Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2 + 2 = 5

Logic is a thing of the past. It's gone, like "dust in the wind."

Try as I might, I just don't understand the Republican mind set. Their ideas don't seem to make any sense.

Almost all of the, so-called, social issues of our time seem to be disconnected from reality.

Intellect, reason and common sense seem to have evaporated from the general discourse.

Take global warming for instance. Scientists...oh, you remember those people don't you, the ones who have spent their lives studying the intracacies and nuances of life on Earth...well, scientists, who have been looking at the issue (problem) of global warming have concluded that it is a real threat to mankind.

Now logic would tell us that when the ice caps are melting...there's a problem.

But, NOOOO. The naysayers maintain that there is no such thing as global warming. It's a concoction of the Elite Left Wing Liberal Intellectual Establishment designed to take our jobs and thrust us into unending poverty and servitude.

Actually it is an attempt by the ELWLIE to...SAVE THE PLANET!!

But never mind the logic there. Any moron will tell you that if your car is leaking oil, eventually, the engine will seize up and the car will stop dead.

That's an example of the disconnect between rational, measured thought and the rampant idiocy fomented and supported by the Right Wing.

Another example is the idea of Trickle Down Economics, or "Voodoo" Economics, as George H.W. Bush rightly called it.

There is no logic in the notion that, if you give someone the opportunity to make millions of dollars, they will, voluntarily, share the wealth.

"What's mine is mine" is the more likely refrain. Corporations, and the billionaires who own and run them, are in business to make money and as much as they possibly can.

They are not in the charity business. They pay their workers as little as they are allowed (and sometimes less...) so as to maximize their profits.

And the management will take as much as it can in compensation. And they will keep as much as they can and give away very little.

It's human nature. My cave, my woman, my goat, my fire...mine. Screw you!


But the Republicans continue to suggest that if we deregulate business that, somehow, by magic, the profits will make their way into the economy and filter down to the middle and lower classes.

Not gonna happen guys.

And the one idea that has traction across all political spectra is the one that taxes should be as low as possible, if not non-existent.

What is wrong with you? Are you out of your friggin' mind? Who do you think is going to pay for the myriad services and programs that we, as a society, have determined we want on a daily basis?

Public education, public health care, the military, highways, consumer safety. The list goes on. Where is the money going to come from to fund all of what we want, need and have become dependent upon if not from taxes?

From the wealthy among us? Not on your life. Not logical.

And don't get me started on the idea that President Obama is a Socialist. We are all socialists. The next time you need an EMT and call 911 stop and think about, A) who's paying for the service (all of us) and, B) where the money is coming from (taxes)


Some, on the right, criticize the intellectals and call them elitists. They prefer the medieval nonsense that their leaders on the Right continue to use to justify their greed and craving of power.

But, in the end, the "Trickle Down Theory" may be proven right.

Unfortunately it will be society and the planet "Trickling Down" the drain and no one will have a clue as to where the stopper is.

Except the millionaires, the scientists and the educated who will have designed, paid for and built colonies in space. They'll continue to live happy and healthy lives while the rest of us die penniless, starving and sick in the cold and the dark.

It's only logical.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hold That Thought

I've been trying to hold my tongue, to wait and see, to, for once, not opine.

But I just can't take it anymore.

The current discussion centering on Rick Santorum's thoughts about education have been reduced to a theatrical exercise. And a comic one at that...

Apparently the former Senator has home-schooled his children. I suppose that's ok if you have an MBA and a law degree, as he has. In that case, I would imagine, his kids will get a pretty good, if not philosophically narrow, education.

But what if your mother never finished high school and your father dropped out after repeating the eighth grade for the third time...?

What if they never read Shakespeare or did a geometry proof or studied the Second World War or took French I?

In short, what if they were uneducated? Generous, hard working, sweet and devoted but completely and totally uninformed as to the subtleties and nuances of the history of civilized society.

Newton, Proust, Chopin, Schweitzer, Earhart, Arendt. Names that evoke excellence and innovation and organized thought.

