Who do you trust?

I have a dear friend who is about as knowledgeable as they come when discussing topics of great importance, and I rely on her to make me aware of things that I might not normally seek out.

Nina Anderson, a former corporate jet pilot, author of 18 books and CEO of Safe Goods Publishing, is an intelligent and passionate maverick-a trailblazer of sorts-who is not afraid to speak out for what she believes. And what she believes is based on tireless study and impeccable research, coupled with a lifetime of sifting through the rubble of conflicting information for kernels of truth.

Nina has long been a canary in the mine about important subjects such as air and water pollutants, electromagnetic frequency and the dangers of wave technology. I trust her judgement. So when she sent me the attached article today to read entitled, 5G Wireless Hazards, by Barbara Koeppel for the Washington Spectator, I settled into a comfy chair and prepared to be educated.

I read it aloud slowly so that I would understand every word and timed myself. It took me about an hour. I read the full article FOR YOU, because I doubt that even one of you will take the time to do so. The article contains lots of names and dates and things that I won’t remember, but the gist of it is this:

“If you think your cellphone is safe, have you considered why you believe that? Is it a fact, or is it based on carefully crafted messages that you’ve read or heard?”

Barbara Koeppel

Haven’t we had enough of people telling us what to think and believe? Haven’t we all agreed that we need to ‘follow the money’ in order to find out what’s true? Recent events have shown us how lies can percolate, and even the little white ones can come back to haunt us! Corporations are not going to save us. We know that their over-arching concern is not to us but to their ‘bottom line.’ We must be our own fact-checkers.

There are some very disturbing quotes in the attached article which illustrate how scientists HAVE PROVED that radiation from 5G and wireless technology is real and tangible, but companies (I won’t name them here) have withdrawn support when the outcome reveals that technologies are unsafe. Similar to the tobacco industry’s campaigns, these manufacturers have conducted major misinformation campaigns to lie and minimize or eliminate negative results to keep the truth from us-all for the love of money.

Perhaps you can scan it a little. Or read the excerpt from The Scientific Alliance for Education (S.A.F.E.), which I have included below, and take a few minutes to seriously think about it.

Do this for your children and grandchildren, if not for yourselves. There are many things we need to self-educate ourselves about in this age of paid surveys and funded studies.

Trust me. This is one of them.

Here’s the ‘Cliff Notes’ version from The Scientific Alliance for Education (SAFE):

5G technology uses millimeter waves, along with microwaves (the type in current devices). Because 5G waves can only travel short distances, antennas and towers need to be installed every 300 to 600 feet on every block across the country, to receive and send signals. And this, Philips says, “increases the exposures exponentially.”

Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley, says “because the technology is so new, we have no way to know about the long-term health effects. But we do know that millimeter waves are absorbed in our skin and on the cornea and can harm the immune, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.

And the original article from the Washington Spectator:

America is not a baby anymore.

I originally planned to write a little something about the disturbing events that took place at the Capitol the other day. However, the more I tried, the more vitriolic I became, and that was not my intention.

As I put pen to paper, I thought about my childhood. How boundaries, rules and limits are integral to everything we do in life from scheduling a calendar, to managing a business, raising a child and the running of a government. An overgrown garden, like an indulged child, can destroy the most beautiful landscape, and an undisciplined government can ruin a country.

Many people of late have been behaving like bratty children running wild with with their foul mouths and unruly behavior. I was disgusted to see rioters the other day wearing shirts imprinted with Nazi slogans. I think the idea of Freedom has been bastardized. It reminds me of horrid little children who cried ‘child abuse’ back in the 1990s and stripped teachers of their livelihood for patting a child’s shoulder to express encouragement. (Yes, I know people that happened to!)

To allow someone to drag our flag upside down and across the floor, to speak the most horrible, defamatory words to our elected government officials, to desecrate our hallowed halls with excrement-this boggles my mind. I lived in a time when Playboy magazine had to be wrapped in brown paper, men didn’t curse in front of ladies, and I could not wear a skirt to school if the length was above my knee! We didn’t whine about it or take it to court. We just tucked in our chins and saved the ire for the things that really mattered.

