Local football teams on win streaks

Posted on 16 October 2019 by LeslieM

Jaylan Knighton is hopeful of helping Deerfield Beach to a win over host St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

Both the Deerfield Beach and Blanche Ely football teams are on a roll.

The Bucks (5-2) have won five straight games after starting the season 0-2, while the Tigers are 6-1 after winning their fourth consecutive game. Blanche Ely’s only loss this season was a 42-0 setback to Deerfield Beach in the third game of the season. Since then, they have reeled off four wins in a row, including a 48-7 win over Olympic Heights.

“The discipline has definitely improved, and we have a great senior class,” said Blanche Ely coach Clifford Wimberly after the Tigers finished 1-9 last year. “We’re taking one game at a time and finding the little things to help us improve.”

When they defeated Stranahan 26-24 two weeks ago, it marked their first win over a team with a winning record in 13 games, dating back to a 13-7 overtime win over Dillard in the Soul Bowl on Nov. 5, 2016. 

Tigers’ senior running back Shomari Lawrence scored on a 28-yd. run midway through the fourth quarter in the Stranahan game for the difference. He wound up with 20 carries for 94 yds.

Coming off a 64-0 manhandling of Spanish River, Deerfield Beach will face a still test this weekend when they face the nation’s 12th ranked team at St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Bucks will be led by senior quarterback Michael Pratt and senior running back Jaylan Knighton, in addition to a stellar receiving corps.

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held an individual play (Low Gross and Low Net in Classes) on the Pines Course on Oct. 9.

Gary Gill won the Low Gross for Class A with a 75. Winning the Low Net competition was Chuck Brown, who carded a 64, while Bill O’Brien shot a 75 to take second.   

The Class B Low Gross winner was Lance Naiman, who shot an 86 and won a tiebreaker. Jack Permenter and Charles Schaefer each shot 67s, but Permenter won in a tiebreaker to take Low Net in the Class B competition.                                                                                                   

In the Class C competition, Oscar Aleman won the Low Gross with an 88, while Jerry DeSapio won the Low Net with a 68 and Jim Blake was second with a 71.   

Bob Mascatello won the Class D Low Gross honors with a 92. Al DiBenedetto won the Low Net in the Class D with a 65, while Dennis Rooy was second with a 68.

The closest to the pin winner on hole (No. 7) was Charles Schaefer, whose tee shot came to rest 8ft., 10in. from the hole. He stepped up and made the putt.

Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Women’s Golf Association recently held a Cat Fight in Classes tournament on Oct. 15. The winner of the A/B Class was Janet Stuart with a +1, while Lynn Goodman won the tiebreaker over Deborah Brown. They both carded a -3 in the competition. Lori Tarmey won the C/D Class with an Even score, while Dianne Levanti at -3 was second.

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Oct. 11 was El Camino day!

Posted on 16 October 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave
http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

As late as Monday morning, Oct. 7, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was supposed to open exclusively in Miami. Perhaps some studio executive read this column a few weeks ago because last Friday night, the film also opened locally, as close as the IPIC Boca Raton theater in Mizner Park. The first screening was packed and the ticket buyers were intimately aware of every nuance of this Breaking Bad history, while embracing some of the characters from Better Call Saul, a spin off.  This is noteworthy because El Camino also debuted on Netflix the same day — Friday, Oct. 11.

Like Rob Zombie’s 3 from Hell, Vince Gilligan’s El Camino is redefining the business model for a motion picture release. Neither film rivals the box office revenue of a Joker or The Addams Family, but both 3 from Hell and El Camino are relatively low budget productions, so the return of investment can be substantially larger, whereas a successful big budgeted studio production with many movie stars may never see a profit for many years after release.  Kudos to the independent streaks of Rob Zombie and Vince Gilligan for lighting the way for the creative part of the motion picture industry.

Despite being part of the Breaking Bad universe, El Camino is a standalone movie. One does not need to see the previous 62 episodes of the television series, but one will likely want to watch them now. The El Camino Jessie Pinkman (Aaron Paul) character is the gestalt of television version of Breaking Bad. Jessie, the boy, has become a man and is the whole of the sum of his 62 parts.    

