Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blog #121: An Early Ragged Post

Happy New Year!

Our New Year’s wish. A world where a loving display of affection like this would bring joy to our hearts, and not fire breathing district attorneys coming out of the woodwork charging sexual abuse. – photo from

NOTE: This morning my iMac computer was shut off instead of merely sleeping. This happened recently for several days in a row. I have Apple Care for my computer, but it runs out on Jan. 9, 2010. I called Apple Care, and they made an appointment for me to bring in the computer at 3 p.m, Thursday, New Years Eve. Because I am not sure when I will get my computer back I decided to go ahead and post this Saturday’s edition of Little Eddy today, ahead of time. It is not really very complete, but I figure it is better than having nothing posted if Saturday comes and my machine is still in the Apple Store. Cheers! TRLE.

A Cheer for This, a Rant for That!

Well, what do you know? Another entire year bites the dust, as it were. Will someone please tell me where they all go? And exoikain to me why at my age they pass so fast? Well, come to think of it I guess they are doing me a favor passing so fast.

When I was younger the New Year was always filled with frustration. Another year gone by, and still I hadn’t done what I wished to do. Alcohol was the beverage of choice to see us through the night.

Nowadays, that’s all by the boards. We have a more realistic outlook on things. Ambitions are a thing of the past. Our main purpose these days is to stay alive. And while we’re at it, to keep writing our little blog, which is our way of creatively passing the days.

Speaking of creativity, how about that John Lennon? Sure the man was saddled with a conscience the size of the Grand Canyon. But he sure knew the craft of weaving a spell with words, and then setting it to music which was completely unique and distinctive, and yet which you could swear you’d known all of your life.

Christmas was a week ago yesterday. New Year’s Day is today. A good time to print Lennon’s tiny masterpiece of a Christmas song, one which doesn’t forget the New Year, and which most especially, reminds us that “war is over, if we want it. War is over . . . now.”

John Lennon’s Christmas Song

So this is Christmas

And what have you done

Another year over

And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas

I hope you have fun

The near and the dear one

The old and the young

A very merry Christmas

And a happy New Year

Let's hope it's a good one

Without any fear

And so this is Christmas

For weak and for strong

For rich and the poor ones

The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas

For black and for white

For yellow and red ones

Let's stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas

And a happy New Year

Let's hope it's a good one

Without any fear

And so this is Christmas

And what have we done

Another year over

And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas

I hope you have fun

The near and the dear one

The old and the young

A very merry Christmas

And a happy New Year

Let's hope it's a good one

Without any fear

War is over over

If you want it

War is over


In the early days of the Apple Macintosh computer Steve Jobs had a unique choice of words to describe it: “Insanely great.” Lennon’s lyrics and tunes are like that. The idea of singing “war is over” as a round during the second half of the Christmas song was “insanely great,” or perhaps “devilishly ingenious” would be more inventive. Lennon was right, of course. Wars make absolutely no sense in spite of the stimulus to the economy they might make in their early stages. And primarily because wars must be paid for, and since World War II they haven’t been, they are a disaster in the making, ever lurking behind our faltering economy.

Franklin Roosevelt knew wars must be paid for. And we paid for World War II with War Bond Drives, rationing, doing without, etc. And we staffed the armed forces with a draft system which fairly drew our young men into the services. But he seems to have been the last president to do a Pay-As-You-Go war. Ever since then wars have been fought with volunteers, lifers, putting them out of the hands of the voting public, and each war since has been put on a credit card, to be paid by future generations. LBJ labeled this “guns and butter.” And these days the credit we are conducting the war with is being issued by the Chinese. Scary, isn’t it?

For God’s sake, someone sing Lennon’s Christmas Song to Barack Obama, especially emphasizing the “war is over, if you want it, now” part as a round. And you can encore it with “All we are asking, is give peace a chance.” One of the catchiest phrases ever woven by man or artist. Obama got himself elected on his opposition to our wars, but now like most every politician after he gets elected, Obama seems to have forgotten who sent him to the White House and why he was sent in the first place.§

A 2010 Version of the 3 Musketeers – photo from

What Was Big in 2009?

What was your most used products in 2009? The most life altering news event? Among those who left us who will you miss the most?

For me the most used computer programs in 2009 are in the order of their frequency of use: Pages, Apple’s excellent iWork word processing program. Next to that would be an add on called Copy/Paste, and more specifically its html clip archive (which allows you to insert common html tags with a click of the mouse.) Another necessary add on for the Mac’s OSX operating system is iKey, which allows you to open programs or initiate events with either a keyboard setting, or in a time sequence. For instance Apple allows me to automatically wake my computer up from sleep at the same time my alarm wakes me, at 6 a.m. Then at 6:10, at about the time I’m finishing up doing my morning blood sugar test, iKey automatically opens up the web browser Camino, and then opens the online edition of the Houston Chronicle. So that when I’m sitting at my iMac with my first cup of coffee, I am where I want to be, and I am two clicks away from the Rockets news in Sports. Which is how I like to start my day.

The Most Life Altering News Event

Our most recent life altering news event was the barely failed attempt by a Nigerian would be terrorist to blow up an airliner as it neared Detroit. The young man had a bomb hidden in his underwear, and only succeeded in burning his legs and we presume, his privates, as the bomb failed to explode, catching the young man on fire instead.

Of course, it turned out that there was warning from the young man’s father that he was turning into a radical and had dropped from sight, but this fact didn’t make it far enough up the intelligence chain to deny him a seat on the airplane.

And it certainly ramps up the degree of difficulty in determining who to allow to fly and who to deny. Probably ahead on the road to boarding a plane is a full body scan, plus not only examining a prospective airplane boarders shoes, but in cases where body scans arouse suspicions perhaps a full body search. In cases where it is the safety of the passengers matched against the privacy of the flyer, surely the former will take precedence.

What an ugly age we live in? High School students using automatic weapons on their fellow students and teachers. Individual gun toters mowing down patrons in MacDonalds or other fast food restaurants for no discernible reason.

And now we have religious motivated muslims attempting to bring down commercial airliners, after initially using them as a tool to cause the nonpareil destruction of the Twin Towers in N.Y. City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Is there no limit to the damage our species can inflict on our fellow man?

The state of the nation as we prepare to enter 2010 is truly frightening. If there is truly a God running all things on our earth, where the hell is he? Why isn’t he minding the store? Unfortunately too many of those minding the store have more than a few screws loose and rattling around inside their craniums. The problem is not Gods? The problem is our problem. We have to stop killing our fellow human beings while fooling ourselves that we are doing God’s work.

Ah, for the good old days of yesteryear, where executions happened on an individual basis, and friend or enemy alike were not focused on bringing down an airliner’s load of people. – Photo from

As the old year bowed out, the Houston Rockets faced their Texas rival, the Dallas Mavericks. The first time in Dallas the Mavericks whipped Houston solidly,, and they pulled a repeat the second time the teams met in Houston. But Houston won the third game soundly in Dallas. At they prepare to face Dallas the Rockets confound the league. At the beginning of the season TNT pundit Charles Barkley declared Houston the worst team in the West. But the Rockets didn’t listen to Sir Charles, and as a result this team without stars (Yao Ming down for the season with a foot injury, Tracy McGrady coming back from microsurgery on his left knee. Yao Ming will likely stay with the team in the 2010-11 season, but McGrady, who wasn’t able to increase his eight minutes playing time, is seeking a trade.

This is the team that two nights ago whipped the New Orleans Hornets in spite of David West’s 44 points and point guard Chris Paul’s tripple double. Tonight the Rockets face Dallas, and we’ll see who closes out the year with a win.

No Camp Memories in Today’s Abbreviated Post

Unfortunately there was no time to add any memories from Children’s Camps in this weeks post. Depending on when I get my iMac back I will add it to this post during the week. Meantime, as the old year rolls away and the new one looms ahead, I guess this is our last chance to wish you a happy 2010. Bye now.

Add Note: I got a call from the Apple Store. My iMac is full of roach leavings, and they can't work on it until it gets cleaned out. I went to pick it up, and I've got it on the internet now, but I will have to clean it out and return it to them so that they can install the new power supply. And there is a rush on this, for Apple Care runs out on January 10th, and after that no free service. Sorry there's no camp memories this week, and I'm afraid next week's Little Eddy will be another rushed one, unless I can get it back cleaned out on Monday, and they can fix it by Tuesday. So wish me luck on this.

The Real Little Eddy §

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Blog #120: Why Republicans Lock Step Against Health Care Reform

– ☯ –

Count My Vote!

Sen. Robert Byrd of W. Virginia – The supposed subject of Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma’s prayers for a Democrat to miss the vote on Health Care, Sen. Byrd high-fives the world after casting his vote. Down below we tell of the memo which explains the reasons for the Republican unswerving opposition to health care reform.

Obstructionism You Can Believe In?

The Democrats managed to pull off that first Health Care vote, 60 to 40. So far so good. The Republicans are praying for one Democratic defection, or a misfortune which could cause a Senator to miss the vote. But so far nothing doing.

Washington is a complete mess these days. Republicans, although they won’t admit it, are voting en masse against Obama not on the relative merits of the legislation, but because they think defeating Obama sponsored legislation will improve their own political chances in 2010 and especially 2012. It seems they can’t stand being out of power, although the way they governed during the preceding eight years should keep them in exile for a lifetime.

