MORNING MED MADNESS

Man taking pills

I thought I’d share with you a new theory I developed this morning as I sat miserably in my thinking chair out on the back porch. I said “miserably” because that’s how I felt. I had a bout of heartburn, then this awful nausea started churning things up in my stomach…that’s why I sat down. I was afraid I might lose it, y’know, maybe throw up. I rarely throw up. Honest, I rarely do. In fact it was several years into our marriage when Rosemarie, for the first time, witnessed me bent over the toilet heaving a few times and finally emptying whatever it was that was playing havoc in my stomach. Did I get any gentle, caring sympathy from my young wife? Nooooo. Instead, she showed wonderment and awe. “Wow!” she said, “After all these years I have never seen you throw up. How amazing!” Yeah, that’s what she said…well, maybe close to it. I don’t remember her exact words, but she thought my heave-ho was worthy of a high score for form and volume, plus I stuck the landing right there in the center of the bowl.  Okay, back to this morning….

So being the health care professional that she is—oh, have I ever mentioned my wife is an RN in real life? Anyway, Rosemarie tells me to eat some plain bread and that should help my nausea. She also suggested I eat some white rice, but I wasn’t about to haul out Uncle Ben for breakfast. And, for sure, Rosemarie was not about to attempt cooking rice. That would involve turning on the stove and her doing that is almost as rare as my throwing up. She did, however offer another suggestion and that was to drink some cola. That did help, I have to admit, and my stomach started to settle down.

I’ve had this issue of nausea in the morning before, but never as severely as I did today. Now, I know some of you with a warped sense of humor are thinking morning sickness. Well, so did I, but I figured my talents don’t extend that far. But, then I got to thinking, still sitting in my thinking chair, that maybe it’s all these pills I take in the morning. There’s a good pile of them, a dozen or more, all of them nestled in their little chambers in one of those pill boxes with each day of the week labeled on the lids. I have a weekly box for both morning and evening and I dutifully fill them up with all the different pills I have to take. The evening collection isn’t too bad, but the number of pills I swallow in the morning is ridiculous. What’s more, I think it’s the cause of my nausea. Here’s my expert medical theory I’ve been working on…

It’s early morning and my stomach is more empty that at any other time of the day. Suddenly, without warning this mother load of medicinal concoctions comes tumbling down the shaft and within moments it starts to dissolve and mutate and all the components begin searching out ways to get into my blood stream. Now I have a hunch there is a traffic director propped up on one of the many fat rolls I have in the area and it’s his job to direct all these substances so they get to where they’re supposed to get. He has to send the blood pressure pills into my arteries and heart, each little molecule holding its sign that says “relax” or “calm down” or “hey, cool it” …stuff like that.

Next, this traffic guy has to show these other pills where all the arthritis is and off they go in an attempt to stop the erosion of bone matter and put some ice on those inflamed areas. Of course, there’s a cholesterol pill, too.  Every guy my age has one of them.  The traffic director arms this big oval thug with a roto-rooter and shoves him rooter first into the closest artery.

Meanwhile, there are other pipes that need to be opened wider too. There are two pills for that job and the traffic director points south and off they go so I can go.  Then there are some temporary pills hanging out in the guest room. They’re the scouts who go everywhere throughout the system ensuring the terrible infection that hospitalized me last fall isn’t still lurking somewhere like under some organ or inside a joint. These pills are slated to pack up and leave next month so that will at least be two less I have to take.. There are another two or three for various other assignments, plus a few vitamins for grins…but you get the idea.

I think all this morning chaos–call it my abdominal rushhour—that goes on in my stomach is too much for it to handle. So sometimes the traffic director gives up and the pills all begin to act out and gel together and the next thing you know, the nausea starts.

So that’s my theory. I am thinking about splitting up my morning pile of meds into two groups and taking them an hour or so apart—just so they’re not all going down at one time. That way I may avoid the upset stomach. WaddaUthink? Of course, there’s probably a pill I could take for this problem….oh wait…come to think of it I already do.

