10 reasons to hang out with a 2 year old child


It's my cooking grandson

It’s my cooking grandson

1.  Most little ones do not want to take time off of their fun day to sleep.

2.  Nature delights them: chirping birds, squirrels, dogs, and cats.
3.  Physical pain is easily healed with hugs and kisses.
4.  As far as they know, fanciful characters on TV are real friends. Example (Thomas the Train).
5.  They can greet you with smiles and hugs.
6.  Running and kicking a ball can put a big smile on their faces.
7.  The finest food is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
8.  A brownie qualifies as a surprise. It’s extra special if they stir the batter.
9.  Playing with a flashlight fascinates them.

10.  As far as they know, the world is a beautiful, friendly and heavenly place.

Why do you like to hang out with your grandchildren or nieces and nephews?

 

 

Going to prison on Chanukah


The last night of Chanukah; Menorah with all 8...

The last night of Chanukah; Menorah with all 8 candles burning. I used a combination of a ceiling facing strobe and a LED flashlight to create the shadow on the wall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a member of a Jewish singing group. Today, I went to prison with them. No, we didn’t do anything wrong.  We were entertaining the Jewish prisoners with songs pertaining to Chanukah. One of the women in our  group,  is a volunteer with different organizations that help the prisoners once they get out of prison. A few years ago, we started going to the prison on Chanukah. This is my third time going with the group.

Going to a prison is a sobering experience. First of all,  you have to put all your possessions in a locker, or in the locked trunk of your car. ( No cell phones are allowed in the prison.) Then you have to wait in line, and take the stuff out of your coat pockets, and put it in little baskets, similar to going to the airport.  In the middle of all her checking us in, the prison admissions lady had  to unlock the bathroom, so several of us could use it.

I’m sure we don’t look very threatening. Most of us are a little older, and we look it. Plus, we were all carrying our little black music folders. All this checking in, reminded me  that I wasn’t  at  a happy place.  After all, people residing in prisons aren’t there because they were acting like model citizens.

I couldn’t help wondering what they did: were they murderers, terrorizers, thieves, drug addicts, social misfits, or just desperate people who got into trouble. It wouldn’t take all that much to drive somebody the wrong way. ( Not to mention all the mentally unstable people who don’t have a place to go except the streets or the prisons. )

After we were checked in, we all started down the hall in a group. Going down the hallway, I couldn’t help noticing that there was  a lot of unlocking and locking going on. The clanging was a little intimidating.  The bars were painted white. It didn’t whitewash the fact that the place was really a series of cages.  I thought,  what would it be like to be locked in all the time?

We passed a big room where a lot of men were sitting
together listening to a speaker. A sign said, “visitors room,” but nobody looked like they’ were visiting. Nobody looked like they are reuniting or particularly happy. I’m guessing it must be hard for them to all live together with no women around.  There was  the smell of perspiration lingering in the hallway.

We finally got to our destination, and the Jewish prisoners were waiting for us. There wasn’t a lot of them, about 15.  Not only were they waiting for us, but they cooked a feast for us to eat after our little  concert: potato pancakes, applesauce, herring, salmon pate, and luscious desserts. All of the men were  polite, and they looked like typical nice guys. Not only were they nice, but they sure can cook. I wasn’t expecting such a big spread It’s all kosher too. (I don’t keep kosher, but some of the others in the choir do.)  The men said several of them had been cooking all day and I believed it.

We sang our little performance for them, and they were  attentive and seemed to enjoy it. (Nothing like feeling appreciated.) I wondered if they  were remembering a time before they got here, when they celebrated Chanukah with their families. Were we making them feel sad or happy? One man looked pensive, as if he was thinking about another time in his life. Others wanted to clap and just enjoy themselves. I guess you have to find joy wherever you can get it.

The co-director had us mingle with the group, and we sang a Chanukah song in different groups. They  seemed to enjoy this activity, and willingly participated.  They wanted to enjoy the holiday as best as they could,  and had some fun.

One man said to me, “Do you remember me from last year?” I felt bad because he seems like he’s such a polite, handsome, young guy. He says “I’m going to be here for a while, so I’ll be here next year too.” How did he turn the wrong way? What did he do?

One man is a native of another country. He came far to find freedom, then ended up with none.

After the performance, we sat and ate the food they prepared. They came around and asked if we had everything we needed.  It reminded me of those restaurants where the manager asks, ” Does everything taste good?” After I was done eating, I went around and talked to some of the inmates.

