Archive for the ‘Anger’ Category

Service of Back to Basics

Thursday, February 24th, 2011


I increasingly sight or recognize old fashioned solutions and thought processes for a variety of reasons–not just nostalgia.

Feeling My Oats

quakeroatsWalking east on 51st Street the other night, I noticed hanging from brownstone doorknobs and fences small plastic bags featuring the Quaker Oats logo filled, I bet, with a sample. [Wasn’t my doorknob or fence so I decided not to inspect.] Who knows how long they’d been in evidence? The bags were still in place at 8 pm! Also remarkable.

The little bags reminded me of the ones with toothpaste, mouthwash and other samples waiting for me to discover, fairly consistently, on my apartment doorknob in days of yore. Like any surprise, they were fun to get.

These days, I sample candy, granola, newspaper, juice and soda that people hand me in and around Grand Central Station, especially in good weather.

Phone it In

oldphoneTravel guru Arthur Frommer interviewed the owner of an online discount hotel reservation website who said that if you call his company on the phone you will often get even better prices than the ones published on the site. Arthur seemed surprised that the most labor-intensive option provided the best price cut. I think it had more to do with the hotels discouraging deep dish discount promotions on a website than with any relationship to traditional service.

Call of the Wild

wyatt-earpFrank Rich wrote an op-ed piece about good old fashioned business flim-flammery in “At Last, Bernie Madoff Gives Back.” Rich’s targets were the big banks and high profile businesses that partnered with Bernie Madoff.  In this regard we are still in the Wild West where bandits ride and rule largely unchecked. Wonder who our Wyatt Earp will be?

Generosity: Always in Fashion

Some may remember Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass–a sound from the past. On CBS Sunday Morning I learned what Herb was up to of late. He doesn’t compose and perform but instead, shares his wealth. He’d read in the paper last summer that the 46 year old Harlem School of the Arts was about to close. His was the largest donation–$500,000–to take the organization off the critical list and the seed to attract additional funds to save it.

Hot Topic

inheritthewindSaturday morning, on Turner Classic Movies, we watched the 51 year old film “Inherit the Wind” starring Spencer Tracy. It’s about a 1925 trial involving strict Bible interpreters who object to a teacher who covered evolution in his class. Evolution continues to be a contentious topic in some parts of the country today as is religion, worldwide. The contradiction of something that is supposed to bring peace creating friction is centuries old and always a head-scratcher to me.

What basic solutions and/or golden oldie issues in this high-tech, top speed era strike you these days?


Service of Anger

Monday, February 14th, 2011


In the Greater New York Section of The Wall Street Journal, in “Mayor Hits Back at Parents,” Michael Howard Saul and Barbara Martinez describe Mayor Bloomberg’s reaction to the “raucous display of discontent” and disrespect of Cathie Black, the new schools chancellor.

Saul and Martinez quoted a Brooklyn City Council member, Jumaane Williams, who defended the angry reaction by civic leaders and parents, suggesting that Mayor Bloomberg “retake civics class.” Williams continued: “That is exactly, actually, what America is founded on-the ability to express your opinion to people who are making decisions. It happened loudly and, I think, rightfully so because parents are angry that they’re losing opportunities to be involved in the education of their child.”

anger2Williams is right about the ability to express opinions to decision-makers. But is yelling and taunting and not allowing the “opposition” to speak effective?

I wonder how many of the yellers participate in PTAs and support class projects and try to affect change at each school? A friend, whose high-pressure job keeps her at her desk until all hours when she’s not traveling around the country and abroad, is consistently involved with her son’s NYC public school, its fundraisers, teacher’s meetings and addressing policies she objects to. It’s possible.

frustration1I have a red-hot temper. One of the triggers: Frustration at not being heard so I empathize with the primal screams of parents seeing albeit failing schools close left and right. And they have much to shout about the schools that remain open. WOR Radio NYC morning talk show host John Gambling reported horrific statistics. The state spends $33 billion on public education yet only some 23 percent of high school graduates are sufficiently prepared to either go on to college or to get a job. He noted that in Rochester, the figure was 15 percent.

Anger can give people the energy to take action and do something about what’s infuriating or worrying them.  But is yelling and bullying the schools chancellor the American way and the way out?


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