MainBanner3

Advertisements
Posted in health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO AFTER HEARING MY SPEECH…

GRADS

Soon it will be graduation time. I bet you may have someone in your family who is graduating at one level or another. Hell, today they even have graduation ceremonies for kindergarten. I have a granddaughter graduating from college in May. She is very bright and very very talented as an artist. I will be happy for her as I attend the ceremony and watch her step out into the real world.

As I was sitting in my thinking chair on the back patio this morning, I got to thinking about graduation. I’ve never been much on ceremony. I remember my high school graduation down to the lyrics of Somewhere the song from Westside Story that our class performed for our beaming parents sitting in he audience. Penn State had an unusual “term” system when I attended and I finished up in late march. No way I was going to make the trip back in June just so my parents could spend a couple of hours sitting in Beaver Stadium attempting to determine which little flat-hatted spec down on the field was me. So I skipped that ceremony and filed my diploma in a folder and went on with life. When I got my Masters, it was a much smaller event. Rosemarie and my son attended.  I was happy just to have gotten through the algebra course.

I also got to thinking about graduation speeches and how boring and redundant most of them are. I’ve never had to give a graduation speech. Hmmm, this got me to really thinkin’ in my thinking chair. What would I say? What sage advice would I have to offer? Well, I have to admit there are some “themes” I’ve acquired in my personal repertoire.

I have always been an admirer of Robert Fulghum. He’s the author of several best-sellers back in the ‘80s, one of which was All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. This is one of my favorite books. It pretty much lays out a game plan for life that most of us were taught in Kindergarten. Things like sharing, being nice, cleaning up after yourself—you know, good old Golden Rule kind of stuff. So I think I’d work in some of Fulghum’s thoughts to my graduation speech.

But the keynote of my keynote speech would be my priceless (to me at least) advice about learning how a thermostat works. I’ve written about this in the past. The concept is, once you master the thermostat you are ready to face life properly. Let’s review!

Have you ever been in a thermostat war? Of course you have. This is when you wind up battling someone—could be a family member or a person at work—who takes control of the temperature by insisting the room is too hot or too cold. You, of course, feel the opposite. The two of you proceed to sneak on over to the thermostat on the wall and make an adjustment in your favor, only to have the other person do the same as soon as you’ve left. Often, management will install a lockbox over the thermostat to prevent this very activity.

Most people don’t know how to adjust a thermostat. This is another fine point I’d make in my speech. Usually, if someone is hot or cold they will go to the thermostat and jettison the temperature setting to way up or way down, whichever the case. They won’t just nudge it a degree or two, they’ll sent it into the stratosphere of radical degrees, sometimes ten or twenty from the where it was originally set. This is what causes thermostat rage to develop and the next thing you know co-workers are firing off paperclips or wads of paper across the room at each other.

Well, I think of the process of getting along with people is much akin to how a thermostat works. If you make adjustments in small increments, you are more likely to achieve the temperature you want, or at a level for which you are willing to compromise. Radical responses only beget more radical responses and the next thing you know there’s an arms race as to who can reach the thermostat first to jam it way up or down. This is why I have advocated a mandatory class in all schools that thoroughly teaches students how a thermostat ( aka life) works.

So, when you stop and think about it, Fulghum’s basic “things I learned in kindergarten” along with my explaining how the thermostat of life works…well, there you have it: a great graduation speech.

Of course I’d end it with something profound. It would have to be something that’ll linger on and be remembered for years to come. It could be a provocative thought from The Godfather like leaving the gun and taking the cannoli…or how about Kermit the Frog who said, “May success and a smile always be yours, even when you’re knee-deep in the sticky muck of life.”

Damn, betcha don’t hear a graduation speech like this one!

MainBanner3

Posted in education, Family | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WAITING FOR WHEN

Time passing. Blue hourglass.

