The Tuition Crisis? Duh? It’s Called Work

April 2, 2012

I’ve heard lots of grumbling this Spring from both the parents of teens bound for college and from the oh-woe-is-me students already feeling the weight of the mighty college tuition loan.

With apologies to those younger that myself, I doubt few under the age of fifty is an actual adult. For sake of argument, that word is defined here as “a person responsible for living within a lifestyle and, in fact, choosing that lifestyle with a strong imbedded sense of the requirement to pay back any person, institution, or thing to whom or to which they owe money.”

Thus this adult feels it incumbent to comment on the au current tuition crises. Granted this adult went to an undergraduate university from 1966-1970. A then dreaded public university. That said so much about your station in life.

My quarterly tuition was approximately $200-400. per quarter depending on the number of credits you took (at least as my memory serves me… since I’m really “that” old). Back in September 1966, the tuition at any college or university was considered onerously high. Ridiculously high. High schools still taught dual tracts — vocation and academic.

The reality was not everyone could attend college — because it cost to much! If it was too ludicrous a financial burden, or the unlucky wanna-be just didn’t have an aptitude for Descartes, Maslow, trigonometry, or computer sciences (back then it was the Univac 1100 series mainframes with their high tech punch cards). So they mowed laws which they turned into landscaping businesses or helped their father tune the one family car — which became the town auto repair shop. And so on. If you couldn’t afford the tuition, you didn’t lock yourself in your private bedroom and have a tantrum (chances are you shared the bedroom with your sister or brother). If you were accepted to a college three thousand miles away from home, but your parents didn’t have money, you didn’t go. If you wanted to “move out of your parent’s house,” but couldn’t afford to, daddy buy you a condo. If you spent the first day of your part time job fitting wigs on middle-aged women or waiting tables at Howard Johnson’s, you did it because you understood that you earned your way in life.

So what did you to? Oh, wow. This is going to come as a big shock.

If you couldn’t afford to pay your own way to Stanford, Yale, or the University of Missouri, you had several unenviable options. All distatesfully associated with: work; work; and work.
1) You could follow in the family business (what ever that was);
2) You went to work for someone else’s business as what is known as an “employee.”
3) You applied to the college or university and hoped that you qualified for a 100% scholarship — Oh, but, gee, I forgot. The only 100% scholarships in the ’60’s and early ’70’s were (for the large part) athletic scholarships. So unless you had lettered in Varsity football or something similar, you weren’t even eligible for full scholarships. Gee. How unfair.
4) Your grades, social activities, and character won you a $1,000 scholarship for one year to help you go to the college of your choice — Yippee! Expect even with tuition at let’s say $300. a quarter, that meant you had to both have financial help from your parents (if possible) AND that you would have to do what was known as “work your way through college.” What a concept! How then noble and worthy a line that was perceived on your résumé. Bus trays in the dorm cafeteria in trade for living there? Process paperwork in the registrar’s office or some other on campus administrative cavern in which they were short-handed? Re-book the library shelves? Wait tables in some off campus restaurant? Accept a full tuition state-sponsored scholarship if you contractually agreed to teach in your state for each year you accepted the imbursement — even though you did not want to teach. Ever.

The reason tuition was $300. a quarter, was because the average family (at least, my average blue collar family) earned about $12,000. a year. Nobody expected an academic free ride. Well, of course, the one percent did; and that would follow like day into night that life was not easy. Not then; not now.

Choosing a career was a life choice. Perhaps your parents couldn’t afford to have you wind up with a BFA degree but not know how to type? Or, because you were a woman, the head of the department told you point blank that you could not apply for a Rhodes Scholarship (as they were only available to men who played rugby). Or, hey, about your immigrant neighbors saved their money so that their children could receive the university education they would not afford themselves.

Ah, inflation.

But how did tuition go up so much? Gosh, let’s look to recent history. Academically-enriched programs, more degree options, computer science, medical, agricultural and state-of-the-art high technology fields requiring expensive labs, better qualified academicians, larger campuses, better libraries, and let’s not forget high stakes alumni-driven basketball and football stadiums, state of the art tennis courts, golf ranges, swimming pools. It costs. Something typically unknown to most college bound students whose parents use digitized technologies to transfer cash into their children’s overdrawn accounts. Sorry, kiddies. I have no genuine understanding of your perceived and lamented financial plight.