We have progressed so far as a civilization, in large part, because of the pioneers of education and intellect.

Certainly the workers and farmers helped to forge our cultural bonds and grow our country with their innovations and blood, sweat and tears dedication.

But the teachers and instructors and professors that guide us and teach us, not only dates and times but the process of learning, have been critical to our successful development as a society.

To suggest, for even an instant, that someone who has never read the Canon or peered into a microscope is, somehow, qualified to teach their children is like saying that someone who witnessed an appendectomy is qualified to perform one. I can hear the lawyers right now..."MALPRACTICE!!! Sue the bastard!"

But we can't sue our parents when they mess up our lives. There are no "do-overs" in parenting. Kids retain even the smallest piece of information and if it's wrong or misguided or hurtful the child spends the rest of his lifetime trying to get over it.

Public, even private schools, certainly have their shortcomings but they are a hell of a lot better than removing our future to a dimly lit dining room table with a copy of "On Four Feet" and an abacus.

Senator Santorum, MBA, JD. You should be ashamed of yourself.

On the Willard Watch...

Why, in God's name, would anyone vote for such a hereditary loser?
His father tried and failed. His mother tried and failed. Willard tried and failed. As go the parents so goes the son. It's in his genes. Yo...Mitt! Give it a rest buddy. Enough already!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ah...Those Were The Days

I had an argument at the bank today.


Seems like, often, when I need something out of the ordinary from my bank I am stifled.

I remember, when I was a kid, the way it was in the "old days."

The hell with the toaster. I'm not talking about toasters here.

I'm talking about relationships.

In the past you developed a relationship with your banker. You knew him by name and he knew you. And your parents and your kids. And your dog.

We were a community. An extended family of people drawn together by common needs, desires and purpose.

If you went into the bank and asked to cash a third party check, which is what I did today, as long as it was endorsed, you were good to go.

But...NO...not today. Not at MY bank. NOOOOO!

And to make me even more insane, the fact that the third party in question was MY WIFE had no bearing.

The check was from a company we do business with. It was made out to my lovely wife. She had endorsed it and written above her signature, "Make Payable to my Wonderful Husband." Obviously I substitute that for my real name which I don't want you to know because of reasons of identity theft and concerns about privacy. real name is the title of this blog? I forgot that in the midst of my recalling today's exasperating events. Never mind...

Anyway, the bank...couldn't cash the check for me. They couldn't verify my wife's signature. Never friggin' mind that the bank manager KNOWS MY WIFE! She knows who she is. She even knows who our dog is.

But because my wife wasn't there to say that she had endorsed the check over to me, I couldn't cash the God damned thing. And the fact that the banker knows me...well forget about that logic. There was, apparently, aside from all of my various ID cards, no way for my banker to verify that I was me and not some poseur with hair and makeup and a costume and a dialect coach trying to gain access to my account in which, on a good day, you will find $10.43! COME ON!!!!!!!!! (Just kidding...she knew it was me all along. She is such a prankster..!)

My word should have been enough. That should have been all that counted. That should have been the beginning and the end of it!

In the GOOD OLD DAYS...when you were friends with your banker, your word was all that mattered. If my father told his banker something then his banker could take that information to the, the bank, if you will...which was where the conversation would have, hypothetically, taken place...back the "Good Old Days."

Digressing...but not really. The point here is that society has completely broken down. Your word means nothing. Relationships mean nothing. And toasters mean...well, toasters mean tax problems. Did you read where people are being assessed a tax on the gifts they have been given by banks to lure them into opening accounts?

You can't invent this stuff. It's unbelievable.

Time to invest in a new mattress with a secret compartment for cash. At least then I'll feel like I have some control.

Oh, and by the way, the bank finally cashed the check, but only after we belatedly discovered that my wife is a cosigner on my account. Well, we didn't actually discover it. I had forgotten. Had I remembered that little fact, this whole ordeal wouldn't have taken place. But that would have missed the larger point.