I am not sure where I am going with this particular posting. The situation is sensitive, but I know that some of you have had to deal with it also. There is a member of my family who is battling cancer right now…has been for several years. He isn’t winning. He was placed in hospice this week so it is pretty clear that he hasn’t much longer to live.

Rosemarie and I will be traveling from Florida to Pennsylvania to be with family when the time comes. So we are trying as best we can to prepare for a trip, the timetable for which is totally unknown while its purpose  is unsettling.

I have a “it’s not fair” attitude about this situation. This fosters all kinds of theoretical debate and leads me, as usual, to developing a list of questions.  The big one is, of course, who or what decides who goes when…and why must the process be made so difficult for some, like my relative? If one is religious you must ask why does God allow things like this to happen? What did my family member do to deserve to die a struggling death at an early age?   Cancer was a contributing cause of the death of my grandfather. But he was 84 years old, some thirty years older than my current relative.

The clergy is trained to offer comforting support of why things like this happen.  They’ll claim that God really isn’t a bad guy who goes around letting bad things happen to good people. This never sits well with me.  I know it does for others and if that brings comfort and understanding to an otherwise sad occurrence, then I suppose that is a good thing for those people who accept it. But I ain’t buyin’ it .

Some people say you are assigned a death date the moment you come into the world. I vaguely, remember being in line for a diaper and a pacifier, but I don’t recall a line for a death date.

And then there’s fate.  Many people chalk off a death by merely saying “it was fate that did him in.”  The dictionary says fate is “the supposed force, principle or power that predetermines events.” Well, if this be the case…then may the force be not with you.

Well, as you can see, I am like many people…I have little understanding of the whys and hows and whens dealing with death.. I will stick with my “it’s not fair” statement as far as this current tragedy is concerned. Overall I guess, I am one of those who proclaim the highly philosophical concept that “when your number’s up, your number’s up.” Come to think of it, this might work best for me because when I take a number at the deli there are always tons of people ahead of me.

But I do not mean to make light of a serious situation. I cannot begin to imagine how terrorizing it must be for a cancer patient when the disease has reached its end stages. The strain, both mental and physical, must be horrendous. And surely the burden on family and friends, much like the disease itself, spreads and metastasizes an agonizing sorrow and feeling of helplessness among everyone.

All that we can do—any of us—in a situation like this is be supportive, and most importantly, be there. …as Rosemarie and I will be when the time comes.

MainBanner3

Posted in death, Family, health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MOM WOULD BE PROUD

LoisLogoNew

Finally! My mother’s book is finished. It’s been over a year in the making—the longest I’ve worked on a book—and I didn’t write it! It’s a collection of her writings, most of which she penned in the 1960’s. They have been stored in boxes for over half a century. Hence the title: Lois Unboxed.

My mother’s first grandchild, Zoe, was the one who made the book happen. She took all the writings back home with her to North Carolina after visiting us last year. There, she went through them all, selected a bunch of ‘em and then transcribed them since they were not in very good shape and certainly not ready for prime time digital editing. As she finished her part, I took them, did a little nip and tucking here and there and designed a book around them.

My mother was an interesting lady, a rebel ahead of her time. The back cover best describes what is inside so I have added that below. Meanwhile, the book has a complete new website. Just go to loisunboxed.com.  And, oh yeah, the book is available on amazon and soon some other places.  Okay, here’s the back cover…

BackCovBlog23

MainBanner3

 

Posted in communication, creativity, entertainment, Family, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Puzzlement!

questmarkLN

This has been a particularly unusual time in our household. Something very very very unusual has occurred. I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I have no explanation. If I were of certain religious persuasion I might declare that a miracle has taken place. Or maybe the family has been quietly invaded by aliens who are influencing our environment. Poltergeists? Spirits? As the king in The King and I said so well… “it is a puzzlement!”

Having reached the years when others look to you for sage advice, or maybe just some gibberish that they later use when telling funny stories at parties they attend, I could wax eloquence with how my parenting skills can actually produce positive response. But I have screwed up so much in this area, that I don’t think I could get away with doing that. I am sure my kids will tell me to go wax the furniture.