One man told  me that the years fly by when you have a good roommate. It wasn’t so good for him the first few years because his roommate wasn’t that nice. I don’t know what he did in the first place, but he reminds me of the kid in school that could get teased. (I can almost imagine what his not so nice roommate did to him.) He said  he can see the end of the road coming because he’s going to get out by 2018. To me, four more years seemed an eternity to be locked up. To him, it’s not that far away.

Finally, the time was up for our visit. The men politely thanked us for coming to visit them.   When it’s time to go in that place, it’s time to go. We had to get in our little groups again to go back to the front desk. Back to go through the locking and unlocking routine. I was glad to be getting out of there. It put my life in a different perspective. I know I will really appreciate my freedom in the next few days.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that society needs a place to lock up people who break the law, and harm others. It’s been that way from the beginning of time. It’s a place for people who have done unforgivable things. Some of the acts are so bad, that they deserve to stay there. The good news is that some can come out of a place like that, and change for the better.

Homeless in America: the HBO special: The Orange county kids


Last night I watched the show, “Homeless in America.” It was about the working poor who were living in a hotel in Orange County, California. It focused on the family’s children.

The families they focused on had jobs: one lady worked as a nurses aid, one guy worked at Target, and other jobs working from 9-12.00 an hour. They were the working poor.

This hotel wasn’t the best environment for the kids. They could tell you in detail who was taking drugs, and why the police were coming. It was sad that such little kids were so worldly.

The documentary showed how these kids had to share spare living quarters with their families. They had to keep their clothes in crowded spaces. (One family had 4 little dogs living with them. This made no sense. Why would she be feeding dogs when her kids were in such need? Never owned a dog, I don’t quite get it.)

The rest of the people were really trying to stress values. I thought one mother was way too Continue reading

Yom Hashoa: Holocause remembrance: Never Forget! Isacc Klein’s story


Jewish prisoners being deported from the Krakó...

Jewish prisoners being deported from the Kraków Ghetto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As time goes on, the Holocaust survivors are dying out.  Since this month we commemorate them, I think we owe a responsibility to retell their stories.

Recently, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Miami. A Holocaust survivor, Isaac Klein,was telling his personal story and answering questions.

Stern started out by describing his family life before the Holocaust. His parent’s names were Simon and Pepi Klein. His twin brother Tsvi and him were the eldest of eight children. Before 1938, the family were farmers, and led a normal happy life.

When the Germans took over Czechoslovakia in 1938, the family’s farmland was taken away, and their citizenship revoked. Isaac and his family were deported to Poland.

After a few years they were allowed to return to Czechoslovakia where they worked under Hungarian military officials doing hard labor.

In 1944, their luck ran out. They were put on cattle cars, and were transported to a concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenaus. .

Dr. Josef Mengele, known as the “Doctor of Death”,  kept the boys in D-lager camp with other sets of twins. He did experiments on them. Most of them were done under anesthesia, so Klein doesn’t remember the specifics.

By the end of March 1944, the Germans knew the Russians were close, so they forced the prisoners on a death march. The destination was Melk, Austria. Somehow Isaac and his brother both survived. On the march they received no food, water, or shelter.

In 1945, they were liberated by the Americans, but that wasn’t the end of Klein’s story. His bother and him went back home to find any relatives, but there weren’t any left.

They both decided to emigrate to Israel. They were smuggled on a boat to Haifa. After the British captured the boat, they were held in a detention camp for 8-10 months. They were finally released into the population.

He served in the Israeli army, navy and merchant marine.

In 1962, he moved to the United states, got married, and raised a family.

Four years ago, he took the path of  the March of the living dead with youngsters from all over the  world. He thought it was important for them to know about it.

“Who says there’s no life after death,” said Klein.

Klein still believes in God, and is grateful he survived.

“Argo” is a good flick. I hope it wins best picture!


“Argo” is an attention grabber. It keeps you engaged in the story  from beginning to end. . It’s a movie depicting the Iranian crises that took place in 1980. The Shah of Iran was deposed by the Ayatollah  Khomeini, an Islamic extremist. The Shah was accepted in America.

The Iranians were so angry, that they took over the American embassy and took hostages. Six Americans  managed to escape  the embassy and went to the home of the Canadian ambassador. They successfully hid out there for several months.

The CIA knew it was only a matter of time before the Iranians at the embassy would figure out that the six were missing.  The movie is based on an actual incident.

Affleck portrays a CIA agent, Tony Mendez,  who has to think up a way to spring the six Americans.   He decides the way to rescue the Americans is to pretend they are all making a movie together. Affleck plays the agent to perfection. He knows how to do his job.  Affleck

Ben Affleck speaking at a rally for Feed Ameri...

Ben Affleck speaking at a rally for Feed America in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

also directed this movie!