El Camino opens  moments after the grand “Felina” of Breaking Bad. Jessie has escaped his captivity and is on the run from the police and sadistic criminal scumbags. After reuniting with his old buddies Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matt Jones), Jessie seeks the services of Ed (the late Robert Forster), a man who runs his own private industry witness protection program.  

Given writer/director Vince Gilligan’s love of words, El Camino is a double entendre. While there is a Chevrolet car in the movie and the locations are set in New Mexico, El Camino is a Spanish word for “a path, a road or a journey.”

How Jessie goes from “Point A” to “Point B” is an entertaining story, yet this is a meditative story about potential redemption.  Throughout the film, various Breaking Bad characters appear in flashbacks. Each provide kernels of wisdom for Jessie’s journey to enlightenment.  

Sadly, the Oct. 11 release also marks the passing of Robert Forster. An actor with 50 years of motion picture experience, Forster provides a fine swan song performance as “Ed the Disappearer.” Suffering from Brain Cancer at the time of filming, Forster’s performance rings sincere and true. 

There are some great violent visuals to El Camino, but the quiet moments with Aaron Paul and Robert Forster will be the cinematic moments to savor. 

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Things promised and present

Posted on 16 October 2019 by LeslieM

All things are yours, whether . . . the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ and Christ is of God. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)

Sometimes, we shrink the truths of the Gospel down to things promised. To be sure, we have been promised an eternity with our Lord, and this eternity will be a place where there will be no more sorrow or sin, pain or persecution, fear or unfaithfulness, disease or death. In a word, it will be the paradise that was lost in the Garden of Eden by the sin of Adam and Eve. The apostle Paul describes this as the beatific vision of God: “Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

But what about now? What does the Gospel promise us in this present life? What blessings can we expect before we cross the Jordan and enter into our eternal rest?

This article would indeed have no end if I were to try and set before you all that we have been given, for “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Here are just a few things, which I pray will be both a comfort and an encouragement to you. We are . . .

Unconditionally loved

Completely forgiven

Perfectly accepted

Totally empowered

Supernaturally strengthened

Utterly united to God in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit

We must always remember that the Gospel is not only a promise of eternal life. It also impacts our everyday life as well. As the apostle Paul wrote in the passage that opens this article, Whether things present or things to come, ALL THINGS ARE OURS!” And what was Paul doing, but simply advancing a truth that God had already set before His people.

The upright shall have good things in possession. (Proverbs 28:10 KJV)

Christian, it is important to remember that even a life full of “good things” does not mean we will not experience difficulties. Jesus promised that we will experience troubles in this life (John 16:33). The unbelieving world will present problems for the Christian, from intense pressure to intentional persecution.

And if that was not trouble enough, the believing world will present its problems too. Why? Because we are still sinners in moment-by-moment need of a Savior. We say things we ought not say; do things we ought not do; and think things we ought not think, making life difficult on ourselves and those around us. But remember this too: After the promise of problems, Jesus assures us, “But be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.” Because Jesus was an overcomer, we, too, are to be overcomers, regardless of the challenges and difficulties we face on this side of the grave.

In closing, as a child of the Most High God, you currently have good things in your possession. To live out this truth is to live a life marked by joy and thanksgiving to the One who has so graciously given it to you. And above all that you have been promised, you have the presence of your Lord Jesus everywhere you go. When Jesus walked with His disciples, they had Him with them physically, but not every moment of every day. But when Jesus left this earth, He sent His Holy Spirit and promised that His Spirit would dwell within us every moment in this life . . . and in the next. “Surely I am with you always,” He assures us, “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

May this truth set us free to love our God and to proclaim His incredible promise to a world that desperately needs to hear it.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that . . . Amen!

Tommy Boland is the pastor for Cross Community Church located at 841 SE 2 Ct. in Deerfield Beach. For more information, call 954-427-3045 or visit www.thecrosscc.org.

