I was in sixth grade. Our class was on a field trip to the local newspaper. It was a paper in many ways similar to where I work now ‚Äî a small community-based daily. This daily had an afternoon edition, which meant that instead of printing around midnight, the papers came off the press just after lunch. Us students had walked through a very active newsroom and ended up on something like a catwalk that overlooked the press room. The machines were spitting off newspapers, the rumbling sound made it difficult for us kids to talk to each other or to the teacher. At the end all of us kids were given a paper off the press. I can remember it was still warm, and there was a sweet, rich smell of ink. I knew then that I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. Now the presses in the back of our building will be silent forever in a couple of weeks. It is for a good, well thought-out reason, I understand. Everyone here is saddened by the lost jobs. What also saddens me is the silence coming from the presses. I‚Äôve seen a lot of changes in the news business ‚Äî admittedly some good, some bad ‚Äî but always something is replaced with something else, until now. Yes, the papers will roll off another press, but not here.
I find Hillary Clinton‚Äôs comment that a vice president is ‚Äúkind of like being a first lady‚Äù as preposterous.
I don‚Äôt know about you, but when I vote for president, I know I am voting for a team. If something happens to the president, his or her spouse will not lead the country, it will be the vice president. I believe a vice president needs to be a statesperson in his (or someday her) own right. Yes, the vice president is part of a team, but he is not there as a cheerleader for the president.
My hat is off to Vice President Joe Biden, who is not afraid to be his own person, no matter if you agree with what he says or not.
When I attended the 10th anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, it was Biden who touched the observers more than any other politician, which included a couple past presidents. He did that because it was obvious he spoke from his heart even if he fumbles at times with his words.
Cruelty is cruelty, animal or human
I’ve heard a lot of people lately stating that more people are concerned about animal abuse than about child abuse. I don’t believe that is true. I know there are statistics out there that support these statements. But hard, cold numbers are not equal to the human heart. I believe caring people are all about ending any kind of abuse to a living creature, human or otherwise. Sometimes the abuse is very obvious and can be dealt with, other times it is hidden and harder to fix. Either way, it takes a brave, good person to try to help.
“You want to see something great?” I asked my husband two weeks ago.
Remember, “The Band.”
“Well, I have the documentary, “The Last Waltz,” which was the last concert of the original The Band members. The music alone will floor you.”
So we sat in our livingroom and listened to the vibrant, creative music and chatted about the personalities of group members that have been called by some, the American Beatles.
Some of my favorite clips from the documentary was watching Levon Helm appear one with his drums, his head to the side, his neck muscle taunt as he sang. And once in a while, his fleeting sensual smile.
Levon Helm died Thursday, from cancer, something he fought gallantly for years.
I’m a thinkin’ there is some kind of jam session of some blues, folk and rock going on above the clouds right now and if you really listen you might hear Helm’s twang being carried by the wind.
My sister said today to me: “You know, Judy, The Band for me is your Cream.” Both bands were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the early 1990s. Rock rules ‚Äî sometimes sadly, especially on a day when one of its legends is no more.
I‚Äôve never thought of space as a junkyard.
Call me naive, but I always thought that what we send up comes down — in good time.
Now along with everyone else I‚Äôve learned that we have to vacuum up debris left by our space explorers and old satellites to make room for, well I guess, more junk.
There is a defense project called ‚ÄúCatcher‚Äôs Mitt‚Äù that suggests we cleanup space junk using harpoons, nets, tethers and magnets.
Sounds like a good Sci-fi flick.
It makes me want to go home and clean. How bad is that?
If you agree or disagree or just want to use your voice, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This weekend my sister and I took a trip up north to visit our aunt who is recuperating in a short-term rehabilitation center. That center is connected to what is known as a long-term nursing facility.
My sister and I did not talk about that facility that we mistakenly walked through to find our aunt, who is 78, and by the way, an example of determination and grace. In fact, you would think since we never stop talking about everything the quiet time would be a strain. It wasn‚Äôt. It just was sad.
Why would anyone think that a room minus warm touches like a color other than white, paintings on the walls, a lamp with a frilly shade would be too much? Why would anyone think that shoving two white hospital beds side by side would be respectful or dignified for the two strangers who soon will become privy to the most intimate needs of each other before they even get to have their first serious conversation or giggle?
This facility was clean, so were the clients. The staff was friendly ‚Äî but the facility threw out a cold and distant atmosphere that made it hard to breathe. This facility is no different than thousands such places. Many just down the road from where we love, laugh and work…where we have family meals with parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles who are fortunate enough to be able to take care of themselves.