Yes, children. In the late Spring of 1966, I received my acceptance letters. I had been accepted to a number of cross-country prestigious schools. My parents did not have the money to send me. In fact, my mother had to work an extra job to buy me othodonture because my father was running a business and just couldn’t take out any more loans — on his business and our house. Desperate to leave home and live in a dorm like my friends, I explored working my way through college. The outcome was that the only way I could go to college, in fact, be the first of my entire family to go to college was to live at home for the next four years, work a full time job as a drive-in window bank teller (from 1 pm – 9 pm M-F). That meant all of my requisite classes had to be scheduled from seven a.m. to noon…. so I could sprint across the sprawling campus to catch a bus to my assigned bank. When I returned to my parents home by nine or ten, I did my homework. Then was up at five to be in the seat of my first class at the appointed hour.

So, yes, I graduated in June 1970. I moved out of my parents house at that time. I paid my way through graduate school, too. Oh, what a concept. Regimen. Responsibility. Earning your own way. Not indenturing your parents for your own coddled whims.

What a concept?! Oh, yes, I paid off my last of many permutations of student loans was paid off (approximately) 1987. That would be twenty-one years after first accepting that first terrible student loan.
Intentionally dentured servitude for twenty-one years. Wow. What a concept. Oh, yes, the experience was so horrible that I picked up an MFA from UCLA and a Master’s in Human Resources Management from Pepperdine University. Gosh. I paid off all my student loans. It took me twenty-one years. I wonder how that happened?
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Men-O-Pause

December 18, 2011

by
Adrienne Parks

Menopause. What does it really mean? Without running to Webster’s or Merriam’s for the precise literary derivation, I’m going to tell you what this Boomer thinks it means.

Men-o-pause. The creator’s way of telling mid-life women to lay low with the dudes. Doesn’t say “Chocolate-O-Pause” or “Galpal-O-Pause.” It doesn’t say caffeine-o-pause or bowling- or housework. In fact, I think vacuums are clearly still in the active state. It clearly says men.

Now “O.” That could mean, Oh? Or Oh! Or even Ooooo. The extra vowel interruption in the flow of syllables is intended to slow down us Boomer gals. Some famous last words. “Slow Down.” Whoopi Goldburg’s character’s ex-husband’s last words in “Corrine, Corrina”: “Slow down.” Often Joy Behar used the phrase on her show. Many in Congress have been accused of going too slow. The rapidity in rise of both Internet and iPhone and SmartPhone apps is anything but slow. They are overwhelmingly fast. So this origainl “O” does not apply to them.

Now for “Pause.” Can’t get more clear than that. Temporarily cease, halt interpersonal communication with the others. Chill. Count to ten. For some, count to one hundred. Take the time to re-think you life until now. Regurgiate bad memories. Purge from grey matter. Start again.

Which leads us to “why” men-o-pause exists for women but not men? It would have to be “Women-O-Pause” for straight guys. Could still be Men-O-Pause for gay guys. We all know the drill. What do the signs mean anyway? I don’t buy anything wool or with long sleeves anymore. It’s too darn warm. At outdoor events, I hand off my jacket to some forty-nine year old who is freezing. I haven’t been cold in so long I’ve forgotten what cold is. I go skiing with my warmly bundled friends who live in Patagonia-North Face-Marmout-Goose Down-Gortex, wear mufflers, caps, lined gloves.

Hot flashes must be the creator’s fluttering yellow lights. Take note! Take note! Commencing internal organ failure. Sagging. Wrinkles. Drooping. Cholesterol spikes. Triglycerides off the wall. Blood pressure hits new hghs. I always thought LDL had something to do with the Mormon Church.

For boomers still with ovaries and uteruses, which should probably be referenced as uteri, we look forward to potential partial hysterectomies. For those already minus, we look forward to herbal or big pharmo- hormone replacement therapies which have been shown in certain studies to cause: breast cancer, uterine cancer, heart attack, and stroke. Not in any particular order.

