Fortune Cookie Blog: Window Shopping?

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A scant stint of www window shopping led to a stunning revelation.
The MSRP for pretty stained glass windows can cost a pretty penny;
125K and, perhaps, even higher; and that particular lovely was used.
Let us pray we speaketh of a merchant / altruist who’s liquidating an
out of touch cathedral’s trappings; will redirect these proceedings to
homeless shelters/soup kitchens that nurture/nourish the estimated
154 million, tossed into the streets, Josephs and Marys, worldwide!!!

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That Other Pandemic

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Yesterday being Thanksgiving, my sibling and I (3220km/2000mi distant) chatted on our cells about this and that; one of those “thats” being the pandemic; however, not the one, one would expect.

Interestingly enough, of late, and unbeknownst to each other, we’ve both been wondering about how our own mother and father had managed to survive the global outbreak of influenza associated with the 1918H1N1 virus; that pandemic resulting in 50 Million deaths, worldwide and 675,000 fatalities right smack dab within our own U.S. homeland.

At the time, our folks would’ve been very young children; a demographic where the mortality had been especially high.

Anyway, we were both sorta shocked that neither of us could recall either of our ‘rents ever mentioning that deadly event, not even in passing. I did speculate that, perhaps, they’d been too young/carefree to fully grasp the seriousness of it all? Even so, what little we do know about our grandparents, they would’ve been sticklers about health safety; which only further complicates our unsolved mystery.

Even now, as I’m typing away in the wee hours of this post holiday Friday a.m. I’ve even begun to factor in our folks’ overly protective nature. Might they have been tight-lipped, oh, say, just to avoid needlessly frightening us?

Still, that hardly sounds like our dad, his being a man of science and a public school educator, too. One would’ve deemed him fully capable of presenting that global scourge’s particulars in a professional, detached manner.

On a semi-related matter, both mom and dad could talk endlessly about 1929’s Great Depression, so what gives re 1918? I dunno.

Well, seeing how you, my savvy readers, have likely already done the math and/or have judged from my selection of the English language tenses, you already know both our parents took any stories, they may have had, to their decades later graves.

So, needless to say, my sister and I will never really know.

However, perhaps, some of you might be able to help us sort thru that pandemic a tad more? Perchance, via the first / second hand accounts of your own grandparents / parents? Even if you cannot add any specifics, do you have any observations that are 1918H1N1 / pandemic related?

In either eventuality, the comment section awaits.

Oh, as a friendly footnote to our discussion of family matters, if there’s anything you’d like clarified about your own parents’ / relatives’ early lives (on any subject), do chat with them. There’s no time like the present. It might make for some fascinating remembrances getting bandied about your dinner table; a side dish, as it were, to your joyful, December holiday feasts.

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Happy Hollow-Days?

Prelude…

Ah, the time honored Holiday Traditions
Hitherto robust, cheery and tasteful
Nowadays busted, dreary and wasteful
Cannot live sans the former
Alas, must exist with the latter

No thanks, to the headless and soulless
Who only see convention in political rally terms
And contort holidays to conform to their flattened sphere
It begs a rundown of their rundown, festering festivities
Hence, this hammered down, Hollow-Days Roster

November…

Thanksgiving’s intent, once-upon-a-time pure
A day to display gratitude for each fall’s harvest
Yet, ’twas utterly corrupted by past, white man’s greed
Pummeled by Manifest Destiny’s – Genocide’s 1 – 2 punch
Left mass slaughter of Indigenous North Americans, in its wake

Today’s whites hotly deny critical thinker youths such truths
The uncouth fail to see how bygone mentalities of white men
Were precursors to today’s accursed; their MAGA-fest Destiny
Native Americans’ descendants sure to “NO” the RSVPs
Of white inviters, who’d have them over FOR holiday supper

December…

Christmas misbehavior; to upstage a dissed savior?
Sighing gifters hurriedly tack on / tuck in gift receipts
Wisely anticipate the ungrateful gifted
Ingrates neither gifted in smarts nor of wise disposition
All discourtesy of ass backward, parental rearing

Giftees offend gifters; greedily, rush mall-ward
Clutching shopping bagged gift rejects
Sweaty fingers and palms itching to parlay
Liberal return policies into pocketed stone-cold cash
Happy Birthday, Jesus?

December/January…

New Year’s Eve orgy
Animal House magnitude
Nude, drunken revelry
Resolutions Dead On Arrival
Long before each avowed recitation’s echo dies

New Year’s Day; morning after
Misery’s miasma; achy body; pounding head
Multiple over the bowl, beer belly evacuations
Hurled disgusting egesta
Along with epithet laced “never again” ruminations

February…

Valentine’s Day; Cupid’s arrow, awry
Finds deplorable cads ISO of (p)lay
Bamboozling; booze plying their prey
Despicably deeming victims altar sacrifice
Songsmiths asking, “What’s love got to do with it?”