And then I wouldn't have had the ammunition for this post. Aren't you glad I forgot...?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Oh Yeah...? Sez Who...?

At what point in the history of mankind did what I do or believe become your business?

Not you, actually, dear reader but the Royal "You" in the rest of society.

We are inundated, these days, with stories about this or that faction of this or that group espousing what's "right" trying to foist it's beliefs on the rest of us.

Helmet laws and smoking ordinances and Blue laws and sex laws. All someone else's opinion made into law.

It seems to me that what I choose to do in the privacy of my own life should be of no consequence to anyone else.

If I am fool enough to strap myself to a Crotch Rocket and hurtle down the freeway at 100 miles per hour without a protective helmet I should be allowed to do so. It's my's my life. No?

Ok, some would argue that it may be my head but it's our collective tax dollars that will scoop it up off of the pavement or try to put it back together in the emergency room should I lose control of my bike.

But we could circumvent that by carrying a piece of paper or opting for words on the back of our licenses that says that, in the event of an accident, we are responsible for the damage. We'll clean up the mess or we'll pay for the hospital. Or our "heirs and assigns" as they say in legalese.

Take it out of society's hands. Put it on the individual, where it belongs.

We claim to value the rights of the individual to determine his or her own path and to make his or her own choices about life.

But then, at almost every turn, we deprive the individual of making those choices and turn them over to the government.

And the religious zealots among us are the worst. What is it about some people that they feel the need to be missionaries? Why do they feel compelled to bring "the word" to the masses of "non-believers?"

Why can't they just keep their thoughts and beliefs to themselves? If I am happy as a non-believer than just leave me alone.

You don't see roving pairs of Atheists going house to house in suburban neighborhoods knocking on doors spreading the word according to Madalyn Murray O'Hair.
(See also...

Those folks are content to live their lives in quiet relection. They don't proselytize nor yell and scream. They don't pamphlet and they don't interrupt your dinner with robo-calls about the coming of "The Rapture" and the need to be saved...!

I recently saw the documentary, "What's The Matter with Kansas", in which several of the main characters were activists on the abortion issue. It was a maddening expose of the Religious Right and their way of life. A must see...

I, for one, have no idea when life begins. I don't know, and I don't care if it is at conception or viability or birth.

What I do know, however, is that it shouldn't be anyone's business what I believe, or don't believe.

It is up to me how I choose to live my life and what belief system I choose.

I am neither "Pro-Life" nor "Pro-Choice."

I am "Pro-Get-the-Hell-Out-of-My-Face-and-Leave-Me-the-Frig-Alone-You-Narrow-Minded -Medieval-Horse's-Patoot!"

That's what I am.

Deal with it and...

God Bless You.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Morality Play

"...a late touchdown scored by Vinny Testaverde of the New York Jets against the Seattle Seahawks on December 6, 1998 at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Testaverde attempted a quarterback sneak on 4th down in the final minute of the game and although television replays clearly showed the football did not cross the goal line, head linesman Earnie Frantz ruled that Testaverde had scored (in fact, the only part of Testaverde that did cross the line was his helmet)."

The above paragraph is from Wikipedia.

That event is something that has bothered me for years. I thought about it again today after reading David Brooks' excellent piece in the New York Times about the Knicks' Jeremy Lin.

Brooks was talking about the tension between morality as it pertains to religion and a devotion to God above all else, and the ethos of pro sports which celebrates the individual and is all about competition and winning.

I've always wondered what was going on in Testaverde's head after that play was over.
He must have known that the football didn't cross the goal line. He was carrying it. It was a quarterback sneak.

I was a quarterback at one point in my youth and I tried a few sneaks. I always knew where I was and, more importantly, where the ball was...and wasn't.

The question is this; what allowed Testaverde to accept the touchdown that was awarded even after the score was challenged?

Why didn't he step forward and say that he hadn't scored? What prevented him from taking the honorable path and simply telling the truth about where the ball ended up?

