Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mind over matters that may or may not matter

It has been said not violence but silence that kills a marriage.

One really wonders. Take for instance the couple, Mr. Freddie & Mrs Fannie Sitput. They have been married for years, double the total of your fingers and toes together and yet you'll fall short by a toe or two.

This couple over the years while they sipped their morning coffee slipped into a state where there was no need for spontaneous, sustained,audible conversation.

A word, a comment, a smile, a sour face, a casual remark from one and the two minds, Freddie mind and Fannie mind in tandem would take over from there on. Just the way the hybrid Toyota with fluid ease engages from gasoline to battery and back to gasoline without a fuss, nary a pause.

While the Freddie & Fannie bodies sat in pregnant silence their two minds would aggressively argue. Dissent. Agree. Disagree. Agree to disagree for the time being. "Time out" one mind would say to the other. "Let's defer this for another day."

Just then there would be another innocuous comment, " Wonder it's going to rain today?" and right away the two minds would once again be locked in conference, combat, hand to hand, banter, and after a few cart-wheels and calisthenics there will be a meeting of the two minds.

Any spectator watching these two, Buddha-like, bodies in stasis, minds in perpetual motion would be deceived.

" Look at them " he would comment, "They barely talk."

Little would he know the couple is exhausted. Their minds have traveled up and down, back and forth and in circles covering politics, parenting, children, grand children, the work place highs and lows and much more.

Little do these neophytes realize that the minds of this couple over three score years and ten have plumbed each other's soul so thoroughly and for so long that their reactions have become as predictable and real as their punctuated heavy breathing and perennial coughing. Like the denuding rain forest of the Amazon or the diminishing oil reserve of Saudi Arabia there is little now left to be tapped.

Freddie pushes his chair back, empty coffee cup in hand...

Fannie remarks, "I suppose you are going to the patio to smoke your cigar."

"I'll soon join you" she says.

K.B.Chandra Raj.

Monday, July 07, 2008

In Search of " The Average American " .

Just as H.M. Stanley went in search of the Scottish missionary and explorer Dr. Livingston in central Africa, I am in search of the " Average American " here in the United States of America.

If you see him would you please let me know.

Recently the putative Republican nominee for president of the United States of America, senator Mc.Cain is reported to have stated, " I mean, the fact is (Ahmadinejad's ) the acknowledged leader of that country and you may disagree, but that's uh, that's your right to do so, but I think if you asked any average American who the leader of Iran is, I think they'd know."

And the Democratic presidential hopeful senator Obama at the press interview along with president Sarkozy of France remarked, " The average American has an enormous fondness for the French people."

Politicians of every hue and persuasion, commentators," Talking Heads ", " the Chattering Class" on television among others constantly refer to " The Average American "

The "Average American" will have none of this. "The "Average American" is all for this. The "Average American is against this."

Who pray is this " Average American?." Is he also sometimes called " Joe Sixpack?" - Gentleman of the middling sort.

Standing on Fifth Avenue in New York City waiting to cross over to the other side if one should observe those waiting along with you, he will no doubt notice they are people of different complexion, culture and each one may speak with a different accent. One may not be able to say precisely from which country each one of them comes from. But to some extent one can guess in general terms. He is either a Korean, Caucasian, Chinese or Japanese. She must be an Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi. That couple over there must certainly be Latinos from Nicaragua, Porto Rico and so on.

Can any one looking at a person say he or she is or is not the "Average American" Mr.Mc.Cain and Mr.Obama are referring to ?

Is there a yard stick by which to measure or a litmus test we can apply to identify an "Average American?." Haven't we heard a teacher replying, " He's average " to the question " How is Tom doing in class ?." Meaning Tom is neither too bright nor totally dumb. Certainly not the sharpest tool in the shed.

When they say, " Average American " is this average arrived at on an income high and low or on academic achievements?

If income, which is the high point and which the low? If based on scholastic attainments what is the threshold?

I doubt Mr. Mc.Caine when referring to " Average Americans " he had in mind patricians like Bush, Kennedy and Baker. Romney, Gates or Ros Perot. Generally speaking when we say "average" we mean ordinary and I doubt we can label the Kennedys and Bushes "ordinary." By ordinary I mean just another face in the crowd. Sometimes referred to as a statistic.

Why do we not consider them ordinary? Is it because you have framed a fixed mental picture of them as being very affluent and of having graduated from the leading colleges in the country? Something to do with the color of their blood being blue, the socalled blue-blooded aristocracy in addition to the color of their skin.

High school graduates? Plumbers? Carpenters?. The non college educated, white, blue collar, lunch-pail working class on shift. Sometimes referred to as "invisible Americans". Are they the " Average Americans ?"

What about women in comfortable financial circumstances who never saw the inside of a university, have no need to earn a living, who burn daylight gamboling and gossipping with friends at country clubs? Are they "Average Americans?"

Those homeless in shelters. They do not count?

If there is an " Average American " by the same token could there be an above " The Average American " and a below " The Average American ?" If so who are they?