We have been shocked for decades about school shootings, but what have we done about it? We lamented police brutality even as we looked away because it didn’t affect us directly. We allowed pharmaceutical companies to peddle their poisons and destroy millions of lives because our ‘markets’ were producing as a result of their profits. We allowed corporations to dictate policy as if they were people. I could go on and on. We say we’ve worked hard to erase prejudice, but one of the biggest dividers of our country is now embodied in a couple of primary colors.

We lie like a rug-to our country, to one another, and to ourselves. Some of our media outlets lie because of the sponsors that support them. The lies beget misinformation, confusion, and distrust.

Our Congress lies because they are beholden to large corporations and lobbyists. They’re not all like that, thank goodness. They try to get their bills passed and support their constituents, but they are forced to accept a patchwork quilt of compromises. The ones that tell the truth and fight for the American people are either newly elected, threatened with harm, unable to raise capital for their election, vilified for their courage, forced to flee like rats off a sinking ship or resign because they just can’t take it anymore.

Our elected officials debate the Constitution ad nauseum as if they are asking it permission to do their jobs and when they do not like the answer, they debate some more. Or write another report. Or create another committee. They are not acting like the leaders we need them to be but rather like the permissive parents of unruly children who wring their hands and lament that if they are the ones to dole out the punishment, no one will love (donate to/vote for) them.

And now they are afraid. The little lion cub has grown up. The rest of the world doesn’t look at us with the same tolerance because we are only 244 years old.

We are two-hundred and forty-four years old!

We are not babies anymore.

Happy 250th Birthday, Ludwig!

Mother and I always looked forward to two classical music celebrations: The W-QXR Radio New Year’s Eve Classical Countdown and Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday on December 16th.

I started my caregiver’s blog on this day so that I could remember the anniversary. I didn’t know that a mere five years later I would be listening alone, but she – and he, are as near and dear to me as always.

So today, I have the radio on and they are playing his Ninth Symphony (choral). I will vote for my favorites for the countdown (see link below). Later, I will put Immortal Beloved on the TV, just as Mom and I used to do. And I will cry. Again. As my sister says, she watches the classic movie King of Kings every year and each time hopes that it will end differently.

I wonder if he would have composed his beautiful music if his story had a happy ending. Perhaps he would have been a good husband and father. However, in order for the rest of us to have known his genius, “Es muss sein.”

Voting for the winner of the countdown ends December 18th.

Pick your battles

I wrote this blog a few years ago during the last election when my mother was still alive. I’m reblogging it from my other site because it fits in perfectly with the ‘Growing up in the 1950s’ series I’ve begun here, as well as what I feel about our current media and it’s effect on our society and our personal harmony.

The Caregiver’s Corner

I was talking to my sister Andrea yesterday about the election and what’s going on in the world. She’s been fortunate enough to live in a number of enviable places, including Europe, on a boat in the Caribbean, and now in an RV in the Pacific Northwest. Each of these locations limited her access to a lot of the TV shows and news reports (with the exception, perhaps, of the PBS News Hour), but she’s somehow always managed to keep on top of the important stuff.

Even though I’ve been firmly rooted in Central New Jersey, surrounded by hundreds of TV stations and unlimited access to the internet, I, too, have always tried to be really selective about what what I put into my head. I prefer not to hear about murders and mayhem, so I get my information from PBS, NPR, and W-QXR, our classical music radio station that broadcasts from New York (but with an app, can be heard from anywhere). I figure that if it’s important enough for them to report on a topic, it merits some attention. Then I go to other sources to educate myself further.

Neither of us can just passively swallow the news, no matter where it comes from.

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Dad & Me

Perhaps it all stems from the fact that our Dad was in advertising, and was very aware of the subliminal messages that were coming across the airwaves in the 1950’s. He made this little box with a wire to the TV, and whenever a commercial came on, we’d push a button to mute the sound, or ‘blab-off,’ which was what we called the gizmo. I can’t remember many of the jingles from that time frame because I just never heard them.

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Dad & Andrea 1956

Once in a while Andrea and I would sneak and listen to an advert, and it was as if we were doing something deliciously naughty. That’s the only reason I’m able to sing the Alka-Seltzer or Winston jingles, two products that were ‘verboten’ in our household. Doublemint, Chevrolet, and Brylcreem (‘a little dab’ll do ya’) were OK. We were safe with those products and wouldn’t be tempted buy them because we had a Mercury, Dad used Vitalis (no greasy kid-stuff for him!), and ladies didn’t chew gum in public.