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First Tee program kicks off at Pompano Golf Course

Posted on 10 October 2019 by LeslieM

The Crockett Foundation Pompano kicked off its fall 2019 First Tee program recently at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

By Gary Curreri

The Crockett Foundation Pompano kicked off its fall 2019 First Tee program recently at the Pompano Beach Golf Course.

The nine week program, which has been in partnership with The First Tee of Broward County for three years, focuses on the nine core values that are connected with the game of golf and carries over to home life. Those values are courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment, and excellence. 

The coaches for the program are TJ Ziol and Darrell Welker, and they are helped by volunteers Alan Freedman, Valerie Bertuccelli and Ashton Mahfood.

The Crockett Foundation, a Broward County-based non-profit organization, has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children since its inception in 2002. Its after-school programs focus on math, reading, health and technology for middle-school students.

“The Crockett Foundation has helped more than 1,000 students in our local community graduate from high school with better grades and a more positive outlook on life,” said Jack Bloomfield, Director of Operations for the First Tee of Broward.  

The First Tee is an international youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to kids and teens. Through after-school and in-school programs, it helps shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect, and perseverance through the game of golf.

Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association results

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held several events recently. Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball of Threesome and Two Best Balls on Holes No. 1 and No. 18 on Oct. 2 at the Pines Course.

The winning team was composed of Neil Lang, Dennis Sejda and Pete Strychowskyj, who shot a 60. The team of Dave Dowling, Jim Muschany and Tom Pawelczyk finished second with a 63 and won on a match of cards.

Finishing in third was the team of Chuck Brown, Lance Naiman and Willie Smith, who also shot a 63, while the team of Bill Delaney, Al Holcomb and Kevin Narus was fourth with a 64 and also won on a match of cards. Winning the closest to the pin contest was Charles Schaeffer.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a Two Best Balls of a Threesome event on Sept. 25 on the Palms Course.

Al DiBenedetto, Jim Greeley and Tom Pawelczyk shot a 122 to take top honors, while Dave Dowling, Gary Gill and Joe Patchen shot a 125 to finish second. Taking third was the team of Jorge Duarte, Lance Naiman and Willie Smith with a 128.

Dennis Sejda won the Closest to the Pin on Hole No. 11.

The Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association held a One Best Ball of a Threesome and Two Best Balls in the Middle, No. 9 and 10 event on Sept. 18 on the Palms Course.

Taking top honors was Jim Blake, Tom Breur and Gary Ruderman, who carded a 63, while Dave Dowling, Jim Muschany and Dennis Sejda shot a 64 to finish second. Gary Gill, Joe Patchen and Willie Smith shot a 65 and won on a match of cards to finish third.

The winner of the closest to the pin competition on hole No. 7 was Gary Gill.

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“Sympathy for the devil” begins with Joker

Posted on 10 October 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Joker is probably the most ambiguous movie to open with such strong box office revenue. It helps to have a comic book character with almost 80 years of villainy. Mix that with almost 50 years of movies featuring urban alienation, and it is little wonder why Joker became a box office monster last weekend.  

“Sympathy for the devil” begins with an unreliable narrator. Understanding this concept will enhance your viewing pleasure of this film if being seated next to a madman on a roller coaster ride is your idea of pleasure.

The film opens with Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) putting on his clown make-up and preparing for his temp job as a sign carrier for a failed business.  After being mugged on the street by a bunch of callow boys, Arthur loses his job because his sign is destroyed.

Defeated, Arthur returns to his one room apartment that he shares with his delusional mother.  The two find pleasure in watching Murray Franklin’s (Robert DeNiro) celebrity night time television show. Beyond that, many things happen and Arthur is right in the middle of these wild situations. Sometimes, Arthur is the agent of chaos; sometimes, he is the victim of chaos. Regardless of the circumstance, Arthur laughs at jokes that only he understands.  

Through the cloak of ambiguity, this film manages to raise social messages.  From a subway shooting that echoes Bernard Goetz’s 1984 headlines, Arthur inspires a mass protest to “Kill the Rich” by people wearing clown make-up, which echoes the 2014 Ferguson Missouri riots. 