Will it? Who knows, public support shifts like the tides. Obama’s 57% approval ratings of a couple of months ago has now slipped below 50%. However if you compare this to other presidents with a similar time in office, Obama probably still ranks above most if not all of them.

If there is one thing you thought you could count on Republicans supporting, it is the nation’s armed forces. Their support for America’s wars, and particularly ones they started, stands there right next to God and the Constitution. And yet, the GOP is so focused on delaying the Obama Health Care Reform initiative, if not killing it outright, that they attempted to sidetrack funding for the Pentagon’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, forcing the Democrats to call forth their 60-40 majority to prevent filibustering against a bill funding of the war. It truly is anything to delay Health Care.

The reasoning behind the Republican’s lock step “NO” voting came out of obscurity in Eric Alterman’s incisive piece published Christmas morning in The Daily Beast which you can read in its entirety here! The piece points to a 4 page 1993 memo written by a then unknown political consultant named William Kristol, warning Republican leaders of the dangers of letting a Democratic president reform the nation’s health care system.

The thrust of the memo’s argument was clear and unapologetic: Republicans must resist health-care reform lest its success be allowed to “revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining the growth of government.” Today’s GOP’ers are obviously swallowing that line hook, line and sinker.

As Republicans scream and holler at the exploding national debt they make no apologies for the programs that were passed but unfunded on their watch, the two wars, the seniors prescription drug program, etc.. Six years ago, “it was standard practice not to pay for things,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “We were concerned about it, because it certainly added to the deficit, no question.” His 2003 vote has been vindicated, Hatch said, because the prescription drug benefit “has done a lot of good.” As for the CBO report that the Senate’s Health Care Reform bill will pay for itself in the long run, GOPer’s just don’t believe it.

What does our personal crystal ball say the future will hold for this GOP policy of delay and disruption? We freely admit that the crystal our ball is made of is fatally flawed with a future not seen through a prism of information and knowledge but through one of dreams and wishful thinking. And so we turn to the predictions of experts like Nobel Economics Prize Winner Paul Krugman, whose N.Y. Times’ predictions are anchored in scholarship and knowledge.

Krugman has predicted that if the economy continues on the turnaround it seems to be beginning, and if Health Care Reform, if finally turned into law, begins to show some signs of curbing the Insurance Companies’ raising of their rates and dropping payees for “pre-existing conditions,” the Democrats should do alright in their quest for reelection in 2010, and ditto for the President’s reelection in 2012. A lot will depend on the employment rate. If it is dropping by a comfortable margin for Democrats all will be well.

What about the forces on the Democratic left (like former Democratic Party Chairman and physician, Howard Dean, who wrote in an Op Ed piece calling for Democrats to scrap the legislation altogether and start from scratch, in hopes of getting it right?) Cooler heads have pointed out that the Democrats have come closer to passing Health Care Reform than ever before in history, after noting that every Democratic President since Harry Truman and more than one Republican has tried to get health care and failed.

They also remind us that correcting omissions in the future would be far easier than starting over from scratch, and that killing the present bill is exactly what the Republicans are so desperately advocating. And fortunately for the American people, the Democratic Senators have held the line, rather than following Dean’s advice. One in the hand is worth two . . ., well, you get the idea.

And what about those Tea Party types who are noisily trying to dominate the landscape these days? They represent all kinds of deviates, some of whom you might quietly approve of, others you wouldn’t want to touch with the proverbial ten foot pole. But most all Tea Party types are screaming “NO!” at the top of their libertarian lungs, and they seem to be directing their messages to both Democrats and Republicans alike. Their message, “A pox on both your houses!” So much for fringe benefits.

No matter what comes along by way of distractions, our thoughts return to that 1993 William Kristol memo urging Republicans to resist Health Care Reform at all costs. Isn’t it interesting how little some things change, the difference between what Clinton faced in 1993 and Obama these days is that wafer thin Democrat 60-40 majority in the Senate which gives Obama a real chance to accomplish what Bill Clinton could not? It is instructive to realize the reasoning behind the passionate GOP wish for Health Care Reform to fail. In the interests of the tax payers of this country, we repeat our hopes for its continued success.§

– ☯ –

The Borowitz Report

NORTH POLE (The Borowitz Report) - The Central Intelligence Agency confirmed reports today that an unmanned predator drone accidentally hit Santa Claus' sleigh on Christmas Eve, killing Santa Claus and injuring an undetermined number of reindeer.

The CIA drone, which was intended to kill an al-Qaeda operative located in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, went off course and targeted Claus instead.

A CIA spokesperson said the agency was still trying to sort out what, exactly, sent the predator off course, but offered one theory: "It's conceivable that it was thrown off by the beard."

(To sign up to have the Borowitz Report delivered to your very own email box, go here!)§

Inspirational Picture of the Week!

A Father and Son Reunion

David Goldman and son Sean – finally reunited

– ☯ –

An Apple Tablet in Our Future?

On Christmas Eve morning the Tech World was awash with articles speculating about Apple’s rumored Tablet computer. No less than four stories led up news aggregating service TechMeMe’s coverage on the day. Rumors of an impending Tablet have been circulating for years, but the crescendo has been rising markedly lately, climaxing with the announcement that Apple will be hosting an event in January. In a blog post David Gelles reports:

Apple has something big up its sleeve for next month. The company has rented a stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco for several days in late January, according to people familiar with the plans.

Apple is expected to use the venue to make a major product announcement on Tuesday, January 26th. Both YBCA and Apple declined to comment. The company most recently used the YBCA stage in September, when chief executive Steve Jobs made his first public appearance after a medical leave and showed off new iPods.

Another story from AppleInsider website reports on a recent Apple patent on a tactile keyboard:

Apple's forthcoming tablet could employ a dynamic surface that gives users tactile feedback when typing in order to identify individual keys, according to a new patent application revealed this week.

Using an "articulating frame," the surface of such a device would create physical bumps or dots for the user to feel when it is in keyboard mode. Those surface features would retract and disappear when the device is not being used to type. It is detailed in an application entitled "Keystroke Tactility Arrangement on a Smooth Touch Surface." It is similar to an application first filed back in 2007.

Could this be the Apple Tablet? Probably not!

The Bits column of the New York Times calls 2010 “The Year of the Tablet, pointing out that two major magazines have designed issues to be made available digitally, with a primary source being a tablet computer, again with Apple’s entry into the field being highlighted.

Publishers made 2009 the year of the concept newspaper and magazine. Time Inc. teamed up with a design company, the Wonder Factory, to create a fun concept video of the Sports Illustrated of the future. Then there was another concept video from the Bonnier Group, a Swedish media company, which went a step further and moved the words and images off a screen and onto a table, allowing you to flick, drag and scroll in thin air.

There is, however, one problem with all of these wonderful and creative mock-ups: After you watch the videos and imagine what a device like this might offer, you are left with nothing more than a memory of a fancy concept. Yes, they are beautifully presented, but they are mostly pie-in-the-sky ideas. Until someone actually creates the hardware to run these experiences, concepts like that in the Bonnier Group video are about as realistic as those in a video about time travel or flying cars.

A lot of the concept videos and mock-ups floating around the Web can be likened to publishers sounding a mating call to Apple. They want a device. And although laptop and mobile manufacturers like Dell, Sony and Hewlett-Packard have long known about the consumer yearnings for such a product, they seem to be waiting for Apple to innovate and change the way we read magazines, newspapers, blogs and books.

Like almost all the people covering technology, I have no doubt that Apple will release a tabletlike device in 2010; there are too many signs that point in this direction. Let’s put all the rumors aside for a moment and look at the facts. There’s the endless chain of patents, as Brad Stone reported in The New York Times in late September on the rehiring of Michael Tchao, who worked on the Apple Newton. I’ve had many discussions with publishers and content creators that sustain my suspicions.

And finally Jessica Mintz of the Associated Press reports that Apple CEO Steve Jobs took his usual $1 a year salary this year. “Jobs does not get a bonus or reimbursement for perks many other CEOs accept, such as personal security, according to a regulatory filing made Wednesday. Apple said it reimbursed Jobs $4,000 for company travel on his $90 million Gulfstream V jet, which he received as a bonus in 1999. Jobs, 54, holds 5.5 million shares of Apple's stock. He has not sold any shares since he rejoined the company in 1997, nor has he been awarded any new equity since 2003. Thanks to the sale of his movie animation studio Pixar Jobs is also the largest individual shareholder of The Walt Disney Co. His 7.4 percent stake is currently worth about $4.5 billion.”

All of that, plus his winning of CEO of the decade as awarded by Fortune Magazine, and probably best of all, his receipt of a new liver, certainly seems to put Jobs on track for a most Happy New Year. And along with Jobs, might we wish all of you out there a belated Merry Christmas, and the Happiest of New Years.§

– ☯ –

A Perfect Storm of a Scam?

How is this for a Scam?

In Friday’s mail I get a letter from one Susan Cromwell, 457-118 West Pender St., Vancouver, BC V 6R 2H4. It contained a letter from the International Jewish Lawyers association and a Cashier’s Check from the Conway National Bank of South Carolina. The check was for $3,975.00.

The letter informed me that I was entered in the annual GLOBAL DRAW, sponsored by MasterCard, Visa, Interac, American Express, and the American Bankers Association. The letter informs me that my ticket #26840-57 drew the lucky numbers 65-43-89-19-35 and had won a prize of $250,069.00. The letter further explains that the check mentioned above is part of my winnings and has been sent to me from our affiliate sponsor to cover International Federal taxes on my funds.

