| Everything’s Coming Up Rosen

Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Cell phones and me — a rant

Posted on 08 August 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



I worship Steve Jobs for his brilliance and creativity and the Smartphone (about his persona , another time). However, for all the ways in which he changed the world, not so much. He did indeed change it both for the better and the worse. And the totality of that Ying and Yang has often been explored, but I am somehow impelled to do it here. 

For the better:

* Cell phone parking lots at airports and the concomitant ease for people connections.

* The magic of texting when I’m at a meeting and the phone vibrates, and it’s a non-emergency (which, of course, it always is) and I can surreptitiously wiggle my fingers to assure the caller that indeed he or she will have my undivided attention — after the meeting — lest he or she feel ignored.

* The incalculable joy of knowing that only I will have access to my conversations — that no one (except maybe a couple of enterprising Russians) will be able to listen in on the “other phone.”

* The wonderful access to Google to find out the name of the female lead in that 1936 movie that most people I know who weren’t even born yet, had not seen … and my ability to bypass Siri for that information. Siri, who, God save her soul, is an ignorant idiot. (If that is an oxymoron, my apology to idiots.)

* Of course, the advantage (?– hmmmm) of being able to have human contact wherever I am and whatever I am doing.

* And I can count on you to fill in the missing advantages.

But for the inevitably permanent worse!

* Although I am “in touch” with many folks as a result of the iPhone — that most wonderful of the five senses — touch (skin to skin touch) is slip, slip, slipping away and some folks don’t even know how far gone it is.

* As a species, our very bodies are in transition — mutating, no doubt — heads down, fingers flying, eyes darting from other world-phone to the here and now place of reality. We have actually learned to be in two (or maybe more) places at the same time, and, the younger we are, the more natural it seems.

* And my personal abhorrence gets tested on an almost daily basis. When I am in a social setting with others, dinner, after-dinner … a walk … a beach-sit … a night on the town … wherever — I give the other person or people my undivided attention. But I am so old that I actually expect the same from others. (an unrealistic expectation, yes!) Is it possible that we never had “emergencies” when I was younger, living with land phones only, where people left messages to which responses were given within hours or days — not seconds.

Please, when we are together, turn it off, put it away, do not coddle it as if it were some small living creature needing the warmth of your hand. And fergodsake, please don’t show me your pictures unless I ask for them, and I promise I won’t force mine on you!

* Finally, however, I dare anyone to deny its highly addictive nature.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Reality? Truth?

Posted on 05 July 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



I was always a big fan of “reality.” My relationship with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy didn’t last very long. Myths, magical realism, religious stories based on fantasy were fun but always overruled by my skepticism and, to some extent, distrust.

Having adults tell me lies made me feel like my intellect was being demeaned. How stupid did they think I was to believe that the prince actually climbed up Rapunzel’s hair to the tower to rescue her?  

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Mother Goose and Cinderella like most kids, but I was never caught up in the magic of dismissing my belief system. I always took great comfort in what I knew was reality. I relied on truth as the one steady reliable “thing” in life, and, if the truth was bad for me, I could handle it because I knew it to be indisputable, and I knew I had to change circumstances and formulate a different truth for myself.

I believe that I can speak for many others who dare to think of the ramifications of the crumbling of the nature of “truth.” We are living during a period of major societal disruption, and the loss of reality seems to be pushing us over the edge.

Surely in political circles, there are very distinct “realities” — different “truths” held to be equally immutable by each side. Anyone who switches from [one cable newscast to others] is transported to a completely different reality. The question is can society live peaceably within a state of two palpably different realities. I am not talking about two opposing belief systems. This is different. I am talking about viewing the same set of circumstances and transmitting different interpretations to the brain. And this is where my faith in reality falters. Perhaps, it (reality) actually doesn’t exist.

