is run through the media sausage grinder. Journalists give her male counterparts a pass while broadcasting her every real or imagined flaw and foible ad nauseum, ad infinitum. The new kid from Alaska didn't stand a chance from day one, while the other new kid from Chicago skates above the fray, reaping life's bounties.

OK, now that that disclaimer is out of the way, here's my point. Palin and I both would love to be successful in our chosen endeavor. She has succeeded, at least in part, where I have failed, because she dresses the part. That 150k spent on wardrobe, hair, makeup, shoes has certainly helped gild the lily.

On the other hand this writer / sow's ear has had a hell of a time transforming itself into a silk purse. It would cost at least HALF that 150k to do something with my hair, and that's IF a world famous hair dresser could be found with the skill to transform me. A make up makeover would be equally daunting. Maybe a Hollywood make up artist would know what to do, but I'm not at all certain about that. The clothing makeover might just be hopeless. Transforming a Marjorie Main type into a charismatic beauty is harder than you realize.

My last public appearance as a writer was quite successful. More successful than I'm used to. In preparation, I got a seven dollar hair cut and combed as much hair as I could over my bald spot that shines like a beacon on the top of my head. I put some lotion on my face and applied a dab of wine colored lip gloss that cost three dollars ten years ago when I bought it. And I bought a new outfit, which looked pretty good on me -- slacks twelve bucks at WalMart and a quite flattering sweater that cost sixteen dollars in a catalog. So let's see: seven dollars plus three dollars plus twelve dollars plus sixteen dollars equals thirty-eight dollars. If you add in my five year old sixty dollar shoes, my appearance that day cost almost a hundred bucks.

The appreciative audience loved me and my message. They bought all the books I had with me and would have bought more. They asked if I would please come back and talk to them again. I basked in that approval and appreciation for weeks. Just imagine what I could have done with 150k worth of improvements!! I might be in New York on the Today show or interviewed by Ellen Degeneres. My books might be on the New York Times best seller list. Oprah might choose me for her book club. I might have been a contender!!

Yep. If lots of moola can ensure success, with 150k I might have been a contender.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Good thoughts to ponder.....

Someone sent this to me over email today. I thought, considering the tangled messes we are reaping from Washington DC and the banking industry, these points were well worth repeating.

Whatever we give to life, life gives back.

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust

If you plant goodness, you will reap friends

If you plant humility, you will reap greatness

If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective

If you plant hard work, you will reap success

If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

If you plant faith in God, you will reap a harvest

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Yes, whatever we dish out will come back to roost on our own shoulders. So when will self-serving politicians and crooks reap what they sow? Hope we live to see it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Campbell Brown and me.......

In past blog posts I've talked about the obscene amounts of money spent by both presidential candidate campaigns. I think that two men who pretend to care about struggling citizens should curtail their spending. Tens of millions of dollars have swirled down the sewer of attack ads on TV, for example. That money would be better spent by putting dollars where their mouths are -- homeless shelters and food banks, or other exceptional humanitarian needs.

My thought has been that maybe I'm the only citizen who resents such waste of time and money, that maybe I'm delusional or simply gone crochety in my old age. But tonight on CNN, Campbell Brown -- No Bias, No Bull -- suggested that the millions per week wasted by these candidates should be sent to food banks trying to serve the families of taxpayers who lost jobs.
Whether large city or tiny rural community, food banks are struggling now with empty shelves and decreasing donations. I can't speak for cities, but people in the rural area where I live are beyond generous when it comes to supporting their local food bank. Even so, food needs have increased here, as they have everywhere.

So, if Obama and McCain want to convince Campbell Brown and me that they really truly do care about struggling people in harsh economic times. her idea has great merit. Every week until election day, each candidate could give a million dollars to support foodbanks around the country. I'm just skeptical enough to think that won't happen. The Fed probably has some goofy law against it, but I can dream. I doubt any of those high priced TV ads will change the minds of voters at this late date.

Campbell, you go, girl!!!! What a wonderful idea!!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A hopeful perspective......

Matt Ford is an AP journalist touring the battleground states, interviewing citizens and covering issues that matter to voters. These videos of everyday Americans demonstrate the hope, determination, and grit of citizens from every walk of life. Yes, people are discouraged on many levels, but the message in these videos is what individuals are thinking and doing, personally, to adapt to our current economic storm of higher prices and shattered family budgets.

Regardless of our current troubles, the world still looks to America for hope. Think about that for a second. Wall Street excesses, our dependence on middle eastern oil, and out-of-control pork barrel politics have wrecked our economy. This economic free fall has impacted every other country in the world. The scenario seems grim but, still, they look to America for financial salvation and answers. Matt Ford's stories clearly demonstrate why.

John McCain said recently our economy is essentially sound. By that, he said he meant the American people who work, pay taxes, and keep the wheels of this country turning. These thumbnail videos of American citizens prove that McCain was right. Times may be grim, but every person featured in these videos has found a way of making sense out of the chaos, not for the world, perhaps, but for themselves and their families. They've devised ways to work around the problems that plague working class families in hard economic times.

While viewing these videos, I thought of my maternal grandparents. By any measure you might use, my grandparents were poor. They raised four children during the Depression and hardship was their daily companion. They sacrificed along with everyone else during the Depression and the World War Two years, never doubting that America would continue to thrive and survive.

Anyone who reads this blog should consider viewing Matt Ford's profiles of American taxpayers. None of them are rich or famous. None are happy with the economic problems they're forced to deal with on a daily basis. And yet, these people inspire hope. They represent small slices of life in America and provide a glimpse into why this country thrives, no matter what. American taxpayers are not sheep being lead to the slaughter. They are taking action to help themselves, just as they have always done in hard times. That, to me, is a hopeful perspective.

Here is a link to Matt Ford's citizen profiles related to the big issues of this election year:

http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/campaign_plus/big_issue/

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tag I'm it......

Aston West over at the Western Chronicles tagged me. The tag rule is that I must list six things about myself here that people don't know about me. I don't really understand tags very well. Don't know where they originate or why, but since Aston West is one of my favorite heroes, I'll play along. Here are my six revelations:

1. Because of my nursing philosophy, my empathetic concerns for others, my work with the homeless, and the type of books I write, a fan suggested I receive an honorary doctorate from a major university. I doubt that happens, mainly because of my low key way of doing things, but I was pleased to know anyone thinks that highly of me.

2. Female pattern baldness runs in my family and I inherited the trait. Except for maybe warts on my nose, I can't envision anything worse than stumping books in public with my scalp shining like a beacon in the fog.

3. Beck Sanow, the delicious and stalwart hero of my fictional book, The Alley of Wishes, is based on a real person who actually existed. The creation of this hero was a gift to my mother.

4. I have a zany sense of humor but very few people know that.

5. I'm a radical activist for justice, equality, and compassion. The politicians and potentates who know that about me don't appreciate my activism or my opinions, and don't personally give a hoot what I think, but I keep on trucking anyway.

6. I have several major psychiatric diagnoses that I've managed for over twenty years without medication. (Disclaimer: This is not a recommendation to others as a way to manage psychiatric conditions, just saying medication did not work for me so I learned ways to work around my diagnoses.)

OK Aston, there are your six revelations.

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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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