Batman’s Father, Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen) is a self-made billionaire, who commits to the political ambition to become Mayor of Gotham City, which echoes Donald F. Trump’s Presidency.

Much like Renee Zellweger’s performance in Judy, Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Joker is likely to be Oscar-nominated. The actor runs the gamut of human emotions.  One feels sorry for Arthur, but the seduction of evil is real and an unsuspecting individual could easily become the Joker’s prey.

Though clowns have been part of the entertainment industry since the Roman Circus, recently clowns have been front and center during recent Halloweens. Sid Haig’s Captain Spaulding and Pennywise the Dancing Clown from Stephen King’s It books and movies have been trick or treat favorites and horror movie convention winners.  Like Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker fits right into this Rogues Gallery Circus.

For those who want to don greasepaint beyond Halloween, the Kazoo and Drum Corps for the “Day of the Dead” is seeking volunteers for the parade in Downtown Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, Nov. 2.  (Visit the website at www.dayofthedeadflorida.com.)

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October is clergy appreciation month

Posted on 10 October 2019 by LeslieM

The following quote was found in the 1996 Sept./Oct. issue of the Saturday Evening Post, “In 1992, layperson Jerry Frear, Jr., was brainstorming with church colleagues about how they might be of help to their minister when he glanced at a calendar and noticed that it was almost Groundhog Day. ‘I thought, if they have a day for groundhogs, there ought to be a day for the 375,000 clergy people in America,’ Frear says. So…for the last seven years the second Sunday in October has been set aside to show appreciation for our clergy.”

Focus on the Family is credited with building on, expanding, and popularizing pastor appreciation week, by calling October “Clergy Appreciation Month.” Hallmark saw a market and wanted in on the action and the first “Pastor Appreciation” greeting cards were sold in 2002.

Those who only observe a minister from a distance may feel his job is an easy one. Too often, people misconstrue that a pastor works one day per week, studies only one Book and mooches off generous people who host him occasionally for supper. That may be true for a few “so-called” ministers, but that is far from the truth for those pastors who are serving the Lord with their whole heart.

Pastors who truly love people will invest themselves into the lives of their congregation. They will weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. They sympathize and empathize with those God has entrusted to them. In doing this, many pastors struggle to separate work from personal life. They cannot just leave the office and forget the events of the day. They take the needs of others with them, agonize over them in prayer and wrestle with them through many sleepless nights.

Pastors and their families live in fish bowls and get observed and scrutinized from every angle. Pastors attempt to lead those who are frequently resistant to change. They listen to those who have strong opinions, and love those who announce how they would have done things differently. Serving others can at times be overwhelming.

The data reveals that 95 percent of those who enter vocational ministry will NOT retire from it. Hundreds of pastors are leaving the ministry every month; many pastors say that the ministry has negatively affected their marriage and family; and many pastors admit they would quit, if they had some other career option. The majority of pastors admit to walking a very lonely road that lacks deep friendships and the suicide rate among pastors is rising rapidly.

Whether you think your pastor needs it or not, let me encourage you to do something special to encourage them during the month of October. A simple note, a word of encouragement, an affirmation of support goes a long way toward inspiring your pastor. Show your appreciation by praying, encouraging, attending, supporting, participating, and protecting him when others speak evil. Throughout the year, give him a gift card to take his wife to dinner. Offer free childcare, wash his car, give him a gas card, bake his favorite cookies/pie, etc. The little things say a lot and are even more appreciated, when they are unexpected.

So, during October, be a blessing to your pastor, as well as, in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, November and December. Your simple prayer or word of encouragement may be the thing that keeps him from being part of 95 percent that leave the ministry. I close with a special shout out to all of my pastor friends… thank you for your faithfulness and keep your eye on the Prize (Phil. 3:14).

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Senior Pastor at Grace Church located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

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Bucks rout Boca Raton 49-6 in District 12-8A football game

Posted on 03 October 2019 by LeslieM

Deerfield Beach quarterback Michael Pratt looks for an open receiver in the Bucks’ 49-6 win over visiting Boca Raton. Photo by Gary Curreri.