We all, ultimately, know the reasons. It was about money and prestige and the possibility of advancing toward the Super Bowl. It was about endorsements and The Hall of Fame.

It was not about morality. It was not about true sportsmanship or the idea of gentlemanly behavior.

"Everybody does it." "This time we got the break." "Ya win some, ya lose some."

Not, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."

In 1950, UCLA head football coach Henry Russell "Red" Sanders told his players, "Men, I'll be honest. Winning isn't's the only thing!"

Coach, I'm sorry, but,'s not.

It is how you play the game.

That's what gets you into Heaven...

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Ok...I'm an idiot. Call me square and out of it and "unhip", if you like, but I just don't "get it..."

What the holy hell is the story with fashion these days?

I would love to do a social experiment sometime. I would love to take a camera and interview random people on the street, or at the mall, and ask them one simple question;

"Please explain your look."

I recently saw a middle-aged white man walking down the street with a Mohawk haircut. The reason I knew he was middle-aged was because his hair was...gray!

He also had an earring. A Mohawk and an earring.

Who was he trying to be? Theyendanegea?

A middle aged, middle class, middle of the road American man sporting a "do" that would make him the envy of every brave in the Iroquois tribe.

In Connecticut.

Walking down the street.

No settlers here my friend. No villages to attack. No cabins to plunder nor "wimmenfolk" to ravage.

Just folks in SUVs and mini-vans toodling around running errands. Nothing more adventurous than a trip to Walmart or the soccer field.

A gray Mohawk and an earring...and, actually, now that I re-emphasize it, a somewhat menacing look. Or maybe that was my impression.

I was so taken aback by his look that I guess I read menace into his demeanor.

Was he concealing a tomahawk? Was he intent on scalping me? Would he take my hair, which is also gray, and make it into a two piece wig to cover the shaven part of his bald head when he went on a job interview or a first date?

Was I going to be sacrficed on behalf of this fool's need to fit in with the rest of modern Northeastern society?

Was I going down because he had a median strip running down the middle of his middle-aged head?

I gathered my strength and did the only thing I could. I walked right by him, gave him a sidelong glance and, after we had passed one another, laughed the way Eddie Murphy did in Beverly Hills Cop when he walked passed the two guys in astronaut-like clothes.

I just laughed.

This guy looked ridiculous.

Maybe not to a squaw in Upstate New York.

But to me, a regular guy in Connecticut, he just looked plain silly.

But he may have thought the same of me. What with my designer jeans up to my nipples, my open patterned polyester shirt, my gold chain, my itty bitty pony tail and my Beatle boots with the zipper on the side.

Who knows...maybe I, too, had a menacing look. Maybe he was afraid that I'd attack him and steal his teeth.

I'm going to have to "chew" on that one for a while.

Pun intended...

Author's Note:

This is not meant to be racist in any way. I apologize, in advance, to any one I may have, inadvertently, offended.

I am not suggesting that the "look" described, is not a good one. It's fine for a Native American, who invented it.

Nor am I suggesting that Native Americans, are, or were, violent, as a group. History tells us that there were tragic interactions between the original residents of this land and the European immigrants. But that was usually in understandable response, by the normally peaceful natives, to the naked agression, prosletizing and land grabbing of the insatiable intruders.

I'm only saying that a non-Native American could look stupid posing as one...especially if his ancestors may have been responsible for the inhumane and immoral treatment of this country's indigenous population so many years ago that continues to this day on many of the reservations around the U.S.

I have used stereotype with poetic license only for it's intended effect. Native Americans are, and always have been, far more complicated and contributive to culture than mere stereotype could ever convey.

Good for the Casino tribes. The Native American's revenge on the stupid white men and their Mohawk haircuts!

Got an aspirin?

I'm going over the edge. I'm almost out of my mind.

I find myself, this morning, actually feeling sorry for...Willard!

Everyone is making fun of him and accusing him of not being enough of a conservative to be the Republican nominee for president.

