Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Realism in Movies: Oxymoron
Gratuitous violence and sex in movies can be attributed to a lack of talent among writers, producers and directors. If producers demand well-written scripts without gratuitous violence and eroticism, we're a lot more likely to end up with better quality movies.

To Any Dog That Bites: Bite the Dust
It's a rare bird indeed who doesn't like, or love, domesticated animals, especially pets. But, naturally, animals sometimes behave like animals. Incidents of dogs biting people have created calls for some kind of action.

Surviving the Death of a Spouse
Linda Palucci lost her husband, Gene, to a brain tumor and cancer on March 21, 1992. She kept a diary during the trying days of his illness, and its aftermath. She chose to share her innermost feelings in an ebook, now in paperback, called "Out of the Slippery Pit" in the hope it will help others.

The (Good) Old Days Weren't So Bad After All

Yonkers, N.Y., was a bustling community in the '30s and '40s when I grew up. It was a great city, once known as "The City of Gracious Living." Recently, however, I read in the New York Times that it's now sometimes referred to as "Beirut-on-the-Hudson."

Enforce Law With a Little Compassion
A California mother faced serious criminal charges when her 680-pound, 13-year-old daughter died "on a filthy bed sheet, surrounded by empty food cartons, feces in the folds of her body." Why do we wait for tragedy to strike before taking necessary action?

For Retirees: Here Are Some Things To Do
While facing retirement is not exactly like awaiting a triple bypass or facing the prospect of entering a nursing home, it can be a source of great stress. After all, everybody has to do something! Here's some ideas that could help relieve such foreboding.

State Lotto Winners: Beware!
If you're ever lucky enough to win the Connecticut Lotto, don't quit your day job yet, or at least until you check the bottom line on your bank account. Lotto officials like to tout the top line figure, but when all is said and done the amount you get may disappoint you.

The Poor Get Poorer, And Poorer
A few decades ago, songwriter Gus Kahn penned the phrase, "There's nothing surer, the rich get rich and the poor get poorer" as part of the lyrics of "Ain't We Got Fun." The phrase is now just another cliche, but like most cliches, has considerable basis in fact.

True Charity: Selfless, Not Self-serving
Charity should be selfless, not self-serving. The wealthy, too often, use charities for something other than soliciting their thanks. Asise from tax breaks, the big givers, especially, reap large rewards, both financially and socially.

Better Cars, Not Slogans, Get Buyers
Many Americans have been snookered into believing it's patriotic to buy an "American" car, not a foreign car sold by one of those unfair, greedy capitalists overseas. In truth, when Americans buy inferior products we encourage inefficiency, poor engineering, poor design.

It Ain't Like It Used To Be
None of us is getting any younger, of course. But some of us, who have seen 50 come and go, tend to become a little nostalgic. We long for "the good old days." We begin to notice how things have changed, and here I muse about just a few of those changes.

Is It Avenue, Or Street, Or Who Cares?
Municipalities, like all of us, sometimes make mistakes. In a short street I lived on in Darien the name was spelled differently on each end of the street. In Norwalk, several stores in the same shopping center list different street names.

Let's Give the Poor a Break

The rich and middle class are always blaming everything on the poor. They get away with it because the poor have no one to speak in their behalf; they have no lobby, no advertising money, no newspapers or magazines to take their point of view, no influence with politicians.

Bouquets, Brickbats, Ramblings
A large bouquet goes to the all the charitable organizations that donate their time and energy to give the homeless a helping hand. At the same time, a brickbat goes to those childless citizens who balk at paying their share of taxes to fund our schools.

Privacy: Noun Now Believed To Be Obsolete
You can run, but you can't hide. It's becoming more apparent to me that Big Brother is alive and well -- and living in the Internet. If there were ever any doubt that the society that George Orwell foretold has come to fruition, there can be little or none today.

Things That Rub Me the Wrong Way

As we wend our way through the trials and tribulations of daily living, all of us, I suppose, come across annoyances -- great and small -- that rile us, almost on a daily basis. Here I offer a couple of mine.

Big Banks Are Getting Out of Touch
The banking industry provides an excellent example of the arrogance and anti-consumer philosophy of the giant conglomerates. I am looking for a bank that will treat me like a customer. Is that too much to ask?

Don't React; Look Ahead at Problems

Arguably, the Great Depression and World War II were among history's most dreadful times. Yet, many of us who lived through those sorrowful times remember them, too, as pleasant, sometimes bittersweet.

Darien Could Be Paradise
The not-so-sleepy little town of Darien has been dragged through the mud on more than one occasion over the years, but I have a plan to turn it into the world's Paradise. If I were the czar of Darien, its population and property values would skyrocket. This story tells you how!

Revitalize America's Downtown
In the late '90s there was a renewed interest America's ailing cities. Some employers set up shop in dying downtowns. Boston's Emerson College, for instance, bought property and built dormitories in a downtown area only a few subway stops from the infamous Combat Zone.