What is most curious is the suddenness of it all. Like almost overnight things were immediately different. Yet, there’s been no coercion, no outside influence that I know of, no ominous signs or threats regarding the end of the world coming. As the king said…a puzzlement.

I often think that my influence on young people adheres to the principles of Newton’s Third Law. That’s the one that says “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” opposite being the operative word here. My kids never, okay practically never, would do what I asked them to do. And yes, they’d more than likely do the opposite. Their rooms were always a mess no matter how many times my wife and I attempted to have them keep things at least at a guerilla-cage level of standard. Getting a household chore accomplished or merely attempting to get everyone in the family to keep things in a civilized fashion was frustration to us and fantasy to the children. In fact, we were the only ones who fretted about these kinds of thing. The kids never let our nagging, yelling, kicking, punishing, murdering them affect their I-don’t-give-a-crap attitude.

So now this puzzlement. One of our granddaughters has been living with us since middle school. She’s 19 now, beginning college and working at Starbucks. She’s a lovely young lady except that she has always been a pig. I’m sorry, I guess I should be more tactful. I’m sorry again. It is what it is.

Repeating all the same mistakes and same resulting behavior we had with our own children, we have never been able to get our granddaughter to “contribute” to the welfare of the family environment. This means things like helping keep the place neat and orderly, loading or unloading the dishwasher, emptying a trash can now and then…the list goes on and on and on and on and on….I am sure most parents have been there/done that and don’t ever want to go and do again.

So, just as in a Hollywood script—one of those coming of age sagas—our lovely granddaughter has suddenly begun making her bed every day, cleaning her room daily, especially putting clothes away and—get this—at least four times I caught her emptying the dishwasher and cleaning up the sink. Yeah, I am speechless. It came out of nowhere. She told her friend how rewarding a feeling it was to make her bed each morning and how it makes the room look neat with so little effort. Her friend ain’t buyin’ it. Her friend ain’t part of the screenplay.

Meanwhile, I have made sure to point out to her how nice her room looks lately and how I appreciate her taking on some household chores without being asked. I have told her I can now go to the old age home a happy man…she has made my life complete.

But….it’s all still….a puzzlement.

MainBanner3

 

 

Posted in communication, environment, Family | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back To The Birds

Typewritrer2

I have to admit, I was surprised at the reaction—or lack thereof—to my last posting regarding the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the follow-up statement by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. I rarely get into politics and big fight issues like gun control on my blog, but I was motivated to do so by two factors:  first, the horrendous tragedy at the Parkland school this time was really really close to home and, second, Marco Rubio’s comments were hideous.

 The response after four days was one “like” and one supportive comment. I’ve posted pictures of birds that got much more response. That says something about my writing or my readers. I am not sure which or if it’s a combo of both. It does, however, give me pause as to whether or not I should find something else to do with my time other than writing.

Come to think of it, according to the stats kept by my blog publisher, one of the most popular postings on my blog was published over five years ago. Guess what it was about? Yep….birds. So here’s a redo.  Oh, and oddly enough, the last sentence was not added on…it’s actually how the original piece ended…..and one spoiler note for your attention…nobody gets shot.

THIS BLOG’S FOR THE BIRDS…Posted onby

I never stop appreciating the little postage-stamp size of property my house sits on here in South Florida.  There is enough wildlife in my little backyard to keep a naturalist happy for years.  There are many people who have no backyard at all, and many more who have one with only views of trash cans and a parking lot.  My camera is always nearby and today I will share some of my pictures from my backyard and you will soon see why I am blessed.  BTW, you may already know this, but if you click on each picture they should grow nice and large.