Deep in rude dudes’ brain dead heads
Indecent proposals lead to “have-to” weds
Crossed fingers, behind backs, do back grooms’ “I dos.”
Divorce attorneys, so impatient, they consider
Tuxing up as groomsmen; gowning up as bridesmaids

May / November + July / September / February

Memorial / Veterans Days
Independence / Labor and Presidents’ Days
Original intent buried by a sundry of distractions
Picnics wallowing in fatty animal flesh; awash with stiff libations
Major league play by plays, parades and pyrotechnics

To Upstage Soldiers; valiant, selfless; both survivor and fallen
Marginalize Founders; devalue, their on paper, Democracy
Demean Workers: low paid, overworked, union busted, outsourced
Bastardize: The very Presidency a sitting prez attempted to topple
Ah, the mucked up, nouveau Hollow-Day traditions

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Fortune Cookie Blog: Goldilocks Zone

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Goldilocks and the Three Bears can help
divine the happy medium of Devoutness.
Too cold and too soft leads to Irrelevance.
Too hot and too hard leads to Intolerance.
Just Right leads to Peaceful Coexistence!

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Offensive Fences and Walls

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One of my newfound WP compatriots employs a clever method to come up with a prompt word; i.e., to inspire some of his posts. He randomly selects and opens a book and, without looking, simply lets his extended finger land on the page!

Voilà, he’s found his “word”.

And on this new day, his prompt and now, mine too, becomes: Wall

For a left leaning man, such as I, there’s an instantaneous, free association with a freedom loathing X-prez who’s also an inveterate xenophobe.

As most of us are all too painfully aware, throughout his odious tenure, he was obsessed with making good on his bad (actually awful, deplorable) campaign promise of constructing a big, badass, electrified, spiked wall along the U.S. / Mexico border. And if memory serves, he also wanted to dredge out a moat, alongside, and stock that water filled barrier with fanged, venomous snakes and take-no-prisoners ravenous, carnivorous alligators.

Alas, memory serves well.

Long exasperated sigh.

Well, now that I’ve caught my breath, let’s let this wall issue promptly move our thoughts in a more humane direction…

Let’s address the defensive attitudes, which prompt people to erect invisible walls around themselves; just as formidable and impenetrable as the brick and mortar variety; the very type that get in the way of human understanding; the awareness that, deep down, most of us are more alike than different from one another.

The walls that inhibit problem solving, and, yes, even friendship and love.

Let’s deconstruct the word “defensive”, itself, right down to its root, “fense” and then sub in the letter “c”

Voilà, the word “fence” emerges; yet, another type of wall.

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Too Damned Much Too Damned Soon

On this day, I’ll be featuring an excerpt from my very first WordPress blog [6:56 am on March 3, 2016]; an account of a violent, deadly attack against Democracy; its severity matched only by al-Qaeda’s Tuesday, September 11, 2001 attacks in NYC, PA and DC and insurrectionists’ Wednesday, January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Indeed, you and I will be reliving vivid recollections, as seen thru a 9-year-young boy’s eyes (my own); reportage of a national tragedy which had forced me to face down too damned much age inappropriate content; to grow up too damned soon…

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I voted for John F. Kennedy when I was ONLY six-years-old!

Well… uh… sorta. Here’s what had actually happened…

After Mom had closed the voting booth curtains, hoisted me up to adult eye level and demonstrated how everything worked, she actually let me shift JFK’s lever down! My having done something so grown-up on Election Day 1960 had been a feel good, defining moment in my young life.

As I grew physically, so did my understanding of (and respect for) the immense leverage, which each of those tiny levers can exert in shaping our nation and world. Tragically, not everyone opts in to such a civilized, orderly process. Such was the case on…

November 22, 1963 ~ It had been a gray, overcast, rainy Friday. There had been no school for Sis and me (due to parent / teacher conferences). I was just finishing lunch when my sibling came rushing into the dining room. Still clutching her pocket-sized transistor radio, she blurted out…

“Somebody Shot President Kennedy!”

Mom, Sis and I quickly adjourned to the living room. Even before our Zenith TV’s B&W picture tube had fully warmed up, we could already hear one of CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite’s earliest bulletins.

As time came grinding down to a dead halt, we felt ourselves rapidly descending into the depths of our nation’s communal shock. There was little else we could do… save for waiting and hoping that our worst fears would not be confirmed. But…

The bad news just kept on spilling forth from our nation’s TV screens while Kennedy’s dream for the betterment of our national / global society, was hemorrhaging forth from his head wounds… dying along with this great man. Eventually, Cronkite had to choke back his own overwhelming sorrow as he reported…

“From Dallas, Texas… the flash apparently official… President Kennedy died at 1 p.m., Central Standard Time… 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time… some thirty-eight minutes ago.”

