The Pope Tells Congress to Grow Up


Pope Francis addressed Congress today, and I was very impressed with his message. It is things all civilized people have heard before, but it seems to always get lost. I have to qualify this by stating that I am not Catholic, but I have learned many of the principles in my own Jewish religion. I didn’t agree with every single thing he said, but I liked his positive message.
The Pope’s message was the antithesis to Donald’s Trump’s platform of negativity and name calling. The way things have been going in this country is alarming. Maybe this religious leader’s message will wake some people up!  Every member of congress,and the Supreme Justices seemed to be listening.

Pope Francis politely states the obvious to Congress who jusr don't get it.

Pope Francis politely states the obvious to Congress who just don’t get it.

The 50,000 people gathered outside the Capital in Washington D.C. were all listening. According to a newsperson outside, it was silent when the Pope was speaking.
If you missed it, this is a summary of some of these things he said:

“The children: a future of countless possibilities. Hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. Their problems are our problems. “

Many children in this country go to bed hungry every night.

“Martin Luther King’s march from Selma to Montgomery fulfilled the dream of full political rights to all Americans. The dream continues to inspire us all…”

All that violence this summer. We have to work on our relationships.

“Immigrants: We don’t fear foreigners in this continent, because we were foreigners. “

How I remember my own grandparents who spoke broken English, and were grateful to be living in American

Abolish death penalty: “every life is sacred… Offer encouragement hope, and rehabilitation.”

I don’t believe in the death penalty, but I don’t think everyone can be rehabilitated, but it is a good goal.

“My duty Is to build bridges, and help all women and men….Courage and daring. Not the same as responsibility. A good political leader always hopes to initiate the process.”

Bridges not walls. Good idea.

He also touched on progressive ideas about the environment and technology. 

This is just a snapshot of what Pope Francis said, a guy in tune with what should be obvious to us all.

It was refreshing to hear a positive and peaceful message.

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Remembering my father (and mother) on Father’s day


My parents before they were married.

My parents before they were married.

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I close my eyes in my bedroom, and pretend, only for a minute, that I’m back home in my old bedroom. I visualize where the bed was, my dresser, and the closet.  I think about where the other rooms of the house were situated and what they looked like.

Sometimes, when I’m remembering, I hug the pillow and remember how it felt to hug my parents. How comforting it was, and how safe and loved I used to feel with them.

I had a special relationship with both of them. I was the baby of the family and lived alone with them from the age of 13. I did miss having my two newly married sisters living with us, but I enjoyed hanging out with my old parents. We went out to eat a lot, saw movies, and attended the theater. (My old parents were somewhere in their late 40’s and early 50’s.)

Sometimes, I try to remember them talking in the kitchen on a Sunday morning. I can see my mother sitting at the table, newspaper not too far from her. (She loved to read that newspaper cover to cover.) My father is standing up, probably doing some chore. They’re talking about his job, or what they’re going to do in the future.

I can almost hear the comfortable din of their voices. She saying, “Hank, why don’t you get some blintzes from Solomon’s?” (We used to get blintzes from the local delicatessen every Sunday.) Before he ever left the house he would always give her a quick kiss. Before too long he’d come back with the scrumptious Solomon blintzes. All my mother had to do was heat them on the stove.

After we eat our blintzes, my father is going to go out and do outside chores like mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow. He might run some errands.

Sometimes, I’d tag along with him. I was crazy about my father. He’d talk to me like an equal, and was a good listener. He always made me feel loved and important.

He had a friend who owned a car wash, so about every weekend I’d go with him to watch the car get cleaned. I’d carefully watch the car go through the stages, while he kidded around with his friend. I could see that Dad could get along with everyone.

I had an acquaintance whose parents were divorced, and the father would take the kids somewhere special every Sunday. I didn’t know it was because they were divorced. (In those days people kept divorces quiet.) So, I kept pleading with my dad take me out on Sunday without my mother. He did it once. We went to the planetarium at the Cleveland Science museum. We looked up at the pretend stars in the planetarium and listened to the lecture. I loved having my daddy all to myself. (I only hope my mother wasn’t too hurt.)

My parents sometimes took me to a local amusement park, Euclid Beach. My mother would park herself on a bench and my dad would go on rides with me in the park. This was a big feat for him because he was really not too crazy about amusement park rides.

One time we got on a ferris wheel and before it started, he asked the ride attendant to let us off. Another time we were on an Over the Falls” ride and the power went out. We were stuck on the ride for about 20 minutes. I wasn’t worried cause I was with my dad. (Years later, he told me he was nervous about my mother being alone, and us getting stuck on the ride.)

My dad  always took time to get dressed for work as a Cleveland Policeman. After he shined his shoes, and put on his uniform with the golden badge, and completed it with his hat, he didn’t look like Daddy anymore; he looked liked a king. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world to have such a good-looking, important father.

My parents were so close, that I can’t remember my father on this Father’s Day without including both my parents.