One of my friends, Judy, just started hormone replacement therapy. She had excruciating migraines until she told her physician who said, “Well, stop taking them.” The Big Pharmas are experimenting with alternative elixirs. All of which will be very expensive, held up by the FDA, and co-payed at the top of your insurance plan. Another pal is a fatalist. Still another turned down estrogen treatments for fear of increasing her breast cancer odds. She suffered the night flashes and got breast cancer anyway. Fortunately, in its very early stages. We’re all determined to ride it out for the duration. Thus, the collective opinions of these Boomer women:
When do we get over this? Never. When do the hot flashes stop? Never. When do we ever get a good nights sleep? Never. When do we get to take ourselves out of the pause mode? Anytime. It’s not going to get better by itself. Think herbal remedies. Exercise if only to beat it out of you. Make it sweat out your pores. Warn the partners and significant others. Install an overhead fan. Or carry one with you. Don’t be afraid of sticking your head out the window for fresh air like your dog. Get used to it. You’re in it for the long haul.

Hormonally challenged Boomers ahead.

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Some Thoughts On Movement OWS’ Past and Present

November 16, 2011

Back in the Brian Walton Writers’ Guild of America West (WGA) days, Harlen Ellison, Steve Bocchco, David Weinstein and a number of us (many of whose names apologetically I no longer remember) created the WGA’s “Promote Writers” campaign. Forming a “committee,” we insisted the WGA hire a mainstream PR firm to help elevate the status of the WGA writer from chump to champ. After several bids, Walton gave the work to Rogers & Cowan. They charged exorbitant fees and, essentially did nothing except exhaust the Guild’s allocated funds.

Harlen, David and I insisted we bring in the brilliant PR crisis control maven, Linda Dozoretz and her then pr partner. They did an excellent job of helping us with WGAW marketing/pr strategies. Our committee took writers into LA area education programs, helped cement the mentor program, tried (with little to no success) to reach upper “management” of studio corporations and indies (now often one in the same). As you know, the WGA strike of 1979 lasted nine months and almost broke us. The wiles and chicanery of the corporate “destroy-at-any-cost” mentality was alive and well then. It’s hard not to bounce from high to low when you finally realize that your life, soul, livelihood and entirely controlled by a powerful, greedy misogynistic (at the time) group of producers who had no clue “What they were looking for” but would “Know it when they read it.”

Hoping to draw a strong parallel here to OWS, I can say that WGA writers knew then we were relatively powerless. We needed to make a statement about the role of the “screenwriter” (aka “author”).

Our Bucky Fuller “Critical Mass” attained, we went to work elevating the perception of the “writer” in Hollywood. Thank the Creator that it’s now time for OWS to join continue the protests that, themselves, were carried on by others.

Let’s kiss the ground for those who would not and will not be silenced. Including all thinking people. Those who helped our generation articulate powerlessness such that we had somewhere to “come from” and a meaningful goal for which to reach.

Who remembers Eugene Debs, Susan B. Anthony, or only recently the voices of Ralph Abernathy, Nikki Giovanni, Gloria Steinem, German Greer, Better Friedan, Ti-Grace Atkinson, Sen. Bella Abzug, Sen. Barbara Jordan and Shirley Chisholm, Tom Hayden, RFK & MLK, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, resonated. Then they filled the auditoriums, university steps, and parks. That was their OWS.

Let’s not forget gutsy producers John Sayles, Robert Greenwald, Frederick Wiseman, Norman Lear, Horton Foote, and Robert Redford (for their commitment to cinematically sharing critically important stories). Or Karen Danaher-Dorr, Steve White, Marian Brayton for extraordinary network chutzpah, and the many more who labored against the Hollywood odds, worked hard, and succeeded or failed under the control of the corporation.