And that’s the way it was… the feel rotten, defining moment in my young life. The President I had “voted” for three short Novembers earlier had been blown away.

Bullets… not ballots… had removed John Fitzgerald Kennedy from office and shot to hell my childhood innocence.

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Fortune Cookie Blog: Wonderment

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The grandest stars humanity can ever encounter, seldom ap-
pear on the big silver screen. To meet them, find time to trek
far from modernity’s lumenosity, cacophony and monstrosity.
Escape the cityscapes to discover the truly dark skies, where
contemplation of life’s big picture-grand scheme comes easily.
As songsmiths Carole King and Gerry Goffin so melodiously &
insightfully remind, At night the stars put on a show for free!*

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* Read all the song lyrics from Up on the Roof]

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One Step Ahead of the (F)law

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The stanzas, below, synopsize the core storyline of Roy Huggins’ brainchild; a.k.a. The Fugitive; the Sixties era crime / drama series; originally airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. over the ABC-TV network; these days, episodes playing out on Mondays at the ungodly hour of 2 a.m. over the MeTV network.

By the bye, by poem’s end, do “stay tuned” for my, in standard prose, analysis of how and why, as a bygone kid, I could so readily identify with a grown-up, fictional fugitive from justice.

The Fugitive

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The off beaten path, Anytown homicide!
Doctor is shocked to learn his wife has died
Further stunned to be Cops’ suspect, prime
For, he saw Man, minus arm, flee the crime

While Doc can account, for his own whereabouts
His alibi, backed by none, stirs Cops’ doubts
With his fingerprints / mugshots now taken
He’s railroaded and feeling quite shaken

Soon at the mercy of hangman D.A.
And twelve jurors too easy to sway
The “Guilty!”, verdict the foreman doth state
Seals the Not Guilty. convicted Doc’s fate

Sentencing Judge prescribes chair with High Volts
But, train wreck derails plans; for Doc’s Death Row Jolts
Now, at large, he dyes hair, runs and hides
Flags down the buses, hops boxcars, thumbs rides

The folks he bumps into, wherever he goes
Also have down-on-their-luck tales and woes
Some shelter him well; others call cops to tell
He’ll pull up stakes, STAT; and then Run Like Hell

So, dual manhunts; daily duel, around the clock
Doc hunts down One-Arm; while Cop hunts down Doc
When clashes, face-offs oft go head-to-head
Who’ll get caught first? Who’ll live? Wind up dead?

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  • As a tween / teen I could readily relate to The Fugitive because Dr. Richard Kimble (actor David Janssen) and I were both misjudged and harassed; both on the run from bullies; him fleeing police Lt. Phillip Gerard (actor Barry Morse); I fleeing Elementary and Middle School classmates (bad actors all).
  • We both got morphed, against our will, into outcasts; forced into desolate, hopeless, social isolation.
  • Years later, when these 150 episodes got rerun in syndication. I began to better identify with Kimble’s palpable despair re his need to trade off his professional career (pediatrics) for menial, dead end, low wage, thankless jobs. After all, circumstances beyond my control necessitated deferring my own professional aspirations (broadcasting); to do my time in Retail Hell; a metaphorical death sentence, eventually commuted to 30 years.
  • Lastly, generally speaking, are not most of us doing our level best to stay one step ahead of that entity, akin to the relentless, death sentence enforcer Lt. Gerard; a.k.a. the Grim Reaper?

Beyond my above comparisons, we mustn’t overlook the simultaneous undercurrent coursing thru Huggins’ core storyline; which surfaces to serve as a consciousness raising message to society…

  • The Death Penalty serves no other purpose other than indulging the mindless vengeance of latter-day cavemen; (mis)leaders, (f)lawmakers and their birds of a feather constituents! Capital Punishment has no place within any aspiring to civility society.

At present 24 of America’s 50 states still endorse capital punishment; namely, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

All of which reminds the mindful…

How many of the convicted souls are absolutely innocent of all wrongdoing and, worse yet, how many have been put to death?

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Footnote: MeTV needs to reschedule The Fugitive to a prime time slot. While I’d watch this quality drama every day of the year, once per week would suffice to serve as a reminder to society that there’s still so much more of our work to do; so many wrongs we’ve yet to right.

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Fortune Cookie Blog: Responsibility

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A reality check is long overdue. We must end the useless whining
and hand wringing about wearing masks publicly; conscientiously!
Never forget the Global Pandemic is far from over; that the deadly
Coronavirus’ main transmission mode is airborne! Be we Vaxxed
or UnVaxxed, the mere spoken word can spread infected droplets
to condemn members of our Human Family to their Early Graves!
The simple act of covering our mouths and noses protects billions
of immunocompromised & yet-to-be vaccinated souls, worldwide!
Stated less delicately: Shut Up, Listen Up, Grow Up and Mask Up!

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