Bear in mind that I loathe the man. Well, loathe is a bit strong. I don't particularly like him is more the truth of it. And while I could, as many others have, imagine having a beer and a burger with "W" and enjoying myself, I can't imagine breaking baguette with Mitt Romney.

He is everything I dislike in a man. First, he's supposed to be handsome. Maybe so to some women who like the white, European, blow-dried, stick-up-your-ass kind of guy. Not to me (does that make me gay...?)

Second he is truly out of touch with the reality of the people he wishes, so fervently, to lead. Too many houses for starters...

Third he reeks of entitlement as though the presidency should be his. (He may be following in his father's footsteps as a failed presidential candidate. Just because his grandfather was poorish doesn't make Mitt, the son of a governor for Christ's sake and a preppie who studied abroad...that doesn't give Willard the ability to relate to the "common man..." Quite the contrary, my good man...quite!)

And his raw desperation would be humorous if not so tragic.

And that's where the emotion comes in. His performance of late, with the incessant pandering, is making me feel sorry for him.

I always root for the underdog. In sports, in war, in politics. I don't like a guy when he's winning but I, sort of, root for him, under my breath, when he's losing.

And so it is with Willard. He may not be the last person I would want as president but he's close. I would much rather see him than Santorum or Gingrich...or Palin or Jeb Bush. At least I can somewhat relate to Romney. He is not so far afield from what I believe that I can't see him in the job.

Don't misunderstand...I don't want him or any other Republican. They've done enough damage in my lifetime, thank you.

But I feel sorry for the guy. He wants the gig so much. He's so needy about it.

But I have to get a grip. Romney is a jerk and doesn't deserve to be president. Anyone who would say that his sons are serving the country by helping to try to get him elected (see below) rather than on the front lines in Iraq...


So there...! I feel much better now.


From The New York Times, August 8, 2007

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — It is a question that Mitt Romney has gotten before on the campaign trail. Sometimes it is asked innocently; sometimes with a clear edge.

A woman at an Ask Mitt Anything forum earlier today in Iowa raised the question again, asking whether any of Mr. Romney’s five sons are serving in the military, adding pointedly, “If none of them are, how do they plan to support this war on terrorism by enlisting in our U.S. military?”

Although his campaign said his remarks were taken out of context, Mr. Romney’s response is drawing criticism, because he said, in part, “one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prose and Cons

I fear that we have lost our collective minds. Some of us are contemplating electing a Republican as president. We are fixated on whether Rick "His Holiness" Santorum is better qualified than Willard. Newt seems to have flamed out and all but Dr. Paul's ardent supporters seem to think he hasn't a prayer of getting the nomination.

And all of this is to unseat Barry. All of this is to gain control and to "fix" the country.

You have got to be kidding me!'re not...

Let me begin.

Over the past 50 years we have seen our country slide down the Mountain of Prosperity and land almost at the bottom of the Valley of Despair.

We have gone from the country who won the Second World War to one that has gotten into five conflicts for, at best, dubious reasons and has popularized the term "quagmire" to describe our military adventures.

We kicked ass in Germany and Japan but have had trouble in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Gulf War was the only one in which we had the good sense to get in and get out in short order.

We argue about who is better, the Republicans or the Democrats. To be sure, neither party has a lock on morality and/or good sense but the Democrats seem to care.

Roosevelt...The New Deal
Kennedy...The New Frontier
Johnson...The Great Society
Carter...Camp David
Clinton...a budget surplus

Now, to be fair, John Kennedy started the Vietnam escapade and Lyndon Johnson certainly ramped it up exploiting the questionable events in The Gulf of Tonkin.

But Richard Nixon took the war to an even higher level of engagement with the bombings in Laos and Cambodia. And don't forget Kent State.

While Bill Clinton may have dissapointed us by having an extra-marital affair, President Nixon almost caused a Constitutional meltdown with his near hijacking of the government during Watergate and the firing of Archibald Cox.

Jimmy Carter tried and failed to rescue our hostages in Iran but Ronald Reagan almost caused another Constitutional crisis by subverting the Boland Amendment with his "Arms for Hostages" charade during the Iran-Contra affair.