Should we be hopeful? Yes. Against all odds, I believe the laws of Nature will prevail. Critical mass has been reached. OWS voices give us additional hope for positive change. Tomorrows Wangari Maathai, Mario Savio, Margaret Sanger, Eunice Shriver, Mollie Ivans, Ann Richardson, and Leonard Matlovich can not now be silenced. The goals of breaking corporate misogyny, restoring collective bargaining and unions, and righting the wrongs of a seriously ill society can not now be stopped. So let us go forth with esprit, pride, thoughtfulness, and knowledge of self worth in tact. That’s reason to celebrate and look forward. Those are a few thoughts on movements like OWS past and present.

Eulogy for the Middle Class

November 14, 2011

Dear Online No-Address Recruiter,
We receivde your previous email blasts but intentionally did not respond. We’ve been seeking re-employment for two years now and we’ve finally realized that despite employment credentials, we’re overqualified for anything. We refuse to dumb down our resumes or pretend we don’t have experience, that we did not make consistently more than the average employee because we worked harder than the average employee, or believe that we’re not worth anything as a contributing member of society.

We realize it’s not your fault, but as a recruiter, your job is to connect the person with the job. After two years of looking,we have come to this conclusion. Do the numbers.

Since you’re not in a position to re-condition corporate America, make employee ethics mandatory for mid- to senior management and C-level positions, you can’t help the us. The Middle Class.

Since you can’t restructure society such that it does not discriminate against women, experienced, older, educated and minority employees, you can’t help us. The Middle Class.

Since corporate employers don’t want to pay for valuable services rendered anymore, you can’t help us. There will be no gold watches at the end of our Middle Class careers.

Since corporations have decided to answer to their stock holders and not their employees, you can’t help us.

Since corporations have created a separate and unequal standard of “fairness” for their insular selves, they are the ones in need of help. I don’t think you can help them either. They need much more than what you have to offer.

They need to learn they are human beings first, not last.
They need to understand they have a responsibility to the employees who made them the success they have become.
They need to remember that without employee loyalty, they would have nothing,
but with employee loyalty they have everything.
Do the numbers.

We are those who used to be strong and proud.
We had jobs. Careers. Health coverage. Homes.
The illusion that we controlled our own lives.
Now we are not for this time:
This economic age of disadvantage. Corporate malfeasance.
Political expediency. Outsourcing. Loopholes. The casino that is Wall Street, back doors to double-speak, private board rooms, sweet deals, hedged funds that used our money to gamble away our dignity.
All we asked for was fair compensation for excellence in services rendered.
Do the numbers.

Thank you in advance for your email blast, but it wasn’t, and it won’t be sufficient. At least not for those of us who are asked to recreate ourselves again from scratch. From an unlevel playing field. For pennies on the dollar. No health benefits. Empty promises.
And find nothing in your “Want Ads” to employ us. You have stolen the only thing we had left: our dignity.

We suspect our only hope is to deconstruct,
rethink, rebuild, and unemploy you.
Perhaps our eulogy is premature.
Perhaps even you can not put us back into the bottle
Or define us.
We are the ninety-nine per cent.
You are the one per cent.
Do the numbers.
Perhaps the eulogy for the Middle Class is premature.

Most sincerely,
The Unemployed Middle Class

Less Golf for GOP & Tea; Less Marathon Training and Rock Wall Climbing for Democrats

November 6, 2011

Jobs. And golf?
Couldn’t resist the temptation to have some fun, expand my neurons on a dull Sunday morning, and share my ruminations about, uh, golf — and the noise made by Sunday morning pundits over the weeks prior televised Presidential Election coverage.

You may disagree with me but I do know a few nice people who play golf. Note the use of the world “few.” They don’t beat their children or swindle millions from their friends retirement accounts. However… Golf. Really? Why would I even want to write anything about golf other than that Kevin Coster looks good driving a club. And so did Dinah Shore.

