Thoughts & Observations on Life, Society, and the Times by Al E.

Archive for the ‘A Refreshing Moment of Sanity’ Category

They REALLY don’t know what they missed!!

In A Refreshing Moment of Sanity, Looking Back & Remembering on Sunday, July 28th, 2013 at 7:29 PM

We’ve all heard it before.  “Back when we were kids…,” our parents, teachers, just about any adult at the time, was quick to tell us just how “Wonderful…” or “Tough…”, depending on their point, circumstances and just how envious or guilty they wanted to make us feel, THEY had had it, back in “the day.”  If their recollection was “wonderful,” we were supposed to pine for a better life and what we missed; when it was “tough,” we should be THANKFUL we had it so different, not having to walk to school – miles, uphill, both ways, in two feet of snow, with cardboard in our shoes and only a sweater!

Now, to any of you younger readers, you Generation “X-ers,” or whatever you’re calling yourselves, I’m sure you’re texting, ’cause none of you speak to each other, – “Dah! WTHIHTA = (what the hell is he talking about???).  You’ll never know, and for that I am truly sorry.  While we, maybe, didn’t truly “believe” it ourselves, back then, I really think that, somewhere, deep in our sub-consciousness, we knew, we really did have it made.

Actually I’m speaking mostly to the “Baby Boomers” – yes, things were a lot different when WE were kids, right?  Well they were!  And, now that we’re the “older, (and wiser), generation it’s our turn to try to enlighten the yung’uns of all they missed.

I vowed that I wouldn’t fall into that trap, spouting off about “the good old days,” but, there’s been a change in our lives, and it’s dawned on me that our parents were right.  Yes, they were right about most things, but especially in their remembering of their “good old days” because now our good old days were those “Happy Days!”

“What ‘change’ in his life could he possibly have had, that sent him down this path?” you ask.  Well, I’ll tell you.  It’s too long of a story to tell it all here, but, suffice it to say, it was destiny.  A twist of fate that can’t be explained any other way.

We got a player piano!

That’s it!  That’s the “change” that set the wheels in motion, reminiscing back to those better times of our youth.  Not only the memories, but the fact that we took them, those days, for granted.  We couldn’t wait to “move on” and never really, truly, appreciated them when we had them, in spite of our parents’ regular reminders and warnings that we’d “…miss them when they were gone.”

Okay, I can hear you all tis-tisking and shaking your heads thinking, “Well – ‘Alzheimer s’ – he’s finally lost it, a PIANO???  Really???”

NO! not a piano, a PLAYER PIANO!!  You know, the “special” kind of piano, that has paper, (yes paper), rolls with holes in them and the words to the song, right along the side, for the singing.  Think of it as an early karaoke machine, without a disk, video screen or highlighter to change the color of the words as you sing them.  Those little holes and air, yes, AIR, not micro-circuits, mother boards or electronics, holes and air, all working together to make the keys move and piano play, all by itself, and better than the best pianist could possibly play!  And, OH, what music comes out of that seventy plus years old instrument, and without any upgrade to 4-G!!!  Who would’a thunk?!?!

Since we got it, about two months ago, Mary and I have had, what we fondly call, “Musicale” almost every day.  We look forward to it, we cherish it, and feel cheated if we can’t hear at least a few rolls, any particular day, much to our “back home,” like so many “kids” today, son.  Though he won’t admit it, we know he’s kinda getting into it.  I’ve caught him bee-bopping as he walks by.  It’s infectious, it makes life FUN, really brightens your mood and banishes your worries!!

For that hour or so, the TV is off, we don’t answer the phone, no internet, email, no worries or cares!  All there is is the music.  Old songs, new songs; energetic Marches, graceful Waltzes, lively Fox Trots and Two Steps; silly little ditties, serious love songs, and sad “missing you,” songs.  Anything WE want, when and in whatever order we want, like “scramble” on an mp-3 player – and we can change the play list on a whim.  All the music we want right there at our fingertips.   Just put on a roll, sit back, and enjoy.  No batteries to worry about, no wires, headphones, or ear-buds, just music, lilting and strong – AH there’s nothing like it!

We enjoy it so much, we’ve talked about inviting anyone who’d like to, to join us. and experience a little bit of Heaven and brighten their day.  We’re always looking for an excuse for a Musical, so “…come on along, come on along to hear Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and any thing else you’re in the mood for.  Just pick a roll, relax and don’t worry about your singing, or not knowing the words – we’re printing up Musicale Sing-a-Long Sheets —– and the pianos really loud!


More – How did WE get this OLD?!?

In A Refreshing Moment of Sanity on Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 5:38 PM

The other day I got an email with the following observations, comments and memories from a friend who appreciates my ramblings and shares my thoughts and concerns for the “modern generation.”  It never ceases to amaze and astound us when our children, the kids we; you, me, and our contemporaries raised, not to mention our parents who raised us as well, raised them – the NOW generation to be alive today and having children of their own.  How is it they forgot that this IS how it was – and we are ALL still Alive to tell about it.  Despite all the dangerous, hazardous and potentials for not only physical but emotional traumas we exposed them to every day, often several times a day, they made it, we all survived.

So why is it that when asked to babysit, take the kids on an outing or just spend some time playing with them, we, the very adults who got them, our kids, the “new” parents, to adulthood, we are given a list of instructions; dos and don’t s, can and can’t haves, a mile long?   How is it that our kids will follow a website’s, “expert’s”, or Dr.s (all strangers – really) directions, instructions, opinions to the letter, all the while ignoring, criticizing and minimizing our comments, our experience, our SUCCESS having safely brought them to this point?

