Browsing Category The Way I See It

Duck and Cover

In light of the tragedy and ongoing crisis in Japan, I doubt if I am the only Baby Boomer having flashbacks of Duck and Cover drills held in grade school.  Duck and Cover was a regularly practiced exercise of civil defense taught to school children during the 1950s and 60s. It was based on the probability that a nuclear attack was a clear and present danger that could occur in the United States at any time. There was even a film produced about Duck and Cover that used an animated turtle to show kids how the exercise would protect us in the event of a nuclear attack. Our instructions were that if we saw a bright flash of light we should immediately get beneath a table or huddle against a solid wall and cover our head with our hands.

Perhaps the whiz kids had it all figured out, but I doubt if I was the only average student in class who disbelieved that such an apparently insignificant action would save our lives during a nuclear attack. Theoretically, ducking and covering would provide protection from flying glass and falling debris, but we were also told that the radiation resulting from the nuclear bomb could incinerate us. What the hey?  If a bomb was powerful enough to blow to smithereens our school or any other building, how would merely cowering on the floor in a fetal position save us?

The government purported that Duck and Cover was an essential procedure for saving our lives. Certainly some preparation is always better than none at all. But to this day, as much as I remember the drills, what I remember more was that whenever our class practiced or even discussed Duck and Cover, for days afterward I had terrifying nightmares and disturbing daydreams.  

As I watch the continuous broadcasts about the explosions at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, not only do I imagine, but I also feel the desperation and fear engulfing the people in Japan. When it gets to be too much for me, I turn off the television. I’m sure that the people who live in those areas devastated by last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami probably wish that they could turn off their present reality just as easily. They have already lost so much; family members and friends, their homes, and now they are facing the threat of a nuclear meltdown. It is a calamitous situation that is too disturbing to consider feasible, yet too plausible to deny.  And it is not only the people in Japan, but people in other countries who are now looking for – and hoping not to see – a daunting radioactive cloud. Duck and Cover and Pray.

1 Comment

One Woman’s View of the Women on “The View”

“Take some time to enjoy The View.”  That is the signature sign-off line on the popular morning talk program that has broadcast for 14 seasons.  Two Baby Boomers, two Generation Xers and one Pre-Baby Boomer make up the diverse group of five engaging women who regularly co-host the ABC morning talk program The View

Before I continue, let me interject that I am not hooked on television, and therefore am definitely not a soap opera or game show junkie, but I confess that I do enjoy looking, listening, and learning from the talking heads on The View, a program that is informative, entertaining, and is always laced with a healthy dose of humor. 

Some might argue that women in general are competitive, catty, drama queens who dislike other women, but I believe that many devotees of The View – men as well as women – would ask, “What’s not to like?”  If I were a paid TV critic, I might not be writing this blog, but since I am not, I am free to give my two cents on the women of The View, as well as a little background on each of them.  A devoted fan, I give the show two thumbs up and five stars.    (Click continue reading to see more.)         

Continue Reading
1 Comment

Between the Pages of the Book

Have you ever seen someone that you like, but something about that person annoys you to no end?  Such is my dilemma.  The person who shall remain nameless is an Oscar winning Hollywood personality who appears on one of my favorite daily TV programs.  So what is it about this actress and fellow Boomer that drives me crazy?  It is her appearance.  Yes, I did say it!  Now I will say this – I have no problem with her physical appearance, because barring cosmetic surgery, weaved hair and fake nails, the appearance of most women is what it is.  But a Hollywood celebrity, who even has a star on the Walk of Fame, could dress more appropriately on television, instead of appearing on the program everyday looking like an adult-sized Raggedy Ann doll.   

Certainly, I know that we should not judge a book by the cover, so if you are mentally lashing me with wet noodles, understand that I am merely expressing something that other people think, but may not say aloud; that Ms. Walk of Fame’s attire is a turn-off.  I am not suggesting that she should dress up daily in stiletto heels and a designer dress, even Oprah doesn’t do that.  Well, on second thought, Oprah does.  But when a popular performer is on television, she could certainly dress appropriately.  It would surely beat sauntering on stage in a baggy shirt or sweater over top faded, albeit trendy jeans and odd looking shoes.  The latter of which she has said are designer shoes, including Pradas.  Still, her overall attire is not exactly business casual.  Many Google employees dress down, but not ridiculously.