The letter ends by saying (in bold type) You are hereby required to contact assigned attorneys from the International Jewish Lawyers Association : Arthur Herrington, Michael Adams or Barbara Finch at Toll free 1-778-318-5120 or 1-604-715-6892 to activate your claim before you deposit your check in the bank, this is important.

It ends with: Congratulations, and we look forward to hearing from you.

I entered no such contest. My son Joel advised me to Google all of the entities involved, to see if any indication of a scam came up. I did. I Googled Conway National Bank, Google reports: A 5-Star Rated South Carolina Bank. Locally owned and managed institution providing banking and financial services to individuals and small businesses.

Next came The International Jewish Lawyers association: Google said: IAJLJ - The International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists A democratic organization dedicated to the precepts of Judaism and the rule of law.

Of Arthur Herrington lawyer, Google had nothing. Michael Adams – a lot of names came up after Googling, nothing to indicate which one is the one referenced in the letter. Barbara Finch, the same, several names came up, but nothing to indicate which one is the one referred to in the letter.

I faxed a copy of the letter and check to my lawyer in Louisiana, Tom Acosta, and he told me to forget it. He said the International Jewish Lawyers Association must have joined the Liberian Scammers Association.

And so, whoever you might be: If you are legitimate send me the money poste haste! If not, shame on you, trying to scam an old man, and probably drain what’s left of his bank account dry. The letter and check look authentic as hell. Tell me, fellas, if I had called and given you my banking information would you have drained my account dry?

We aired this dirty laundry here in the blog in the fond hope that if any of you out there get caught up in this kind of scam, that you might think long and hard before you take any action they might suggest, and if you have a lawyer, consult him. And above all, don’t call the people listed in the letter except on your lawyer’s advice. Following our advice just might save what’s left in your bank account.§

– ☯ –

More Weekly Camp Memories

Each week in one corner of this blog I recall memories of my many years working in children’s camps in New England. Primarily my memories revolve around two Children’s Camps, Camp Killooleet in Hancock, Vermont, and Blueberry Cove Camp, at Tenants Harbor, Maine. Killooleet is still active, and is being run by Kate Seeger, the daughter of John and Eleanor Seeger, the Dalton teachers who bought the camp from the original founder, Dalton teacher Margaret Bartlett.

The Seegers of Killooleet: John Seeger (left), Kate Seeger, and Tony Seeger

Eleanor Seeger died in 2003, and a website noting that event shows many of the people who have been associated with the camp over the years. In addition to John Seeger (left pictured above), these days aged 95, are his children, Kate Seeger and Tony Seeger.

Below them are photographs of counselors who have been at the camp for many years. Three of them, Pete DalNegro, George Ward, and Tom Perera I remember as counselors when I worked there. George is shown playing his guitar, which he did with proficiency and enthusiasm back when I was a counselor. Pete DalNegro was one of the most level headed counselors I knew and shared a bunk of campers with. You know how they say some people have it and some do not. Well, Pete had it in spades. And I ended up learning a lot working with Pete.

Tom Perera, who as best I remember attended camp first as a camper, and then as a counselor, has been one of the most loyal supporters of the camp over the years, including his sponsorship of the website which honors Ellie Seeger’s memory.

From my years there I remember the youthful Tom Perera as having been a gun enthusiast, who used to hone his rifle bourn skills by shooting at rats at the Hancock, Vt. garbage dump. He and another camper would flush out the rats from a distance by turning a bright light on them, and then firing wherever they saw dark motion.

The most memorable co-counselor I remember from Killooleet was named Val (I can’t remember his last name). Val was the exact opposite of me, he was an actual football player from Columbia University (I didn’t realize Columbia even had a football program, I thought it was mired in academia.) I don’t remember what position Val played on the Columbia team. But he was a true enthusiast of the sport, and used to frequently try and promote early evening games with the fourteen 14 year olds in our cabin. One evening we gave in and took him up on his suggestion of a game. To get two teams we split the cabin down the middle, with Val playing on one side, and me, a most unlikely football player, on the other.

Val truly loved the sport, and I’ll never forget that time he talked us into that early evening game. His team had the ball, there was this gibberish of random numbers counting followed by the word “hike.” I looked up and there was Val, ball tucked underneath his arm like an Anne Boleyn come to life, charging our line like an out of control runaway railroad engine.

The look on his face was priceless, he was snorting like you would imagine a charging bull snorting. Needless to say those of us defending our front line were understandably intimidated. We exchanged looks of surprise, perhaps “shock” would be a more appropriate choice of a word, then as a person we gracefully and spontaneously melted to one side or the other, offering Val an unimpeded pathway to his imaginary goal line.

I believe that was the last football game we played, as the team was obviously unbalanced, and none of us, least of all me, had any desire to try and stop Val’s dedicated race to the goal line. It would have been like a person of my decidedly unprofessional abilities being matched with a Chess Champion with the skill of Garry Kasparov.

– ☯ –

Barefoot Trekking to the Lake

One Step at a Time

One of our favorite after dark activities at Killooleet was skinnydiping. This would take place several nights a week. The boys in our cabin would make our way along a wooded path to a clearing by the lake where we would strip, then dive in. Then it was about an hour of cold, wet, bare fun as just as good old mother nature had intended.

For some unexplained reason I thought it would be a challenge to make the trek through the pitch black woods without benefit of a flashlight. I took a light with me, but didn’t turn it on until we made it to the clearing at the lake. Since it was dark and the path led through a section of woods, sight was out of the question.

I would further spice up the trip by going barefoot, while keeping my flashlight off. Walking barefoot required that I think with my feet, absolutely necessary to keep from stubbing a toe or otherwise damaging one or both of my feet. The boys joined me in enthusiasm for the adventure, and our entire group would carefully plod our way along the pitch black path through the woods. No one ever got hurt doing this because each of us had to take it slow, one step at a time. It required that you carefully test each foot before putting your weight on it, undoubtedly forcing each of us to think carefully about each step we took.

When I told John Seeger about it later he was less than enthusiastic. Always the conscientious camp director he saw such an activity primarily as a sure way to injure a camper or counselor. However, the fact that our group used this technique many times during that summer without anyone getting injured would seem to uphold my opinion that taking such a walk barefoot and in pitch blackness meant that we each had to take it slow and deliberately, and that meant thinking carefully about what would have otherwise been something not requiring a great deal of thought.

Attending a Camp Convention

One year when I was working for Folkways Records I was paid to represent the company at a Children’s Camp Convention in Washington, D.C. I had two Folkways Records relating to camp life out at the time, Songs of Camp and Sounds of Camp and Moe Asch wanted to test the waters and see if there was any interest in them in the children’s camp community.

Attending that convention was a real revelation. Talking with several camp directors I realized that the camps they were describing were much more traditional than the two I worked for. Their songs were more in the tradition of Bicycle Built for Two and Stephen Foster type songs. And their activities seemed to me far less imaginative.

Thinking back after talking with those camp leaders I suddenly realized how I had lucked out, having the chance to work for not one, but two of the finest camps in New England. Camps that had traditions, but weren’t mired in them. Camps that were centered in the guidance of the campers, but in a creative way which allowed for natural development, rather than emulation.

Of course, nature itself can be a deal breaker, as some natural phenomenon or other might take out your lake, or in some other way damage one or more of your buildings. Life is a challenge, no matter what. But campers who went through both camps still return many years later to camp reunions. And some still keep in touch with other campers and counselors.

It seems to me children and counselors have a more intense experience at sleep away camps than at day camps. The experience allows camper and counselor alike to share rich experiences and establish close relationships. As a child in Houston, I never had a chance for such an experience. Once in Junior High School I was recruited by my gym teacher for a basketball camp he ran, but for whatever reason my parents passed on it.

I was glad that my own sons got a taste of camp life. They were too young to be actual campers at Blueberry Cove, but they got to go on certain trips, and I’m sure they have memories which they retain till this day. And as you can tell if you read this blog, my own camp memories keep rolling along.§

– ☯ –

Finally, Santa’s Perfect Gift for the Office

From Seattle’s Tech Flash: We've been intrigued this year with the ChefStack, the $3,500 automatic pancake machine. We even named nominated the Seattle startup for The Flashies in "Craziest Tech Idea of the Year" category, where it is currently leading in votes.

But what's the device really like? WhatCounts -- a Seattle e-mail marketing company led by David Geller – recently found out when it installed the system at its offices. You can see the device in all its glory in this video.

˜ † ˜

– ☯ –

Maybe Santa will bring your office a pancake machine like that. In any case our Christmas week blog has run out of steam. We’ll try pumping it up again next week, with maybe a memory or two from good old 2009 thrown in.

Can you believe another year has rolled around? I have decided that’s the real secret of age. When you’re young time just drags on. When you’re old each week seems to rush faster than the one before.

Ah, well, enough of this two-bit philosophizing. We’ll be back next week, and we promise not to overindulge. Well, not too much maybe. So if you get a chance, surf your way back, same old URL, any day of the week. Until then don’t take any wooden Republicans. Be sure to let sleeping Republicans lie, and lying Republicans sleep. Bye now.§

The Real Little Eddy §

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blog # 119: The Merry Go Round Breaks Down?

– ☯ –

Welcome to the Monkey House

Senate Health Care Bill Have You Confused?

The Borowitz Report Makes it Perfectly Clear

˜ † ˜

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - The United States Senate today unveiled details of its health care plan, tentatively called CompromiseCareTM:

* Under CompromiseCareTM, people with no coverage will be allowed to keep their current plan.