Barack Obama may not be Jesus Christ, as many presumed, and his healthcare initiative and failure to jumpstart the economy leave something to be desired but let's pause for a moment to reflect on the inspired presidency of George Walker Bush.

War in Afghanistan (we're still there after 10 years...)
War in Iraq...and the WMD are where, exactly...?
Abu Ghraib...
Hurricane Katrina...
Scooter Libby...
Wall Street, TARP and The Great Recession...

All of the above happened during a Republican administration.

I know that the Democrats have had their share of scandal and corruption. They are almost as bad as the GOP.

But almost ain't all the way.

The Democrats have given us the WPA, Social Security, Medicare and, again, with all of it's flaws, Obamacare.

The Republicans have given us needless wars, recession, the disappearance of the Middle Class and Constitutional scandals to rival anything happening in governments we love to villify abroad.

Again, I say that neither party is any good.

It just seems as though the Democrats are less bad than the Republicans.

I guess that's all we can hope for. Almost everything else in our society is mediocre these days.

Why should our government leaders be any different?

Have a wonderful day...

And one more thing...

Please don't forget how we got into our current mess. Granted, Obama hasn't solved our problems a fast as we had hoped but our problems...his problems...were inherited from the Republicans. It was eight years of irresponsible, reckless and possibly criminal behavior that brought us to where we are today.

So when you contemplate electing a Republican as president...again...remember who created the problems in the first place.

The idea that allowing the fox back into the hen house will get us more eggs is just plain nuts.

Again...I bid you a wonderful day...!

Friday, February 10, 2012

A few words about my mother...

I thought I would devote this space to a few words about my mother.

Janice Manley Weyl died, February 9, 2012, at the age of 95. She had been declining over the past several years and finally passed away in a peaceful sleep.

Louise Janice Mandelberg was born, July 30, 1916, in Chicago, Illinois. She was the youngest daughter of Sidney A. and Evelyn Franck Mandelberg. They changed their name to Manley because having a German sounding name, in the early part of the Twentieth Century, was not such a good thing, especially if you were Jewish.

Janice had an older sister named Jean. Because Jean came first, when Janice was born, Jean referred to the new baby as "Sister" which was the name Janice was always known by in the family.

Since Evelyn had named the first baby, Sidney got to name the second and gave the baby one of his favorite names, Louise. It turned out that he was the only one who liked it so when the baby wasn't called "Sister", she was called Janice.

When Janice was born, Evelyn asked her mother, Pauline Flexner Franck, to send her maid, Mary Miller, from New York City, to help with the new baby.

Mary was from Munich and spoke English with a heavy German accent. She was almost 5 feel tall and waddled when she walked. She was a devout Catholic.

Mary never went back to New York but, instead, stayed with the family and helped raise Janice and Jean. Janice always said that Mary was more of a mother to her then Evelyn. Janice and Mary were devoted to one another as were Jean and Janice.

After a short time in St. Louis, Janice spent the first few years of her life growing up in Omaha, Nebraska. Then, when she was about 12, the family moved to New York City. They lived at 183 West 86th Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus.

Janice graduated from Julia Richmond High School and took some secretarial courses.

Her cousin, Richard Weil, introduced her to his old camp pal, Max Weyl of Washington, D.C. The couple were married on May 28th, 1936 in a ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria apartment of her aunt and uncle, Herbert and Nellie (Franck) Salomon. They honeymooned in, the then toney, Atlantic City.

The newlyweds settled in an apartment at 504 West 104th Street in Manhattan and Janice took a job at B. Altman.

They then moved to a few different locations, including Rego Park, and finally to Woodmere, in "The Five Towns", on Long Island.

Janice gave birth, in 1942, to a daughter, Karen, who, tragically, died of kidney disease in 1949.

Kevin was born in 1951. He was named for Kevin DeLacey Burke, the Christian Science Practitioner who had been so helpful to Janice and Max during Karen's illness and subsequent death.