And so with these musings in mind, and in recognition that we are again celebrating our most significant national holiday, I transition to the revered words of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all “men” are created equal [with women and African Americans relegated to lesser status],  that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights — that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I look at those words these 243 years later and suppress a groan of incredulity. Those truths were self evident? Those truths were acclaimed during all these years as being sacred to the values of our country, and yet how fictitious they were, and how for two centuries — centuries! —“all men” were certainly not deemed to have been created as the “equal” to white-skinned men, by any stretch of the political, social or economic imagination. And, in our blustering “patriotism,” we got away with worshiping those hollow deceitful words.

Perhaps non-white men and women, as well as people regarded as “other,” might soon produce a declaration of their own that can be interpreted by all as a mirror of truth and reality and can be revered as an updated document to which we will be proud to pledge our allegiance.

We honor Thomas Jefferson and our founders for their political genius and for guiding us in the direction of our not yet perfect union. We can still do better and, hopefully, will never stop trying. And maybe someday, the larger truth to which we all aspire, may be monolithic.

Happy Barbecue or whatever you do to celebrate our gratitude for an ever striving-to-be-great country.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: D-Day – 75

Posted on 06 June 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



On June 6, 1944 —”D-Day” — 75 years ago, Allied troops invaded the Normandy beachhead in France. Who remembers? We had been officially “at war” since Dec. 11, 1941, and the victory we all prayed for seemed deadly far into the future.

I was 17 and, on that day, I was walking down the aisle for my high school graduation and the boys in my class — almost all of them — were preparing to go to war. The ones in the classes ahead of mine were already gone. Saturday night dances to the songs of the popular radio program, Your Hit Parade, most often in different people’s homes, became an all girls meeting. We shared mail and discussions about whose boyfriend was stationed in what weird-named place no one had ever heard of in Asia or which Air Force base or Navy ship those boys were likely to have been on, curled up and writing longing letters on what was called “onion skin” paper — “V-Mail.” (V for victory) I can still remember the serial numbers, (required on addresses) of some of the boys with whom I corresponded. I was a prodigious letter-writer.

That was only one of the things we did for the “war effort.” Bob Hope would bring his troupe of entertainers to the most remote corners of the globe, but I wasn’t a celebrity and the only “cheer” I was capable of was a newsy letter, as funny as I could make it. I can only now imagine how they might have been received — “mail call” in the midst of bombing and sniping, and surrounded by blood and guts.

We were all-in for “sacrifice.” The government issued “ration” books to every household, which limited the supply of sugar, canned goods, meat and cooking oil, and we couldn’t purchase those or a list of other items without relinquishing some ration stamps. I’m sure that fuel for cars was on that list, although who ever heard of a two car family back then?

We gave blood — even lying about our age. My parents were volunteer air raid wardens stationed at assigned times on the roof of our apartment building, dispatched to do — I can’t imagine what — at the suspicion of possible foreign planes hovering over our space. Neither of them, or anyone I knew at the time, had remotely considered the possibility of ever being a passenger on an airplane.

We didn’t have television and relied on newspapers and radio for information. The movie, Saving Private Ryan, was not even a budding creation in the mind of the not yet two-year-old Steven Spielberg.

Too many of us knew one or more than one “kid” who came back home in a body bag or with missing body parts or some who didn’t come home at all. Sadness was pervasive, but life at home went on.

I was bound for college, a commute of sorts, a daily subway ride from Brooklyn to NYU (downtown Greenwich Village) — where there was always another passenger to shake me from my sleep so that I would not miss my station, as I held tightly to my tell-tale bundle of books. And where, within a year after D-Day, “the boys” were flooding back to colleges on the (free) G.I. Bill.

Obviously, I’ve had several birthdays since D-Day. When I think of the seismic changes in society, technology, communication, musical trends, standards of behavior, political conduct, healthcare, attitudes about food and fitness, attempts at racial and gender equality, connectivity to the ends of our planet and, of course, so much more, I feel so lucky to have experienced “many lives” and much personal growth. Although today feels like a low point in that roller coaster ride, I know enough about history to be confident that we will drag ourselves out of this current morass, too. Indeed, it is the lessons of history that give us hope.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Whatever will be, will be

Posted on 02 May 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



I live frugally, though not inexpensively, in a 50 unit non-gated community in a perfect neighborhood for me where I feel safe and secure, almost like in the old days when people never bothered to lock their doors. I live where ducks and birds, and trees and grass, and flowers and water, and Walgreens are all within my sight. Daily, I walk maybe a couple of hundred feet or so to the mailbox from which about 95 percent of what I retrieve is requests for my money. And, truthfully, if I could, I would give to them all.

