MY BABY AND HER BABY VISIT

A number of years ago I took an old video tape from 1974 and took it to a person who transforms videos into DVDs. In our rush to move to South Carolina, I almost forgot where the dvd was. I located it in a pile of some movies that I had been hiding in a cabinet in the living room. After playing around with the DVD player and our new 65” tv, I put it on and watched it.
I had taken it with a camera that I had borrowed from the junior high school of which I was the principal. The first image is of my son and daughter ages 6 and 4. I was entranced by their talking and laughing at a t.v. show. Just looking at them, as they used to be, put me in a mellow mood. I was entranced to see them as they were compared to what they are now at ages 46 and 48.
It startles me to think that these were the small children that were born to us and lived with us until they went to college. Even those days they were still young kids in our eyes. Their ability to fend for themselves did not really surprise us, but it kind of caught us up short.
They are now adults in their middle years (and don’t tell me that 50 is the new 40 and so on). They have their own families- my son with two children and my daughter with three. When we were contemplating moving to South Carolina, we had a meeting with our two children and their spouses. They told us that if we wanted to move, this was the right time. In five years, we might not be physically able to do it. They are probably right.
Our son and daughter, as well as our son-in-law, have all visited us in the almost five months that we have been living here. The next visit will be in a few days, on New Year’s Day. Our baby will be visiting us with her baby. That is hard for me to get my mind around. My granddaughter, Miss Paige is 15 years old and a sophomore in high school. She has many talents, as do all of our grandchildren. I promise that I am not bragging.
Our granddaughter is somewhat of a cook and has requested some esoteric items to be purchased. I don’t think that I have ever tasted some of the things that she asked us to buy. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us. My daughter will undoubtedly want to rearrange some of our furnishings and if she has her way, we will be off to some of the stores to buy things. That has been a process for many years. Actually, she has a wonderful eye for design.
On New Year’s Eve, we will gather at home with some friends to welcome in the New Year. There will be snacks galore, as well as the traditional bubbly at midnight. It is hard for me to fathom a year called 2016. Those were years in the far future in all the sci-fi books that I read as a teenager and young adult. By this time robots would have taken over, we would have reached other solar systems, society would have calmed down and there would be no hunger or wars. However, we were going to be invaded by aliens.
Funny, how things really have not changed much, other than technology. For me the most delightful thing about this coming year will be visits with my children and grandchildren. So there Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Arthur Clarke.

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IT’S CHRISTMAS AND IT’S 80 DEGREES

Today is December 25, 2015. Today is December 25, 2015. Let me say that again. Today is December 25, 2015. Why is it 80 degrees here in South Carolina? Why is it 70 degrees in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania? Why is it breaking all kinds of records along the East Coast? I’ll tell you why. No I won’t. This is truly peculiar. I have never been a watcher of the weather channel. I pass it by once in a while, and if I see a buxom weather woman pointing to a map, I might just stop for a moment and stare. That’s just the way I am. Fortunately, my wife does understand my foibles.
I am afraid to go out into the street during the day. I am afeared that some weather related bolt will strike me and turn me into a pillar of salt. I have tried not to sin much of my life, but who knows if my kind of person didn’t populate Sodom or Gomorrah. There are weird smells in the air when I open the door to the outside of my house. I venture forth and walk around my house (not yet my home) to see any telltale signs of Armageddon (comes from the Hebrew Har Migiddo).
My neighborhood seems to be empty of people. Is it possible that it has finally happened? Have most of the people disappeared to be abducted by invaders from a different solar system. Is it possible that they are causing this bizarre weather? Could it be that they have warmed us up for a reason. Remember the science fiction story where aliens come to earth offering any help that they can give. They have a book called “To Serve Man,” which is really al cookbook.
Those are the kinds of feelings that I have as I open my garage door and search down the street for any signs of life. There are no cars in the offing. I walk to the end of the block and make a turn and further see no one. What has happened here? I know that we lived in a community of the elderly. Can they all have passed away without me noticing?

