Sunday, November 22, 2015

Why Voting Matters

Absolutely fascinating article about why people appear to be voting against their own interests, when in fact, they're not voting at all. Meantime, those just a step higher on the ladder are busy trying to separate themselves from the poor.

Our social safety net is unraveling--people feel no connection to the rest of society.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Renter Beware

Yeah, well, this doesn't sound like a great idea, but you never know. Another Long Island Craigslist ad, but I won't link to it.

$150 Need a young girl to share my apartment/ rent free (Suffolk)

Hello there 😊 i am 28yrs old. Im working at bank. i dont smoke and i dont do any drug. I live alone. I have 2 bedrooms apartment. Its in very nice area. Im looking for a single, drug free and pretty girl to live together. You dont have to pay any rent or utilities. i want you to be an open mind and share the life with me. Be 24 or younger,and easy going ;) Plase respond me with couple pictures. You can stay 1 year maybe more.. No pets! I want a nice and pretty girl to live and help each other. Kind of exchange needs deal.I hope to hear soon. Thank you for reading my add.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Home Page Hilarity: the Series. Stating the Obvious

Well, yes, I would hope so. This is another in an endless number of home-page errors or thoughtlessness, though the inside page headline adds "record-setting" which helps clarify the meaning. 

Who knows why so many home pages are screwing up the meaning or the basic facts of stories, but it seems to be happening everywhere. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stop Yelling, Let's Try to Hear Each Other

There is so much to learn, so much to solve about the Syrian refugee crisis and the Paris attacks but we won't do either if we can't stop insulting each other. 

No matter which side you're on when it comes to the refugees, there is genuine emotion and we risk our own claim to humanity if we do nothing but mock the perceived ignorance of the other side.

To be clear, I feel strongly we should admit them. Immigrants and refugees are a part of our history, even when we didn't act from the noblest of spirits. 

And to deny the role of our own country in creating this latest crisis is simply ignorant. 

But people are afraid; worse, they're angry. And angry people don't make the best decisions. The Paris attacks have angered and frightened a lot of people and the conversations, the suspicions this week very much reminds me of Sept. 11.

That is not a good thing because the fears, the anger and the desire for revenge, some of which lay dormant in recent years, have risen right back to the surface. The return of freakouts over people "acting suspiciously," on airplanes, including a woman hurrying to the bathroom with her toddler, is a demoralizing reminder of 2001.

I suspect in some cases, it's because all the death and destruction resulting from Iraq and Afghanistan has proven to be insufficient when it comes to protecting us. That's a scary thing for some people to contemplate. 

But the answer can't be only to insult those who are frightened, as appalling and as shortsighted their views are. Paris has told us that Sept. 11 wasn't a one-off; People willing to murder in a vile claim of faith are difficult to stop. 

I can only hope that some national public figure can step forward and try common sense and appeal to their better natures to persuade people to first calm down and then try to reach a consensus that we can be proud of in the coming years, that helps, rather than hurts us with the world community and above all, saves the lives of thousands fleeing the very people we hate and who hate us. I just don't know who has the moral standing to get us all to stop screaming and listen.

Here are a few wonderful articles to consider. None are simple. All are worth reading.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Something for Everyone on Craigslist

You'll never know what you'll find on Craigslist:
From Long Island Craigslist:

"Last night my niece got hurt while trick or treating. While tending to her daughter, my sister in law lost a silver necklace- it's a sealed heart locket holding her deceased dads ashes. Needless to say she's absolutely heartbroken. She's been wearing it everyday for 4 years & obviously it cannot be replaced. We were in the Wn Floyd Estates in Shirley. If someone has found it please respond to this ad. (It's silver so it's not worth anything to anyone except to our family.) I know this is a long shot but don't know what else to do. Thanks everyone!"

Monday, September 28, 2015

Blue vs. Gray But Why? Why Are you Asking?

This is so ridiculous that we have to continue reminding people that the Civil War was in fact about slavery.  But if you find yourself in an argument with someone who thinks otherwise, try this.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Huffing and Puffing at the Suffolk Marathon

I "ran" the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon and Half Marathon (I did the half) on Sept. 13; I'm using quote marks to make clear that there was much more walking than running involved, both for reasons of conditioning and because of a couple of avoidable injuries.

Still, I finished it, something I couldn't have imagined doing a year ago.

With better thinking, more preparation and, with luck, much better footwear that can accommodate both a leg differential and extremely flat fee, I'm hoping to finish in much better time. 

Nothing like watching a couple of guys in their 80s drift by as you sit hunched over in pain....

