Three half centuries

I was tickled by Joe Nocera’s observation in the NY Times that we were celebrating three half centuries. The first of the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. The second the launching by LBJ of a War on Poverty. The third being the Surgeon General’s report linking smoking to cancer. Each, in its own way, defines my lifetime.

Life in the bubble

I had occasion to go across town today. The store provided mobile ‘phone service among other things. As I stood there, young mothers barely out of their teens, if that, with babies on their hips ┬ácame in to buy airtime — for cash. A fellow, who looked like a day laborer, came by to get his ‘phone charged. His language skills consisted of pointing at his ‘phone and then drawing a line across his throat to indicate that it was dead. The customers were Hispanic with very limited English, obviously without bank accounts, or Internet at home. The shopkeeper was Chinese with equally little English. Everyone was very friendly, very courteous, very pleasant, very neighborly. And this white guy from the other side of town sat there thinking I really do live in a bubble. I just assume when I go into a store that everyone will speak fluent English. I have no problem keeping my phones charged — well, if I remember. I buy airtime on the Internet. And, I have neighbors that I don’t see from one month to the next! My brief acquaintances from across town live in the same country, the same town, and yet I know so very, very little about their lives. Each in our own little bubble!

Carole King

I had meant to write a line on sequestration today. Instead here I am writing about Carole King. I heard being interviewed by Diane Rehm on NPR today and discovered that she had written or co-written half the songs with which I grew up. I have spent the afternoon with Spotify listening to her albums. It has been an amazing trip down memory lane. I had absolutely no idea that so many of my favorites came from this woman. Thank you Carole.

Father’s Day 2012

I don’t know how your day passed but mine passed with several stories on the radio about sons and fathers. I suppose the theme common to all the stories ran something like I hated my father when I was a kid but when I grew up all I saw was this sorry old man and I couldn’t hate him anymore. I suppose the sub-theme was each son trying to avoid being like his father but slowly and gradually and in some case unwittingly it seemed falling into the same pattern — or a reverse of the father that made the son not an image but a counter-impage. Interesting perspectives. Continue reading

Steve Jobs

Maureen Dowd columnist for The New York Times plus a subsequent search of Wikipedia provided a series of surprising learning moments for me. It turns out that Steve’s birthmother Joanne had an affair with a Syrian man John Jandali who was in the states studying for his Ph.D. Her parents disapproved so she gave Steve up for adoption. Continue reading