About thirty feet from the small patio along the back of my house there is a canal.  There are many canals in the area, part of an irrigation system built back in the 1940’s, I believe.  I’m told they all draw water from a huge lake in the middle of the state in addition to sources all along the famous Florida Everglades.  The canal has more to offer than I ever imagined when we first moved in.  Lots more.  This waterway environment draws hundreds of exotic birds and other creatures.  Yes, we actually do have an occasional alligator swim by, but not often.  In 16 years I’ve seen only two.

The most prevalent species in the neighborhood is the Muscovy duck.  They are easily identified by the splattering of red wart-like “carbuncles” that surround their beaks and eyes.  They spend more time on land than in the water, especially if you choose to give them bread.  Then, they will hang around forever.  This is not advisable unless you like having to clean off the patio every day.  There are other smaller, brownish ducks that I haven’t learned about yet.  There are no Mallards in this area.  Male Muscovy ducks are quite frisky and their mating process is incestuous and barbaric.  The male will insist on getting on top of the female, preferably in the water, and then he will poke her head down under the water and keep it there until he is done with her.  She, meanwhile, struggles to free herself.  I always fear the female will drown….but I don’t suppose ducks drown.

Muscovy DucksFranklin

ibis

We have a lot of Ibis, famous around here as the mascot for the University of Miami Hurricanes.  They are fun to watch eat since it’s a long way from their beak’s tip to inside their throat.  You rarely get one Ibis at a time…one may arrive, but look for another twenty or so not far behind.  Ibis, right.

IMG_0258 (2)

The Wood Stork is one of the larger birds we see often.  They will smack their beaks together and it actually sounds like two pieces of wood slapping.  They are quite brazen.  For several weeks we had one come up and peck on the door every morning wanting his breakfast.  We’ve had Ibis do the same.  The Wood Storks stand a couple feet tall.  I don’t think they deliver babies though.

Wood Stork, left.

TriColorHeron1

We have a lot of Tri-colored Herons (above).  They are not very large, much smaller than the big Blue Herons that grace us with their majesty only once in awhile.

moorhen

Moorhens (left) are another small breed that usually consist of two parents and 4-5 little ones.  They are black except for a very bring red “wedge” atop their beak and between their eyes.  It looks like a bright shiny slab of red plastic.

greategreThe most majestic bird we commonly have is the Great Egret (right).  These are the traditional Florida white birds often seen in tourist pictures and at art shops.  They are very skittish, unless there are baby ducks in the area.  Then they have no trouble zooming right in and scoffing one up for lunch.  It is brutal to watch—and hear—since the little one is carried off still chirping loudly while held tightly in the Egret’s beak.  This is why the Muscovy ducks have so many ducklings.  The attrition rates is crazy.  It is not uncommon to see a new mother with a dozen babies on Monday and by Friday, after the Great Egrets have spotted them, she is lucky to have one or two left.

geesec

And then, there is the Egyptian Goose (above).  These usually travel in pairs.  Our pair just had babies two weeks ago.  Some have not made it, but the Geese are much more aggressive at fending off predators than the Muscovy ducks.  They are beautiful birds with brown and beige tones with dark green and bright white feathers underneath.  They have distinct circles around their eyes and a black smudge on their chest.  The male makes a hissing sound.  The female, however, honks loudly and repetitively for hours and hours until you want to throw a stone at her and scare her off.

bluejay

A little less tropical and pretty much common in many locations is the Blue Jay (right).  I put peanuts out for the squirrels and the Blue Jays will beat them to most of the supply.  They are beautiful birds but a bit noisy and nasty.

anhinga

The Limpkin (left) is another noisy bird.  They usually travel by two’s.  When you see only one, it won’t be long before he starts calling for his mate.  He wails outrageously loud and I’m sure it can be heard a good mile or more away.  I don’t think his mate likes it, however, because she always shows up rather quickly, maybe just to shut him up.

See, I told you I am blessed.  These are just a handful of all the creatures just out my back door.  And, they stop by regularly for me to see.  I don’t need a ticket and the popcorn is only a few feet away.  I thought it would be a nice break from my usual ranting to have a blog that’s for the birds.   I have come to appreciate them a lot.  I am grateful I have had the opportunity to witness their little lives coming and going in such a rudimentary fashion.  They bring a  cherished tranquility each day that offsets much of the human-made havoc that unfolds in the newscast every evening.