Is the " Average American " in New England different from the " Average American " say in Georgia and Mississippi. If so in what way? Are there common traits? A kind of a lowest common denominator.

Is not every human being special, endowed with some unique quality that the next person does not possess? To call some one "average" in this context tantamounts to condescension I would think. Does it not give the impression when some one refers to a section of the people as "average" he is placing himself socially a cut above those he is referring to as " Average?"

Or is the notion of " Average American " a mutable concept, a vague reference to general consensus, a substitute for " In the opinion of a majority of Americans?"

Is this the profile of the " Average American ?"

* He ( for this purpose " He" includes " She " ) would live within spitting distance of Dunkin Donuts, Wal Mart, C.V.S. Pharmacy, Stop and Shop and the bank.

* You will not find him shopping at Nieman Marcus or Bloomingdales. Perhaps at Sears, Target and J.C. Penny.

* He would at the super market checking counter pull out two fistful of coupons and scrutinize them, some not applicable, some over due and tender the appropriate ones while all this time holding up a line of ten or more.

* He would have a close watch of the cash monitor to ensure that the proper price is being charged.

* He would not buy anything that is not on sale. " Two for the price of one " being his favorite.

* He would in the city go in circles looking for a parking spot on the side road for his car rather than pay at the garage.

* His reading is mainly limited to the local newspapers and the news he gets is chiefly from C.N.N in snippets while changing clothes.

* At the restaurant after a meal would indicate to the waiter that he would like to have the left-over "doggy bagged"

* His " Trinity " is Football, Baseball and Basketball. He takes to the bleachers, beer and pop corns like duck to water. In these surroundings he feels free and liberated like a mosquito in a nudist colony.

* In the mornings on the way to work he will grab a cup of coffee at his favorite Deli and drive away in his pick-up sipping the coffee and steering the vehicle simultaneously, listening to Limbaugh or Imus.

* His knowledge of geography is minimal.

* He spends his vacation not in travel but working around the house. Completing his basement or renovating the kitchen.

* He is one who with his spouse may be working two jobs, working overtime just in order to provide for their children basic amenities and a better life than they have had.

* You can see him lining up at the local " Seven Eleven " for his weekly Lotto.

* Borrow a book from the library rather than buy on - line.
* In him there is a sense of fair play.

* He will donate generously and willingly to ameliorate the hardships of total strangers as was seen for instance during the devastation by Tsunami.

* He loves the U.S.A. and is grateful for the opportunities it has afforded him and his children.

* He is quick to smile and slow to anger.

* He feels as in no where else in the world he can rise to great heights in any discipline if he works hard enough.

* He never forgets that this is a land of immigrants from every corner of the globe and a country ruled by laws and to which every one must submit.

* He will willingly join in community work for the general good.

* He is fully aware that his country is not perfect,there are many problems of social and economic inequalities but takes pride in the fact that it is the best one going in the world market.

* In times of crisis is united putting aside ethnic, religious and political differences as was seen in the aftermath of the nine-eleven terrorist attack.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Little gems from Charles Osgood.

I'm O.K. you're O.K.
O.K. is what we two are,
But as between the two of us
I'm more O.K. than you are.

I'm O.K. You're O.K.
There's nothing that we lack,
We are both O.K.O.K.O.K
Now please get off my back.

Hail to thee, blithe buzzard,
Bird thou never wuzzard.
Go tell Cronkite, Reasoner, Brinkley
There's big news today in Hinckley.
Folks in Hinckley set their clock
By the coming of the flock.
How can you criticize a culture
That annually greets a vulture?

One robin does not a springtime make
One swallow no summer at all.
But a point one can make
Without fear of mistake:
One lark has brought many a fall.

A low - key cat in the White House sat,
A Siamese named Shan,
And from where she sat in this habitat
She could see how the country ran.
Now, it's hard to see how she stays low-key
Observing the things she can,
But we'll all be sad if this cat goes mad,
For the fit will hit the shan.

If plants can feel, as some folks say,
Be glad you're not a plant today.
An animal can move and roam,
Can choose some other place as home.
But if you are a tree or plant,
No matter how you try, you can't.

Powerful are those who choose
The items that make up the news.
And yet in spite of all that power,
It's much like singing in the shower.
For it is clear from card and letter
That you all think you'd do it better.

Words are like numbers -
They will and they won't.
Sometimes they add up
And sometimes they don't.

A statue is a monument
To give someone a boost,
And grateful are the pigeons,
For they have someplace to roost.

There's plenty of it to be had,
And some is good and some is bad,
But it is always worth the price.
I speak, of course, of free advice.

A lawyer hoist with his own petard.

A lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against, among other things - FIRE.

Within a month, having smoked the entire stockpile of these rare cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy the lawyer filed a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires."

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason, that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.

The lawyer sued and won.

Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer had a policy from the company, which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against - fire, without defining what it considered to be unacceptable "FIRE" and was therefore obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000.00 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars lost in the "fires".

Now for the fun part.

After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of arson.

With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine.