Do people today realize that even if they are not actively listening to advertisements when the TV is only on ‘in the background,’ that the messages are invading their subconscious?  I am disgusted by all the pharmaceutical commercials that accompany evening television – advertisements that claim to ward off some of the ‘so-called’ unavoidable pitfalls of aging. My sister was lucky that she never really had to listen to all this!

We are bombarded with the promise of cures, tonics and creams for maladies ranging from wrinkles and osteoporosis to low-T and leaky bladder. We are exposed to topics that would never be discussed at the dinner table, and which are invited into our living rooms and given the best seat in the house! OB, ED, COPD, DM, AD, GAD, GERD, IBS, UTI – Do you understand these acronyms because I’m not going to spell them out for you. Depends won’t show, take the red pill, the little purple pill – but not together. And don’t call in the morning, unless the drug you took for anxiety makes you more anxious and maybe even suicidal, and one of the side effects might even be death and remember…we warned you about all this in that sweet-sounding voice when we showed you the couple watching the beautiful sunset with the lovely music in the background.  Sure, it sometimes made you laugh, but that was the whole purpose.

I can actually remember the day that we got our first television. It was delivered and promptly set up in the center of the living room, although there wasn’t much to watch in the afternoon. Turn the dial and almost every channel had a pattern with an awful sound accompanying it. I think I was mesmerized by Crusader Rabbit. The 17” portable Philco TV was a ‘freebie’ when you purchased a freezer. I recognized it from the ad on the Internet; it had that foldaway antennae. $599 seems a pretty steep price for 1956, especially when you consider that you can buy a comparable freezer today at Costco for about $179, and an even larger TV for less than the $159.95 shown here (and in color, too).

My grandparents probably had the very first TV in the neighborhood, and everyone came to their house on Friday nights to watch the wrestling matches from Madison Square Garden. The kids in the family (there were so many of us) got to munch on pretzels and drink orange or grape ‘pop,’ but the coke and ginger ale was for the grownups so they could add stuff to it. Funny how you don’t remember things, but then you see photos, and it all comes back to you. ‘Gorgeous George’ was the big thing (wrestler) back then, and I actually do remember seeing his blonde curly hair being shaved off on March 12, 1959 after he lost a match. I was about eight.

I digress. I was going to start talking about Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob and Clarabell and Shari Lewis – but I’ll save that for another time and another conversation. (Reminiscing about the past is such fun!)

The point that I’m trying to make is that we need to keep vigil over what we allow into our heads, our hearts, and our bodies.

Yes, we can get upset about terrorism and the Middle East, refugees and illegal aliens, the disparity between the rich and the poor, what’s in our water supply, how the food is tainted with chemicals and that the local Board of Education wants to spend almost $20 million to upgrade the air conditioning and heating systems in seven schools. (Is that even possible?) Or, we can realize that some issues will never be solved by us and are better left to people who are more equipped to handle them than we are.

We should use our energy and emotions to try to change things that legitimately bother us and personally touch us, rather than allow the ‘discord’ of the world to invade our personal peace (space), and possibly destroy our health. We can educate ourselves about candidates and vote our conscience. We can choose to buy local and organic produce and fight for GMO labeling laws. We can be charitable to those less fortunate than ourselves. We can sign petitions that we believe are worthwhile and call our senators to take action on our behalf. And we can use the mute button on the remote.

As Mandy Hale says, “Pick your battles. You don’t have to show up for every argument you’re invited to.”

(Yay!  When I read this to Mom, she remembered some of it!!!)

A new kind of caring

I was reading a blog earlier today by Jeff Goins.  He told how his daughter started making a fort at the playground, which inspired others to join her. At first, it was a single fort, but then the children branched out and made their own versions of what they thought one should look like. There was a little tussling, but they all got along well. 

“… I can’t help but wonder if what our world needs more of right now is a little less consumption or contention and a little more creativity.”