But here’s the thing. I have every chance of outliving my money — depending, of course, on a plethora of conditions that might or might not arise regarding the national economy and my own personal health which, for my age (it could be bad luck to mention) is remarkably and thankfully okay, so far.

So, I actually “saved” $24.83 on my Publix total bill of $78.34 this week. This is mostly an aberration but with careful attention to “BOGOs” it does happen occasionally. I mostly store-hop to save money — at the Dollar Store, Aldi’s, Walmart, etc. By most measurements, I am not poor. And, yet, I live in fear of becoming so.

I am also frantically frustrated by the “stop” button in my head which tells me that I cannot “give” (money) as I would like to — nor can I reasonably prioritize which “cause” is more worthy than another.

However, in consideration of the fact that May is Mental Health Month and, from my perspective, most every good cause rests on the assumption that emotional stability is the bottom line requisite for advocacy, this is and has always been my priority. (www.faulkcenterforcounseling.org)

No one in this world escapes from having bad things happen to them, and learning how to cope with the negative in a way that can enhance the positive elements to which all of us are privy in varying degrees is the greatest single gift we can hope for in life.

I can also list the mail I get that gives me pause as I weigh these other needs against my actuarial numbers, my assets, my chances of income and my willingness, or lack of — to live a lesser life.

I am in awe of Henry David Thoreau and Siddhartha, but not yet ready to live a Walden Pond life style.

On the other hand, I don’t have the slightest desire for a Park Avenue Penthouse, as a metaphor, and all the accouterments of that lifestyle.

And see? I just opened my mail and am told that my auxiliary health insurance premiums are being increased as of July. That’s enough for contributions to the several good causes represented by the letters in the “maybe” pile on my desk. Oh, I’m sure you noticed that gas prices have inched up again.

Of course, I am but one of the millions who go through life prioritizing expenditures and living with the realistic awareness that — poof — the world, our world, could end any minute.

And that’s why, having had my rant, I put that thought back into a locked pocket somewhere in my aura and begin to write checks with abandon, and look up at our Florida sun and get ready for a beach day tomorrow… and repeat the old saying “whatever will be, will be.”

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: What do you do all day?

Posted on 04 April 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



There are some people I know who unintentionally sound rude in simply expressing their curiosity when they ask, “What do you do all day?” Actually, I interpret that as a coded unstated question which, in reality, goes like this, “So, old lady, what’s it like to live alone?”

My answer: “Oh Baby! For me, it’s the last phase-of-life dream – being responsible to no one, a reward for all those, yes, mostly wonderful years of being what my family needed me to be but, to be frank, was not always the real me. Now, I am able to navigate from day to day, my journey of choice, while wallowing in long delicious silences as well as whatever sounds I consciously seek.

First, as always, I need to acknowledge that I am lucky, lucky, lucky to be in relatively good health — able to drive, walk (not so well), see and hear (could be better, but…), read (with a magnifying glass), think, feel, muse, ponder, explore, converse and use, with some ease, computer and smart phone.

So, “what do I do all day?” I am out of bed any time between 6 and 8 a.m., and then washed, showered, exercised (daily), dressed and en route to the kitchen, during which lightning-quick time, I alight on my choice of breakfast . Not one to fall into habit, my need for variety sometimes causes the (minor) stress of decision making – as in, what to eat for breakfast, despite that my singular most important mantra is “avoid stress.”