THEY FORCED V.W. TO RESIGN

VW is the superintendent of schools in one of the Corridor of Shame school districts in South Carolina. Her tenure will end on December 31, 2015. She will remain as a consultant to the school district till December 31, 2017. She could no longer suffer the slings and arrows of a school board that was continually working to do her in. That had begun in September of 2015, when four new board members were elected with the expressed campaign promise to get rid of her.
VW is a strong woman. She had done her absolute best, and that was phenomenal, over the past 5.5 years to raise the horizon for her 3000 student school district. She was a top flight leader and advocate for her community and the schools. What she wasn’t was a bowed head to the political leaders in her county school district. They did everything they could, including slander (a case she eventually won)her. They called down the wrath of every governmental organization to find things that they claimed that she had done illegally. She was not found guilty of any of them.
She continued to produce programs for the kids, raise their graduation rates, get rid of ghost employees, and eliminate all non-certified professionals and hosts of other things. The district was coming out of the dark ages with a full bore ahead. Prior to her arrival there had been four superintendents and interim superintendents in five years. She brought stability and a positive calm to the district.
The political members of the community, elected and non-elected believed things about her that the grave diggers presented to them and to the local press. None of what they said was true. She weathered all of those storms and continued to work for the children. Even when her husband passed away in June she worked to do what she had done up to that point. She worked for the children and the community.
After her resignation, scores of community members rose up to speak on her behalf. They did so, knowing that they were too late to save her. The school board listened and did nothing to answer any of the questions or accusations.
An alumni group was developed to see what they could do politically. That will probably be the way to tear down the harm that is being done to the district. There are many other scenarios that could occur in the future. However, this is a terrible blow to one of the school districts in the Corridor of Shame, which extends from the border of South Carolina with North Carolina and ends at the border Georgia on Route 95.

THE END OF FRIENDSHIP

I must have said this phrase about 100 times since Carol and I decided to move to South Carolina. “We moved (are moving) because most of our friends have either moved away or died. That, along with the decimation of our synagogue (100 members when Carol was prez to about 30 or so now) caused us that there was little to keep us in the Harrisburg area.
A more succinct answer may have been that some long term friends have gone their ways and have not taken us with them. Do you ever wonder if you were in a serious jam, who would you call to bail you out (excluding your family and your children and grandchildren). I often think that there a precious few people that would drop everything and come to your rescue. When the list was at its zenith, there were about four or five names on it. Now that list has diminished to one or two. Those who fell off the table have done it with their own volition. Maybe I am being too hard on them. However, when communication stops, except for a card once in a while, or maybe nothing at all, I am prone to writing people off. My final communication is usually be email and says, “Goodbye (insert name), best of wishes to you.” That seems to do the trick. In some cases I did it to one person about four years ago. There has been no communication with him since.
If you are thinking that this is sad, it is not. My life is pretty complete as it stands. I have no problem with hooking on with people and do it regularly. I am not in some kind of grand funk over losing these people. Their choice to absent themselves from my life is a matter of conditions. There were historical reasons, not personal reasons, that we were friends. We shared some sort of purpose, which now is absent. I can actually see why they might want to go their separate ways. I bid them a fond farewell.
Those who have left me because of death remain in my life, no matter the circumstances of my life. They left this earth as my friend and will never be anything other than that. When my good friend John died a few weeks ago, I tucked him away on this blog and keep him in the forefront of my mind. Others who have left for the Elysian Fields have added a portion of great goodness to my life. They will always be a part of me till I die.
I am sometimes criticized for cutting people off so completely. Those who know me best understand that I am always a committed friend. There are no halfway friendships in my heart. I do not expect perfection in a friendship, but I aspire to a higher level of relationships. It has been that way since I can remember. If you believe that I am sometimes disappointed, you are correct. I am also sometimes disappointed in myself. It goes both ways. Carol believes that I hold a grudge for a long while. Maybe I do. However, as I get older, I have fewer and fewer rules, but those that remain are pretty deep.
As you read this, and you can understand my ramblings, you might want to think of your own friendships, as they have developed through the years. Maybe having a few good friends at my age is pretty darned good.

RONALD T. BOGUS RETURNS

(every so often, I turn over my blog to my sometimes friend/acquaintance, Ronald T. Bogus. Ronald is now a Congressman representing a large portion of the state of Anxiety in the western part of our country. He has been in office for about sixteen years and before that was a state representative in Anxiety. He is now a senior member of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. This blog takes no responsibility for
anything that Ronald says. From my perspective, that’s a very good thing.)

