Archive for November, 2007

Thankful For …
November 22, 2007

… on this Thanksgiving day, in no particular order:

Two savvy, cool, soulful girls
My passport
Technicolor sunsets
A vivid imagination
Wild orchids
Freedom of speech
An audience
Stolen moments
Masterful metaphors
The view from 30,000 ft. (literally and figuratively)
Irving, Wolfe, Wiesel, Frost, Wilde
A good laugh



Fit to Serve
November 12, 2007

The question is valid, considering the circumstances. And it was one of the first to come up in the morning meeting the day after: Was Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Rein, at 76 years old, too old to function in a physically demanding job? My unscientific survey of news reports over the last few days seems to indicate a lot of people, including some of my colleagues, think so.

Allow me be the one to argue it. No one who did not know Deputy Rein can possibly make that judgment.

Age is, increasingly, a non-issue in so many ways. True, if you don’t use it, you lose it – and too many people know what that’s like. But Deputy Rein apparently used it, kept himself in good shape and enjoyed the good health that allowed him to pass the same physical tests and training as his colleagues of different generations passed. If age had deteriorated him somehow, wouldn’t that show up in the results?

If age is a determining factor, should gender be, too? Is anyone ready to deny jobs to female police officers, firefighter and soldiers? Those who do those jobs have proven themselves in physicals and field tests alongside their bigger bulkier male counterparts.

Consider your public safety compromised in the absence of testing. For example, my dear mom, age 70+, received her driver’s license renewal by mail recently, permission from the state to pilot a two-ton machine on crowded highways, no questions asked. Her eyesight and reflexes happen to be on par or better with drivers 20-to-30 years her junior, but the state has no way to know that. No required tests, no required proof. How many half-blind, reflex-impaired people are out there on the road “too old to drive” because no one has bothered to check??

Remember the local newspaper layout a few years ago that proclaimed “60 is the new 30”? (which, I suppose, puts me at some point in puberty)…
There has never been more information on, awareness about and cultural value placed on health, fitness and mental acuity and their fountain-of-youth effects. I am blessed to have friends in their 30’s and friends in their 60’s. I have friends in their 40’s that act like frat boys. I have friends in their 20’s who can hardly keep up with me on a jog. It’s all about state of body, mind and soul.

Deputy Rein, may he rest in peace, may have violated BSO policy, may have trusted too much, may have made a bad judgment call. We may never know. We do know he paid dearly.

During his funeral this week they will recite the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning, which never mentions death or grief, but rather celebrates life, peace and the spirit, both human and divine.

Isn’t that ageless?

Slime Time
November 2, 2007

I’m so grateful for all the campaign literature that has been mailed to my home in the last few weeks. I’ve read it all carefully, so I know I’m headed to the polling booth next week to choose a mayor and commissioners from among candidates who are:

Marionettes whose strings are pulled by “special interests”,
Selfish, inept, money-hungry, two-faced, liars,
Ethically-challenged panderers,
In bed with Fidel,
In bed with the devil,
Drunk drivers,
Some of the above
All of the above.

For the record, I do not live in Sodom or Gomorrah.

One of the more disgusting flyers I received depicts three of four commission candidates in unflattering stereotypes, which leaves the fourth to take the default blame for the mailing. But the fourth candidate didn’t send it out, nor did the woman who lives at the address listed as headquarters for the campaign literature. How pathetic is a person, organization and/or campaign that spends time, effort and money to gossip, libel and commit mail fraud, rather than trumpet a candidate’s proud accomplishments?

And I guess the more significant question is: who among my neighbors are influenced by this nonsense?

Far too many, I fear.

Because of where I live and what I do for a living, I’ve had the opportunity to meet every person running for office in my city’s elections next week. Some I know longer than others. Some I know better than others. Some I like better than others. Some I trust more than others. Some pander to community sentiment at the expense of long-term progress. But I do believe every one of them has a sincere desire to make our collective zip code a decent place to live and work.

Somewhere in the process, though, the candidates and their “handlers” decided that marketing the candidate wasn’t enough. They had to un-market their opponents. And they know full well the vast majority of voters are too busy, indifferent, lazy (or all of the above) to do any candidate research on their own. So marketing (and un-marketing) turns out to be the research and education those busy, indifferent, lazy voters take into the booth.

Call me naïve, but how on earth has democracy devolved into this?