* Medicare will be extended to 55-year-olds as soon as they turn 65.

* You will have access to cheap Canadian drugs if you live in Canada.

* States whose names contain vowels will be allowed to opt out of the plan.

* You get to choose which doctor you cannot afford to see.

* You will not have to be pre-certified to qualify for cremation.

* A patient will be considered "pre-existing" if he or she already exists.

* You'll be free to choose between medications and heating fuel.

* Patients can access quality health care if they can prove their name is "Lieberman."

* You will have access to natural remedies, such as death.

(To sign up to have the Borowitz Report delivered to your very own email box, go here!)§

Bits and Pieces

Andrea Mitchell

One of the more compelling hours of cable news is Andrea Mitchell Reports, which comes on weekdays at noon, CST, on msnbc. Mitchell, the long time NBC news correspondent, has an excellent array of guests on her program. On Wednesday she had Republican Party head Michael Steele to represent the GOP point of view, and Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia to represent the Democratic side as they discussed the Senate’s Health Care legislation.

As you can well imagine, Steele, our modern day reincarnation of Uncle Tom, spouted the usual Repugnant line about the bill being too expensive. He once again reported that in spite of the bill’s having been neutered by the likes of Joe Lieberman, Republicans to a man will continue their fight to keep the legislation from coming to a vote. One Senator is requiring that the Senate Clerk read all 797 pages of the bill out loud before any amendments can be added to it. As you might expect, Steele had not one of word sympathy for people who have been paying into the system only to have their health care terminated upon their getting ill and needing assistance.

Even though his public option is no longer in the bill, in direct contrast with Steele, Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia defended what is left of the bill against the likes of former presidential candidate and physician Howard Dean, who had urged the Senators to vote against it. He defended the bill for what it will do, among other things, it will force insurance to spend up to 90% of the money it takes in on the health care of its members thereby preventing the companies from dropping their members when they get sick and begin to require care which seems to be common practice these days.

Senator Rockefeller expressed his genuine concern for the people of his state currently without health care insurance, whose welfare will be improved by the bill. Mr. Steele’s concerns obviously are with the insurance companies fighting for the status quo, and their dividend loving stockholders.§

– ☯ –

Joltin’ Joe Disses Health Care

What a scene is Washington these days. Jolting Joe Lieberman, Independent senator from Connecticut, has been visibly auditioning for the role of the Grinch that stole Health Care. However, by the week’s end word has filtered out that after killing both the Public Option, which would have put some kind of competition into the insurance market, and also the option he espoused a few weeks ago which would have allowed people 55 and over to qualify for Medicare, the Joltin’ One has become number 59 on the roll call to pass the Senate’s version of the bill. Which at this point leaves only Senator Ben Nelson spraying his number one on Sen. Reid’s and Obama’s Health Care Parade.§

Senator Ben Nelson

˜ † ˜

Harry Reid Reminds All What GOP Stands For

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid stoked Republicans to the boiling point with his observations the other day that Republicans had opposed everything from the Abolition of Slavery, to the establishment of Social Security, to the Civil Rights Act, to the establishment of Medicare. GOP sympathizers accused Reid of being outrageously combative, but there was one point they overlooked.

What they don’t point out is that Reid was 100 % correct on every point he made. Notice, that they didn’t bother to deny any of Reid’s allegations. Their lock step opposition to the dems Health Care was just one more in a long line of oppositions to legislation which Republicans have vehemently opposed, legislation which would actually be of benefit to the taxpaying public.§

Senator Harry Reid

˜ † ˜

Google is On the Phone

Google’s announcement over the weekend that they will come out with a cellphone of their very own, the Nexus One, answered the question that the tech community had been asking ever since the gigantic Search Engine Company announced it was building an operating system for mobile phones.

At first they claimed they would only develop phones for interested manufacturers, and would have no part in the selling of their Android machines themselves. But in last weekend’s announcement that declared that many of their employees were testing the Nexus One device, and that it would go on sale to the public next year unattached to any particular carrier instantly catapulted the gigantic Search Engine company into the mobile phone business.

The Google Nexus One Phone

And unlike with Apple, whose iPhone users are wedded to ATT at least until 2010 when ATT’s exclusivity runs out, the Google phone will be compatible to all American carriers and buyers will get an unlocked phone which will enable them to make their own deals with the carrier of their choice.§

– ☯ –

Obama Makes Climate Change a National Security Issue

The Obama administration has injected a new argument into the need for climate change legislation in Congress. They are making it a national security issue. Both Hillary Clinton and certain retired generals are pointing out that the way global warming is continuing, it will surely threaten the nation’s security.

National security is an almost sure-fire way of getting controversial legislation passed. Dwight Eisenhower used national security as a major reason to build our nation’s Interstate Highway system, by making provisions that truck delivered missiles would get clearance in all Interstate overpasses. And in a postwar noted for its anti-Russian, anti-communist paranoia, the idea of quick mobile deployment of the nation’s missiles allowed the Government sponsored program to roll on through the Congress.§

– ☯ –

Both Players in N.Y. Governor’s Scandal Reemerge

Elliott Spitzer

Elliott Spitzer, the former N.Y. Governor forced to resign after word leaked that he had high priced sex with a Call Girl, began his rejuvenation with an Op. Ed. piece in the Washington Post and is now writing a regular column dedicated to the economy for Slate Magazine.§.

Ashley Dupre

Meantime, Ashley Dupre, the young lady for whom Spitzer was Client #9, has also resurfaced as a writer, writing a weekly advice column counseling on sex and relationships for the N.Y. Post. Here is her opinion on the Woods’ mistresses selling their stories and text messages to tabloids:

"Here you have all these girls accepting gifts, money, trips from Tiger in exchange for sex — all the while knowing he is married," she recently told the New York Post. "And now they all can’t wait to tell their stories in exchange for even more money from the tabloids? And I was the hooker? At least I kept my mouth shut."

We wish each of them much success in their new ventures.§

– ☯ –

Blu-Ray Sightings

Blu-Ray, whose player is finally dipping below the $100 level therefore making it what is known in the trade as an “impulse buy,” is becoming to come into its own, after an initial lack of interest on the part of the technology crowd. The new data disc holds much more data than the DVD disc is still being resisted by the public in general. One reason, its discs won’t play on car DVD and personal DVD players, so that despite their inherent higher quality, even Blu-Ray owners have been tending to buy their movies on DVD.

However, the content providers are sweetening the Blu-Ray pie. Hollywood — which is banking on the pricier Blu-ray discs to help lift sagging home video sales — is stepping up its efforts to win customers. Studios are packaging Blu-ray discs with regular versions on DVDs, and throwing in so-called "digital copies," which can play on computers and iPods. And late figures indicate that five out of ten movies bought these days, are on Blue-Ray discs.§

– ☯ –

More Camp Memories

As those of you who read this blog regularly already know, I spend 22 years of my life (and the best 22 years at that) working for three of the finest children’s summer camps in New England. The University Settlement Camp in Beacon, N.Y. was the first camp I worked for, and I was there for three summers before I left in a dispute over the way campers were disciplined. Next I spent six satisfying years at Camp Killooleet (named by original founder Margaret Bartlett for a bird call) in Hancock, Vermont, after which I spent the remainder of my counseling years at Blueberry Cove Camp, Tenants Harbor, Maine.

One of the most profound differences between Killooleet, the camp currently being run by Kate Seeger and her husband, and Blueberry Cove, which as a seven week camp is no more, but which is presently being brought back to life as a summer day camp, was its attitude towards their counselors. At Killooleet counselors night duty was restricted to their own cabin, although with each cabin having two counselors, it was possible for them to trade night duties so that counselors could have every other night off.

At Blueberry Cove, although each camper group of four had their own counselor, after the first few weeks counselors were allowed to shift night duty, choosing a different group from the one they originally been assigned to for putting to bed duties. This allowed counselors to get to know a wider range of children. And counselors were not restricted by gender. Male counselors frequently found it challenging to put female campers to bed, and vicc versa.

The policy was put into effect early in BBC’s history, under Henry and Bess Haskell’s direction, and it was a tradition we saw fit to continue when Ann Goldsmith, Bob Hellerson, and I took over the direction of the camp after Henry and Bess retired. We found that it was logical assumption that mixing genders would produce variety and interest on the part of both campers and counselors. We also felt that restricting bed duty to one’s own gender would be gender discrimination.

Personally, I found that system extremely broadening. I have two sons, but never had a chance to interact with girls in such an intimate manner until arriving at Blueberry Cove. That didn’t mean I chose girls over boys every time, not in the least. But I found it fun to be able to vary putting to bed responsibilities, and challenging to be able to learn to deal with little girl’s problems as well as those of little boys. And it seemed to me that the campers were as enthusiastic over the ever changing nighttime duties as were we counselors.§

˜ † ˜

Henry Haskell, a Dedicated Camp Leader

Henry Haskell was a most interesting and talented camp leader. Whereas the Seeger team at Killooleet were teachers in a leading progressive school in N.Y.C. (Dalton School), Henry and Bess had ties to another progressive N.Y.C. school (Town and Country). It seemed to me that Henry’s leadership qualities were mostly self taught. To Henry running a children’s camp was much more than simply a job, in his book it was truly a calling. Though touting no religion, he acted as a minister without portfolio to both the children, and most especially to the counselors who came under his wing.