Sometimes, Hillman raises his standards and allows a real scribe to enter his demented world and tell everyone what is really happening in the world. These next few paragraphs will fill you in with the real story about the current situation in our country. Needless to say the liberal media, that also means the movies and the Saturday morning cartoons simply do not tell the truth about the terrible conditions here in the United States.
As some of you may know from former times, I met Hillman back in Anxiety through my college roommate Paul Hambke. At that time Hambke was publishing horrific lies about me and my political career. I was able to overcome these charges, by putting out my own story in the local news. Even after my accusations of using campaign funds for sending my children to a summer camp, I was still able to be re-elected a number of times.
I was tired of hearing Hillman’s voice through Hambke and decided to disregard everything that they were saying. I am somewhat surprised that I am currently permitted to write my opinions (facts) in this space. I am hoping that folks don’t think that there is any compromise involved. I have no desire to compromise about anything related to my job as a congressman.
I am delighted with the spread of candidates that my party is putting up. Each one is better than the other. I don’t see this as a competition. I see it as a laundering of many ideas to come out with the correct ideas on almost any subject. Let’s take the problem with immigration. We are told that there are millions of illegal immigrants in this country. I, for one, have not seen them in Anxiety. I sometimes wonder if this is a ploy by our opponents in the Democratic Party to scare us into thinking that we have a big problem.
If there is such a problem, why have I not heard of it in my congressional district? I have had no complaints about any illegal aliens in our area. Our placid district certainly has needs that must be filled with American workers.
I am not prejudiced against any ethnic or religious group. The workers, in our district, may be Mexican or other groups, but they all are Americans and are certainly all citizens. I have been assured by the local Chamber of Commerce, that the people doing the lawns and shrubs in our towns are home grown Americans who just happen to be Mexican. So, if there are no complaints, where are all these illegals?
My view on what is happening with Muslims in our country is also moderate. I have never met anyone of that persuasion. Although, I am told that there are Muslims in congress, but certainly not from my party. The terrible things that have been happening in our country and other countries with this Ices thing is deplorable. Many of my colleagues are in favor of bombing all of those countries in the Middle East. I am not in favor of that. I would rather we save our hard earned tax dollars and build a wall around those countries and not allow anyone out. I have spoken with our current leading presidential nominee and he is sure, that if he becomes president, he will be able to convince those people to fund the wall themselves.
I have many ideas about how to deal with unemployment, the economy, crime, campaign finance and many others. My solutions, you will see, are common sensed based and will not add to our national debt or budget deficit. Pay particular attention, when you go on my website, It’sbogus.com to my solution to the Kudzu infestation in our country, or the lack of etiquette in fast food restaurants. Please call my office at 222-222-2222 with your own suggestions. My staff will be happy to speak with you.
I have been thrilled with the debates. I am not a debate fan, as Hillman may have told you; I believe that good debaters are often the least of the candidates. I can show that it is true during many of my congressional campaigns. I have had no trouble being elected without having to debate anyone. If you don’t know where I stand on an issue, just ask me (or my staff members).
Once again, I encourage you to help fund my campaigns by going onto my site It’sbogus.com and contribute what you can by credit card. If you want to send me a contribution, please send it to:
Congressman Ronald T. Bogus, Esq.
25 Reactionary Street
Frabning, Anxiety, 12345-6789
You will get an 8×10 autographed picture of me for each contribution over $100. Thanks for your time and attention.

THE MEN OF SUMMER

Reading Roger Angell’s new book put me in a warm and remembrance mood. Although I might watch professional football or basketball more on a regular basis, baseball is in my blood. I can go back to my eighth year on Grand St. on the lower east side of Manhattan, looking through the dirty glass window at the television set showing the 1947 World Series.
I still don’t understand how a little corner bar could already have a pt. set in that year. I was so eager to see the games that I actually tried to get into the bar and sit inconspicuously in a corner. I did not make it for very long. The bartender was kind to me and said that I could stand outside and watch. I am not sure how I had the time to see the games, but I must have seen, at least one Saturday game, and portions of others.
The Yankees were playing the Dodgers, as they did so often later on. It was the magical catch of Al Gionfriddo that made all the headlines. However, the Dodgers lost in seven games. It was better than the 1941 series, which they lost in 5 games. They finally won a world series in 1955. As I look back at it, I realize that it was a few years later that they moved to Los Angeles.
There was something special about baseball. Because of its slow pace, you could really get a Red Barber and later Vin Scully to describe, in detail, what was going on. These announcers were brilliant in their descriptions. I could almost smell the green grass of Ebbets Field. The sounds of the ball hitting the bat, of the crowd oohing and ahhing, were blessed candy for my eardrums.
The men that played baseball then were of a different sort. Very few of them had college education, and many had not completed high school. They were rawboned guys with amazing talent. Their minions were augmented by the introduction of black players in 1947. It was so late in coming that it did not include the greatest of Negro ballplayers like Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige (at his greatest).
These were not common men. Many of them were paid such paltry salaries, that they had to have second jobs in the wintertime. Some even played in the Mexican League, or some other southern league to make additional dough. At some point in the mid 1940’s, some of them even jumped to the Mexican League. Sal Maglie (the Barber) was one of those who was fortunate enough to be accepted back into the major leagues.
I favored Ted Kluszewski and his cut off sleeves. I could never understand why people thought there was something wrong with that. If you looked at Klu’s arms, you could see why. I still do my exercised with no sleeved shirts. It may not mean much to others, but it means a bunch to me. Those were my men of summer and they still reside in the back of my mind.