About Marc Kuhn

I am a retired radio exec. I’ve worked at major stations in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami. That was then. This is now: I’ve published seven books and this blog thingy. Need to know more? Really? Okay, I bare/bear all at http://marckuhn.com The other links are for the websites of each of the books I’ve written. I’ve been busy! Hope you’ll stop by and check them out. Thanks for your interest!

This entry was posted in SERIOUSLY and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
*****
Posted in animal life, communication, creativity, politics, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

WELL BEYOND THE WAKE-UP CALL

­­My blog is taking a bit of a turn in a direction that was never intended. When I began this writing journey over 450 postings ago, I was motivated, admittedly, to use the blog to support the promotion and—hopefully—the sale of my books.   That never happened. But I have kept the blog going because I enjoy doing it and there are a handful of people who regularly offer positive feedback and encouragement.

It has never been my intention to use my space here to attempt to persuade people to think a certain way or do a certain thing. That changes today. I will continue to be an average writer of pieces that offer humor, general observations and personal reactions to thing that we all experience in everyday life…and, of course, let’s not forget the silly poetic efforts that appear from time to time. All that will continue. But added now will be postings in which I will offer opinion and calls to action.

I am 73 years old this May. I cannot run for office or carry much weight in helping to guide my community, let alone this great nation. I can, however, at least express my ­opinion when I feel strongly that things must change and maybe, just maybe, I will convince someone to make a better choice when it comes to electing our representatives or voting on a ballot issue. Indeed, that is the intention of today’s posting.

Just a few miles north from where I live is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of Wednesday’s horrific shooting during which 17 young people were slaughtered. I can offer no more than anyone else my complete sympathy for the families who lost their children…and for the community that is faced with recovering from this tragedy and all that will involve. This latest incident is not a new experience for the citizens of this country.  And that is what needs to be addressed.

We have a terrible time in this country reacting to the concept of “enough is enough.” We almost become robotic in our adaptability to react and accept just about anything, even abhorrent behavior.   Every time we have a terrible incident, such as the shootings yesterday, we cry, we pray, we debate gun control and mental illness…and then we move on, accomplishing nothing that will help deal with the problem. That function is the responsibility of our elected representatives. In the past, and it even seems again today, they choose to do nothing in a country where it has been proven that the majority of citizens favor tighter control on gun purchases, the banning of assault weapons and greater support to our mental health facilities. These are things that most Americans want. They are things that most American politicians do not support. Why? Mostly because they receive funding and favors from the likes of the National Rifle Association. Without these they may not get reelected, a goal that seems to permeate the mindset of the majority of our elected officials these days vs. serving the country and the needs of its citizens.

Case in point—and now is the time I ask you to listen up! Here is a direct quote from Florida Senator Marco Rubio this morning after he was asked if now is not the time for something to be done about this epidemic of mass shootings in America. The Senator responded:

“It’s not. People don’t know how this happened, who this person is, what motivated him, how did he get the weapon that he used for this attack. I think it’s important to know all that before you jump to conclusions that there’s some law to pass that could have prevented this.”

Mr. Rubio is not a stupid man all the time. I have seen him when he is quite articulate. But for his statement this morning, how much more information and, more importantly, how many more children must be killed, before he is prepared enough to get beyond discussing and researching and move to implementing ways that will make it more difficult for a deranged person to purchase an assault weapon? Is that so incredibly hard to grasp? It has nothing to do with 2nd Amendment rights and has everything to do with sensibility. Senator Rubio received a substantial amount in campaign contributions from the NRA and its affiliates. Were any of the lives of 17 children killed yesterday worth any of those dollars?