If it’s Sunday, I bike and then read the New York Times, which could account for a major part of the day. Other days, I have the following options (some more chosen commitments than options): prepare for or facilitate a Memoir Writing Class (since the year 2000), co-facilitate a therapeutic support group, go to the Boca Downtown library where, after doing my business, I often just sit on the outdoor swing in the community garden and study the variety of growing veggies, putter around in my own teeny tiny garden caring for the “real” growth and admiring the fake ones that make me smile, invite company for a meal (I love to create my own recipes, which I can never duplicate), keep in touch with friends and family by phone, text, e-mail or snail mail or actual eyeball to eyeball and touch depending on their advanced or laggard ability to communicate and their geographical location. I walk for about 20 minutes in my apartment on a straight path while watching TV or outdoors around a local lake, write a poem, or check out a newly discovered website or TED talk, spend time with Google and Amazon, direct “Alexa” to play music of my current mood while I listen quietly and think great thoughts, the latter sometimes even without the music, plus the usual mandated chores which keep my house tidy the way I like it. I love to wander in Publix and Dollar stores, beach and pool, of course. [I watch] very limited TV, even as I am addicted to “news” (whatever that is, these days), but that’s a whole separate column. I take occasional local three to five day runaways with friends, exploring the glorious diversity of our state. And, as self appointed president of the “Nap Society,” I indulge frequently and highly regard it as a life extending activity.

It’s a good life and I love living it.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: #METOO, 3, 4, Oops

Posted on 07 March 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



I am a proud member of the Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem fan club and my feminist “creds” stack up high against any of today’s raging “fems.” I have quietly endured the silence of the pre #metoo movement when it was just as accepted for men to demean women in all sorts of subtle and not so subtle ways, as it was in the early 1900s to accept sending people of color to the back of the bus. We have traveled many miles since those days, but we have not yet reached an acceptable destination.

In the 1950s, when I was ecstatic to have landed a job as creative director in an ad agency (when all my friends were teachers), I discovered, after having achieved several proud moments on the job, and after having been literally chased around the huge important desk belonging to the boss, that I was facing two choices: “fool around with” (translated: “have sex” with) the boss or find another job. I found other jobs, some of which placed me in that same exact predicament. I have no lasting painful affects from those experiences. They seemed as natural to me as asking the grocer for three pickles. I learned how to quit jobs.

Fast forward to #metoo and today. It is very different, thanks to some kind of human evolution, as well as some very brave women willing to take risks.

Many of them now speak up about the unspeakable. As a result, many men are punished and all men are cautioned and educated about what is and what is not appropriate. They are learning – but some of them the hard way. Some of them are now subjected to the extremes of change.

I personally know of two instances where male behavior was totally misinterpreted, reported as sexual harassment, only to be justifiably dismissed after many months of investigation, as frivolous and unsubstantiated complaints — and the reason for the many months seems to be the avalanche of complaints that require investigation. With reputations tarnished, in some cases, economic stability ruined and emotional trauma gone unacknowledged, these men have experienced major suffering. I am not blind to the difficulty of proving such complaints, nor am I unaware of the many years when women’s complaints were dismissed unquestioningly. I am merely pointing out the ways in which extremists can destroy an important movement.

And there is another potential down side to frivolous accusations. It is not that women don’t like to be “touched.” We just don’t like to be touched inappropriately by inappropriate people. But let us not devalue the importance of touch in our lives. It is enough that we have come to accept as a value expressions of love and affection through texts and emails and www.flowers.com — no physical touch there. In recent years, we have seen an abundance of scientific studies that handily confirm emotional and physical benefits from touch, suggesting that the act of touch is fundamental to human communication, health and bonding, as it is a primary means of spreading compassion.

We don’t want men to stop touching us. We just don’t want the wrong men to touch in the wrong places. And we don’t want #metoo to scare away or inhibit the wonderful touchy-feely expressions of good friends who give good hugs. I, for one, attribute my longevity, in part, to some really good hugs.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Love is in the air — or somewhere

Posted on 07 February 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



There’s not much one can count on these days but February is still loyal, and comes around every year touting “love” — whatever that is or is about to be. I have this very scary cartoon patched to my kitchen wall. It pictures a human woman with her arms around a shrimp about her size. The caption reads, “The other day I told my A.I. (Artificial Intelligence, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock) that I love shrimp tempura and it said, ‘What’s that?’ And I repeated in a surprised voice, ‘What’s shrimp tempura?’ and it said, ‘No. What is love?’” Do you have an answer?