In answer to the unasked question – nobody made me the fashion police.  And wardrobe aside, I am quite fond of the actress, because regardless of the fact that her appearance screams unsophisticated, homeless, high school drop-out, she doesn’t wear those shoes.  She is quite articulate and extremely intelligent, and what I most admire about her is that she speaks her mind.  She put the C in candid.  And anyone who dislikes what she has to say – or what she wears, myself included – well that’s just too bad, isn’t’ it?  As I have often heard her say on the TV program, she doesn’t “care what people think.” 

Granted my opinion isn’t worth the soles on her Rick Owens shoes.  And the adage is true that clothes don’t make the man – nor in this case the woman — nevertheless the unspoken rule in our society is that people are expected to dress appropriately, particularly at their workplace.  In urban vernacular that means represent!   Although the object of my discontent could easily win the award for worse dressed woman on TV, don’t be fooled by her unflattering appearance.  She is a smart cookie.  And while her fans may object to my own frankness about her on-camera wardrobe, unlike WikiLeaks, I do not anticipate that my post will incur worldwide outrage and cause me to go into hiding.



“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Those words of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speak proficiently about people who talk the talk and walk the walk; ideally his words would also motivate closet activist, people who hesitate to speak up or take action at the opportune time.  We all know someone who loud-talks up a storm behind the scenes, complaining about what “somebody” should or should not say or do to get something done, but when the occasion arises for the whiner to speak publicly about the issue, his or her jaws lock tighter than a hard shell clam.

I believe that some people are born activists, while others grow into those shoes. It doesn’t matter how they arrive at being a crusader, what is significant is that at some point they learn the importance of speaking out and championing their cause, whether it is a global effort like Going Green or working to eliminate homelessness in their community.  Activists are generally mindful of their Ps and Qs – they prepare, participate, and when necessary, they question. Then, they pursue a course to affect the cause that they are championing – whether it means joining their colleagues in a public protest, taking part in a fact finding survey, or casting a vote.

On the other hand closet activists avoid publicly stating their opinion, preferring to cower in the shadows and grumble instead of taking a stand.  No one is right or wrong all of the time.  Sometimes we make good choices, other times bad.  But regardless, the point is — express yourself.  Whether you support a cause or totally disagree with it.  Man or woman up!  Let your position be known. 

People who have the opportunity to speak up and refuse, basically deserve whatever they get from the outcome of a decision by the majority.  Life is a crapshoot, a gamble.  Each one of us – from the President of the United States to the homeless person on the street – has only limited control over some things and absolutely no control over other things.  It is liberating to be able to state a position.  You may change your mind later on, you may even regret a decision, but you can feel pleased that you at least had enough backbone to assert yourself.   Any coward can opt out. In the words of Malcolm X, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”


How Do We Say Goodbye?

I occasionally hear people wondering aloud about why other people write messages to the dead. Those who question the act say it is irrational because, they reason, the departed cannot read the notices directed to them. But open any daily newspaper to the Obituaries page and you will likely find “In Memoriam” tucked among the Death Notices. Those sentimental ads containing poems, acknowledgement of anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions give credence to the Latin phrase which means “in the memory of.” 

Grief is a strange animal and we all react to it in our own unique way. Consider funerals for instance. They are certainly no laughing matter – but with all due respect – some of us can recall at least one funeral that had comic relief.

Imagine a pastor has enthusiastically rendered the eulogy and is seated in the pulpit, dabbing his sweaty forehead with a folded white handkerchief. The senior choir, looking solemn in their funeral robes, is swaying side-to-side with the precision of a pendulum clock, as they croon the fourth stanza of a long, tear-jerking hymn. Amazingly, cousin Grace who is sitting in the pews, jumps to her feet and lets out an earsplitting scream. Her shoulder-shaking sobs resonate throughout the church as people seated nearby gently pull her back onto the bench and try to calm her. Meanwhile, across the aisle, another woman leaps up. Spreading her arms toward Heaven she snaps her head back, inadvertently knocking off her wide-brimmed, peacock feather hat,  sending it onto the lap of the person behind her. Her own blood-curding wails fill the air, as white-uniformed ushers carrying Jesus paper fans rush to aid both women.

Switch your mental channel to another, less dramatic service. It is equally as reverent, but more upbeat. A local band follows the brief eulogy with a performance of Kirk Franklin’s Brighter Day, and some family members and guests take turns making a joyful noise as they share laugher and humorous anecdotes about the deceased, celebrating a buoyant home going for their loved one. 

All things considered, it is understandable that heavyhearted souls express the loss of a loved one in their own way. Some place flowers annually on a gravesite or toast with a shot of wine, others write In Memoriam.