Where is the dignity and the respect the ‚Äúold ones‚Äù have earned?
In ages past, they were revered. They were the ones who kept eras and personal histories alive.
I have a copy of A Cherokee Feast of Days ‚Äî Daily Meditations pinned in my cubicle at work to remind me how to treat those who are before me. I‚Äôd like to share it.
‚ÄúIn ages past, our old ones were the storytellers. This was the way things were passed along to the generations that followed. For this reason the aged people made it a point to remember every detail so they could relate it at a later time. They were the word and picture carriers making history and spiritual values alive and important. In recent times we have made our old ones think they are not so important. We spoof their stories and make them feel foolish. The truth is that we are ignorant of what is precious and how to ‚Äòa da li he li tse di ‚Äî appreciate age. Rigidity can creep in and set even the young mind if there are no soft memories, no laugher, no times too deep for tears.
Age is grace ‚Äî a time too valuable to waste.‚Äù
The famous groundhog, or at least a member of his dynasty, is up again.
I admit it. I get a kick out of Groundhog Day.
According to folklore, if it is sunny when a groundhog peeps out of his burrow on Feb. 2 and he sees his shadow he will pop back in it for another six weeks nap, signifying that winter will continue while he snoozes.
OK, we live in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania. Winter is forever here. And truly, I don‚Äôt care if that big, furry creature sees his shadow or not. It is the thought that he can keep millions of people in suspense for a moment that tickles me.
The celebration held in Punxsutawney, home of Punxsutawney Phil, is a kick with all of its pomp and circumstances. Some of my family grew up in that area. My sister won a Halloween costume contest there when she was in grade school. My brother‚Äôs first two years of college were on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania‚Äôs campus there.
But, here is the worst of it.
Because of Punxsutawney Phil, I have always had a thing for groundhogs. When I see one munching along side the road I always yell out the window for the fur ball to stay there and move away from the car.
And here is the best of it.
I always hope for a cloudy day so Punxsutawney Phil will emerge from his home and want to play. I‚Äôm ready for spring.
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It is inspiring and it is sad to think the hope of a nation rests in the sweet smile of a little 9-year-old child who died from a bullet.
Heroes walk among us everyday and we don‚Äôt notice them because they are our neighbors, friends and family members.
They stand so someone can sit, they stop so someone who has been waiting can move into traffic, they hold doors, they hug those who simple need a hug, and they cry for a little girl they never knew personally, because she represents all that is good in their lives and in this nation.
May she laugh with the fun and the simple as she jumps in rain puddles in another world, and may we do the same here on earth.
My sister discovered the fun and ease of Internet shopping this year. She makes it sound exciting and challenging. But, she is a character that put a glitzy spin on anything. It takes me back to when our mother ordered things through catalogues and waited in anticipation for the items to be delivered. It was like she was getting a gift herself, even though most of the things ordered were for others.
Then I think about running into a judge and into an attorney and into a former high school friend I haven‚Äôt seen for years on my trips to pick up this and that for Christmas. I don‚Äôt like the crowds and waiting in lines, but I enjoy meeting others and having something in common with them at that moment.
The Internet may be the future, but each time it replaces physically meeting and talking and sharing with others, some random meetings of friends or work-related relationships or a stranger looking at the same item, I wish the future would slow down.
Today a woman who I see every morning when I come to work had her vehicle stolen off the street in front of her house. She is not a woman per se, she is a name, a face, a smile. Anyway, she had been warming her car up to come to work and ran inside for something. When she returned the place where her car had been was empty.
I‚Äôve walked out of a different exit at a mall into a crowded parking lot and I couldn‚Äôt find my car more times than I would like to admit. My stomach dropped, my heart raced, I felt hot and for some weird reason scared and embarrassed. Then I realized I was in the wrong place and I traced my steps back to the right exit and the right parking lot.
It never fails, when I see that car I feel a rush and I laugh aloud. I could not imagine how it would feel if my car was truly gone ‚Äî in the hands of a stranger.
There was a police report on the theft on the police‚Äôs Website this morning. We had a discussion whether placing it on our Internet site this morning would be playing favorites. We do place police reports on our website daily. And if the police are asking for information, those go to the top of the list, because we want to help the community. But, because the victim of the crime was an employee at the newspaper, we had to pause and to be sure it would not be any form of favoritism.
Professional ethics is alive in our building.
We treat a victim as someone we care about, even if that person doesn‚Äôt work down the hall.