Show Us the Money

The government saw fit to spend billions of dollars on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Yet our elected leaders are against giving Americans a second IRS stimulus check to help citizens defray the economic harm of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Am I the only one who thinks this is not right?

I’d be the first in line to spend another IRS check at local businesses. Helping to keep these shop owners in business should New York City shut down again.

Luckily I was able to get a haircut this weekend. My trainer at the gym is giving me a new routine to do at home.

So should my city be shut down again I can grow my hair out and continue to exercise.

Readers there’s an extra added challenge living in the pandemic: getting a bad haircut like I did the other day.

This of course is a well-off person’s dilemma. I’ve read that 1 in 3 households are facing economic hardship and food insecurity.

Some of us see nothing wrong with the government not giving out a second stimulus check.

I say: it’s time to stop funding wars and start investing in the American people.

Show us the money.

Making Changes

The year will be coming to an end. On January 1st a lot of people will make New Year’s resolutions. The difference between achieving your resolution and quitting after 2 months comes down to acquiring skills. Willpower or commitment or motivation alone won’t get a person where they want to be. If you truly aren’t happy with an aspect of your life by all means take steps to make positive changes. For this I recommend the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions by John C. Norcross. Using the book’s 90-day action plan I’ve achieved three goals and continue to set new goals. It’s possible to achieve a New Year’s resolution using the Changeology 90-day action plan. The book I installed as an e-book to read over and over on my iPad. I can vouch for using the 5 Steps to achieve a goal. Using the 90-day action plan is the remedy for joining a gym on January 1st exercising in a frantic burst for 2 months then giving up. Achieving a goal requires skills that can be taught that are listed in Changeology. Executing the 5 Steps in their specific order and matching each catalyst for change to the right step in the right order will up the odds that you’ll be successful. The 90-day action plan outlined in Changeology is the most healthy and credible method I’ve found for setting and carrying out a goal.

Knocked Out

I checked this Mia Kang book out of the library. It’s a new book. I decided not to read it after skimming the first page.

Right there Kang reveals how her agent would call her up and say: “I got you a runway appearance. The designer wants you to lose weight.”

I also bought the current issue of InStyle magazine. In this book a woman was quoted that the insane obsession with women having to be thin is “fat-phobic.”

I don’t like to use the term fat. Nor overweight. Nor carries a few extra pounds. I could only understand calling a woman robust or voluptuous.

Years ago in my blog I berated Skinny Girl Betheny Frankel for writing in a book that a woman could indeed be skinny if she followed Frankel’s rules.

Another diet book author claimed you could decide what weight you wanted to be and think yourself into being that weight.

The time has come to stand up for ourselves as men women non-binary transgender–everyone of all shapes and sizes.

I don’t think that a person who weighs 200 pounds should aspire to be 127 pounds. Then scarf down Lean Cuisine frozen meals for dinner in an attempt to count calories.

No–I don’t think the goal should be to be thin. You can be thin and flabby and not healthy at all. I think it’s ludicrous to want to be or expect that you should be thin.

There’s something screwed up when a fashion designer tells a model that she has to lose weight.

Whittling yourself down to bones isn’t going to make you happy. Please–love yourself regardless of the number on the scale. If you’re not happy with yourself today how are you going to become magically happy after you meet a condition you set for yourself to achieve?

Loving ourselves shouldn’t be contingent on achieving a goal. We should love ourselves simply because we exist.

I say: Own the street. Walk outside on the pavement like you’re a supermodel. Regardless of the size on your clothing tags.

Not Buying It

Of course the Republicans and Democrats want us to buy into the myth that their policies will help ordinary Americans.

Only it’s billionaires and their corporations that are getting rich not you and me.

We stand idly by while candidates take pot shots at each other in an attempt to convince us to vote for them.

While capitalism has gone off the rails in endangering the planet.

Living indoors for seven months I’ve come to see things differently in terms of shopping.

A woman published a book titled Not Buying It about the year she stopped buying things.