The point is: It is time for US to act. This means that it is time for Senator Rubio to be voted out of office. It really is that simple. He does not represent us. Unfortunately, that cannot happen for a few more years until his current term runs out, but it should be active on all our to-do lists. Voting in people who will represent our interests is our responsibility and it’s time more of us accept it. We owe that much to those who risked their lives to found this great nation of, by and for the people…and now we especially owe it to our children.

MainBanner3

Posted in communication, Family, politics, Uncategorized, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

THE INJUSTICE OF A MILITARY PARADE

I am an angry American. I have never been this angry about my country’s leadership. When will this madness stop? When will we all come to our senses? Have we lost all direction; have we given up on what is right and what is wrong? I have never used my blog for this strong a statement and I hope I do not regret it.

When I was a little boy times were a lot different from today. World War II ended as I began. I was too young, by months, to be an official Baby Boomer and born too late to qualify for Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation. So I was designated a member of the Silent Generation. It was a throw-in label to which no one, including history, paid much mind let alone any tribute. We were the cold war kids; the ones in first grade who hid safely under our desks (what comedian Lewis Black refers to as kindling) in the event the Ruskies sent a nuclear-armed missile into our schoolyard.

The war was still very much on the minds of people as I toddled through the late 1940s and youngster’d the 1950’s. Back then, Memorial Day was not crassly designated for picnics and car sales. Not at all. Too many of our nation’s best had been killed in the war and grief was still very fresh. In fact, as I remember it, Memorial Day was a pretty solemn flag-drapped day to memorialize those who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure presidents and prime ministers prevailed over dictators and tyrants.

One vision I strongly remember was the front-page photographs of my Weekly Reader during the first week of May every year. Pictured was the military parade in Moscow on May Day. There were the same poses every year. One of the wall above Lenin’s Grave from where Nikita Khrushchev and his buddies viewed their big parade. The other shots always featured goose-stepping soldiers, lots of statuesque missiles and long-snouted tanks. It was a huge display of military might.

No event like the Soviet Union’s May Day parade was ever held in America, at least to the vast extent the Russians would display their deadly power. No, instead we followed the Teddy Roosevelt’s decorum. We spoke softly and kept our big sticks back behind the silo doors. Besides, we didn’t need to prove anything to anybody…we already had.

Marching goose-steppers and rows of rolling artillery were always perceived as the toys played with by the bad guys—the bullies who needed to feed their ego and show off their highly pressed olive-drab linen and polished gunmetal so the rest of the world would be fearfully forewarned of their military superiority.

I was just a kid. I didn’t give it much thought other than it was always the countries America didn’t like that chose to have such parades. America, on the contrary, hung flags and lots of them. If we marched, it was with high-stepping drum majors leading peppy bands that played songs by John Phillip Sousa while enthusiastic young ladies kept time with pulsating pompoms. Indeed, our parades were always fun, entertaining …celebratory of good times and good things. If anything were “mighty” it was the feeling of pride of living in the greatest county on earth.   If we needed to show off our strength and fortitude we had John Wayne. What else would you possibly want!

But to hold a military parade with brigade after brigade of marching gun-toting soldiers and miles of rolling tanks and missiles and caissons, all with the intent of showing off to the world how big and strong, how impenetrable and massive, how formidable and deadly…how arrogant one’s country can be…well, that is for what Thomas Paine called the “summer soldier and sunshine patriot,” the would-be warriors and dim-witted demagogues. It is not for America. We honor our military, past and present, with more sophistication and dignity. We do not need them to be used as propaganda to bolster the braggadocio of our leaders. That’s belittling and beneath their great honor. Americans should be outraged. I for once will abandon my silent generation and stand up and shout: Mr. President, if you need to embellish your ego or prove your misguided machismo to the world, please, please do not commit the injustice of using one of our nation’s greatest assets to claim your narcissistic worth.

MainBanner3

Posted in communication, history, politics, SERIOUSLY, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ODE TO THE CELL PHONE

cellnut

It amazes me how cell phones have become the norm.

To me they’re nothing more than the perfect storm.