For instance as I’ve told before, once the Surgeon General had decreed that cigarette smoking caused cancer and was a hazard to health, Henry began a relentless campaign to urge his counselors to quit smoking. And indeed, in my case it did finally work, although it took several years after their retirement before I finally quit smoking during the summer I took off from directing the Teen Camp I had been running. And I credit my being able to quit with the fact that I am presently still alive at age 83. And I directly credit this to Henry’s counsel. For every one of my contemporaries who had continued smoking has since died, most of them from lung cancer.

The Story of the Haskells’ Retirement

It is an interesting story as to what finally motivated the Haskells to retire from running Blueberry Cove. Age was a factor, of course, but mainly on Bess’s part, for Henry was 15 years younger than Bess, and he took the lion’s share of the responsibility for running camp. I had missed working there the summer of 1964 as my then wife Anne was giving birth to our older son, Daniel. When I returned in 1965 I was amazed at Henry Haskell’s complete change in attitude towards the extremely cold ocean water that BBC campers swam in.

I, and at least one other counselor had trouble over the years adjusting to the frigid temperature of Tenants Harbor’s ocean water. In former years we were encouraged to do the best we could in regards to swim period. And I did try my best, usually just managing to get to the required chest deep by the time the swimming period was over. Needless to say, I was no help at all to the swimming program, and since my discomfort was highly transparent to both campers and counselors alike, I was obviously a detriment to the entire swimming program. Fortunately for me it was a failing that Henry chose to overlook.

However, upon returning to BBC in 1965 after taking ’64 off, I was very surprised to find a complete change of attitude towards the water by Henry. At the beginning of the first swim period that summer Henry explained to the campers that certain counselors (like myself) who had grown up swimming in southern waters, had a terribly hard time swimming in Tenants Harbor’s cold ocean waters, and consequently he was going to excuse us from the mandatory requirement of going in at least to shoulder length each swim period. Human nature being what it is, I kind of missed not having to go in at the daily swim period, though my body screamed its cheers at being excused from the responsibility.

This was to be a season of further surprises. It seems that Henry and Bess had decided to retire from running the camp, and they proceeded to make arrangements for Ann Goldsmith to be the primary director of Blueberry Cove, and with long time camper and businessman Bob Hellerson and I to be partners in the endeavor. Bob would work primarily with the practical side of running the camp, and I would help with winter recruiting as well as to work in camp as associate director and trip counselor. It was near the end of that summer of 1965 that Henry finally explained to me the real reason behind both his change of attitude about the water and his and Bess’ decision to retire.

In order for you to understand it fully I need to explain that Henry was an avid sailing aficionado with his own 22' sailing vessel that he had named Blythe Spirit (probably named after the British film of the same name, starring Rex Harrison). One day towards the end of the summer of ‘65 Henry took me aside and explained that after the camp had ended the summer of ‘64 he had gone out sailing by himself, and somehow had found himself in the water.

He told me of being in the water for 28 minutes before he finally managed to extricate himself. He explained that he had come as near to death as he had ever wanted to be, and that afterwards for the first time in his long career he could not face going into the water himself at swim periods. Therefore the announcement before swim period excusing the two of us from having to go into the water. And he further explained that as his personal code of ethics would not permit him to urge campers into the water if he, himself, was no longer willing to go in, he and Bessie had come up with their plan to recruit the three of us to take over the running of camp so that they could retire and leave the future of the camp in our hands.

It was a shocking situation. I for one could not imagine the camp without Henry’s leadership. However, Ann, Bob and I had several meetings to discuss the Haskell’s offer, and in the end, not surprisingly, we decided to take on the responsibility. Thus in the summer of 1966 began the Goldsmith, Hellerson, Badeaux era of Blueberry Cove Camp.

And so began the GHB era of Blueberry Cove, which was quite an adventure for us and which I will go into in greater detail as we go on further down the road.§

– ☯ –

An so another edition of the good ship LEB sails off into another sunset, or dawn, or somewhere in between, depending on what time you are reading this. We try to be creative with this, and as we get closer to making it interesting we seem to attract more hits to our page counter which comes up if you hit your page down key.

We will get back to work the minute Monday rolls around once again. We do look forward to your visit and hope you find your way back next week. We upload our blog on Saturday mornings, usually around 8 am Central time, and keep it up until the following Saturday. Sometimes when something really timely comes in, we might update it during the week. Meantime, have the best kind of week. We hope to. Bye, bye.

The Real Little Eddy Ω

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Blog #118: Obama's Prize, SNL, Amanda's dungeon

– ☯ –

Obama Receives his Nobel

Scanpix Norway – AP Photo

President Obama accepted his Nobel medal and $1.4 million winnings in Oslo Thursday "with deep gratitude and humility." In his address to the assemblage he added that the "hard truth" is that war can be necessary to achieve peace.

He also acknowledged the controversy surrounding his win, with critics saying a wartime president just months into his administration doesn't deserve the medal, by modestly pointing out that his accomplishments are "slight" compared to other prize recipients.

Obama said that that the most "profound" issue surrounding his win is that he's the head of a country in the midst of two wars, adding that because of this "I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict — filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace."

Obama scored big on his acceptance speech, even among his political enemies. It drew praise from conservatives the likes of Pat Buchanan, Sarah Palin, and even that near fossilized Gingrich named Newt. It had a difficulty mark as high as any speech since his presidency, pointing out the irony that he, a war time president presiding over two wars, should be given a “peace” prize in his first year in office. Comment from virtually all sides called it “a very presidential speech.” It made us at the Little Eddy Blog feel proud that our country is being represented by a man who can think, reason, and articulate his position with such clarity and preciseness.§

– ☯ –

President #43, George W. Bush, clowns it up while driving the national debt to unfathomable heights. – Photo from

GOP – The Party of No!

Isn’t it interesting how the Republican Party as a unit was unflinching as Bush/Cheney proceeded to outspend every previous administration combined during their 8 year reign, and yet they screech and holler every time President Obama wants to spend a nickel to help right the economy they caused to crash.

Well, maybe more than a few nickels are involved here, but it’s important to listen to the economists, not Republicans. How did the Republicans manage to do it? They did it by spending money outrageously, primarily by fighting two wars without paying for them after giving generous tax cuts to the very wealthy. That is what got us into this mess in the first place.

And the economic collapse came during Bush/Cheney’s last year, not Obama’s first. And by screaming NO! NO! NO! to every measure Obama comes up with in his attempt to right the ship of State, it would seem the GOP’s intention is to keep us mired in a permanent state of chaos. Perhaps in the fond hope that they might profit from it politically in the upcoming elections of 2010 and 2012?

Perhaps if during Bush/Cheney the Democrats had rebelled and acted like the Republicans are acting these days, maybe Bush/Cheney could have been curbed somewhat in its spending binge. But that was not how the game was played in those days. Democrats didn’t act like Republicans are acting these days. They respected the party that was in office and cooperated with them for the good of the country, frequently to the ultimate detriment to the country. “For the good of the country” is a phrase completely lost on today’s Republican.

Obama’s spending unused TART money to help small businesses by giving them tax breaks and access to credit, is a good thing, for it will put people back to work, so that they can begin paying taxes again, and eventually this will begin to pay down our enormous national debt.

Republicans, such as RNC leader Michael Steele, will continue to mindlessly scream “NO!” at every Obama initiative, but don’t listen to them. Their reasoning doesn’t compute. It’s too damn bad they couldn’t have found their voices to scream NO! during those Bush/Cheney years when the GOP was in power and running up those huge deficits.

Obama was elected to get us out of the mess that the Republicans left us in. Let GOP squawk to their heart’s content. T.S. is what we used to say in good ole World War II. And tough shit it is indeed!§

˜ † ˜

Saturday Night Live (which in these days of streamlining we love to tag with its initials SNL) is having renewed life on the political front in 2008 and 2009. Tina Fey first breathed new life into the series with her dead on impersonation of Sarah Palin. And in the above clip SNL shows the ridiculousness of our infatuation with those two weird party crashers to Obama’s first state dinner.§

On Believing What We Wish To

I swear, we, the human race, have heads made of Kryptonite. We believe only what we choose to believe. Thus explains the popularity of Fox News with its politically skewered reporting and conservative opinions over CNN which goes out of its way to present news that is fair and balanced. It explains the Flat Earth crowd’s seizing on those leaked emails to charge the scientific community with fraud in the making of global warming a largely human responsibility. All of this flying in the face of overwhelming evidence such as the meltdown of the glaciers and the endangerment of arctic species like the polar bear.§

– ☯ –

Speaking of Global Warming

Four of Tiger’s Girls – Graphic from The Daily Beast

At Last, We Know Why Tiger So Desperately Wanted His Privacy

And can you believe the rapid disillusionment of a star athlete’s public persona as has happened to that of Tiger Woods’ over the course of the past couple of weeks? And Monday night, a few days beyond the week between Tiger’s wrapping his SUV around that Florida tree, again at 2:35 in the a.m. an ambulance was dispatched to the Woods home, this time to transport the ailing mother of Woods’ wife to the same hospital Woods was taken to the day after Thanksgiving.

Rumor has it that the lady supported Mr. Woods until the seventh woman claiming an affair popped up. Some reports have the Woods mistress tally now placed at eleven and rising. Was this what triggered the lady’s stomach pains? And I guess the major thing we’ve learned from this staggering number of admissions of Tiger’s infidelities is why the World’s Greatest (and Richest) Athlete was so desirous of privacy in his personal life. Mr. Woods climaxed the week with an announcement on his website that he is giving up professional golf for the time being to devote himself to his family. To which cynics might add, it's about damned time!

Ashley Dupreé, the Call Girl who was N.Y. ex-governor Elliot Spitzer’s waterloo, is quite critical of the Woods harem who are selling their stories and Tiger’s text messages to the nation’s tabloids. Dupreé who gained fame as the date of Client #9, never used her court gained notoriety to have any comment on her famous client, and is on record as criticizing Grubbs’ and company for selling their stories and voice messages. Dupreé cites it as being the difference between a professional sex worker as opposed to a mistress. And in her book the professional wins the discretionary battle hands down.§

– ☯ –

On the Inside Looking Out

Justice, Italian Style, a Travesty

The biggest story we missed last week was expressing our outrage over the Amanda Knox travesty that masqueraded as justice in Italy. Frankly, it came late in the week, and it was so outrageous that I couldn’t think of any way to treat it that wasn’t a downer. My son Joel, who is in the last year of his residency in Phoenix, AZ, and who plans to go into psychiatry upon finishing his residency, wrote an email concerning the verdict which I publish below.

Amanda Knox found guilty of murder? I love Italian art and food dearly, but the Italian legal system is a joke – trials that take 2 years while the defendant sits in jail, jurors not sequestered, a judge denying testimony from defense DNA experts, corrupt prosecutors with unchecked and almost unlimited power, a system derived from Inquisition justice, people in the streets cheering the verdict like a modern day Colosseum, a system that convicts an innocent young woman apparently because of a pervasive culture of tabloidism and anti-Americanism.

OK, so the British tabloids are just as disgusting. But I've never heard of a case where somebody so obviously innocent in my eyes was convicted, especially when they already had the guy who did it. The prosecution theory was simply preposterous. As far as Italy, I don't plan on ever going back there again. That country now just frightens me – a place where prejudice seems to rule. And I complain about our legal system – it may be bad at times, but never anything like this.

– Joel Badeaux

Amanda Knox – at the moment the verdict was announced.

Words do fail me as I think back on my own reaction to the verdict. Disbelief, outrage, disgust were just a few of the many emotions my nervous system processed as I heard the verdict announced on television. I really feel that America’s best reaction to the verdict would be to avoid traveling to Italy like the plague. I ask you, who the hell in their right mind would want to travel to a country where justice is such a mockery? Perhaps if enough tourists avoid the country, and make clear their reasons for doing so to travel agents, perhaps that might eventually have an effect on the country’s justice system. Probably not, but we can dream, can’t we? At the very least it is something we can do, and we should do something, shouldn’t we?§

– ☯ –

Singing in Camps

For the past few weeks I have included some of my reminiscences of my 22 years of working in New England children’s camps in my blog. Below is this week’s contribution.

Camp singing was a regular activity at the University Settlement Camp as surely as campers went to shop or to horseback riding or any other activity. Regular classes was where a time could be found to teach campers the songs we sang, as each night the entire camp came together for a nightly after-dinner sing.

At Killooleet in Hancock, VT, singing was put in a more realistic perspective. A Sing happened every Friday night, where I or one or more of the other counselors would teach and sing songs. However song leading duties were passed around pretty evenly, and even included John and Ellie Seeger, who sang a cappella Broadway show tunes in a most distinctive styling. However, singing wasn’t an activity period there. I spent time during the day giving private lessons on guitar or banjo to any camper who desired them. And in later years I brought my darkroom up to camp, and taught photography, and led a photography club.

By the time I got to Blueberry Cove my interests had definitely widened from song leading to photography, and Sings were limited to evening campfires, and to times of stress. One such time was one day when a child in a baseball game was hit in the head by a soft ball. He was unconscious for a time, and the entire camp experienced an immediate downer. I helped in the re-lifting of spirits by rustling up my 5-string banjo and leading singing with a string of my so-called blockbusting camp “hits.” The boy received medical attention, and later proved to be alright.

On another day at Blueberry Cove a fierce lightning storm came up just as we were finishing the mid-day meal. It was a scary time, you could see the lightning flashes as they hit the tent frames of the two tents which lay on the hill below the Maine, which was the building we ate in. Again I brought out my banjo and started in singing. The Ship Titanic, and Sipping Cider (Through a Straw) and other sure fire camp hits stormed forth and within minutes fear had dissolved into enthusiastic singing, and so that was how we ran out the storm.§

Reflections on the Three Camps

Looking back with the perspective of time, it is interesting to reflect on the unique and complete kinds of experiences offered by each of the three camps I worked for. In the Settlement Camp we tried to cram as many of the experiences offered by a seven week camp into each three-week trip. As a result campers were offered an experience which left little or no time for reflection and contemplation. As a result there was no such thing as homesickness at the camp. There was simply no time for it.

It was in my fourth year of working in children camps that I moved to Camp Killooleet (named by original founder Margaret Bartlett for a bird call) and was confronted with “homesickness.” This was quite a surprise to me, and I really didn’t know how to confront it. My first group was a group of seven year olds, and one of them, Andy G., was terribly down during most of his cabin time. I tried giving him personal attention, including hugs and the like, but that seemed to only make him worse.

Andy had two older sisters at camp, Dee G., 9, and Prue G., 11, neither of which had the slightest touch of homesickness. And it was Prue who noticed that my cuddling Andy seemed to be making him worse, and who snapped him out of it by betting me, in front of him, that if I thought he was sad now, wait until the end of camp, when she bet he would be every bit as homesick for camp as he was crying now for home, if not more so. Andy was mortified, but Prue turned out to be dead on. And Andy cried at the end at least as hard as he had in the beginning, and he returned for at least three more summers.

Killooleet campers were a shade older than those of Blueberry Cove, which if memory serves me went up to age 15. They were a sophisticated bunch, and when I returned for a one day visit during my first year at BBC, I was shocked to discover that Killooleet campers seemed fashionably dressed, looking just like they stepped out of the annual children’s fashion edition of the New York Times Magazine which used to be photographed by the late Diane Arbus on a Caribbean island and published annually by the Times Magazine.

If the campers at Killooleet were style conscious, the opposite could be said about the campers at Blueberry Cove. They were a bit younger, in most cases stopping just short of the age of puberty. And they were completely unselfconscious as to how they were dressed. On hot days little girls were just as likely to go shirtless as little boys. The camp with its Maine environment, was a bit more rugged than Vermont had been, what with its being on the ocean and all, and the children reflected this. There is a certain wildness about the Maine Coast which played out with the children. And for whatever reason, I was not aware of homesickness as a problem at Blueberry Cove.

However, there was one observation I can make about the children in all of the camps. Children from the poverty of the Settlement Neighborhood to the plush Beverly Hill locations of several Killooleet and B.B.C. children, to the Park Ave addresses of several others, the children were basically the same. Settlement neighborhood campers tended to be warmer and more open and outgoing, whereas children from more middle class situations tended to be a bit more subdued and reflective. However, they were all spontaneous and generally outgoing.

As a general rule they were a study to observe as they were just beginning to use the social tools which would see them all the way through to adulthood. They made for an exciting adventure with every summer that came forth, and made for a series of indelible memories, as rich, exciting, and adventuresome as you could ask for. Each camp was different, as were each of the campers, but none towered over the others. All were equally engaging, each in its own unique way.§

John and Yoko Lennon. His last photo, taken by Annie Liebovitz on Dec. 8, 1980, the day he was assassinated.

It Was 29 Years to the Day

It has been twenty nine years since a complete nonentity named Mark David Chapman assassinated John Lennon, as he and Yoko were returning from a recording studio. Chapman had left his job as a night watchman in Hawaii to come to New York City and hang around the Dakota Apartments for several months until he managed to pull off Lennon’s execution.

The word at the time was that Chapman was a crazed ex-fan who was stirred into action as Lennon and Ono released their Double Fantasy album, making Lennon once again a major player in the music industry. But I could never buy that explanation.

For one thing, how much could Chapman have salted away as a night watchman in Hawaii? Enough to fly to New York, and hang around for several months before his big day?

And true to the political assassinations of the ‘60’s after the deed Chapman spouted parts of J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, as if that would establish the fact beyond doubt of his derangement.

Finally after several years of incarceration an attempt was made to shift Chapman to a mental institution, where he could have eventually been released if found to be no threat to others. However there was so much outrage at the time that the transfer was withdrawn, and Chapman was returned to the N.Y. criminal system where he belonged, and where he remains to this day.

There was one media hint of this as a political assassination. Ed Asner, the actor who played Lou Grant on the television series of the same name, was raising money for medical supplies for the Sandanista government in Nicaragua, a regime which the Reagan administration was planning a war against. Asner appeared one evening on the Nightly News and read aloud from a letter he had received. The letter warned him to cease his support for the Nicaraguan regime or he would suffer the same fate as John Lennon, who had been assassinated a year or so before.

Upon hearing Asner read the threat, the whole chronology suddenly became clear: Reagan was elected president in November, 1980, and already the secret government which supports America’s clandestine war efforts was planning incursions into both Nicaragua and El Salvador to begin the minute Reagan was inaugurated.

They saw Lennon as a threat that couldn’t be muzzled. During Vietnam the Lennons had bought a sign on Broadway which had read, “War is Over, If You Wish. Signed John and Yoko.” But what really shook them up was how Lennon had managed to free a little known free spirit named John Sinclair who was serving a 99 year sentence in Michigan for possession of marijuana. Merely by writing and singing a song about him, Lennon had caused Sinclair to be freed 3 days after he had sung the song publicly for the first time, thereby exhibiting a power to pervade Michigan’s legal system, a power so pervasive it displayed an influence no performer in history had previously shown.

Now it is true that only a most fanciful imagination can conjure up such a scenario for Lennon’s assassination, but on the other hand, the fact is that such a clandestine operations were demonstrated beyond doubt during the mid-sixties when the country was treated to a slew of assassinations, beginning with that of John F. Kennedy, and including Malcolm X., Martin Luther King, Jr., and finally Bobby Kennedy. My theory of the Lennon assassination fingers that secret part of our American government which had freely exercised its unspoken right of assassination during the mid-60’s.

There follows an account of John’s murder by Mark R. Elsis on the fan website: In a piece entitled: Who Authorized the Assassination of John Lennon? it seconds our evaluation of the assassination. Mr. Elsis describes the assassination itself in graphic terms (the squeamish might want to skip over the next three paragraphs.)

“Just as John turns, about 15 feet through the large arch with iron gates of the Dakota, the assassin fires two shots into the left side of his back. There's a crash of shattering glass as the bullets that pass through John's body smash into the Dakota's glass frontage. These two shots spin him around. He is now facing his assassin.

“Blood is already pouring out from the first two bullets and the four wounds, as the assassin takes aim at John again. He fires three more shots. Two of the bullets smash into John's left shoulder. The other goes astray. The greatest singer songwriter and the most influential political artist of our time staggers up six steps to the room at the end of the entrance used by the concierge, said, "I'm shot," then fell down.

“I'm shot,” he moans lying on the floor. “John's been shot,” screams Yoko. Jay Hastings the security man reaches under his desk and presses the alarm button, notifying the police from the nearby 20th Precinct. He then rushes to John's side and removes his blood stained glasses. Then he takes off his uniform jacket to cover him. He wants to use his tie as a tourniquet, but can't decide where to apply it.”

To me the widely believed myth, that Lennon was assassinated by a crazed fan who traveled all the way from Hawaii on a night watchman’s wages, then lived in N.Y.C. for some months before he pulled the trigger, never really computed. Not to mention, babbling quotations from J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye in the tradition of the political assassins of the sixties. It is a sad assumption, but it precisely follows the tradition of our other Banana Republic type assassinations of the sixties. And unfortunately, to me a political assassination is the only theory that makes any sense.§

– ☯ –

For the life of me I can’t think of a more down moment than the assassination of John Lennon. It scarred my life, and the lives of hundreds of thousands of others. However, as much as I hate a downer, it is important that we remember this deed which was probably an attempt to silence for all time a voice which would have surely railed against the upcoming, planned wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador that the Reagan administration was busily preparing to crank up.

And just as sure as I’m sitting here typing this, next week will bring us other moments to smile, laugh, and/or rage about. Not being clairvoyant we have no idea what the coming week will bring. But discovering and writing about it is what gets us up and going in the mornings. As we are so fond of saying, we write and polish the entire week, and upload to Google on Saturday mornings. And that will stay up until the following Saturday.

We hope you find your way back again any time next week. Meantime, bye, bye. But whatever you do, don’t buy into that Republican nonsense. Life is worth more than a series of negatives.

The Real Little Eddy §

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Blog #117: Obama’s Bush Moment, Mininova 

– ☯ –

West Point Speech Turns Supporters into Cynics

As Obama supporters across the land listened in horror, the great communicator that was Barack Obama, began to more and more mimic the words of George Bush. Despite pleas from rabid supporters like Michael Moore, who in an open letter written the day before Obama’s West Point address, pleaded with him to, among other things, not commit more troops to Afghanistan. “With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics.”

Obama went on to define our Afghanistan mission, giving peace lovers only the caveat of a pullout beginning in 2011 “if ground conditions permit.” As Obama is forced by his position into backing policies demanded by the office, his eloquence suffers in kind. And true to the old cliché of a picture being worth a thousand words, the morphed image below expresses the muddle more eloquently than any mere words can.§

Bush morphs into Obama during West Point Speech

– photo from The Daily Beast

A Triad of Videos

As we roved the internet this morning we stumbled across an interesting YouTube video. As usual this led to the discovery of a second video, and finally a third.

Mangled Beatlemania

Beatles 3000 is an historical look back at the 1,000 year old phenomenon known as The Beatles. The perspective gets a little distorted from this perspective, as John Lennon is the only Beatle accurately named, Paul becomes Paul McKenzie, and George and Ringo morph into Greg Hutchinson and Scottie Pippen. Why? Don’t ask, just view this 1,000 year look back by clicking on the arrow below.

Sex Offender Shuffle

From the ever helpful Dade County, Florida police department comes everybody’s favorite video, the Sex Offender Shuffle. Your favorite neighborhood perverts shimmy and shake as they introduce themselves to your neighborhood. This video gets a seal of approval from such widely varied groups as Sex Perverts United for Perversity and Law Enforcement Officers for Permanent Incarceration.

And now for something completely insipid. Well, not in the eyes of a mother who created it. How about a slideshow video set to a Celeste Dionne song, showing a Canadian mother’s two boys and her baby, in various stages of sleep, at home, in airplanes, in Paris, in England, etc.? Little boys are beautiful and innocent looking, and would undoubtedly fill the dreams of those sex perverts in the video above who favor little boys. And thanks to the miracle of YouTube we can bring them to you in all of their glory.


And so the three videos above give you just a hint of the wide swatch of subject matter covered by the web’s premiere video service, YouTube.§

– ☯ –

Man engages in mouth-to-beak seagull feeding – photo:

R.I.P. Mininova

Last week the bit torrent site which got the most traffic, Mininova, shut down its torrents after being ordered by the Dutch legal system to quit allowing the downloading of illegal material. According to the website Torrent Freak, it was by far the most popular and heavily used tracker of torrents with an impressive 175,820,430 visits and close to a billion page views in the last 30 days, Mininova set a record that they will be unable to break in the near future. Last August a Dutch court ruled that Mininova had to remove all links to ‘infringing’ torrent files, with disastrous consequences. From Torrent Freak:

Since it is technically unfeasible to pre-approve or filter every potentially infringing torrent file, the Mininova team decided to throw in the towel and only allow torrents to be submitted by approved uploaders. This move resulted in the deletion of more than a million torrents, many of which were not infringing any copyrights at all.

Thankfully, there are still plenty of alternatives for those BitTorrent users who are looking for the latest Ubuntu, OpenSUSE or Fedora release.

The most famous bit torrent site is undoubtedly The Pirate Bay in Sweden. It went to trial last year, and it too lost to the movie studios and recording industry which brought the suit. And its four leaders have been sentenced to one year in jail. But despite losing in the courts, in the tradition of their forebears of yore, the Pirate Bay lives on, its servers located in places unreachable by Swedish law.

And so despair not, ye torrent seekers. Willing and able trackers still await thou seeking. The website Torrent Freak named the 10 most obvious successors to Mininova. The Pirate Bay was listed 9th. The list included:

(1.) Torrentzap (2.) Fenopy (3.) ExtraTorrent (4.) KickassTorrents (5.) BTjunkie (5.) Monova (7.) IsoHunt (8.) yourBitTorrent (9.) The Pirate Bay (10.) ShareReactor

Torrent Freak didn’t say what criteria they used to determine the numbering sequence, but some mathematical rating must have been used as you will note that two torrents tie for #5, and there is no #6.

Update: The owner of Monova, told TorrentFreak that he has reserved all Mininova usernames for people who want to make the switch to his site. The account names can be claimed here!

Also, TF reports that they replaced some sites in the original top 10 because they went down or started to serve trojans, or viruses. The full account of this article is available from Torrent Freak which may be found here

Pirate Bay toddler waters the establishment.

– photo:

– ☯ –

This Week’s Camp Reminiscences

Children’s Camps represent all shades of philosophy, and that especially holds true in the area of discipline. Each of the three camps I worked for confronted discipline when necessary, but each in its very own distinctive way. For instance, at the Settlement Camp, which had three 3-week trips each of the summers that I worked there, had a level of discipline just a step up from that of a reform school. Things were fine as long as things went well. But the minute something out of the ordinary happened, well, you would have thought it was a major security breach.

A Finger in the Dyke

The Settlement Camp director was a young man named Sol E., who had used another person’s abandoned thesis as his own at the N.Y. School for Social Research. However, he was a very basic and uncomplicated personality who directed the camp as if his finger in the dyke was all that was keeping the place from exploding. I had a strong feeling that his deep felt feelings for an almost old testament biblical handing of discipline was because he was afraid that any show of conciliation would be taken as a sign of weakness on his part which might perhaps damage his authority.

I know that sounds extreme, but take the case of Micky and Michelle. Mickey was a fifteen year old camper, and his girlfriend Michelle was fourteen. Mickey and Michelle were both from the Settlement House neighborhood in New York, and were boy and girl friend in the city. Both were very popular among their peers, in fact, Mickey was the closest thing the older boys had to a leader. And Michelle was equally influential among the older girls.

Near the end of their trip the older boys and girls were given a dance. It was held with the idea of the helping campers learn to socialize with the opposite sex. At any rate, the boys and girls cabins were separated by a large distance. After the dance and about twenty minutes after the girls’ were put to bed, Mickey was caught coming from the girls’ cabin. A cardinal sin in the eyes of the camp director, and, would you believe, punishable by expulsion. I mean, the end of camp was a couple of days away. But sending Mickey home early would negate his ever returning to the camp.