I own hundreds of jewelry items that I bought over a 12-year period. I have enough clothes and shoes and pocketbooks that I too won’t be buying anything new anytime soon.

Making tons of money for the sake of buying and consuming things is no way to live.

In the time of the coronavirus pandemic I’ve been shifting my own priorities.

By carefully choosing what I buy and take home I will cherish more the things I own.

I’m 55 years old. The Muhammad Ali quote rings true: (you can use the words A person): “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

I don’t view the world the same as I did when I was 20.

Heck–I’m not the same person I was in February before the pandemic shut down my beloved New York City.

Living indoors and composing blog entries in the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak–and hearing the news of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor–changed my outlook.

It’s not that the killings were anything new–it’s that I couldn’t remain silent.

My stance is that like Mary Poppins sang a spoon full of sugar can help the medicine go down.

I wall always strive to give readers joy and optimism. With a dose of insight into how I think things can be better.

Always–I hold out the hope for change.

Not buying things for me involves not buying what elected leaders are selling: that greed is good and consumerism benefits Americans.

On November 3rd I hope everyone goes out and votes for the person they think is best qualified to run the country.

Your vote counts. Your voice should be heard long after your ballot is cast.

Early Voting

I voted this weekend as New York State has instituted early voting.

It took a total of 40 minutes from getting in line to exiting the polling site.

Elsewhere in New York City people waited 2 or 3 hours and sometimes up to 5 hours to vote.

It was observed that long wait times are a form of voter suppression even in a blue state like New York.

Alas, the Green Party might not get a spot on future ballots should they not garner at least 5 percent of the vote.

I didn’t see any “poll watchers” guarding my polling site. Again where I live is Trump Country. You had to wear a mask to vote in the election at the polling site.

The line moved quickly. I had no time to pick up reading a book I’d brought in case I was waiting for hours.

Whoever wins the White House we must hold them accountable for doing the right thing.

Fracking cannot continue. I will write to my senator and congressperson to vote yes on the bill that was introduced to ban fracking.

I will wait to do this until the election is over. On election night I will tune into the political coverage on NY1 cable news channel.

LL Cool Joe is against a national anti-fracking ban which is not a good thing for the planet.

Yet because of Mr. Toupee’s contempt for Black Lives Matters and social justice protestors this alone warrants booting him out of office.

I don’t think we can argue that police chokeholds are acceptable.

I recommend voting early when you’re given the chance to do this.

I’ll stick my I Voted Early decal to my sweatshirt when I go to the gym.

Now is the time for everyone to perform our civic duty by voting.

More than this we should all be writing to our elected leaders to enact laws on the issues that matter to us after the election is over.

The Power of Kindness

In an issue of InStyle going back five or six months there was an interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda and a chef who was his biggest fan.

The quote rings true:

“We need to make sure people are lifted up. If we push people down, we’re going to see a tomorrow that we don’t like.”

In the Power of Kindness TIME special edition magazine there were feature articles about empathy and compassion.

To quote Lynn O’Connor:

“The happiest nations tend to be the ones where equity is greatest, while nations with high levels of inequity tend to be less happy.”

Bhutan has a Gross National Happiness Index instead of relying on a Gross National Product / GNP as a measure of wealth.

Kindness appears to be in short supply from those in command in America.

It’s why my belief that we can’t rely on the government to solve societal ills appears to be coming true.

The Power of Kindness special edition featured ordinary Americans making a difference to help out others.

One person was an 11-year old kid.

Now I don’t think kindness in and of itself can redress injustice on its own.

Yet acting kind sure beats advancing hate.

Casting a Vote

The year I turned 18 there was a presidential election. I have been voting in every election since I turned 18. That’s 37 years of participating in our democracy.

Like I wrote before I don’t think the person we elect can be our savior. I have written in this blog years ago that I don’t think the government can resolve societal ills.

What every citizen can do is hold our elected leaders accountable once they’re serving our city state and country.

I have to sign my name in the book. My handwriting is unusual–I tell the poll worker it’s the messiest signature on the page.