I find golf an odd-little adrenaline-pumping game for those no longer or never were Jocks. Certainly it’s the only really “acceptable” game for GOPers, employed junior management, middle, and even upper management seeking to climb higher on the backs of pimpled balls. Business meetings are held in the best hotels surrounded by eighteen hole courses with sand traps and lies. They write-off these business expenses. So every deal made on the eighth tee is tax deductible. Also over the urinal. Hell, for all I know, even the urinal is tax deductible. What about the golf clubs? How do IRS loopholes play or iron out for these amateurs? The Corp-o-Rat-ions pick up the greens fees, lunches, apres ball swacking dinners because the conversation is seriously over holes and drives and misses and holes. The meaty kind, the sweddy, and the dimpled. The tacky golf gifts are tax deductible. Women who don’t hit little balls beware — there are other ways for you to pay your dues. These games tend also to involve little balls. And little minds. A bad lay. No benefits. No future. For those who do, remember what your mother told you: “Never beat at man at his own game. It undermines his game. Always let the man win.”

Personally I think Democrats should stick to chess, scuba diving, swimming, sculling, tennis, rock climbing, Trekking, backpacking, century rides, marathons, adventure vacations, and the like. Not wasting their time “Making deals” on the back nine over clubs and some guy in checked yellow pants whipping his pimpled ball into submission. Democrats have so much more finesse. But can they their solve the diminishing jobs situation if they too stick to only what they know? Quoins, Treks, skis, REI, Luna bars, Goo, packing out their trash? Don’t think so.

How about if we create a new job type called “no balls allowed, no idealism.” Just mix an equal part GOP with an equal number DEM, flick the blender switch, and see what comes out. Hopefully a mixed and smooth blend of Americans who want to find jobs for everyone. Once everyone is back at work producing meaningful infrastructure and outrageously out-of-box creations that will them beget more American jobs, then the adults in the board rooms across our country can return to hitting their pimply little scratched balls and solving global insurgencies.

Jobs. And golf? Maybe they don’t go together. Maybe you have to sit them both down in the same room and make them play together like the adults they are not.

Saturday, Segerstrom and Sondheim, Not

October 31, 2011

The Orange Country Center for Performing Arts, specifically the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, pulled off a wonderful musical “The Show Must Go On” coup this past Saturday. The scheduled Stephen Sondheim “conversation” performance had to be cancelled due to the NYC snow fall which caused cancelled flights to LA. So the wonderful Mr. Sondheim was stuck in NYC. However host Michael A. Kerker, president of ASCAP, together with musical director Tedd Firth, and extraordinary vocal legends Christine Ebersole and Brian Stokes Mitchell, the show did indeed go on.
Kerker indicated at show’s open that Mr. Sondheim would join us by phone. Indeed, it worked. Sondheim chatted about what his show was to have been and what it would be. Cobbled together at the last moment was an extraordinarily wonderful selection of Sondheim songs of which he had written both music and lyrics.
Originally Ebersole and Mitchell were to sing only three illustrative songs. Treated we were to an evening of Sondheim with Ebersole sharing her interpretations of Sondheim classics such as “Send in the Clowns.” What clarity and pitch resonated from her vocal chords. Absolutely a joy to hear. Ditto Mr. Mitchell whose selections from “A Little Night Music,” “Passion,” and “Sweeny Todd” among others were stellar.
It’s easy to see why Christine Ebersole and Brian Stokes Mitchell were Sondheim’s first choices to join him in the “Conversation” turned night of song.
Great save by Kerker, Firth, Ebersole, and Mitchell. Exquisite evening with Stephen Sondheim’s musical personna. Gotta sing; gotta dance; gotta love Sondheim’s body of work.

Dogs Off the Leash: Or, Why Must I Feel that every Loose Dog is out to get me or my Goldens.

October 28, 2011

Huntington Harbour Dogs: Not Just Our Problem

There is a proliferation of very nice people rescuing all sort of dogs –very large dogs (Dobermans, German Shepherds, Sharpeis), to the small. We’ve lived here twenty-one years. So we’ve seen the changes in the neighborhood pet supply.