We're Doing Great, But We Can Do Better
There's a lot to be said about the benefits of being alive at this juncture in history, especially here in the good old U.S.A. While most of us are far from wealthy, we tend to focum more than we should on "things" and less on family, friends and neighbors.

Try To Be Positively Negative
As the song goes, "You've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and watch out for Mr. In Between." Sounds good -- not the song, but the philosophy expressed in it. Having a positive attitude, when it's appropriate, is fine. But it can be taken to extremes.

Big Brother Rearing His Ugly Head
It seems Americans are bound and determined to solve the problem of the 21st Century by giving up the hard-earned rights won for us by our forefathers of the past three centuries. If it were put to a vote, would we really cast away our right to privacy?

Bottom Line Is Usually Below You
The idea may be good, but you've got to look at the bottom line. Business is proficient at coming up with pithy little adages to justify what they do. But it's not always what the bottom line shows that counts; sometimes it's what the bottom line doesn't show.

Do Not Let Censorship Tempt You
Censorship is a dirty word. Nobody likes it; nobody wants it; nobody wants to be accused of it. As a newsman, I've always championed the First Amendment and free speech, vehemently opposing any form of censorship. Censorship is never the answer.

How To Get Things Done: Compromise
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the great World War II allied leader, human beings are a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Churchill was speaking, of course, of Russia, but I think his colorful description applies to the behavior of people everywhere as well.

George Orwell Revisited

Big Brother seems to be breathing down my neck. I'm probably more paranoid than the next guy, but "1984" and George Orwell had it right. The police, the state of Connecticut and the IRS are all watching me -- and you!

Being Good Ought To Be Good Enough
What's wrong with being good? I've always felt that being good is, well, good enough! The more I read, listen to the radio and watch television, the more I see that others don't feel the same way. It seems that many people have a congenital urge to be "the best."

Let's All Be Part of the Solution
The capitalist system -- or at least what's left of it -- has something good going for it. It relies on the initiative and ingenuity of people to devise their own way of beating the odds. Anyone who really tries can "succeed."

Objectivity Is Possible -- And Vital
The view that objectivity is impossible is just plain wrong. It's not your point of view that determines objectivity, rather it's your integrity, your heart, your conscience, your professionalism, your devotion to duty.

Hi, Friend; I've Got My Eye On You!
It isn't until your brow begins to wrinkle with age that you realize how fast the news of the day becomes history. And, as an ancient expression goes, the older you get the faster the time goes. We were just kids during WW II. To a man, though, we were patriotic, almost jingoistic.

History Often Depends On Who Writes It
I was just a boy during World War II, but I have many memories, both good and bad. It's been said that the history of the world will be written by the victors; if the Axis powers had won that war, who knows what the history books would be saying now?

Mysteries, Puzzles, Enigmas
Remember the old bromide about the husband who makes all the big decisions in his family -- on war and peace or capital punishment. His wife only decides whether to buy a new car or vacation in Hawaii. What decisions do you find yourself pondering?

Common Sense Prevails
Firefighters rely on their leaders to make good judgments when they put their lives on the line. Too often, I read about firefighters who are severely injured or killed fighting fires. I have the nagging feeling that, sometimes, those deaths could have prevented.

Our Right To Be Wrong
It isn't mentioned in the Bill of Rights -- or anywhere in the U.S. Constitution -- but, in my judgment, it's one of our most important inalienable rights. It has a kinship to freedom of speech, but I call it by another name: The right to be wrong.

Little Things That Rattle in My Mind
The world is full of little things that demand our attention, but are not significant enough to attract attention. Hundreds of these "little" things rattle around in my mind. Chances are you have a few "little things" rattling around your mind as well.

Help! It's Me Against Them

Whoever said "You can't fight City Hall" was right. I found out the hard way. The state of Connecticut bilked me out of $6, but gave me the cold shoulder when I cried "foul." Runaway government can do whatever it wants with impunity!

Just a Few Rambling Thoughts

If you're anything like me -- although that seems unlikely in view of the fact that my "friends" all tell me I'm "one of a kind," if you know what I mean -- you've stored up over the years a few pet peeves. Here's a few of mine.

Spurn the Tyranny of the Majority

Only a few decades ago, Americans enjoyed a kinder, gentler society. But, generally, attitudes have changed in recent years. There's a tendency toward mean-spiritedness today as illustrated by the current outlook on smokers, who are often vilified by nonsmokers.

A Dream That Won't Come True

I rarely buy lottery tickets, but not because I don't gamble. I enjoy gambling, but, to me, gambling is more like 10 to 1 odds, not 80 million to 1. If I were going to put out my cold, hard cash for a wager, I would want a real chance to win, not just a dream.

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