Well, I for one still have the sense, confidence and courage to remind the little snot-nosed brats, (our kids) how it was and how it will be – at least when I’m in charge.  So get over it – or you can always pass up on that event or function YOU want to attend; stay home, and take care of your OWN kids!  Maybe you can call the Dr. or that expert to watch them!  Or maybe just read on and remember …


1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s!!
First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.
Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon.

We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.  And we weren’t overweight.

Because we were always outside playing…that’s why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day.

–And, we were….OKAY.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill only to find out we forgot the brakes.

After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Play Stations, Nintendo’s and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable,  no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers,no Internet and no Chat Rooms.
and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
 We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, 22 rifles for our 12th, rode horses, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and – although we were told it would happen  we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn’t, had to learn
to deal with disappointment.
Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.

They actually sided with the law!


These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever.


The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of those born between 1925-1970,


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.
While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it ?

The quote of the month by
Jay Leno:

“With hurricanes, tornadoes, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?”


For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us…go ahead and delete this.
For the rest of us….. please pass this on.

America – Of Thee I Still Sing

In A Refreshing Moment of Sanity on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Just the other day there was a challenge in ‘The Daily Post’ asking what would be in my Constitution if I started my own nation.  I responded that our U. S. Constitution would be the basis for my country.  Elaborating on why, made me recall an email I’d gotten a while back from a concerned friend regarding the current deteriorating State of Our Country.  The basis of the email addressed some of the frustrating issues that effect every aspect of our daily lives in one way or another by “Quoting” comments attributed to a speech by Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard.  As the email did not provide any news source to verify its authenticity I did some research for this follow-up post and discovered this “speech” can not be confirmed via any resources.  In fact several references confirm that it is bogus in its crediting Prime Minister Gillard at all – she never made said speech.

As a result, while I can not credit these comments, beliefs and policy positions to anyone specific, someone in fact authored them, and while they may be controversial, they do have validity and merit.  Controversial or not, our leaders should give them some serious review and consideration toward improving our State of the Union.  They all make a point, and to me, are reminiscent of days gone by here, in America, when there was pride in our products and a strong work ethic.  Times were simpler, yet more prosperous and stable.

Please don’t miss-understand me and my feelings for our country, America.  I do believe America is the  Best of the Best and should be the model for the World.  We as a country, for the most part “get it”.  We “do” it fair, right and just.  But, no matter how good something is – there’s always room for improvement and while my comments may, at first glance, seem contrary to American ideals, they are not.  What they are, are the concerned comments of an observer, who remembers how it was, and while change is good, good change is better.  I’m not so sure all the changes we’ve seen have been for the better good.

For whatever reason(s) the author of the following “speech” – policies, chose not to take credit for his beliefs, rather attributing them to Ms. Gillard.  In an effort to legitimize and give them credence, I will gladly claim them as my own.  The “speech” is well written and, for the most part, clearly and succinctly sums up how I feel and what I truly believe.  I will proudly acknowledge and defend my position.

FACT:  “Our culture has been developed over two  centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.”  So, even though the retribution Our Leaders could be subjected to is phenomenal, at least They should be willing to take a stand.

The basis of this argument is, FACT:  “IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT.  Take It Or Leave It.  I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.  Since the terrorist attacks on 9-11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of AMERICANS.”

Muslims who want to live under Islāmic Sharia law, or any of the myriad of radical groups should be told to get out of America if they didn’t agree with the government targeting radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.  Our people and our Leaders should support monitoring the nation’s mosques and other potential radical gathering places.

FACT:  “We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language.  Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society.   Learn the language!”  My grandparents did; all our grandparents did – every generation and influx of immigrants did – period.

FACT:  “Most Americans believe in God.  This is not some Christian, right-wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.  It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools and Public Buildings.  If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.  We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why.  All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.”

FACT:  “This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this.  But, once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge of Allegiance, Our Christian beliefs, and Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great American freedoms, ‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.  If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE.  We didn’t force you to come here.  You asked to be here.  So accept the country as the country accepted YOU.”

Now, after you rant and rave how Un-American, these comments are and how the policies to enforce them would be, cruel – stop and think about them.  Tell me where they fall short or are anything but positive and true.

Then, when you call your Congressmen or Senator to voice your anger, agreement, opposition or support and remember to “press 1 – for English”while you still can!

Thank You NBC Nightly News

In A Refreshing Moment of Sanity on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 at 11:18 AM

It is almost unbelievable when, on that rare occasion something redeeming happens that renews my faith in humanity.  The Monday, June 20, 2011 NBC public apology was one of those times.

During a Sport Segment aired Sunday, the 19th, NBC admitted that they had consciously edited out the words “…under God..” from the Pledge of Allegiance recitation montage, by school children, included as part of the overall broadcast.

I was truly surprised that there was such an overwhelming response by angry viewers to, what I initially thought was a very subtle “oversight”.  In reality, even if I had seen the original broadcast, I probably would not have caught it.  Not because I don’t care about God, the Country or Good Sportsmen-ship, but simply because I don’t waste my life looking for “stuff” to offend me – a practice that, unfortunately, seems to be becoming more and more the norm than the exception.  (Topic for another post.)

The fact that so many people not only “caught” it, but took the time to forcefully make their resentment, anger, frustration and disappointment known is encouraging!

I am impressed that NBC did not choose to ignore it, but actually chose to do the right thing and accept the responsibility is not only refreshing but noteworthy and commendableIt took courage and commitment to admit that they made a mistake and apologize.  

In light of my previous post, (Weiner goes Flaccid) and the usual, blatant, disregard for accountability by the Media, in general, I’ll gladly take their apology as a flicker of hope that all is not lost.  Even if they did so only when they “got caught” and in response to an indisputable cry of outrage.

THANK YOU NBC for stepping up; THANK YOU Bryan Williams for all your outstanding reporting, and most of all THANK YOU to all the Good People who took a stand for God, Country and humanity!

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