That should be a good thing. A wonderful thing. Stores implementing no sell from puppy mill rules. Rescue groups. No-kill shelters. Yay. Or not.
What good is it for a human being to rescue a dog if they are going to use it for a cheap burglar alarm locked in the garage all day, or a tiny fluff ball who looks great in costumes but bites your neighbor and can’t defend himself? Who never gets a walk? Mental stimulation? Is used as a surrogate teddy bear? Isn’t the rescuer actually doing a disservice to the dog not to learn how to become an informed, thoughtful, dog partner in this new relationship? Or what the best techniques are to help fulfill these dog breed’s intended life? If you adopt a “herder” dog, expect to have lots of energy yourself. If you adopt a German Shepherd, expect to do some training to bring that dog under control. If you leave your Beagle in the backyard while you go to work, is that constant howling going to win you friends? Or help build the bond between you and your dog? And if you have no control over your dog because you are not there, how is this dog going to turn out? Have you heard of pet-sitters?

However I can confirm that from my office window, I see a twenty-something with her cell phone glue to one ear holding and two leashes simple clipped to the dogs wide, very wide collars. Mind you, these are two rescued shelter huge Sherpherds with only a flimsy “pull out” collar between their dogs and mine. Or those of your neighbors, friends, family. I’m beginning to see those two German Shepherds – one brown, one black in my nightmares. Even their next door neighbors are terrifed that those two dogs will break down their side gates. No one wants to cross in proximity to “that” house.

Also there is la-de-dahing by is a a teenager, twelve, walking a doberman with a “pull-out” leash at max range. Also, an elderly Asian woman walking head down, observing his feet, with her meatball-sized dog leading the way (waiting, I may add, to draw attention to them by larger dogs. How many bones might she break when the dog leaps out of the way and pulls her over? Can you say “Broken hip.” Homeowners Insurance? It’s a lot less expensive in the long run to train your dog than have to un-train them.

Or on walks we encounter oblivious dog owner who opens his front door so his wild who-knows-what aggressive little dog can go to the bathroom, but seeing us sprints into the street. I don’t have to ask for whom the dog runs, it’s runs for us. In that case I’m more afraid that the little dog will be hit by a car than that I wouldn’t be able to protect my dogs or myself from him.

No matter what morning, afternoon or evening, walking dogs these days is like Halloween fright-night 364 days a year — you never know what dog or when is going to charge you. Does their dog’s bite bleed less if “Schmoochie” wouldn’t hurt a fly? Or “Is your leg broken less” because you didn’t see the unleashed hybrid charge leasehless around the corner?

Then there are the uneducated child (and adult) who rescues a cute little “Bitsy” or “Muffin” from the shelter, only to find they’ve brought home Frankenstein. Despite those issues, they keep these dogs in the back yard next to the pool (not all dogs have the right paws to swim or are themselves buoyant), walk them on the bizarre thirty-foot pull-leash, walk them off leash (the owner thinks they can scoop puppy up if need be). However in my opinion, the lunges, attacks, skittish dogs taking off, etc are unanticipated by the majority of dog owners. In extreme situations, they will never be able to save their own dogs life. What kind of a service do they do a previously troubled, rescue dog to bring it into a home where the the Human Beings can’t even “read” their dogs body language?

Many new dog owners don’t even have a clue as to why their dog might have problems he or she may have to work out. They don’t get it that Fluff ball is the size of a good appetizer to a hungry coyote. Or Fluffy’s neck can be easily chomped on by any large dog and broken. Typically vets can’t breathe life back into a dead, dead dog.

Is it helpful or a waste of time to greet the dog behind the iron gate who’s barking at you like he wants your thigh, those of your dogs, and your neighbors? Can you, the hapless passerby, ever think that owner would care enough about you and your dogs to take a few dog training lessons from a reputable trainer? If the owners don’t matter that Fido has broken through one by eight redwood slats to get at passing neighbor dogs a top an eight foot wall, what kind of people are they? I certainly hope they understand the pain and suffering they could inflict on their friends, family or innocent strangers on what was to be a lovely morning stroll.

We all deserve to walk dogs without fear of being jumped, lunged at, or intimidated by suddenly ferociously barking by dogs left alone all day. All too often, it’s the gardener or construction worker who blithely opens the side door to your house thereby allowing “Max” or “Buddy” to scamper down the road in quest of his next adventure.

We should not all feel that we have to carry a two by four. How much thought do you give to protecting “me” on my walk?