Nope, cell phones and me, we find it hard to get along.

Everything I attempt to do on them comes out wrong.

It seems more difficult than before just to keep up.

Every time I think I’ve got it, my files go corrupt.

All this new technology comes to me at too fast a rate.

There was a time I was savvy and was always up to date.

I’d be first with the newest rage, the latest state of the art.

Nowadays I’m totally lost even before I start.

When my phone rings, I’m never sure exactly what to do.

Last time I pushed this, touched that and squeezed it too.

I hear the tone when I get a message so I know it’s there,

But I never get to read it despite looking for it everywhere.

There’s no consistency and nothing’s intuitive that I can dig.

Which reminds me, whatever happened to WYSIWYG?

Another day with my old phone would’ve driven me to booze.

So I got a new one they said would be so much easier to use.

Well they were wrong. It’s even worse than the one before.

Somehow I see myself eventually chucking it out the door.

You can have all these techy new phones; they’re just not my thing.

If you ask me I’d rather go back to using two cans and a string!

MainBanner3

 

Posted in communication, media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FACING FACEBOOK

SOCIALMED2

I will preface this posting by saying I think Facebook is one of the “star elements” in these early years of the Internet.  It has given everyday folks like you and me a place to come chat, exchange ideas and information, meet other people and basically have a free, free-wheeling communications channel with the world.  How much you choose to participate is totally up to you.  Facebook, overall, is great BUT….

Every once in a while l get this false sense of responsibility that because I have a “Marc Kuhn Author” page on Facebook I should make its appearance worthy and representative of my impeccable standards…after all, it does represent me and the books I have written. Usually, this sensation of angst gnaws at me for a day or so. Then, I discard it and move on with my life, my Facebook page left in the cyber dust to fend for itself.

Here’s the problem: Either the nerdy techy designers at FB have no idea how to set up a web page and make it intuitive for users to input their materials, or my senility has eaten away at two/thirds of my brain and I should not even be allowed to cross the street by myself let along attempt to understand the ways of Facebook.

I have tried several times to neatin’ up my Facebook author page, at least making an effort to have it appear presentable. But every time—evvvvvvery time—that I attempt to do this, I get this incredibly compulsive need to rush off to the Fort Lauderdale Airport, purchase a one-way ticket to New York, board a plane and immediately upon my arrival at LaGuardia I grab a cab to the Empire State Building. There, I make my way up to the highest observation platform, climb over whatever barrier it has and then take the giant leap into the air and enjoy my descent to the final spat on the sidewalk below. Thank you Facebook.

Now, as if I am not desperate enough, my overseers at Facebook notified me that if  don’t show some activity on my author page they will assume I have abandoned the space and will turn it over to a consortium of chimpanzees. So, recently I bit the petunia and spent time attempting to make sense of a page that FB has purposely made confusing, disjointed and dysfunctional just because they like it when I talk about booking a trip to the Big Apple.

True, I was able to accomplish the placement of some new materials on the page, but not always exactly where I want them or at the size I prefer. There’s also some redundancy that I couldn’t figure out how to do away with without doing away with everything…there is no such thing as picking and choosing on FB. Oh yeah, they added a few items too that I don’t want added, but whatever FB wants, it seems to get. Thank you FB.

What happens next, my dear friends and associates, is not my doing. You may or may not be pestered to hell by FB to come look at my new page. I have tried to take measures to ensure this does not happen but with FB anything is possible. Their main tactic in getting you to see changes I have made to my page will be to annoy the crap out of you with pictures from my page and constant beggings to go see it. I apologize. I regret you may have to go through this.  With luck, it is unlikely that my little FB page will be much of a nuisance to you, if at all, but I can help you deal with any frustration you may experience…I know just the right observation deck on the Empire State Building. In the meantime, if you are the least bit curious about the page all you have to do is search “marc kuhn author” and it should open for all to see.

MainBanner3

Posted in communication, creativity, WRITING | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment