Thursday, July 23, 2015

Frank & Bernie

So I “bit the bullet and watched the Democratic candidates  in Iowa.  But wait, I also watched Frank Luntz with Donald Trump and the Republican candidates.  Why would I do that at my stage in life… that would be not suffering fools easily.

First of all Frank and I have a history.  When I was teaching at American University, he wanted to teach some classes.  And why not.  It would help the students to find their way to a career path if they had access to information from people with different perspectives on everything from politics to life. 

No matter where I go or who I speak to, young people or older people,  women and men,  there is an excited fascination about Bernie Sanders.  The question asked most often is “Do you think he can win?”  Probably I’m the wrong person to ask since I thought George McGovern and Morris K Udall could win, but it’s politics and anything can happen.  He could certainly win in New Hampshire.  Iowa is a caucus state not a primary but it often gives a candidate momentum, who knows where any of this takes us.  Presidential campaigns are expensive.  One of the reasons Hillary lost to Obama, was because she ran out of money.  Hillary is the only Dem with any real money. Is that possible to remedy?   Again, anything is possible.

One of Hillary’s closest friends is supporting Bernie.  She says, she will vote for Hillary but she is supporting Bernie. So, what’s this all about?
 A few years ago we were entertaining some friends. Among them was John Spencer who played the Chief of Staff on the “West Wing.”  He asked me a question that I believe explains Bernie’s campaign.  The question was, ‘Do you think the things we do on the West Wing are reflective of what happens in the White House?’
“Not even close,” I told him. “But what happens in the West Wing is the way we would all like it to be”. 

And I think the things Bernie says are the way we would like it to be.  We’re just sayin’… Iris

John Spencer (Chief of Staff Leo McGarry/West Wing) 1946-2005
at the White House 2000

Friday, July 17, 2015

That Water Movin' Underneath the Bridge

I know it's a cliché to think of your own life as a whirling tempest of "en passant" events. We all think that things pass too quickly, but of course it's only when you're a bit older that it really starts to make sense, and by then so much time has already gone by. Every time I hear the CSN&Y song Wasted on the Way - it pops up all the time on XM Radio's "the Bridge" channel -- meant for sixty-somethings who are caught in this thought provoking place -- I imagine that the song was written for me. Amazingly, the song was written by Graham Nash at the tender age of 40 (though let's face it, who else amongst us had an affair with Joni Mitchell by that age) and yet resounds with the kind of reflection which I have only begun to understand the last 5 or so years. 

dawn breaks as Apollo XI is bathed in kleig lights

"And there's so much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away" 

thousands shield their eyes as the Saturn V takes off into the sun
-- is one of those reminders that not only do the moments feel a need to pass us by, but that if you want to take note of those things in your life, you damned well better pay attention. There may be the occasional "2nd chance" in life, but for the most part, don't let the grass grow under your tootsies. It's all gone too, too soon. Just yesterday I was reflecting on the total impossiiblity that 46 (that would be forty plus six) years ago, I'd been camped out on the beach at Titusville, Florida, with about a million of my closest friends, awaiting with that combination of trepidation and excitement, the launch of the behemoth Saturn V rocket which would take the Apollo XI astronauts to the moon, land ON it, launch themselves back into lunar orbit, and then come home.

I wasn't going to photograph the crowds alone, having come all this way to see the launch, and not SEE it. I turned around as the Saturn V cleared the tower, and made a few frames
My assignment (the one I'd sold to the TIME picture editor, so he'd pay for my trip) was to photograph the throngs of ordinary folk, without Press pass, without VIP pass, who assembled on the beach to watch the launch.  A reminder that when you are in front of a million people, it pays to turn around and look behind you. 