Happy Father’s Day to them both, wherever their souls ended up. If there is such a place, I have no doubt that they are together.

The Tragedy in Newtown: When are we going to start having an adult discussion? Hatred isn’t going to get us anywhere.


Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I went to a temple service. I am a regular participant, but today I was going to find some answers to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.  I like the Rabbi, and I like the services.  Today, it was a small gathering.

During Jewish services a part of the morning is devoted  to discussing the Torah . While discussing the Torah, the conversation got around to those killings in Connecticut. This event was on everyone’s minds.

All of these recent shootings weigh heavily on me, as they do on everyone else.  Something has to be done. There has to be a defense against these sick sad people.  What can be done?  I don’t have the answer to this question. But I’m certain making the schools armed camps isn’t the answer. I spent a considerable amount of time working in the schools, elementary, middle and high-school. I had a chance to see what really goes on there. It is a complex place, and talented educators should be admired. It’s an important job.

People have to get real
This is going to get worse before it gets better.  It’s lovely to think we don’t need to protect the children. It’s great to think we can go shopping, to the movies, and to hear political leaders speak without some nut coming out and wiping most of the people away. Unfortunately, while we’re all getting angry at each other, another sad insane person is probably plotting the next catastrophe.

I hope we all find a way to come together and act like responsible adults.

Why?
I guess we’ll never really know the answer to that question.  Some people make simplistic guesses, but that’s not satisfying to me. I was impressed with what the Rabbi read to us just before the service ended.  He read the eulogies  Noah Pozner’s  mother and uncle made at his funeral. These were published shortly after his funeral.

By The Associated Press 12/17/12 09:57 PM ET EST
From mother, Veronique Pozner:
The sky is crying, and the flags are at half-mast. It is a sad, sad day. But it is also your day, Noah, my little man. I will miss your forceful and purposeful little steps stomping through our house. I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room.
Most of all, I will miss your visions of your future. You wanted to be a doctor, a soldier, a taco factory manager. It was your favorite food, and no doubt you wanted to ensure that the world kept producing tacos.
You were a little boy whose life force had all the gravitational pull of a celestial body. You were light and love, mischief and pranks. You adored your family with every fiber of your 6-year-old being. We are all of us elevated in our humanity by having known you. A little maverick, who didn’t always want to do his schoolwork or clean up his toys, when practicing his ninja moves or Super Mario on the Wii seemed far more important.
Noah, you will not pass through this way again. I can only believe that you were planted on Earth to bloom in heaven. Take flight, my boy. Soar. You now have the wings you always wanted. Go to that peaceful valley that we will all one day come to know. I will join you someday. Not today. I still have lots of mommy love to give to Danielle, Michael, Sophia and Arielle.
Until then, your melody will linger in our hearts forever. Momma loves you, little man.

from his uncle (this is only part of it….)

t is unspeakably tragic that none of us can bring Noah back. We would go to the ends of the Earth to do so, but none of us can.

What we can do is carry Noah within us, always. We can remember the joy he brought to us. We can hold his memory close to our hearts. We can treasure him forever. And all of us, including the family, the community, the country and the world, can honor Noah by loving each other and taking care of each other. That’s what Noah would have wanted.

Noah, we love you so much, we miss you dearly, and we will never, ever forget you.

I got some of what I was looking for when I walked in the temple today. But not close to what I need to understand this.

Your thoughts?

Sometimes, Knowing I’m Just an Animal Creeps Me Out! How about you?


The Shaggy Dog (2006 film)

The Shaggy Dog (2006 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I sat in a restaurant happily chowing down on my tuna melt, I looked around. Everyone else in the restaurant was also chomping down on their food. Some were doing it more politely than others.  When you think about it, it’s really disgusting. We’re all put together the same way, need food to eat and that’s how we get energy. It goes through our digestive system the same way; and you know how that ends up.  Just like the other animals. Of course, we have a more sophisticated way of doing away with our waste.

Women get pregnant and have babies just like elephants, dogs, cats, cows, horses, and other mammals. Horses seem farther ahead. When they have a foal, it stands right up. No waiting for a year to a year-and-a-half.

Human beings are born with bigger heads. Their body has to catch up with their heads. That’s really weird. It’s like we’re the space aliens, when you think about it.

Sometimes, when I realize we are all just animals, I get creeped out. I know some of you may say, we’re spiritual, and that’s how we’re different. I say, ” how do you know animals don’t have their own way of being spiritual?” Maybe we’re not smart enough to see it.

They have families, just like us

Animals even form family groups, just like us. When we had birds, it was interesting to notice that both the mother and father bird were very attentive to the babies until they pushed them out on the perch. After they did that, they acted like they didn’t know them at all.

When I went whale watching in New England, it was interesting to learn that they form very strong family groups. They follow each other across the ocean. There’s real loyalty in that group, just like human beings.