Jeff Goins

There was no date on his blog, but I suspect it was before social distancing began and the fear of COVID-19 invaded all we do. To say that 2020 has ushered in an era of separation would be an understatement. How long will we have to ‘self-isolate’ before we can return to some semblance of ‘normalcy?’  I feel privileged to have known the world differently than today’s children and young people, and that I lived through the years before computers and television and travel to the moon.

I believe that play is not something that we are born knowing how to do; others need to show us how to free up our imaginations and prime the pump of creativity. Give a child a lump of clay and he or she will roll endless worms and round shapes, but show them what can be done, and they will spend a whole day happily creating animals and things that were always in their mind’s eye waiting to be rediscovered. 

Jeff’s blog made me remember the first day of school vacation some time in the 1950s. I don’t know the exact year, but I was probably nine or ten. The long, hot summer stretched out in front of us, and we were excited to be allowed to stay out until dark. 

We already knew how to play hopscotch, tag and jump rope, but that night, my Dad became the Pied Piper of 41st Street by teaching us ‘city kids how to play.’ Dad grew up in Brooklyn in the 1920s, when many ‘stoop games’ were invented and improvised upon. There were no fishing holes to swim in, no squirrels to shoot, no trees to climb. Counting cars on street corners was the most exciting thing to do!

He showed us Statues/Red-Light-Green-Light, Box Ball, Red-Rover (Let me come over), (I declare) War, and a game similar to Twister, but played on the large squares marked off on concrete sidewalks. Every few evenings, he taught us a new card game and things to do with bottle caps, popsicle sticks, Yo-Yo’s and handballs. I looked forward to his homecoming, and so did the other children in our little corner of the world. He was my hero. 

Few people had air conditioning in the 1950s, at least not in our neighborhood of Sunnyside, New York. Adults would bring kitchen or folding chairs outside to escape heat trapped apartments and to sit in the small slices of shade created by tall buildings. 

My mother was a champion paddleball player.  We would have competitions to see who could hit the ball the longest, and she usually won. (She also excelled at Jacks and Pickup Sticks, board games like Checkers and my favorite, Fox & Hounds.) Tables were set up and young and old would play together.

Neighbors took turns bringing ice water to share. One might treat us to a plate of homemade cookies or a bottle of soda pop. Another might bring the day’s newspaper and section it out, or put a radio near an open window. 

I don’t remember anyone smoking cigarettes or drinking beer or wine or even coffee, but that is not to say they didn’t. No one swore, but I recall sometimes hearing a woman say, “not in front of the children!”  Decorum was strict. 

It was a local, American version of a practice that has taken place in small towns and large city squares for hundreds of years when people of many generations come together for companionship and sociability. In warmer climates, walking after supper, sitting in parks, on the steps of buildings and around fountains was an everyday occurrence, and an extension of the Living Room. 

The point was that the little babies, school children, young and old married couples, the singles, and the elderly formed a community of caring

Of course, there was always the corner pub where a man could have a pint and talk about the old days with his friends. Women might sit together and catch up on local happenings while watching the children at play in the park. Church events required people to work together on planning, organizing, decorating and cooking. People with similar interests could usually find others to spend time with enjoying hobbies ranging from stamp collecting to armchair travel and bird watching. These things could be done alone, but it was much more fun in the company of others.

It seems to me that we have been practicing seclusion for a very long time — even before our lock downs began. Our singular lives have deprived us of a rich heritage which has nothing to do with being in a family or a circle of friends. We sit in front of screens, talk to them, play with them, write letters and exchange pictures with them, give virtual hugs and emoticon kisses. 

So now, before the curve is flattened, while the numbers climb and our freedom is curtailed, we should consider how we’d like things to be when we emerge from our ‘caves.’  We’ve been discovering since March what’s really important to us, and learned new skills that we might not have tried if we didn’t face long stretches of time. 

Some of the last children conceived before COVID-19 are being born now. What kind of world will they find? The Great Generation is thinning out and although Boomers are still here, our memories of how the world was before technology will fade and one day be lost, too. 

Jeff Goins said in his blog that he “can’t help but wonder if what our world needs now is a little less consumption or contention and a little more creativity.”

We all need to think more creatively and come up with fresh, novel ways to ‘build our fort.’