When I received a letter, 40 years later, from one of the subjects in my picture (Published in SMITHSONIAN Magazine) asking for a picture, I wrote back to him saying "if you're in MY picture, maybe I'm in YOUR picture" and sure enough, he found the negative he'd shot 40 years before, and there I was, in my ever-present white jeans, along side Jean Pierre Laffont (who was smart enough to bring a ladder), watching the the launch as a helicopter flew by.
And of course this momentous launch was done in a space craft, state of the art for the time, but whose computing power was probably less than a new iPhone 6. We become so engrossed in the minutae of life (let's be honest, how many of those texts or emails that zombie-like pedestrians read in a trance as they transit a crosswalk actually are of any importance in their lives?) that we miss the real things that count. Friendship, love, a great read, and a cup of steaming gen-mai cha. Don't miss the boat. You just never know when the next Saturn V will lift off.  We're just sayin'... David

Monday, July 06, 2015

Wheels, Wheels and ... Wheels

This blob is dedicated to my friend Joyce who was the inspiration.  Everyone needs some inspiration for anything they do.  But first, This was in an email I saw today.  I am always concerned about the fact that David hears nothing I say.  Unless I am standing right next to him. Some people would say he has selective hearing….
Anyway when I saw this I thought it was perfect. It is an old Amish recipe for people who are hard of hearing.  Here it is in all it’s glory:

“Onion is a very effective ingredient for hearing loss and ear infections.
According to Dr.  Christopher, it can be used by people who suffer from hearing loss due to infections, inflammations and sudden pressure changes.  Onion  is also one of the best herbal and home ingredients to use for earaches. Dr. Christopher recommends using Onion in this manner:
1. Put an onion in the oven and turn on the heat at 450 degrees.
2. Let the onion heat for about 15 - 20 minutes. Then let it cool in t he oven  until
it can be handled.
3. Once cooled, take it out and cut it into half.
4. If an adult is using this recipe, both halves of the baked onion should
be strapped to the ears and left over night."

Do you not love this?  OK I have said I would put my head in the oven numerous times, but I never thought about onions on my ears.  Although I have said that when I die I want to be cremated like a cholent (pot roast) with onions and potatoes, etc.

But that’s not what I wanted to blob about.  New York City is a city on wheels.  There is hardly anyone who is unattached to a wheeled device.  Whether it is a skate board, a scooter, a bike, a walker, a pram, (we had umbrollers - strollers which would fold up like an umbrella) or a wheel chair, everyone is attached to something on wheels.  It makes me very nervous.  Let’s first talk briefly about the pram/carriage.  Women use them as weapons. They push onto the subway and if you happen to be standing in their way you are chop meat.  Worse than that, they throw the baby way out in front when they cross the street, if the cars don’t stop, the kid is chop meat.

Or, take for example the City Bikes, which tourists rent from a multitude of locations.  I am a big proponent of bikes, but not when the people who ride them are clueless about where they are and where they are going.  It’s New York City, its dangerous to walk, let alone ride a bike in a city that has no patience. And then there are the delivery bikes.  The problem with the bikers is that they just want to get where they are going.  They do not give a damn who happens to be walking in the same place that they want to go.  And they pick and choose whether they are a car or a bike.  It is challenging to be walking or driving when they are on their way somewhere.

Then there’s the scooter.  Every kid has to have one.  Admittedly, I am the kind of Jewish mother who would have strained the air with chicken soup, but honestly?  What’s the point. Where are they going that requires them to be there right now! And by scooter.  Children are not the only issue. People in wheel chairs and who use a walker can be equally treacherous. There is no courtesy driving where they are concerned.  Now admittedly, some have never driven a car on a narrow suburban street where one car has to wait while the other passes by.  But why is it that when you are minding you own business just trying to walk on the sidewalk, you are risking your life.  Do you know that if you want to kill someone the best way to do it is to run them over with a car in NYC. Hand to God.  If a pedestrian gets hit by a car, it is the pedestrian’s fault.

What is there to do. What is the alternative?  I guess you need to arm yourself with something on wheels. But please, before you do, buy a helmut, some sturdy wrist guards,  and knee pads. We’re just sayin’…. Iris