In 1957, Max was transferred to Connecticut and the family moved to Hamden, a suburb of New Haven. Janice spent the next year looking for a house to buy and finally, after looking at many properties, bought a ranch house in Madison in August of 1958.

Janice decided to go to college in 1967 motivated, in part, by her desire to learn French so she could converse with Kevin when he returned from a year abroad.

She went on, one course a semester, to earn a Bachelor's, and then a Master's degree, in English. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southern Connecticut State University.

During her student period, Janice studied French at Villefranche-sur-Mer on the Cote d'Azur and at La Sorbonne where she spent several months absorbing the French language and culture. She was always very proud of her French ancestry. Her maternal great-grandparents had been Parisian.

She was also very proud of her relation to Adolph Ochs, the founder of The New York Times, who was a distant cousin on her mother's side.

She spent a year in Dublin studying Joyce's Ulysses at Trinity College and, in her eighties, travelled to the Magdalen Islands, in the North Atlantic, where she helicoptered to an ice floe and crawled out on the snow to witness the birth of baby seals.

Janice was a published poet and author with her writings appearing in The Belletrist Review among other publications.

She was an avid reader (Proust was one of her favorites) and valued her many books more than almost any other possession.

And Janice was a lover of all animals. She would leave food outside for the raccoons and squirrels and loved her Dachsunds and cats. She would contribute what little she could to the various animal protective organizations that sent her appeals.

Janice had a wonderful sense of humor and a wonderful laugh. When she thought something was very funny she would inhale, open her mouth wide and, after a palpable pause of many seconds, let go with howls of laughter. She told many very funny stories and enjoyed the tales of her friends and family in return.

And Janice was possessive of a powerful sense of determination. If she set her mind to something she would not rest until it was accomplished and only then when it was perfect and exactly what she had wanted.

Janice was a complete and total lady. She knew what fork went where and what hat to wear under what circumstance. And she was a true believer in "Thank You" notes.

But she was not pretentious. Her elegance and style were natural. She could also enjoy the commonplace though and, for example, although not a drinker, would have a shot of a shot glass...from time to time instead of a fancy cocktail. And, even though she spoke in a genteel and ladylike manner she could swear like a longshoreman if she wanted to.

She was always well, and appropriately, dressed and her makeup was always flattering, even though it would take hours in the bathroom to apply. And she was usually late to leave for an appointment. "Those God damned 10 minutes" as Max would say.

But more than anything Janice was a chocoholic. If it had chocolate in it she would eat it. But she only loved pure, unadulterated, chocolate. No nuts or jellies. Just thick, sweet, milk chocolate. And especially Chocolate Icebox Cake made from Mary Miller's recipe. Chocolate was her one true vice. And she loved caviar too even though she could never really afford to buy it.

Janice Manley Weyl lived a long life. She always regretted not having been a professional dancer or actress and always carried a girlhood crush on a young boy named Ricky Weil.

But she knew great joy such as her Master's degree, her son's occasional successes and his marriage to Mia and the birth of her grandaughter, Maraina.

She had a special place in her big heart for her nieces Laurie and Margie and her nephew Billy and their mother, her older sister, Jean. And for her best friends Alberta and Addie. Aside from her husband, children and grandaughter, they were the most important people in Janice's life.

She also knew crushing sorrow as in her successful battle with breast cancer, Max's death and the death of her six year old daughter.

But, in the end, Janice Weyl lived a full life. She had few good friends but that was because she preferred it that way. She liked to be alone.

But the friends she did have loved her as much as she was devoted to them. She hated, almost more than anything, when people would drop in, unannounced, but when they came at her invitation they were treated like royalty and were the center of her attention.

It would take a very long time to recount all of the experiences and impressions of Janice's life. These are but a few.

Louise Janice Mandelberg. Janice. "Sister." Mrs. Max Weyl. Janice M. Weyl. Mom. Grandma. Aunt Janice.

She was an inspiration and by any name, left her mark and will not soon be forgotten.