When I wrote my first February column those many years ago, I interviewed a bunch of people and received a variety of responses none of which had any connection with the others.

Of course, there are all kinds of love: for children, relatives, pets, friends, country, eggplant, sports cars, football teams, Paris, a new kitchen, Bradley Cooper or the beach. (I know, left out a few things). But I am talking about what is referred to as “romantic” love — the kind that is supposed to last forever but half the time doesn’t. One of the tidbits I recently read in an academic psychology magazine suggested that research showed that “romantic love” (undefined) lasts an average of 18 months. Perhaps, it was referring to lust. I never actually followed up on that because it rang very possible to me.

On another angle, I recently received the following answer, in all seriousness, to ‘What is love?’ from the male half of a 60 year plus marital union: “Love is always giving in to your partner.” Try passing that around at your next dinner party and let me know who starts the fireworks and how it turned out.

In a recent Sunday New York Times “VOWS” section, an inspirational love story about a couple who met through an Internet dating site, proceeded to find out “everything” about each other through e-mails because they were geographically distant and, after two years, finally met and — yay! — married!

Both had been widowed, she 85; he, 87. Cynic that I am, when I hear a story of such compatibility, I generally ask for a report on the relationship after about 20 years. Check mate!

I will not seriously address a recent New York Times article about people falling in love with their robots – presumably “programmed” to be the perfect mate — and the subsequent fallout of massive changes in sexual identity, suggesting the label “digisexual” — a discussion for another time.

But what I do know on a very visceral level is that between social media and the unstoppable coming of a profusion of A.I. gimmicks presumably on the market to enhance our lifestyle, human “touch” is on the wane and that is so very sad. A simple touch as an expression of love is losing its relevancy and, along with that, the intimacy of human contact.

Perhaps, Skype can fill that void for some people; but, for me, there is nothing like just plain holding hands and piercing the eyes – the tunnel into another soul. Love is so many things and its’ essence so differently defined and accepted by each of us.

I wish you bundles of whatever love is to you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: — Bye bye ‘18

Posted on 03 January 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



Seems like only yesterday that ’17 was gone

Now ‘18 too’s behind us like a marathon

All in all – not so good

Can’t wait for Version Hollywood

Crazy folks with guns ran wild

307 mass murders filed

Parkland survivors crammed the media

Some famous enough for Wikipedia

Politics up front till early November

A midterm turnaround to remember

Khashoggi the journalist wrote the truth

And the Saudis hacked him in his relative youth

The worst California fires, scientist says

And global warming denied by our prez

Families separated at the borders

Kids lost to parents at government orders

Me-too”s have watched their numbers increase

Celebrities shamed as their names are released

Kavanaugh judged by the Ds and the Rs

Became a “Supreme” after hearings bizarre

Mueller team silent but guilty ones sentenced

The “Russian Probe” endless – few show repentance

Mattis resigns, as that “Tweet” was no “oops”

Defying advice, “T” said – “Bring home the troops”

The market went crazy as Christmas was near

The government shutdown caused even more fear

McCain and the Bushes revered in their death

Worshiped as never when they still had their breath

How fragile a country that depends on one life

When we learned that Ruth Ginsburg “went under the knife”

And now we are facing the year of nineteen

And only the Lord can predict that new scene.

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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: A very special gift

Posted on 06 December 2018 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



It took me 70 years of Sundays — that’s 3,640 Sundays — to appreciate one of the greatest gifts I ever received. I finally remembered that it was Mr. Steinberg, my high school English teacher, whose only textbook that senior year was the Sunday New York Times — Mr. Steinberg, who gave me 3,640 (give or take) precious Sundays.

I remember now, that although our class took The Times apart and thoroughly examined it section by section, mostly, we actually studied the Book Review in the greatest depth. We learned to read reviews and to evaluate both the reviewer and the book reviewed. We talked about each “interview,” the quality of books on the bestseller list, those that were highly recommended by the editorial staff of the newspaper and even the advertisements for books yet to be published or previously reviewed. We were encouraged to choose books of our favorite genre and to write our own reviews.