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach senior quarterback Michael Pratt threw for a season-best 331 yds. and four touchdowns as the host Bucks toppled Boca Raton 49-6 in the District 12-8A opener for both teams on Friday night. 

Pratt, a Tulane University commit who transferred from Boca Raton High School to Deerfield in August, made his fourth straight start and guided the Bucks to a fourth straight victory.

He has seen his touchdown totals in each game go up by one. He threw for one score in his first, then two, then three and four against his former school. He has 10 TDs on the season.

“We just have to get better every single week,” said Pratt, whose team has a bye this week before facing Spanish River. “My timing with the receivers, connection and chemistry is starting to build up. Our offensive line…I am starting to learn them and they are starting to learn me.”

Deerfield Beach (4-2, 1-0 in the district) took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yds. in three plays, capped by a 40-yd. scoring run by FSU commit Jaylan Knighton. He carried all three times in the drive for 80 yds. Knighton finished the game with seven rushes for 100 yds. and one score.

Boca Raton (2-3, 0-1) cut the lead to 7-6 on a 20-yd. scoring toss from Andrew Caverty to Ashton Gillotte with 4:02 left in the first half. The extra point attempt by Thomas Lofiago was blocked and later also had a 37-yd. field goal attempt blocked.

The score snapped a three-game shutout streak by the Bucks in their last three wins – as they defeated Blanche Ely, 46-0, Zachary (LA), 53-0 and Oak Ridge (Orlando), 42-0 – and outscored the opposition 141-0 during the span.

Deerfield Beach broke the game open in the second quarter when Pratt hit Maryland commit Deajaun McDougle for an 83-yd. catch and run for a 14-6 advantage and then 21-6 on a 64-yd. interception return by Phillip O’Brien. Deerfield Beach made it 28-6 on a 20-yd. scoring toss from Pratt to University of Miami commit Xavier Restrepo.

Pratt connected with Deajaun McDougle two more times in the third quarter from 51 yds. and 60 yds. for a 42-6 lead. It was his 10th scoring touchdown pass in four games. McDougle had 226 yds. receiving on five catches and three TDs.

Back-up quarterback Marquise Pierre hit Jamarion McDougle on a 45-yd. TD score in the fourth for a 49-6 Bucks lead. It marked just the fifth time in Deerfield Beach history where they have scored 40 or more points in four straight games.

Pratt missed the first two games of the season, losses to Carol City, 24-12, and St. John’s (Washington, D.C.), 52-20, with a groin injury. Pratt threw for 1,208 yds. and 12 TDs at Boca Raton last season. He also ran for 447 yds. and three scores for the Bobcats.

Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn said Pratt handled the week going against his former teammates well.

“He has a steadiness about him and is a little ahead of his time,” Glenn said. “To be quite honest, if he plays the first two games, we would be undefeated and top-10 in the country right now.”

Last season, Deerfield Beach fell in the state semifinals of the Class 8A tournament as they lost 49-21 to the eventual state champion, Miami Columbus, and finished 12-2. Deerfield lost in the regional quarterfinal the season before and lost in the state semifinals in 2016 to the eventual state champion, Southridge, 26-7 in 2016.

“it’s been a great opportunity to learn a few new things,” Pratt added. “I have to make better reads and work on timing.”

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Renee Zellweger resurrects Judy

Posted on 03 October 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

On June 22, 1969, Mom, Dad and I were out on our Johnson & Johnson wooden boat on Cold Spring Harbor.  My parents swam ashore and I stayed on the boat with a transistor radio. Between songs (likely Big Band), the news man announced that “Judy Garland died.” I got so excited that I pulled the boat ashore, much to my Dad’s dismay — since the tide was going out.

Being six years old, I had seen The Wizard of Oz at least twice, including once by myself on the color TV set. (The Wicked Witch of the West so scared me that I could not watch the film alone in the den the first time). Beyond portraying Dorothy Gale, Mom introduced me to Judy Garland the star of variety shows that featured singing, dancing and comedy.