The chimp family at The Columbus  Ohio Zoo has an established family group: mother, father, kids, grandparents and great grandparents. When one of the babies was sick and taken away, the grandma and mother were obviously depressed. They just laid around until the baby returned to the family group.

Watching little kids is like watching puppies or little monkeys. They play just like other animals. They like to explore and touch each other and innocently destroy anything in their path. Any eighteen-month kid will stick about anything in their mouth. Once they learn to walk, they are like little puppies that need to go to Obedience school.  It’s a good thing our little kids smile disarmingly at us; otherwise, we might throw up our hands and walk away.

Go to the zoo and watch the chimps. Better yet, watch the human animals watching the chimps. And why do we like to watch other animals in the first place? I get creeped out when I think about our DNA being 99% like the great apes. When you look into those zoo ape’s eyes, from a distance, they do look almost human.

What’s really strange is that human beings keep other animals for pets. They like the love they get from the creature. It’s less complicated than a human relationship. (Unfortunately, this human being sneezes their brains out and breaks out in hives from cats, dogs, etc;, or I’m sure I’d have one too.)

In the Animal Kingdom they destroy each other, just like us

Just watch the animal kingdom on TV. They are always going after each other, and protecting their territories. They tear each other to ribbons, just like human beings.

How are human beings different? They’re smart enough to have discovered weapons that will destroy the whole human race. That, terrifies me. So, I try not to think about it. We also fade away, just like other animals. The older I get, the more I really try not to think about that.

Movies about people turning into animals still scares me

When I was a little kid, my family went to the movie theater to watch the original Disney movie, “The Shaggy Dog.” It’s about a kid turning into a giant shaggy dog. Everyone else was enjoying the film and laughing. I burst out in very loud sobs, and my parents had to take me home.

A classic 1941 werewolf movie, “The Wolf Man,” that  I caught on TV at age 8, scared me to death for at least 2 years. If I see that movie is playing on TV, I won’t put it on. Even though it’s only a movie, I don’t want to revisit it.

Am I the only one that gets creeped out at the idea that we’re only animals?

What creeps you out? Care to share?

Impressions of The Long Island Medium: another show on TLC


The Long Island Medium

I don’t know about you, but I have tried to contact my dead relatives. I’ve even said aloud, “visit me in a dream, rattle my lamps, please.”  But nothing happens. I figure, maybe they’re not happy with me, or have nothing left to say, or maybe they’ve really vanished.

I’m wondering if I should go see the Long Island Medium. She’s coming to my home town  in a couple of weeks. She stars on a show on TLC. You know the great shows they have, Honey Boo Boo,  the old  Kate plus 8 plus what’s his name before they got divorced.  I’m surprised Octomom doesn’t have a featured show.

I love this show. First of all, the long Island medium, Theresa Caputo, amuses  me up on several levels . I like her teased dyed blonde hair. Her clothes are all right, but sometimes she looks slightly trashy.  But, what I like most is her snappy patter and common sense. She is also an adoring wife and mother although she seems slightly overbearing at times.

Sometimes her family—husband, son, and daughter— roll their eyes when she starts another reading. Her husband and son couldn’t even go sky diving without her reuniting the owner of the sky diving company with his deceased parents.

People’s eyes fill up with tears when she gives messages from their deceased loved ones. Sometimes they feel guilty about how their loved ones passed. They didn’t get to say goodbye or they were inconsiderate. Theresa  gives them closure. Wouldn’t we all like to say one last thing to our friends, and family?

Theresa knows secrets nobody else would possibly know. How would anyone know somebody was carrying a picture in their wallet of their old dead boyfriend? How could they know the words they spoke to their loved ones when nobody was around. Tina seems to know it all. Plus, she’s so matter-of-fact about it. She has no doubt that spirits are talking to her.

The show airs on TLC on Sunday night. Watch it. Even if it isn’t true, it’s entertaining. And who knows? Maybe one day we’ll all be spirits floating around together. It’s a nice thought. Better than vanishing into thin air.

Would you really want to live forever?


Today I  went to an interesting discussion class. One of the questions asked was:  “If it was possible, would you want to live forever?”

My answer, “yes, of course!” Some of the people thought there’d be too much pain involved with living into eternity. Let’s face it, no matter who you are, you’re going to get your fair share of disappointment and pain. On the other hand, you’re going to experience happiness too.

One of my beliefs is that when you are gone, that’s it. Lights out.  I don’t really believe in souls floating or going to a “better place.” I just think you cease to exist. I don’t remember the world before I was born, so I figure I won’t know about it after I’m gone.

i do like to entertain the possibility that maybe I’m wrong. Now, that would be a pleasant surprise, and I’ll be happy if I’m wrong.

I’m not afraid of dying because I know it’s part of the cycle.

There is a pre-teen book, Tuck Everlasting, which address this very issue. It’s for older kids and is excellent. It shows kids that living forever would get tiresome. Maybe so?

So, my question is this? If you had the chance, would you want to live forever?

Why or why not?