Author's Note:

If you have any stories about Janice I would love to hear them, good or bad.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Janice Manley Weyl

Janice Manley Weyl

Born Louise Janice Mandelberg in Chicago, Illinois, July 30, 1916 to Sidney Adolph Mandelberg and Evelyn Franck Mandleberg

Grandaughter to the late Ben C. Franck, for many years,
Secretary of The New York Times Company

Married Max Weyl May 28, 1936

Mother to the late Karen and to Kevin Weyl

Grandmother to Maraina Leigh Weyl

Aunt to Laurie Joseph, Margie McCabe and the late Billy Joseph

Sister to the late Jean Manley Joseph

Loved by the late Mary Miller

Graduate (Magna Cum Laude) of Southern Connecticut State University with a Masters in English

Published author.

Lover of chocolate, all animals and Marcel Proust.

Possessive of a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious laugh.

A beautiful woman...who knew the value of "thank-you notes."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One Man's Junk...

I was recently forced to go through some boxes of stuff in the basement looking, successfully, for my birth certificate. I could see it in my mind's eye. I just couldn't see it's location.

But, finally, there, under a load of junk, in the last possible box, was the manila envelope with my paperwork inside.

Phew! Crisis averted.

But, through the ordeal, I reconnected with some of the most important things of my past long ago forgotten.

That exercise made me take a long look at all of the accumulated crap of my life.

To say that I am a collector dignifies my stuff. I am a collector only in the classical sense of that word. It is very true that I collect things but not in the modern sense, as in Beanie Babies or NFL glasses from the gas station (remember those...?)

I have a diversity of junk that, to the naked eye and to almost no one else, is incredibly important to me...and to me alone.

The "Do Not Disturb" sign from my stateroom when I first went to Europe on the S.S. United States in 1967.

An old copy of Tom Sawyer that my mother would read to me when I was too young to read to myself.

My father's old, one-speed, black bicycle with the rusted chain and flat tires that he would ride to the station on his commute to Manhattan when I was a little boy.

And countless other mementos and artifacts that, if found by a great grandchild 100 years from now, would mean nothing at all.

Pieces of rocks from places I've visited. Menus from once favorite restaurants. Old boarding passes. All sorts of stuff.

One of my favorite possessions is my father's old pocket knife. He used it every weekend when he would putter around the house.

The same house in which I now live. The same house I putter around in now.

The funny little things of my life. All glued together they probably wouldn't be worth $10 but to me they are priceless. They represent my history and remind me of the things I did and the people with whom I did them.

Those various pieces of paper or metal or plastic tell my story with more elegance than I could ever do with words. They describe what is important to me and what never was.

One such item is on my dresser. It is a small wooden sailboat carved and beautifully detailed.

I bought it in the old part of Montreal in 1967. I had driven myself to see a girlfriend, Francoise.

It was my first solo trip. I took my mother's 1964, Dodge Dart. It was tan and only had an AM radio but I was the coolest person on the highway.

I remember spending the night in Plattsburgh, New York on my long journey north.

I was alone in a hotel room so far from everything and everyone. My father had made the reservation and had paid in advance. It was awesome!

I stayed with Franny and her family in the exclusive Westmount area and we toured the city, hung out with her friends and had a great time.

When we were shopping in "La Vielle Ville" I saw the boat. I fell in love with it immediately. It wasn't too expensive so I bought it.

I've had it for almost 50 years now. It's been everywhere with me and now it's perched, safely on my bureau where I look at it almost every day.

It always reminds me of that trip so very long ago. It reminds me of Francoise and the fantastic time I had with her back then. I often wonder whatever happended to her. Good things I hope. She was a nice girl.

But the boat and the piece of the Berlin Wall I got, in Berlin, shortly after The Wall fell and my little boy, Hop-Along Cassidy wrist watch. I have all of that stuff. I've had it for so long now that I can't imagine my life without it.

It's my life story. It's who I am.

It's my junk and I will treasure it forever.