Starring Renee Zellweger in the title role, the new movie Judy features the entertainer’s swan song. Living off her fame, but performing at low budget night clubs with her children Lorna and Joe, Judy finishes a show, only to learn she does not have a bed to sleep in.  After arguing with her fourth ex-husband Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell) about custody of the children, Judy gets a job offer to perform in London’s “Talk of the Town.”

The money is good, but years of prescribed substance abuse have taken their toll on this vulnerable 46-year-old mother of three.  Having earned a reputation as being unreliable, Judy Garland’s swan song performance is an emotional roller coaster ride featuring insomnia, heartbreak and the divine grace of performance.

Renee Zellweger owns Judy. Besides performing her own singing, there are moments when the ghost of Judy Garland has returned to the big screen. Likely to be Oscar nominated, Zellweger’s performance is consistent. Her final close-up is a rare audience connection that bookends the beginning of the movie.

Based on the play End of the Rainbow, this new film explains the dark side of show business. The opening shot features young Judy Garland (Darci Shaw) being told by Louie B. Mayer (Richard Cordery) that she is a plain, next-door girl that is separated by her beautiful singing voice.  This scene echoes the Book of Genesis chapter in which Eve is seduced by the serpent.

Tears were shed, but the laughs are truthful, Judy is an entertaining tragedy with many life lessons. Parents who know that their children want to “run away to the circus,” should take them to see Judy as a family movie some afternoon. The discussion afterward will be genuine.

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The Processionary Caterpillars

Posted on 03 October 2019 by LeslieM

Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915) was a French naturalist. He was the author of many works on insect life, remarkable for their vivid and minute observations and received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1910. One experiment he performed on Processionary Caterpillars struck a profound chord in my heart, allowing me to appreciate what Rosh Hashanah can mean for us today.

The Processionary Caterpillar is so named because what makes this little furry insect unique is its instinct to follow the caterpillar in front of it in a procession. Processions consist of 300 caterpillars or more, often fooling predators into thinking the caterpillar processions are snakes. It is a fascinating and charming sight to behold, as they move along nose to tail and in the likeness of a miniature train, with their eyes half-closed, searching for food.

Jean-Henri Fabre took a giant flower pot and placed an abundance of the caterpillars’ favorite food (juicy green leaves) at its center, and then he enticed the lead caterpillar to start circling around the circumference of the flowerpot’s rim. The other caterpillars followed suit in a tight single-file process. Fabre then succeeded in getting the lead caterpillar to connect up with the last one, creating a complete circle, which moved around the pot in a never ending procession; the head of one caterpillar touching the rear end of the caterpillar in front of it. Each caterpillar followed the one ahead, thinking that it was in search of food.

Fabre was certain that after a few circles of the pot, the caterpillars would discover their predicament or tire of their endless progression and veer in another direction. But they continued their circle. Fabre thought that after a day or two, growing hungry and tired, one of them will break out of the circle and head for the food. But, quite unbelievably, seven days and nights passed and not one of them would break the pattern to fetch the food in the center of the pot, less than six inches away.

The end of the story? Each one of the caterpillars died of exhaustion and starvation. 

Not one of the caterpillars stepped out of line. So they all died.

Human Caterpillars

Is it not true that so many of us humans, in our own way, suffer from similar patterns? How many of us often fall into their very pattern of following the masses at the expense of our own food laying right there in middle of the flowerpot? Deep in our hearts we often know that we should or should not be doing something or saying something. But we just fall into the “herd mentality” trap. We know that what we have been doing for so many years is really not nourishing us, but we can’t get ourself to leave the cursed circle. We’d rather die than step out of line.  

We’ve all seen footage of people breaking out into a stampede on Black Friday and trampling others at Target. Viewers often make fun of these groups, wondering how so many customers could be so stupid. But the crowds aren’t really thousands of individuals making dumb decisions. The crowds are just crowds; that’s what crowds do.