This is the first blog of a series entitled, Growing Up in the 1950s.
I welcome your comments and memories as I try to weave the past and the present to come up with ideas for a future we can all be proud of!

Under His Wings

This morning, I learned that the 7-year-old son of someone in our group fell 13-feet into a manhole. Miraculously, he escaped with just a few cuts and scrapes.

I am reminded of a similar story that happened to the grandson of a neighbor many years ago. I’ll call him Bob. Bob had been on the town First Aid Squad when a call came in saying that a young boy had fallen from a third floor balcony – twenty or more feet. As Bob was driving, his partner jotted down the address.

“What was that address again?” His partner repeated it, and all the blood drained from his face when he realized that he was headed toward his daughter’s apartment building. “That’s my grandson,” he managed to say even as he left the car and ran to the child who was on the pavement surrounded by neighbors.

“Hey Bud, don’t move. I’m here, we’ll take care of you. Don’t worry.” He fought back the concern that might have shown on his face.

red blue and green bird feather

“Oh Granddad,” the tyke said. “I’m not worried. They already told me I was OK.”

Bob assumed that the neighbors had calmed the child down. His partner arrived with the stretcher and gear. As they lifted him together, his grandson said, “When I was falling, they put their hands under my bottom and said, ‘We’ve got you.’ They were all sparkly.”

Bob looked at his partner to see his reaction, which was a non-committal shrug. Had the child hit his head? There was no blood. What was he talking about? With little Bobby safely in the ambulance, they headed for the emergency room.

Less than an hour later, a doctor came out and spoke to the distraught mother and grandfather. “He’s fine. Barely a scratch. How far did you say he fell?”

“At least twenty feet,” Bob’s daughter told him. “He was playing on the balcony, and must have climbed over the railing to try and get to the neighbor, and suddenly, he was gone!”

“Well, they say God protects fools and children. He’s a very lucky boy!” The doctor patted Bob on the shoulder and turned to walk away.

“Doctor? May I ask you something? My grandson said that when he was falling, he felt someone ‘put their hands under him’ and tell him they had him. Have you ever heard of such a thing?”

The kindly young man smiled. “If you believe in miracles, I think this could be considered one.” When Bob didn’t say anything in response, he continued. “My father was a surgeon. When I was a boy, he would sometimes come home and tell us about things he couldn’t explain. I’ve heard stories directly from close friends, too. We have no answers, so we just accept the possibility that we don’t know everything.”

That little boy could never be convinced that he hadn’t seen angels. Years later, the memory was as vivid as it was on the day of the accident. I imagine that once a person escapes suffering or death, they never again doubt that there is something that intervenes on our behalf in moments of danger.

Back in the 1970s, my best man’s son fell into the frozen lake in his backyard. By the time he was finally pulled out he had been in the frigid water for many minutes and had no pulse. They resuscitated him, but the doctors said he would most likely wind up brain dead. Amazingly, he suffered no damage and went on to be a perfectly normal little boy. Doctors credited hypothermia and the young age of the victim.

Is it luck or is there some rational explanation that prevents a catastrophe from happening in life or minimizes its effects? A classic case is the person who suddenly decides not to get on a flight, or to take another route and later finds he’s avoided a disaster.

Both of my sons have had brushes with death, although I personally have not. In many cases, people say they are changed. My mother told me of her experience as a young woman and it forever changed my viewpoint and set me on a fifty-year search for answers.

When we hear of these occurrences or benefit ourselves and are unable to explain them, we can simply go on as we were and live out our time unmindful of the gift we have been given, or we can be grateful for another chance to complete our life’s work.

We can be protected not only from danger, but from bad decisions or even unscrupulous salesmen. Each morning I do what I call ‘protective work,’ just as I was taught to do as a child. I envision myself and my loved ones surrounded by love, in a kind of bubble of white light. Any time I get into a car, I mentally do the same, not just for myself, but for all I encounter on the road.

At the very heart of these incidents – and surrounding us all – is a force that we cannot see or touch. Some call it the Universe, with a capital “U.” Its presence in our life is not dependent upon following any religion, or even in the belief of a God of any name.

When we recognize that the Intelligence that created the world is all around us, guiding, sustaining and protecting, these little miracles can be a powerful reminder that we are always ‘in the palm of His hand.’