For protection I carry my driver’s license with me to the polling site. I carry my driver’s license everywhere I go as a form of identification.

I’ve taken to using the Microsoft Edge browser. On the Edge homepage you can read news articles. This is where I read accounts of the election updates.

Browsing the news accounts on Edge I read a CNN primer on voting and what to do should you be told you can’t vote when you show up.

Casting a provisional vote is possible when you’re challenged. This is possible when you know you’re registered to vote.

I’m going to wear one of my masks and go vote in person. I haven’t been infected with the coronavirus. I wear a mask wherever I go to reduce my risk of getting the disease.

Ballots Against Bullets

Merriam Webster online defines genocide as:

: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.

The definition of destruction:

: ruin.

I might be the only one using the term genocide to describe what’s going on in our country today.

History is shady too.

I was reading at the library information in an online video course on Art in American History.

One of the hosts got away with talking about how Mr. Toupee hung a portrait of Andrew Jackson on his wall at the White House.

The video host said that Jackson was the architect of the worst American genocide. During his term Native Americans were run off their tribal lands. Thousands were killed along the infamous Trail of Tears.

It tells you something that Mr. Toupee venerates Jackson.

At the library new books have been published praising Mr. Toupee and denouncing “Trump’s Enemies.” Other new books trumpet that the Donald is trashing American democracy.

Whose side of the story is the truth?

Stacey Abrams when interviewed said that we can’t expect any president we vote into office to be our savior.

We can though hold them accountable for doing the right thing once elected.

In two months we vote for the president.

People are being denied the right to vote.

If you are registered to vote I say walk into the polling site with your own two feet–or wheel yourself in if you use a wheelchair–and go vote.

Send in an absentee ballot before the deadline if you cannot show up in person.

One year I walked around the corner to the polling site and voted at 6:15 a.m.

If you haven’t been denied the right to vote–Just Do It–go out and vote.

No excuses.

MLK Candlelight Vigil

12 years ago I attended an MLK Candlelight Vigil in January.

We stood in the arctic cold in a small triangle park holding votive candles in solidarity for peace and justice.

I had thought hundreds of people would show up to the event.

There were only 5 of us. I accidentally broke the glass holder the candle was in.

The host took my email. Ever since then I’ve been bombarded with email campaigns to petition our government for farm workers’ rights and other issues.

It’s hard to read the magnitude of injustice. To hear the stories. And once again justice has not been served today.

Behind the smokescreen of ordinary issues voters are convinced to get riled up over lies the worst of human rights abuses in America and worldwide.

It’s chilling and can be numbing too.

The emails keep coming with pleas to join in for protests right in my town (against the North Brooklyn fracking and LNG depot) and faraway (the Global Thrive Act).

It can be overwhelming as to how one person can respond to every single injustice. Just being aware is the first step–not remaining blind to what goes on.

Our predicament predates our PT Barnum circus showman president.

Yet the emails have escalated since he was elected.

No one should live in fear of walking down the street. No one should have to endure what I call vicarious trauma by witnessing injustice against other people.

I want to shake sense into the people who don’t seem to care or don’t think there’s anything wrong with this picture.

How could you believe this carnival barker is what I want to know.

Give farm workers citizenship. Stop letting killer cops off the hook.

We are ruining the lives of future generations that will inherit this mess we’ve made.

My hope is that by saying something I will embolden others to break away from the silent herd and have the confidence to chime in.

Stacey Abrams

Once again a fashion magazine has come out with lucid wisdom in an interview with a powerful woman. This time Stacey Abrams is speaking.

More power to Stacey Abrams for publishing her book: Our Time is Now.

She refers to the New American Majority–the people of color, young people, moderates, and progressives who supported her in her campaign for governor of Georgia in 2018.

In the September 2020 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Stacey Abrams is quoted:

“I’d rather fail as myself than succeed as someone else.”

In fact trying to change into a person other people will approve of causes ill health. You can only fail by being someone other than who you are.

Stand tall. Walk proud. That is the way to live.