THE RETURN OF THE 1950’s

The last high school basketball game that I was at was in 1973. I was an athletic director of a large suburban racially troubled high school. I was tired of having the police come to every game. Basketball, with its indoor courts, are a prime place for people to get angry and take out their anger in the surrounding area, or even within the building. Yes, I had gotten tired of it and applied for and got a job as a junior high school principal far away from Philly.
The assistant principal at the Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School (Jasper County) encouraged me (I really did not need the encouragement) to come to the next home game against Bluffton High School. By the way, that is the area in which I live. I tooled into the parking lot behind the high school. The road to the back of the school was kind of gravel and sand. I had no idea who many people would be there. I arrived at six, just in time to see the beginning of the girl’s team game with the same high school.
The girls won by twenty five points. The interesting thing was that the stands began to fill up with rooters from both schools. The crowd was predominantly local. The folks seemed to all be in good humor. There was the normal rooting. What was not there was any question of the decisions that were made by the referees. These three fellows were not exactly the lions of the pride. They seemed to be out of shape for running up and down the court. As I said there were not “kill the ref” antagonists.
As the gym filled up to capacity, I realized that I was once again, as I was many years ago as an athletic director, one of the few white people in the crowd. It somehow didn’t dawn on me that it would be that way. Not that it was uncomfortable. In a school district with 85% of the kids being African American, that’s the way it should be.
The boy’s game was about to begin and I saw one of the young men that I had been meeting with. He is a tall handsome guy who plays on the basketball team. He waved to me, came over and we hugged, not an NFL hug, but a real one. I was kind of surprised. He and I had some conversations about decision making. He is also the starting quarterback on the football team.
The place was filled and the cheerleaders on both sides did some cheers. They were pure 1950’s kind of cheers. The squads were modestly dressed and behaved with decorum. Many of the young ladies in the crowd walked back and forth in front of the stands many times. That was something that reminded me of how they would be checked out by the young men in the stands. That was the way it used to be and still is today.
I got to talk to a number of people in the crowd, including Pastor P. who wants to work with me and the students. Her ministry is with teen agers and seems to be right in step with some of the things that I want to do. I did my famous, “I am so old that when I played basketball, white men could jump,” line for some of the folks that I was talking to.
The game was furious. The players never stopped hustling. The played with such speed that I could hardly keep up. I was happy to have had my cataract surgery and gotten new glasses. One thing that was different was the food that was served outside of the gym at the food stand. It was really supper food- fried chicken and French fries and that kind of stuff. It was brought into the gym and eaten in the stands. I asked the assistant principal about the efficacy of doing that. His answer was so logical; I was embarrassed to have asked it.
He told me that the folks sometime came directly from work and did not have a chance to eat. If he did not have these foods served, they might have not come to the game. The result of the game was a barn burner. In the last 24 seconds, the Ridgeland- Hardeeville team scored a go ahead basket and stopped their opponent from scoring at the other end and won by one point.
There was great cheering and then handshaking by the players with each other. The coach of Ridgeland Hardeeville has been the coach for 31 years. He is greatly respected in the community. The crowd, during the last part of the game, cheered, but never said anything, that I could hear, about the officiating, which I was kind of surprised at. It was the same three fellows from the girl’s game.
I said a few goodbyes and went out to the parking lot and took 20 minutes to find my car. The exodus of cars from the lot was done in an orderly manner with no horn honking or yelling. As I drove down Route 95 to go home, I was thinking what kinds of things these schools deserved from their elders, their taxpayers, and their politicians in their state. I saddened me.