Now, so belatedly, as I savor my Sunday morning book review read time, and find myself traveling all over the planet geographically, intellectually and spiritually, I am aware of how each issue is an education in itself. I see how each issue opens my mind to something new, and how even the genres to which I am least attracted offer another way to see the world and to see myself in it. And, by golly, each week I am swept away by how easy it is to get a genuine “high” without even a cup of coffee at my side — not that I am knocking coffee.

More and more, we are getting translations of especially fiction, ranking high on the list of new releases. There are writers from Africa, Asia and South and Central America sharing their culture and traditions, and stories opening doors for us to learn about people unlike us.

Of course, science, business, sports, government and all the arts are subjects to which many “someones” have devoted a major part of their lives, researching, opining and writing their hearts out. And it’s all so easily accessible in a morning read. Thank you again, Mr. Steinberg, for your indefatigable patience in, at first, forcing me to “study” the newspaper.

While we’re on the subject of intangible “gifts,” let us not forget our libraries, one of the greatest community assets ever conceived by man. If you are a really disciplined person, you can save a bunch of money on higher education tuition by organizing your own curriculum in a library.

But, since we are a consumer society, I’m guessing many of you already have your gift lists made and perhaps even at least half attended to. I’m hoping you have included books and some items that will challenge the minds of the young people — yes, even the old people — on your list. We can’t allow Google to do everything for us. We will soon be entrapped by A.I. (artificial Intelligence) in all aspects of our lives, and will be tempted to give into the laziness of thought which will follow.

This is too grim a note to leave you with so soon before an impending joyous holiday, so in all optimism I know that there are many Mr. (and Ms.) Steinbergs left in this world who are still willing to fight for one of our most precious rights – the right to think for ourselves.

Happy Holidays to all.

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November two-fer

Posted on 06 November 2018 by JLusk

By Emily Rosen, M.S., M.A


Happy November, dear people. This month is always a two-fer  –  Elections and Thanksgiving. I was about to begin this with an exhortation for everyone to get out and vote. And then I remembered references I had heard about countries which had mandatory voting laws. And good old Google sent me to good old Wikipedia where I read several paragraphs about the pros and cons of it. Too long and complicated to go into here, but I strongly advise you to “do it yourself.”

The interesting long and short of it is that 12 countries currently have such laws on the book which they do enforce.  There are 16 countries that have such laws, but do not enforce them;  and 11 countries tried it, but subsequently removed such laws.  I do not see any such laws enforced in the foreseeable future in the U.S.A. so I’m back to square one, urging you all to make your voices heard. Feelings are strong on both political sides and this is no time for excuses or for stay-at-home gripers.

We constantly get polling stats which change with the wind and the only real way we have of knowing the true trends, and the actual needs and values of our populace, is to count the votes.  So, if you’re “mad – and don’t want to take it any more” – on either side, the best way to tell it is at the voting booth.

Whatever happens on Nov. 6, we will have 16 days to remember that we have so very much to be thankful for. Flawed and fragile as it is, we still have the freedoms for which most of our immigrant forefathers came to these shores.  Although there will always be people who struggle and suffer, conditions we are certainly duty-bound by our humanitarian values to reduce and hopefully obliterate, we are currently living in an economic upturn. Many of our young people have shown leadership qualities. Good things are quietly happening in small communities all over the country.  Families still get together for this holiday and, hopefully, will be able to peacefully, and respectfully, express their views on everything from the election to the Oscars, to the pumpkin pie.

There must be some karmic reason for these two occasions – Election Day and Thanksgiving Day – to be juxtaposed as they are in such a timely manner – with just enough days in between for losers to simmer down and for winners to finish gloating, but for everyone to remember that there is strength in unity.

So if you have access to sunshine, food, a roof over your head and a bed, if you can still listen to the voices of other people and music and birds, if you can still see stars in the sky and the green-ness of grass  –  or, if indeed, you can do even some of the above,  be thankful  that you live in a great – albeit distinctively flawed  — land of the free.



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