Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How True It Is.

If I were a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
Ya ha deeddle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Yiddle-diddle-didle-didle man.

I see my wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man's wife
With a proper double chin.
Supervising meals to her heart's delight.
I see her putting on airs and strutting like a peacock.
Oy, what a happy mood she's in.
Screaming at the servants, day and night.

The most important men in town would come to fawn on me.
They would ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise.
"If you please, Reb Tevye..."
"Pardon me, Reb Tevye..."
Posing problems that would cross a Rabbi's eyes!
And it won't make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong.
When you're rich, they think you really know!

The above lyrics, by Sheldon Harnick and music by Jerry Bock, are from If I Were a Rich Man performed in the play and movie musical Fiddler on the Roof.

I've learned many lessons in my 60 years of life's experiences and the message expressed above is just one convoluted truth I've observed.

On a lighter note: As a regular morning patron at Old Richmond Grill, I laughed and talked with friends and neighbors about many topics including the difficulties associated with aging. One 71 year old neighbor joked and said: "If I'd known I would live this long, I would've taken better care of myself." Those of us sipping coffee around our tables laughed at his comedy.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Values, Opportunity, The World Beyond Our Borders

If you've read Barack Obama's book The Audacity of Hope I invite you to review pages 62, 67, 190 and 307. If you haven't read his book I suggest you read these pages the next time you're at a library or book store.

The title for this posting comes from chapter titles in Mr. Obama's book. I could tell you about his views on the above pages and you wouldn't need to look them up, but that wouldn't be any fun or require any effort on your part. I could also reveal how my views compare to the message he wrote on these pages, but you can make your own comparison without knowing my views.

Have a good week!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tradition! On the Other Hand.

When my age was 22 (1969) , my fiancee and I were in Brooklyn to visit her relatives and tour her hometown. As part of the Big Apple experience, we attended the Broadway play Fiddler on the Roof. I enjoyed the music and lyrics from Matchmaker Matchmaker, If I Were A Rich Man, and Sunrise Sunset.

When my age was 59 (2006), I subbed in a high school drama class where students watched the movie musical Fiddler on the Roof. The day I substituted we viewed the second hour into the movie. The room was a large choir room with high ceilings and spacious walls. A laptop computer powered the DVD disc, a digital projector cast the images high on the enormous wall, and an amplifier emitted high volume sounds. It was a theater-like setting. Many students pushed aside their chairs, lay on the carpeted floor and rested their heads on book bags.

During the class period we watched the part where Tevye, the milkman, reached agreement with Lazar, the wealthy butcher, to marry Tevye's daughter, Tzeitel. There was singing, dancing and celebration in the village tavern following the handshake agreement between "papa" and the future son-in-law.

When papa announced to his daughter, Tzeitel, and the rest of the family his decision that Lazar would become his daughter's husband, panic and pleading ensued from Tzeitel who had made a pledge to marry Motel, the poor village tailor. More singing followed as tradition, reason and emotion were explained through lyrics.

Intertwined throughout this play was Tsarist Russia, pogrom, and the plight of the Jews in eastern Europe in the late 1800's.

As I repeated this viewing 4 times for the different classes, it was fun and interesting to watch students move to the music. Some wriggled shoulders or waved arms and hands, others patted their feet to the beat, some looked at others as if they wanted to move, but resisted.

A couple students dozed.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How Do I Say "Thank You"?

How do I express thanks to an author who enlightened me by writing a book for which I gained insight and perspective by reading? I suppose I could write him a letter or send an email message. On the other hand, my payment of retail price for his book is, perhaps, thanks enough and the only feedback expected.

Niall Ferguson is Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

I invested $26.00 and twenty hours to read The War of the World Twentieth Century Conflict and the Descent of the West by Niall Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson's acknowledgements indicated "the book has been at least ten years in the making and many hands contributed to the work. At least a dozen students helped with the research during vacations.......they not only helped to dig, but also to build."

Mr. Ferguson proposes that the twentieth century, in all its modernity, was the most violent in all of history.

I've read two other books by Niall Ferguson: The Cash Nexus Money and Power in the Modern World 1700-2000 and Colossus The price of America's Empire.

The books were enlightening and instructive.

I will use this blog to say thank you to Mr. Ferguson for his good works. Perhaps, by happenstance, he or one of his researchers will discover this message of thanks.

How do you thank authors of books for reading enjoyment you've experienced?

Have a good week!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Review and Resolve

Last year I updated this blog 194 times with photos, images and words. The topics about which I wrote were based on life experiences, my hobbies and interests, family and friends, books I've read, places I've been and opinions I possess.

Several readers replied with emails, talked to me by phone and in person or sometimes posted a reply online. Most feedback has been positive about the blog. My mother and aunt look forward to reading hard copies since they don't have computers and Internet.

The topic I enjoyed writing most were the 15 postings about the life and times of my Uncle Lee Anderson. Hard copies of that series were placed inside plastic sheet protectors inside three-ring binders and loaned to people who knew my uncle but don't use computers. They loved reading his amazing story and seeing pictures throughout his life. The writing brought back fond memories for them.

The next favorite writing was about my friend Herschel Lamb. There was a lot of reader interest in that series.

My next favorite was the series of 18 postings on my experiences in Vietnam. It had been a long time since I'd thought about that year in 1966 to that depth. I intentionally visited my memory and reviewed old photos to bring back my recollection of those events. It was fun to pour over that year and reflect upon all that's happened since.

In 2007 I'm setting a goal to write around 60 blog updates. This is far fewer than the 195 in 2006. I expect to write about various topics that come to mind throughout the year.

I hope you'll check this blog about once per week for updates and continue your feedback to me.

Have a good week!