Dog trainer extraordinaire Sue Myles recommends a dog chlorophyll “butt blaster” which can be pointed at the offending face as it close in on your and your dogs. I pop the butt blaster in my pocket every time I take the Goldens out. You truly do not know who you will meet on your walk. Sue works out of the Fountain Valley area, but also works with troubled owners and the rescues in their homes. Her work can be found at: http://www.suemyles.com..The author must note that it was eight years ago that she was attacked by the neighbor’s “friendlY” dog. The author received a broken leg and torn ACL. The knee will never be the same.
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Pets At the Vets – Torn ACL – Part Five

September 18, 2011

Pets At the Vets – Torn ACL – Part Five.

From Where I Sit: On Ethics

September 12, 2011

While flying to Kenya two weeks ago, I had one of those great conversations you have with the person who winds up sitting beside you. This articulate, thoughtful lady is a tenured professor teaching “Business Ethics” to university level business students. What a great conversation we had about how woefully inadequate our society has become at teaching the very moral fabric that holds us together as a people. I beleive she also teaches a version of the class to journalism students. Much needed. Time flew.

Too bad more schools don’t teach ethics as it relates to helping our society — and not trying to steal the pennies off the eyes of the dead.

How does our great society remain great with so many narcissistic Right Wingers trying to destroy the cloth that weaves us together? Yes, this is just my opinion stated here, but I know it is shared by many on the “idealistic” and often “naive” left. Business students are told how to make money at any cost; profit the shareholders; appease Wall Street. Journalists are taught to rip the rumors from unnamed sources to “make a name for themselves.” The many Tea Party wanna-be politicians are too naive for words. Lemming-like, they follow Rush, Sean, Boehner,and O’Reilly right off the cliff, totally unaware of how unwitting they themselves are.

Did we not learn in our public schools of the sixties and seventies to think for ourselves? Hmm, I guess I’ve answered my own question. Yes, we of the seventies and eighties did learn to think for ourselves, to articulate what is truly important in life. Those who have come after have been so caught up in “getting into the right university” (read “business” school), pre-school (read “privately funded elites), performing high school level “social” responsibilities because it will look good on their school record rather than because it is the right thing to do, and let us not forget those who feel the need to look like a movie star (aka lipo, botox, breast augmentation, etc), that they have lost sight of what truly matters to society as a whole and civilization in toto.

It’s really not a bad thing to have a good heart coming from a good place to help the most with whatever little one has or can rally.

The Dude

July 13, 2011

Under the stars of the Hollywood Bowl last evening, July 12, 2011, Gustav Dudamel out did even himself. A man who has been called a “magnetic enthusiasm for music” should be deemed a man of many hands, fascinations, gestures, drama, tenderness. And of course great hair.
Dudamel’s hands were, quite frankly, one of those seminal moments you will carry with you. As in the film “Ghost,” when Patrick Swayze’s character placed his hands over those of the Demi Moore character as they pressed and drew up the fine potters wheel clay.
Dudamel’s hands evoke everything and nothing. Every chord he beckons from his musicians lips and tongues and bodies and beings into the openness under the dome of the Bowl are our gift for coming this eve.
This is only the Dude’s second season directing the Bowl’s Philharmonic. To the horror of music fans alike, I must say that while the lovely music was mesmerizing and the Steinway piano virtuoso Lang Lang accompaniment was nicely although athletically delivered, it made no difference to the evening’s delight. One could have been deaf and still been mesmerized watching the minute, sometimes large, huge, exhonerific, tremulous, cat pawwing, humble, gloriosity of Dudamel’s hands. Particularly the left. In the right he holds his baton. In the left, he holds the world.
My readers would be disappointed if I did not tell you what we heard and were sent home with musically: The slinky Lauren Bacall-like sultriness of Borodin’s symphonic pictures. The Dude follows with Lang Lang, a fixture on the world’s pianist scene, for Prokofiev’s moody Piano Concerto No. 3 concerto. Then, the Dude submerges us all under the wide Bowl of Mussorgsky. Last night was something of a Scherherazade evening of thrilling sultriness.


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