When word came down of Mickey’s eminent expulsion I couldn’t believe it, and although Mickey was not in my group he was respected by many in my cabin, and so I tried to reason with Sol to temper Mickey’s punishment. But he was unyielding, and prattled on about the necessity of setting an example, and all of the other verbiage the hardheaded use to justify their overly harsh judgments. Mickey was sent home and it cast a dreadful pall over the end of camp for both the older boys and girls cabins.

Same summer, same trip. I have told this story before of how my group in my third year also managed to bring down the ire of the powers that be. The spirit of creativity being what it is, it seemed that one or more of my campers had used a knife to carve some designs on a cabin window sill. Unfortunately the carver didn’t carve his initials onto the sill, and so there was no way for the counselors and the camp director to tell who had actually committed this affront to good order. The incident happened about four days before the end of the final three-week trip of that summer.

When we brought the carvings in our cabin’s window sills to Sol’s attention, he immediately went into his law enforcement mode. He called a meeting of the campers, and read them the riot act. He demanded to know the name of the carver(s) so that proper discipline could be meted out. What he didn’t tell them was that exposing the guilty would have meant their immediate expulsion. When no one voluntarily came forth either as the perpetrator or to expose him, Sol decreed that the entire bunk was going to be confined to the cabin until the guilty party was exposed or the camp ended. They would leave the cabin only for meals.

I had never taken courses in social work, and so I had no educational standing to intercede on my campers behalf, but the penalty seemed terribly heavy handed to me. It is true that whoever carved up the sill had broken the rules and the results certainly didn’t improve the looks of the window sill, but on the other hand there was no actual structural damage to the cabin. I argued high and low to Sol on behalf of my campers, but it was to no avail. Unless the perpetrator was identified and duly punished the boys would be kept in the cabin for all activities except meals until either they capitulated or until the trip ended.

It seemed to me that both in the case of Mickey cited above, and in the case of my campers, Sol was actually going out of his way to look for infractions so that he could render punishment. And that’s exactly how things worked out, on what was to be my last year working at the Settlement Camp. Sol’s verdicts were set in stone, and both cases cast a wide pall over the end of the camp trip well beyond the persons affected.

I had discussions about it with Charles Cook, who was the director of both the House in N.Y. and the Camp in Beacon. Charles reminded me of Sol’s masters degree in social work, thereby closing the subject. I couldn’t believe such draconian measures were necessary to run a recreational camp, and so made arrangements after camp to apply to John and Ellie Seeger, who ran Camp Killooleet in Hancock, Vt.

John and Ellie were both teachers at the very progressive Dalton School in N.Y.C., and I was anxious to see how teachers in a genuinely progressive institution would handle disciplinary problems. I found out during my first year there that of course, nothing short of injury would have sent a child home, and an injury had never happened during the camp’s history. Counselors were encouraged to solve problems without using strictures like the ones practiced at the Settlement Camp. And just as I expected the camp ran smoothly under such radical tenets as trust and love and reason.§

– ☯ –

My Brief Return the Following Summer

I got a chance to discuss the matter with Sol E. after my first Killooleet summer. I was staying with Pete and Toshi Seeger for a couple of weeks before railroad training my way back to Houston. Pete was doing a sing one night at the Settlement Camp which because of its three week format was still going when I arrived after Killooleet closed, and I went down with Pete to visit my friends on the staff, and to give my report of discipline at Killooleet to both Sol and Cook.

Sol’s attitude seemed to be that teachers at a progressive school had weird ideas about discipline, and besides, the children there mostly come from middle and upper class families, and therefore present different kinds of disciplinary problems than do children from the Settlement neighborhood. According to Sol the neighborhood kids required a more basic level of discipline.

Charles Cook did not look well, he looked extremely gray in the face, so I decided not to bring up the matter with him. As I sat inside the house with Toshi’s father, Takashi Ohta and a couple of off duty counselors, you could hear Pete and the children singing songs extolling freedom and brotherhood from the yard right outside the Main House. At one point Charles Cook came in, drew Takashi aside and complained of not feeling well. Takashi immediately called the Camp’s physician, who was there within ten minutes. While the doctor was taking Mr. Cook’s blood pressure in the Camp Dispensary, Charles Cook, his heart having stopped, suddenly fell off the chair.

Charles Cook was dead. Someone brought a note to that effect to Pete to move the campers up the hill so they would not see the hearse which would be coming for Mr. Cook’s body. Pete ended the song he was singing a couple of verses early, then told the children that as they sang This Land is Your Land they were going to walk up the hill, where they could admire the beautiful sight of the Hudson River, and on the other shore the town of Newburgh, N. Y.

The children rose, and as Pete led the way one hundred and fifty campers, 30 work campers, and twenty or so counselors followed this truly, modern day Pied Piper up that hill all the while lustily singing Woody Guthrie’s anthem to America, This Land is Your Land. When they got to the top of the hill Pete kept the song going standing with his back to the mountain so that the campers were facing away from the view of the hearse, until it had come, loaded it’s haul and departed. Only then did he have the campers turn around so that they could take note of the exceptional view of the Hudson River from high on the hill.

Unfortunately Sol E. was to live only through the following winter. He died while driving a load of Settlement House campers for a weekend at the camp, as while he was drinking from a bottle of wine, his vehicle struck an off road obstruction. None of the campers were hurt, but the bottle ended Sol’s life. And that pretty well ended my association with the Settlement Camp. I still feel that sending home that camper early and restricting my boys to their cabin for four days was needless overkill, but the question was now moot. A higher power seems to have had the final say in the matter.§

– ☯ –

A First Summer Musical Explosion

But these days my memories prefer to recall that first summer at the Settlement Camp which had been quite an adventure. There were nightly sings after dinner, and because that first year we had no sound system, the children sat on bleachers and the counselors relayed the songs to keep them in tempo.

We did at least one very creative modern day version of Little Red Riding Hood that summer, which we even did original music for. And of course this being the first summer I had attended any camp, I was very fortunate to have three talented work campers whose musical talents I could draw on. There was a boy, fifteen year old Danny Bernstein, from whom I learned the old English comic song, Anne Boleyn (With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm, She Walks the Bloody Tower. . .) Dan was a real gifted guitarist, and was an eager participant in camp entertainments.

However, the two work campers who most influenced my subsequent song leading career at the Settlement Camp, and then on to Killooleet and Blueberry Cove, were two quiet, reserved, and very talented twin sisters, also 15 that summer, named Irene and Ellen Kossoy. As I said a few weeks ago, it was from them that I learned my two greatest camp hits, The Ship Titanic, and Sipping Cider Through a Straw. They sang both songs during a camp variety show that first summer, and when I asked them for the lyrics they obligingly wrote them out for me. I wasn’t much of a singer, to be frank. I was more of a rabble rouser. But I could get a group singing, and those two songs fit me like a glove, and went on to carry me through many a camp sing through out the twenty-two years I worked at the camps.

It is a small world, indeed. In the course of these camp reminiscences I had contacted Kate Seeger, who is presently running Camp Killooleet, which is the only one of the three camps I worked for which is presently active. At any rate, when I credited the Kossoy Sisters with teaching me my two “hits” it turned out that she knew them and evidently alerted them to the news, for I got an email from Irene filling me in on their lives and what they are doing these days. I don’t know if any other readers of this blog know of them, but just in case any do I’ll publish her email.

Kate Seeger, an old friend of ours, mentioned to us that we had been responsible for some of your camp "hits." First of all, we were so glad to hear your name, but then surprised, as we always thought it the other way around - that we were influenced by you!

It's hard to summarize over 50 years (we're now 71!) but will try to do so in a nutshell. We still sing, but do only a few concerts a year. In 1956 we recorded "Bowling Green" for Tradition Records, which was reissued as a CD by Rykodisc in 1997 when they bought up the whole Tradition catalog. It's now out of print, but we're told that it will soon be available on iTunes and Rhapsody.

For many years Ellen lived in St Louis, raising a family, while I did the same in Boston. Children are now grown (we each have 2) and Ellen moved to Boston about 10 years ago. We now live part of the year there (the warmer part), and the rest of the year in Guatemala (long story).

In 2002 we recorded another CD, "Hop on Pretty Girls", (also difficult to find – another long story), in the belief that we should record about every 40 years.

It's always wonderful to hear about an old friend and are glad to hear that you're doing well. Best, Irene (Saletan) and Ellen (Christenson) Kossoy

’Tis indeed a small world, and what goes around really does sometimes come around, and all the other usual suspects. It was great hearing from Irene, and since they are 71 these days, and I am 12 years older, that puts my age that first year at the Settlement Camp at 27. Thanks Irene, I had forgotten how old I had been that summer.§

– ☯ –

And so the ends another Little Eddy Blog. We have fun creating this little tome each week, and hope you’ll come back again next week to see what we are ranting and railing about then. Meantime, keep up the old spirits, and especially nourish the young spirits within.

Keep in mind, we are only as old as we feel. Most of the time I feel about fifteen, and each morning it is a total shock when I look in the mirror and see that strange old gray-bearded geezer looking back at me. I have to look away, or the truth will come surging in. So take it from me. Act the age you feel, and avoid mirrors at all costs. Hang in there. Bye, bye. Just don’t buy what they attempt to pass off as Republican Reasoning. It’ll get you every time.

The Real Little Eddy §