NOTE: This is a true story and was the First Place winner in the recent CRIMINAL LAWYERS AWARD CONTEST.

Red Roses For You My Dear.

Red roses were her favorite,
her name was also Rose.
And every year her husband sent them,
tied with pretty bows.

The year he died,
the roses were delivered to her door.
The card said, "Be my Valentine",
Like all the years before.

Each year he sent her roses,
and the note will always say,
"I love you even more this year,
than last year on this day.

My love for you will always grow,
with every passing year."
She knew this was the last time
that the roses would appear.

She thought, he ordered roses
in advance before this day.
Her loving husband did not know,
that he would pass away.

He always liked to do things early,
way before the time.
Then if he got too busy,
everything would work out fine.

She trimmed the stems,
and placed them in a very special vase.
Then, sat the vase
beside the portrait of his smiling face.

She would sit for hours,
in her husband's favorite chair.
While staring at his picture,
and the roses sitting there.

A year went by,
and it was hard to live without her mate.
With loneliness and solitude,
that had become her fate.

Then the very hour,
as on Valentines before,
The door bell rang, and there were roses,
sitting by her door.

She brought the roses in,
and then just looked at them in shock.
Then, went to get the telephone,
to call the florist shop.

The owner answered,
and she asked him,
if he would explain,
Why would someone do this to her,
causing her such pain?

"I know your husband passed away,
more than a year ago,"
The owner said, " I knew you'd call,
and you would want to know.

Your husband always planned ahead,
he left nothing to chance.
There is a standing order,
that I have on file here,

And he has paid, well in advance,
you'll get them every year.
There is also another thing,
that I think you should know,

He wrote a special card.. he did this years ago.

Then should ever I find out he's no longer here
That's the card..that should be sent,
to you the following year."

She thanked him and hung up the phone,
her tears now flowing hard.
her fingers shaking,
as she slowly reached to get the card.

Inside the card, she saw
that he had written her a note.
Then, as she stared in total silence,
this is what he wrote...

"Hello my love,
I know it's been a year since I've been gone,
I hope it hasn't been too
hard for you to overcome.

I know it must be lonely,
and the pain is very real.
or if it was the other way,
I know how I would feel.

The love we shared made everything
so beautiful in life.
I loved you more than words can say,
you were the perfect wife.

You were my friend and lover,
you fulfilled my every need.
I know it's been only a year,
but please try not to grieve.

I want you to be happy,
even when you shed your tears.
That is why the roses will
be sent to you for years.

When you get these roses,
think of all the happiness,
That we had together,
and how both of us were blessed.

I have always loved you
and I know I always will.
But, my love, you must go on,
you have some living still.

Please ..try to find happiness,
while living out your days.
I know it is not easy,
but I hope you find some ways.

The roses will come every year,
and they will only stop,
When your door's not answered,
when the florist stops to knock.

He will come five times that day,
in case you have gone out.
But after his last visit,
he will know without a doubt,

To take the roses to the place,
where I've instructed him.
And place the roses where we are,
together once again.

Author Unknown.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Alas my friend.

Dear Friend:

A line to say I'm living, I'm not among the dead; though I'm getting more forgetful, and mixed up in the head.

I've got used to my arthritis, to my dentures I'm resigned. I can manage my bifocals, but,oh I miss my mind. For sometime I can't remember when I stand at the foot of the stairs if I must go up for something, or, if I've just come down from there. And before the fridge so often, my poor mind is filled with doubt. Have I just put food away ..or have I come to take some out?

And there are times when in the dark, with my nightcap on my head; I don't know if I'm retiring or just getting out of bed.

So, if it's my turn to write you, there's no need to getting sore. I may think that I have written and don't want to be a bore. So remember I do love you and wish that you were near, but it's nearly mail time, so I must say "goodbye dear."

There I stood at the mailbox with face very red. Instead of mailing you my letter, I had opened it instead.

Author Unknown.

Pray, Let this not happen to me.

Around the corner I have a friend
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone

I never see my old friend's face,
For life is a swift and a terrible race,
He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell,
And he rang mine.

We were younger then,
And now we're busy, tired men
tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.

" Tomorrow " I say " I will call on Jim "
" Just to show I'm thinking of him."
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes, And
distance between us grows and grows.

Around the corner ..yet miles away,
Here's a telegram sir - "
" Jim died today "
And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend

Author unknown.

The Busy Man

If you want to get a favor done
By some obliging friend,
And want a promise, safe and sure,
On which you may depend,
Don't go to him who always has
Much leisure time to plan,
But if you want your favor done,
Just ask the busy man.

The man with leisure never has
A moment he can spare,
He's always "putting off" until
His friends are in despair.
But he whose every waking hour
Is crowded full of work
Forgets the art of wasting time,
He cannot stop to shirk.

So when you want a favor done,
And want it right away,
Go to the man who constantly
Works twenty hours a day.
He'll find a moment, sure, somewhere,
That has no other use.
And help you, while the idle man
Is framing an excuse.

Author unknown.