If you’re a baby boomer, and remember this time, the movie will bring the whole hostage crises back to life. There are clips of Walter Cronkite and Ted Koppel  Suddenly you remember how upset we were when our hostages were taken by the Iranians. It took 444 days to get them home. Luckily, nobody was physically harmed. Who knows what emotional consequences they suffered?

Standout actors are John Goodman and Alan Arkin who portray the Hollywood types who aid Affleck in his endeavor.

Today, on CNN, President Carter said that the movie “didn’t give the Canadians enough credit.”

Go see it! And Ben Affleck , you should have been nominated in the best director category at the Oscars. I hope the movie wins Best Picture. That would be sweet.

What do you think?

A Different Kind of Inauguration: Barack H. Obama 44th President of the United States


The . Original title: The original Star Spangl...

The . Original title: The original Star Spangled Banner “Museum” (from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negative or negative sleeve.) This glass negative might show streaks and other blemishes resulting from a natural deterioration in the original coatings. cropt from LOC file before upload to Wikimedia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I liked Obama’s inaugural speech. What did he talk about? Carrying on our “ founding fathers “ideas of everyone treated with equality. Everyone working together and getting along. What a novel concept. He talked about immigration and gay people being allowed to be who they are.

What I liked best about his speech is that he probably wrote it himself. Nothing like having an intelligent president. It’s nice to watch his family too. You know he really values women by the way he treats his wife and daughters.

Naturally, having James Taylor sing “America” entertained me no end. (And every baby boomer.) Kelly Clarkson singing “ My Country Tis of Thee.” was very inspirational. It was like I was hearing that second verse for the first time.  Beyonce was the best, singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

My absolute favorite was the Cuban- American poet, Richard Blanco. Here is his poem in case you missed it. Until I did his research I didn’t realize he was gay. Should that matter? Should we be talking about that? I don’t think so.

What do you think?

Click on the link, and you can view the poet reading his poem at the Inauguration.

http://youtu.be/1mDrk8AC4G4

Why are our 21st Century Heroes so narcissistic? The Tipping Point for me: Lance Armstrong


English: Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2003

English: Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the old days that I remember, our heroes were strong, humble, and caring for others.  They did not make speeches about how great they were. This might explain why so many of us admire Barack Obama. The President

Lance Armstrong getting mobbed

Lance Armstrong getting mobbed (Photo credit: ShapeThings)

English: This photo depicts Donald Trump's sta...

English: This photo depicts Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

typifies old-fashioned behavior. He isn’t big on name calling, boastfulness, and he  loves his family. He’s not afraid to tell us that either. He also manages to appeal to our human positive side too.

In contrast to him, we have a lot of boastful narcissists continually taking the spotlight. It’s good to have a good self-image, but do you have to tell everyone else about it? Can you get outside yourself for five minutes?

Then we have members of Congress, who do nothing but argue and name call, and put themselves first. No wonder we’re all so discouraged.  If you ask me, they all need a good talking to about really caring about other people. What happened to respecting the office of President of the United States? People used to do that.

Media Narcissists

The latest media boastful heroes have been Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, and now Lance Armstrong.

Donald Trump is the example of the professional “I am great person.” I think people are finally sick and tired of him. He is nothing but a bully. He does prove the maxim if you tell people how great you are, they will believe you.

I watched “The Apprentice.” At first I thought he was nicer than people thought. But, as time went on, I realized first impressions can sometimes be correct.  He operates by telling  people how great he is, makes them call him “Mr. Trump,” and basically sets himself up as a king.

He rewards the people who are the most competitive and cut throat like him. He fought with comedienne Rosie O’Donnell by calling her names.  He challenged the President of the United States  to supply him with proof of his birth. He said “if he does this, I will contribute to the charity of his choice.” Really?

Then we  have good old Arnold Schwarzenegger walking all over Maria Shriver by fooling around right under her nose. He’s another one who managed to convince us to see his movies and elect him Governor.  Why? Because he told us he’s great and people believed him. He is trying to come back. I don’t think he’s going to make it. I think he went too far.

Now, we have Lance Armstrong. A person we thought was admirable turns out to be a pathological liar and a  bully. During his Oprah interviews he proved that he has little insight on his poor behavior and how he hurt other people. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if he comes back like other people displaying poor behavior.  Personally, I’ve had enough of him.

Yes, I’m talking about Bill Clinton. A lot of people forget he was impeached for his bad behavior.   I wonder what happened to the girl he victimized. But everyone forgave him, and he’s more popular than ever.

Maybe one day, the tide will turn. Maybe one day we’ll get back to politeness, good behavior, and acting civilized.
What do you think?