I was proud to wear my old ACES hat, as well as be accompanied by Anna, Carlos and Tom Ronayne at the finish. Anna seemed to run almost effortlessly, finishing the race a couple of hours before me.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Things I Wish I Hadn't Had to Learn

Three people I know have  received cancer diagnoses this week. All seem to be doing well, I'm happy to say.  

But a diagnosis changes all sorts of things to varying degrees. The disease will always be with me, in the background at best. I'll always be Stage I, the surgeon says, unless it gets worse, even though there's no sign of cancer in my body. 

Back in October, I got the official diagnosis by phone while working the presidential debate at Hofstra, and though not surprised, I was still shocked.  If that makes sense. I was sure it was cancer already, but hearing the surgeon say, "It IS cancer" is still stunning. I don't even know how to describe my initial response, a mix of calm, dread, recognition that everything going forward would be different. There used to be a funny line bit that circulated through the newspaper world, where reporters would try to sneak in the line "It was as if an occult hand had…" And that's what it felt like. Someone reached down, lifted me out of the traffic lane I was in and plopped me down on another road that others weren't traveling.

After surgery, with mostly good news and a strange sense that I could beat anything (the endorphins, apparently), reality intruded in the form of  getting dragged down by treatment that, though now over, quite literally affects me to this very day and may bring more surprises as I go through life. 

But if you're dealing with health crises, I have a few tips. You've read them elsewhere but they can't be repeated enough.
  • Get used to taking your clothes off.
  • No one's experiences are exactly like yours. Listen to what others say but don't absorb all of it or assume they'll happen to you. Things WILL happen to you; they're just likely to be a little different or happen at different times. The biggest shock after the diagnosis was how much I didn't know about cancer and its many many variables and I've got a version that the surgeon says is boring. Which when it comes to medicine is a good thing. You don't want to be a case study. But listen carefully--you could learn a lot from others or at least to know if something  could be wrong or is so different from others that it's important. 
  • Don't be surprised if people look as if they're prepared to start planning your funeral when you tell them you have cancer. I took to starting a sentence with "But this has a great outcome!" before explaining my absence or inability to get to something they wanted me to do. 
  • Take someone with you to the doctor. I have been stunned more than once to realize I hadn't heard him fully or had questions later that I should have asked. A second person can help.
  • Write everything down--appointment times, prescription info, test results. You may never need your notes, but then again, you might. This can also be hugely helpful if the treatment impairs your memory. 
  • Don't be surprised if you feel worse when treatment ends.  First,  it could be over because you've reached the maximum dosage, and those effects don't immediately fade away.  Second, you could feel as if you're no longer fighting. 
  • Listen to your body. If you're tired after radiation or other treatment, your body won't wait for you to do 10 other things before you consent to a nap. It's telling you now: hit the sack. 
  • Side effects can have side effects.   
  • You may feel as if you're falling through the cracks between specialists since no one doc seems to be in charge of everything. Surprisingly, not even the oncologist. And there's a tendency of each to push a problem off to the next one if     it doesn't have its origins in that individual's speciality. Edema? Not the fault of the surgeon after a ultrasound. Faintness during treatment? Not the oncologist's area; maybe the radiologist. It's disconcerting at first.
  • Read up on the disease, but don't believe everything you read. And while no doubt there are good websites or books advising alternative treatments, consider the source. Someone whose cousin got better after eating black licorice while dancing in the rain may not be the best source of advice. Stick with the stuff that has some checkable stats or at least some common sense to it.  Watch for everything; assume nothing. 
  • But read those stats carefully. Because even a diagnosis, such as mine, that says "90 percent survival rate at 10 years" comes with a few asterisks.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bush and History

How many academic careers--history, political science, sociology, etc., do you suppose will be built on studying the George W. Bush administration and the responses, attitudes and thoughts of the American people?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Watching Us

This pisses me off. I'm in the Department of Homeland Security database because I adopted a kid overseas 11 years ago? Bullshit. Don't I get a say in this? Who has access?

 To get cleared for a foreign adoption, potential adoptive parents have to have their prints checked by the FBI--it used to be it was done at the local police station and turned over to the FBI, though apparently that's not allowed anymore. Why would anyone want to keep this information? And why wouldn't anyone be told? I used to get stopped ALL THE TIME, well before Sept.11 when I went through airport security--someone always had to poke around in my bags, though I never got an explanation other than a BS claim that it was completely random (though when I protested finally one day at JFK Airport, I was told no, it really wasn't random, that I must be on some sort of list, though no one could tell me why. And of course, if it happened all the time, it was no longer random.

Anyway, this is becoming a creepy surveilled country we're living in.
The DHS already has a database of millions of sets of fingerprints, which includes records collected from U.S. and foreign travelers stopped at borders for criminal violations, from U.S. citizens adopting children overseas, and from visa applicants abroad. There could be multiple records of one person's prints.