We are programmed to follow herds, explained superstar Israeli economist Dan Ariely in his new book, Dollars and Sense, and businesses make use of this mentality. Have you ever been stuck waiting with a group outside a music venue when the spacious building could easily let you all in? They might be keeping you there to get passersby to come to the show.

We assume that, if other people are doing something, then it’s a good idea.

“That’s what we are designed to do,” Ariely says “It’s not something we are aware of.”

This tendency can be dangerous. When fires break out in crowded movie theaters, everyone often runs to the same door and gets stuck in a bottleneck, even when there are two other side doors going unused. It’s very hard to say, ‘Everyone’s running in that direction. Let me sit here and think and look carefully around.’

Like wildebeests on the Serengeti running from lions, our species depends on a tendency for many people to act like one big animal.

This same mental tendency helps us build skyscrapers together and distribute food around the world. It just also means we can be indiscriminate about which groups we join. If you’re in a group, your mind isn’t always your own.

Yogi Berra

The legendary baseball player, Yogi Berra, who died in Sep. 2015, was once asked by his wife: “Yogi: you were born in Missouri, you live in New Jersey, and you played with the New York Yankees. So when you die, where should I bury you?” 

Yogi replied: “Surprise me!”

Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur says: Surprise yourself. Step out of line! This year, give yourself permission to cross the imaginary or real lines that hold you hostage. Transcend the mold.

Surprise yourself. Don’t be predictable. Do it differently. People put all types of limits on themselves, inspired by fear and trauma and status quo. This year — break out.

LeShana Tova

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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For better or for worse

Posted on 03 October 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen

ERosen424@aol.com

www.emilyrosen424.com

I met my late husband on a blind date in 1952, the year Adlai Stevenson (Democrat) was running for President against General Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Republican) We were both political junkies — Democrats, and, since he was still in dental school, I had to be a “cheap date.” And so he “courted” me at free Stevenson rallies. We were very vociferous and proactive, and despondent over our loss when Eisenhower won.

Fast forward to a time when we were married and my husband was finally earning money — which was about the time he switched parties and voted for Nixon. Our “mixed marriage” survived all 57 years until his demise in 2013. We listened respectfully to each other, recognized the extent to which we were both “dug into” our (his “new”) belief system and learned from each other. We didn’t think the other was stupid, ignorant, scheming or unpatriotic. (He was a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge). Neither thought the other was a “bad” person, based on our political beliefs — or on anything else for that matter.

I will admit there were times when I entertained ideas about how to keep him away from the voting booth on election day, or tearing up his vote-by-mail ballot when I saw it in the out-mail box, but they never materialized. And so we both experienced political ups and downs as Nixon was followed by four more Republican presidents in my husband’s lifetime (not in this order): Ford, Reagan, Bush (1), Bush (2) and three Democrats: Carter, Clinton and Obama.

And I will never know if he would have become the “No Trump” Republican as did so many conservatives of our acquaintance. And I won’t even conjecture for this writing.

But I do know several “mixed marriage” couples now who are having a hard time with their relationship over this issue. I know, too, of dating couples who have either broken up over it or, if seeking a partner, have placed politics as an issue among their top criteria for a match.

What has happened to past civility and respect for our differences? For me, this is the single most frightening aspect of our current political climate. If we could only shed the idea that our disagreements make us natural enemies…

I must admit, I get stymied when I ask people from “the other side,” “Are you not outraged by the disrespect and direct defiance of law, or by inciting language or by lack of transparency ?” and I discover the answer, in most cases, to be “Well, I don’t like it, but it doesn’t  affect my support” followed by some version of a reference to “wonderful policies” and “what “everybody else” does. And that’s when I pull back and realize what “dug into” means. It means, “I ain’t budging” — and it comes from both sides.

So, it is true. I may not budge and they may not budge, which should not make us enemies. This is where history is such a balm. When I read about some of the most bellicose periods our country has experienced during its few hundred years of existence, I am comforted to know that we have always managed to survive in relative unity. This one may be the ultimate test.

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